The Buffalo Broadcasters Association has announced the finalists for the Buffalo Excellence in Media Awards (BEMAs) with WIVB receiving the most nominations among television stations and WKSE-FM Kiss 98.5 leading the way for radio stations. 

On the television side, WIVB earned seven nominations, Time Warner Cable News had five nominations, WKBW had four with WGRZ and WBBZ each having one.  WKSE placed five finalists, WBFO, WBEN, WGR and WGRF each earned two nominations. 

See our video announcing this year’s nominees.

This year’s finalists are:

Radio Station of the Year   
WGR-AM Sports Radio 550
WKSE-FM Kiss 98.5

Radio Personality of the Year
DJ Anthony – Kiss 98.5
Susan Rose – News Radio 930 WBEN-AM
Janet Snyder – Kiss 98.5
Television Station of the Year   
Time Warner Cable News

Television Personality of the Year
Casey Bortnick – Time Warner Cable News
Steve Vesey – WIVB-TV
Jordan Williams – WIVB-TV

Rising Star
Alex Haight – Time Warner Cable News
Lauren Hall – WIVB/WNLO-TV
Ashley Hirtzel – WBFO-FM

Best Use of Social Media
Jud Heussler – WKSE-FM 
Bryan Shaw – WIVB-TV
Jeremy White –WGR Sports Radio 550

Sales Executive of the Year
Phil Banas – WIVB & WNLO-TV
Lou Costello –Time Warner Cable
Vanette Notaro – Cumulus Broadcasting

Backpack Journalist of the Year
Rachel Elzufon – WKBW-TV
Jason Gruenauer – WKBW-TV
Ryan Whalen – Time Warner Cable News

Behind the Scenes Maverick
Dave Debo – WBEN-AM
Joe Maulucci – WBBZ-TV
Frank Pacella – WKBW -TV

Trailblazer of the Year
John Hager – Cumulus Media
Sue O’Neil – Entercom Radio
Jeff Silver – Townsquare Media

Pinnacle Award
Scott Brown – WGRZ-TV
John “JP” Piccillo – WGRF-FM
George Richert – WIVB-TV

The selection of the finalists was administered by an impartial group of respected industry professionals from Western New York and nationally. 

“Each year the BEMAs become more prominent and attendance grows,” Heidi Raphael, the event chairperson said.  “Entries for the BEMAs continue to increase for each category.”

This year’s BEMAs are scheduled for Friday, April 11th at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, 6461 Transit Road in Depew.  WIVB/WNLO-TV Anchor Lauren Hall and Kiss 98.5’s Jud Heussler will host the event.  The evening starts at 5:30pm with cocktails.  Food stations open at 6:15 with the awards ceremony beginning about 7:30. 

Tickets are $50 and available by clicking here.  They will be $60 at the door.  Sponsors of this year’s event include: Pause for Effect, Shelly’s Florist in Williamsville, Greater Media, Indigo Productions, Albarella Media, Medaille College, Lydia Kirsch from Macy’s and Hair and Make up by Mario Coseglia.


The non-profit Buffalo Broadcasters Association was organized in 1996 and is dedicated to preserving and promoting WNY’s rich local broadcasting history, saluting and encouraging quality broadcasting today and in the future, and most importantly to promote quality broadcasting.  Future plans call for a permanent resource center and digitization of the film and video of the Buffalo television stations.  During the year public events, lectures, and informal gatherings are held.  The keystone event is the Western New York Broadcast Hall of Fame Induction ceremony held every fall.

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