BBA Media Night Out

The Annual BBA Media Night Out on the Portico at the Buffalo History Museum in July was a big success. We had a fabulous turnout for this year’s event, which took place on Tuesday, July 21st. Special thanks to the Buffalo History Museum, along with their incredible staff and volunteers for their help.

I’d also like to express my gratitude to Lou Billittier, Jr. and his terrific staff from Chef’s for coming out with his new food truck to have dinner available to take home for attendees; Steve Monaco from Shelly’s Florist; Mike from Dairy Queen on Transit Road, Williamsville, for the tasty complimentary Dilly Bars on site; and WBBZ-TV for providing footage from our recent Giants of Buffalo Radio and Television events, which were shown in the auditorium during the event. Dave May did a great job coordinating items from our archive, which were on display in the museum during the event. We look forward to another successful event next year!

19th Annual BBA Hall of Fame Gala Update

We recently hosted a press conference at WNED to unveil the 19th Annual Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations to WKBW-TV Anchor Keith Radford, former WJYE Operations Manager Joe Chille, WBBZ-TV owner Phil Arno, WIVB-TV Chief Photographer Mike Mombrea Jr., former CNN Senior Reporter Susan Candiotti and the late WKBW-TV/WGRZ-TV News Director Jerry Fedell. Niagara County Community College student Dan Schrack was named this year’s recipient of the Tim Russert Medal of Merit Scholarship.

WBBZ-TV’s John Disciullo will serve as this year’s emcee with special guest performer and legendary jingle producer Ken Kaufman. Doors to the September 24th event will open at 5:30 pm. Our dear friend, Dennis DiPaolo from Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant, will once again provide a wonderful buffet leading up to the start of the program at 7 pm.

The event is presented by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, along with our wonderful supporting sponsors, including Atwal Eyecare, Shelly’s Florist, 3G Grafix Printing & Signs, and Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant. We are also very grateful to the many program ad patrons for their support. Tickets are $50/members and $60/non-members. For complete details, please go to or call Herb Flemming at (716) 864-2588.

Special thanks to Event Chair Tracy LeBlanc, WNED, and the entire committee, including Phil Teibel, Jackie Albarella, Herb Flemming, Steve Reszka, Steve Monaco, Jim Safee, Tammy Coleman, and Sydnie Perkins.

I’d also like to recognize Lea Dicenso for doing a great job over the past several months helping me with selling ads and sponsorships for this year’s event. As a result of our combined efforts, I am very happy to report that we will hit an all-time new record in ad sales and sponsorship support in the history of the BBA for the event.

BBA Social Media Outreach Hits New Record

We recently reached over 600 “likes” on the BBA Facebook page. It’s a huge milestone for the organization in getting the word out to our friends online. BBA Board Member Carl Lam has been doing an outstanding job updating our Facebook page. We look forward to continuing to grow our presence on Facebook and Twitter. I’d also like to recognize Chairman Dave Gillen for his great work in getting the word out via our timely email updates and postings on the website as well as Treasurer Herb Flemming for his tireless efforts in taking care of the many details that we deal with on a daily basis.

Welcome, Avery Schneider!

I’d like to welcome WBFO 88.7 FM News Reporter and Program Host Avery Schneider to the BBA Board. He will be a great addition to our team. Avery will be helping us provide timely updates to the BBA website as well as get involved in our member events!

BBA Archive Collection Update: Volunteers Needed

We are currently looking for volunteers to help us with our archive collection. Dave May, Lois Ringle and Steve Jager have all done an incredible job at the site for many years. BBA Board Member George Apfel Thomas will be working with them as we continue to work on archiving our massive collection.

*NEW: Buffalo Broadcasters Association’s New Community Cares Initiative

Board Member Jim Safee recently produced a new television public service announcement on behalf of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association’s New Community Cares Initiative for Mercy Flight, which provides important flight transportation for individuals to area hospitals when minutes matter. Jim, along with BBA Board Member Pat Feldballe, has also produced several complimentary television public service announcements for the Family Help Center. Kudos to Jim and Pat in leading the charge on behalf of the BBA with this new initiative to help nonprofit organizations that pay it forward in our community.

*NEW: BBA Peer 2 Peer Speakers Tour

I am pleased to announce we will be kicking off our BBA Peer 2 Peer (P2P) Speakers Tour at area high schools and colleges during the month of October. We have an incredible group of rising stars in the radio and television business that will be taking time out of their busy schedules to go out and speak to students about a career in radio and television. Special thanks to BBA Student Board Member Carl Lam for his help in serving as chair and coordinating the program.

P2P Ambassadors will include:

• Andrew Baglini/WIVB-TV4
• Matt Bove/WKBW-TV7
• Erica Brecher/WGRZ-TV2
• Joe Buscaglia/WKBW-TV7
• Laura Daniels/MIX 96
• Ed Drantch/WKBW-TV7
• Lauren Hall/WIVB-TV4
• Jud Huessler/KISS 98.5
• Heather Ly/WGRZ-TV2
• Steve Marth/Time Warner Cable News
• Jessica McLaughlin/WKBW-TV7
• Katie Morse/WKBW-TV7
• Heather Prusak/WGRZ-TV2
• Avery Schneider/WBFO-FM
• Brittni Smallwood/WIVB-TV4
• Danny Spewak/WGRZ-TV2
• Jennifer Stanonis/WGRZ-TV2
• Brandi Whytas/WLKK-FM

2016 BBA 20th Anniversary Commemorative Calendar

BBA Board Member Pat Feldballe and I have been very busy working on the BBA 2016 Calendar. As part of your 2016 membership renewal, you will receive this fabulous calendar that celebrates the organization’s 20th anniversary. Go to to join or renew your membership today!

*NEW: The BBA Presents “LOL” (Laugh Out Loud) A Night of Comedy-Presented by: HoganWillig Attorneys at Law

Join us for a fun night out on Friday, November 6th, 7-10 pm at Rob’s Comedy Playhouse (located inside Dandelion’s Restaurant) at 1340 N. Forest Rd., Buffalo, NY 14221. The event will feature three stand-up comedians with local broadcasting connections: Rob Lederman of 97 Rock; Greg Bauch, formerly of WGR 550 Sports Radio; and Josh Potter of 103.3 The Edge. Tickets are only $25 each and include two drinks. There will also be silent, Chinese and live auctions onsite at the event. Proceeds will benefit the BBA. Seating is limited.

Don’t miss this great night of big laughs! Special thanks to BBA VP and event Chair Steve Reszka, Board Member Jennifer Stanonis and 97 Rock’s Rob Lederman for all their efforts in planning the event. Stay tuned for details at

And finally,

It takes great people to make great things happen. I’d like to recognize and thank longtime board member Mark Scott for the many contributions he has made over the years to the BBA. The retired radio veteran recently decided to step down from his position on the board. We are very grateful to him for everything he did over the years, including writing and posting his quarterly market updates as well as keeping our website up-to-date with the latest happenings. Thank you, Mark, on behalf of all of us for making a difference on behalf of our industry!

Please feel free to reach out to me anytime at [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you at the 2015 Hall of Fame Gala!


With appreciation and gratitude,

Heidi Raphael

President/Buffalo Broadcasters Association


Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming BBA Events

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Legacies and Legends: Featuring BBA Class of 2001 Hall of Fame inductee Ramblin’ Lou Schriver at the Buffalo History Museum.
Join us for this special up-close-and-personal evening with this incredible radio and music legend as he shares stories about events and people that helped make him one of Western New York’s most famous and well-respected radio personalities and music performers. The event is presented by the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in association with the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. Tickets are only $5 BBA members/$7nonmembers. Reception starts at 5 pm. Program begins at 6-7:30pm.

Thursday, September 24th, 2015
19th Annual BBA Hall of Fame Gala at WNED Studios.
Tickets and event details are available at

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
The Buffalo Broadcasters Association Welcomes the NYSBA’s Digital Growth Mind Set – Free Regional Digital Sales Seminar and Serving New York Awards Luncheon
The seminar and luncheon will take place at the Albright Knox Art Gallery. The session is offered free to all NYSBA member stations in good standing. All registrants are invited to stay for the NYSBA “Serving New York” Awards luncheon that follows immediately after the session.
For complete details on the seminar and to register for the awards, go to

Friday, November 6th, 2015
Laugh Out Loud Comedy Night-Presented by: HoganWillig Attorneys at Law
This fun night out at Rob’s Comedy Playhouse will feature local broadcast comedians to benefit the BBA. Tickets are only $25 (includes two drink tickets) and are available at

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
BBA Annual Holiday Luncheon at Chefs Restaurant
12 noon. Stay tuned for details.

Recent Market News
Prepared by Carl Lam

Former WIVB-TV News Director Joe Schlaerth has landed a new job in Evansville, Indiana.  He will join WFIE-TV as news director in September. The TV broadcast veteran spent a large part of his career at WIVB, beginning as an intern, rising to executive producer, and eventually serving as news director.

WGRZ-TV producer John Matey has left the station to join WRC-TV in Washington D.C. as a content producer. A graduate of Fredonia State College, he began his career as an intern at WGRZ-TV and became a producer for Daybreak.

Congratulations to WKBW-TV’s Linda Pellegrino and John Summers for recently celebrating 25 Years on AM Buffalo!

WMSX has added Christy Craig into the weekend lineup, hosting every other weekend. In addition to her on-air work, she is a full-time employee of Townsquare Media. She comes to Buffalo following stints in Rochester and Ithaca.

Patrick Hammer joins Storm Team 2 and WGRZ in June as the heir apparent to Kevin O’Connell, once he retires. Hammer comes from recent stints at KSTP and KARE in Minneapolis and has worked around the country. He is currently covering weekend evening shifts and weekday broadcasts on a fill-in basis.

Kendra Eaglin left WKBW-TV at the end of June to return to California after five years in Buffalo. She had been a reporter and anchor on the weekend editions of “7 Eyewitness News.” She had indicated that she was lining up a broadcast job in California. Hannah Buehler has taken over Eaglin’s former Saturday evening anchoring duties.

Jason Gruenauer left WKBW-TV at the beginning of August after working in Buffalo for six years. His next position is in Denver, Colorado, with KMGH, another Scripps-owned station, as a reporter with a program titled “The Now.” He started at WKBW as a production assistant in 2009 and made the transition to reporter in 2010. During his time at WKBW, Gruenauer also served as a fill-in anchor, sports anchor, and weathercaster.

Jennifer “Jazzy-T” Williams joins WUFO as a disc jockey on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the “Afternoon Power Drive” after leaving WBLK in July. Williams can also be heard afternoons on WDKX in Rochester from Saturday to Monday. In addition, she was featured as a contestant on “Funny or Die Presents America’s Next Weatherman,” which aired nationally on TBS.

WIVB has added reporter Ali Ingersoll, who started at the station at the end of June. She was a multi-media journalist in the State College bureau for WTAJ in Altoona, Pennsylvania. She also worked at WSAW in Wausau, Wisconsin, and is a Penn State alumna.

Former WKBW news director Lisa Polster left the station in June and moved across town to WIVB-TV as an executive producer for “Wake Up!” Polster joined WKBW as an executive producer in 2009 and worked her way up to news director. In the meantime, Aaron Mason will serve as interim news director and no permanent successor has been named yet.

WIVB-TV has bid farewell to their entire on-air sports team in a two-week time period from the end of July until early August. Steve Vesey served as the station’s sports director and weekday anchor until a few days before the Bills preseason began. He was let go after three years in Buffalo. Vesey had worked at WETM in Elmira before coming to Western New York.

Former sports reporter/anchor Lauren Brill announced that she would be leaving at the end of July. She landed a job in Cleveland, Ohio, as a sports reporter for WEWS-TV. However, WIVB made some quick hires for replacements with Josh Reed joining as Sports Director from WHTM in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Tom Martin coming from KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana. Reed has spent nine years at WHTM as a sports reporter/anchor and also worked in Hagerstown, Maryland, at WHAG. Martin is a Mizzou graduate and has also worked at KOMU in Columbia, Missouri. 

WKBW-TV and Business First ended their 15-year partnership in June. Reporter Elizabeth Carey provided reports during the morning and evening editions of “7 Eyewitness News.” Since leaving the station in June, she has started her own company.

A familiar face has rejoined local television. John Borsa joined Time Warner Cable News in July and is an anchor/reporter. Borsa had spent 11 years with WKBW as an anchor/reporter before leaving the station in 2014. Previously, he worked at WBEN and with multiple stations in Rochester, New York.

WKBW has added Kaylee Wendt, a new fill-in meteorologist, who joined WKBW-TV in June. She also currently works at WHAM in Rochester, delivering the weather forecasts for the noon newscasts during the week. She had previously interned at WKBW-TV and WGRZ-TV and is an alumna of The College at Brockport where she studied meteorology.

Shannon Ross made the switch to WKBW-TV as an executive producer. She came from a stint at Time Warner Cable News as an executive producer and gained six years of experience before that with WIVB as a producer. Ross is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.

Stephen Marth has been promoted to executive producer at Time Warner Cable News. He has been with the station since 2010 and is a University at Buffalo alumnus. Marth is a current member of the Board of Directors for the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.

WGRZ’s Daybreak team is locked in for another couple years. It was announced that John Beard signed a two-year extension to stay with the station and Melissa Holmes inked a four-year deal.

Tom Calderone, a 2012 Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame inductee, left his post as President of VH1 in July.

WEDG’s Ted Shredd and Tom Ragan signed a contract extension for four more years. The duo has been with WEDG since March 1994 and can be heard weekday mornings.

Former Buffalo radio personality Paul Heine has been named managing editor of “Inside Radio,” an industry trade publication. He was a part of the old WGRQ, now known as 97 Rock, during the early days as an album rock station.

WNED has brought back Scott Sackett on a part-time basis to host Saturday mornings. Sackett was the morning host from 1999 to 2006 before leaving to start his own company.

Former WBEN News Director Steve Cichon joined WNED-TV as a part-time associate producer. He will be working on a documentary regarding painkiller addictions that will go into production this fall.

Veteran radio broadcaster Jack Mindy celebrated his “second” retirement at the end of June from WGMC in Rochester. He was serving as the station’s operations manager and had spent a part of his career in Buffalo at WBEN and WKBW.

WGRZ-TV Reporter Scott Brown returned in June after an eight-month medical leave from the station.

Cumulus Media announced that Joe Russo is the new PD for KCJK and KCMO in Kansas City, Missouri. Russo had spent nearly a decade in Buffalo as the PD and brand manager for WBUF-FM.

On the sales front in the past few months, Dan Budsinski has resigned from Townsquare Media to become the local sales manager at WUTV/WNYO.

Angelo Cicatello has left WUTV/WNY for the general sales manager job at WBBZ-TV.

Stephanie Madeczun joins Townsquare Media from Entercom.

Do you have news you’d like to share with the BBA? Please send it to Carl Lam at [email protected]

NEW FEATURE: BBA Contributor Spotlight

We are very pleased to unveil our brand new BBA Spotlight feature. Each quarter, we’ll feature an outstanding broadcaster who will share his or her insight and wisdom on a specific topic relevant to our industry.
Our first contributor is Class of 2010 Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame Inductee and award-winning WBFO-FM News Director Brian Meyer.

We are grateful to Brian for taking the time to share his thoughts on the importance of internships. The broadcast veteran has created what is considered to be the premiere radio broadcasting internship program in Western New York.

Internships can be Career-Shaping Adventures

By Brian Meyer

It was a five-minute chat that would change my life as a journalist and enrich my personal life in ways I could have never predicted. The late, great Jim McLaughlin called me into his tiny news director’s office at WBEN Radio one afternoon in the early 1980s. The station had hired me as a young street reporter several months earlier. I don’t pretend to remember his exact words, but his message was something like: “I think we should start a reporting internship.”

It was an interesting thought. The station had a long-established newsroom internship. I was a 1979 graduate of the program. But the routine was more focused on performing general newsroom and production tasks. I was fascinated by the prospect of building an internship that would prepare students for a smorgasbord of reporting challenges. I was intrigued, but also intimidated. Was a 23-year-old really prepared to become a mentor to wide-eyed students?

We made the plunge within a few months and brought on board our first street reporting intern. It took me only a couple weeks to experience a “light bulb moment.” I realized that working one-on-one with an intern was as much a learning experience for me as it was for the student. It let me see news with a fresh pair of eyes. It challenged me to answer questions like “why do we do things this way?” It constantly reminded me how much I had to learn.

Three decades, three newsrooms and more than 130 interns later, I can say in total honesty that my involvement with internships has been–without exception—the most important component of my career. It has been more important than awards or accolades. More important than raises, promotions or even “scoops.” That’s because dozens of former interns have become respected broadcast journalists, newspaper reporters, public relations practitioners, savvy communications marketers and valuable contributors in other arenas.

It’s a rare month when I don’t hear from at least one former intern–either via e-mail, social media, telephone and sometimes even “snail mail.” Some folks spent time with me 30 years ago when I had a full head of hair. Others just finished internship stints at WBFO Radio, where I serve as news director.

Regardless of what era they represent, I’m always delighted when folks reflect fondly on our reporting odyssey. Some vividly remember even the smallest details of their journalism safaris. Many have kindly told people that their internship was one of the most important factors in shaping their careers. Some might suggest that professionals who spend thousands of hours mentoring students are “paying it forward.” I’ve come to realize that the “paying it forward” model is not a straight line. It’s really a circle that ends up giving back as much to the mentor as it does to the intern. For that, I will be forever grateful.

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