As our month long celebration of women inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame comes near a close, we still have a couple to recognize. Several women who are part of the BBA Hall of Fame were inducted with their husbands. Two husband and wife teams entered the Hall in 2001.
Mildred Miller and husband Bill hosted a daily television show on WBEN-TV, Channel 4 during the 1950s and â€˜60s. The Millers were seasoned showbiz pros, having worked vaudeville from coast to coast through the 1930s and ’40s as dancers and sketch performers. When Channel 4 executive George Torge invited them to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for viewers of the fledgling station in 1949, he had a notion that this couple who ran their own turkey farm in Colden might have a long-term TV future. Just after New Yearâ€™s 1950, “Meet the Millers” went on the air. For a half-hour every weekday for nearly 21 years, Bill and Mildred offered cooking tips and cozy interviews with the world’s biggest stars — from Perry Como and Tony Bennett to Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor. The Millers were intelligent, classy, warm-hearted and, most of all, fabulous ambassadors for the City of Good Neighbors. Virtually every celebrity who was a guest on their show left town with generous thoughts about the Millers and the city. “Meet the Millers” left the air in 1970. In the 1980s, the Millers closed up the turkey farm and retired to Florida, where they both passed away in the early 1990s.
Nancy Lesniak and husband Dan created a Buffalo radio station that featured the golden era of American music. WADV-FM was the groundbreaking station that became a touchstone for lovers of vocal standards and jazz through the 1960s and ’70s. The Lesniaks instituted an outstandingly smooth and intelligent on-air presentation that featured genuine personalities instead of automation. On the technical side, WADV also was Upstate New York’s first FM stereo station in 1962. After the station was sold in 1981, Dan died soon after. But Nancy is enjoying her retirement and remains a strong supporter of the BBA.
Reggie Keaton and husband Billy entered our Hall in 2005. Billy was a true radio pioneer. In the years before World War II, Billy adapted his vaudeville show for radio, appearing on WGR Radio. After the war, Reggie joined the act. They were familiar voices on WGR during the 1940s and â€˜50s. Late in their careers, Billy and Reggie hosted several cable TV talk shows, leaving a legacy of 55 years of entertaining Western New Yorkers. Billy Keaton died in 1976 while Reggie passed in 1995.