Behind the Scenes Award
Behind The Scenes Award honoree Tom Atkins has been an integral part of the Western New York broadcasting community, having successfully served as Chief Engineer of WYSL AM & FM, (later WPHD); WBLK; WKBW (WWKB), WKSE (Kiss 98.5), WGR, WWWS, WBEN and WTSS (Star 102.5).
He began his radio career at WUSJ, Lockport, working part-time while attending college. He served in a number of capacities including news, air personality and assistant to the chief engineer. In 1975, Atkins became a full-time staff member as the station transitioned format and changed call letters to WLVL.
In 1976, Atkins joined WYSL AM & FM, Buffalo as an air personality. During the infamous Blizzard of ‘77, he was one of only four staff members able to get to the station and keep it on the air. Shortly after that he was promoted to Chief Engineer and also provided engineering services to WBLK-FM 93.7 on a part-time basis.
In 1978, he joined WKBW as a part time air personality, while also retaining a full-time position as Chief Engineer of WBLK. He played a major role at WBLK in planning and executing WBLK’s move and technical upgrade to new facilities.
After a brief stint as a disc jockey at WGR, Atkins returned to WKBW as Assistant Chief Engineer. He became Chief Engineer of WKBW shortly after that. In 1986, Price Communications purchased WKBW and WKSE and Atkins moved the Kiss operation from Grand Island to Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. In early 1988, he was named Program Director of WWKB, while retaining the position of Chief Engineer of WWKB and WKSE.
Later in 1988, after WWKB moved to satellite delivered programming, Atkins joined WKBW-TV as an engineer. Then in 1991 he returned to WWKB and WKSE as Chief Engineer.
After Keymarket purchased six radio stations in the Buffalo market in 1995, they named Atkins Director of Engineering of its Buffalo radio properties.
After several ownership changes, Entercom Communications eventually purchased what were the Keymarket stations. Between January and June of 2000 Atkins and his team moved all six stations into one facility on Corporate Parkway in Amherst, where the stations remain today.
In 2002, Atkins joined Backyard Broadcasting as Corporate Director of Engineering, which he held through 2014. Since then, he’s served as Corporate Director of Engineering for Saga Communications, overseeing and coordinating the company’s 67 FM and 32 AM radio stations in 26 markets.