7th Annual Hall of Fame Inductions
Tralfamadore Café, 100 Theatre Place w Tuesday, May 20, 2003
by Steve CICHON
Every May for the past six years, the Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers gather to
celebrate the history and future of Buffalo Broadcasting.
We honor the great broadcasters of the past... Those for whom we have the fondest memories, and the mere mention of their names help us hearken back to a place where time has helped to round the harsh edges. They are the faces and voices that brought us news of wars beginning and ending, plants opening and closing, people being born and dying, and, all the music and sounds associated with those events in our minds.
Its also our mission to celebrate those in television and radio today who keep the spirit of the media alive. It takes a special person to shine above the numerous television, radio, and internet choices of this day and age, and those who shine today are tomorrows fond memories.
The broadcasters who bring and have brought sounds and pictures into our living rooms, into our cars, and under our pillows (when we should have been sleeping!) are really just as much a part of events as the memories themselves. The following are this years best of the best... The 2003 Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame inductees.
Beach has made a career of straddling the line of the conservative tastes of Buffalo,
and has never let office or city hall politics get in the way of a good show. Its
that desire for great radio, no matter the cost, that has allowed Sandy to be a Buffalo
radio fixture for 35 years with only a few interruptions.
Sandy came to WKBW from Hartford in 1968. Within 6 years, according to a 1972
interview, 2002 BBP Hall of Famer Jeff Kaye said that Sandy had worked every shift
on KB except morning drive, and improved the ratings in each part.
His quick wit and infectious laugh have been a part of Western New York ever since at
KB, WNYS, Majic 102, and now afternoon drive on WBEN.
A native of Lunenberg, Massachusetts (hence his long time sign off, Good Night Lunenberg....Wherever you are), Sandys made his impact for over a third of a century in Buffalo radio as a jock, in programming, and now in as a talker, and always as a wise-guy friend just a dial twist away.
2003 Buffalo Bob Smith Award
Buffalo Bob Smith began his broadcasting career in his hometown of Buffalo, but of
course gained worldwide fame as the human friend of Americas favorite puppet, Howdy
Doody. Despite his international celebrity, Bob never forgot his hometown, and even
adopted it as a part of his name. Each year The Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers honor a
broadcaster who has made his or her mark away from the Niagara Frontier, but is a
Buffalonian at heart.
This year we honor the host of Meet the Press, NBCs Senior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, and South Buffalo native Tim Russert. A lawyer by trade, the Canisius High School grad worked in the Senate and in Governor Mario Cuomos office before joining NBC as a producer in 1984. He joined the NBC News air staff in 1990, and has been a fixture ever since. As one of the nations leading political analysts, Russert has been the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, and we celebrate him because through it all, hes never forgotten the Queen City.
Voted Buffalos Sexiest Woman too many years in a row to count, Carol transcended
both television and news to become the unofficial Queen of Buffalo while anchoring the
news on Channel 4 for 23 years. Her appeal as a newscaster and person is on many different
Shes the smart, beautiful, authoritative and street savvy woman all women would
love to be... and all men would love to marry. Combined with the sense and skill of a good
newswoman, her career as a news anchor was a homerun.
Carol Crissey came to Buffalo from Harrisburg, PA in 1979, originally paired with John Beard at the anchor desk. Carol anchored the news at noon, 5, 6, and 11, with the likes of Beard, Bob Koop, Rich Newberg, and Kevin OConnell until she retired to New Mexico last year.
2003 Golden Age Award
The Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers was founded in 1995, and we still have a lot of catching
up to do. The Golden Age Award is reserved for the pioneers in the truest sense of the
word: Those who did it first, the people who had no pattern to follow, no lead blocker.
These folks blazed the trail, and set an example for future generations to follow.
Harry Webb came to Buffalo from Schenectady as a classic music announcer on the new
WBEN-FM. At the same time, the Evening News was starting a television station. Webb was
Channel 4s first newscaster, when the broadcast days began at 12 noon, and involved
reading the latest edition of the Buffalo Evening News to an audience of several hundred.
By the time Webb retired from newscasting in 1972, he had seen and been a part of the change of television from an avant garde indulgence of a few wealthy families to the modern global apparatus and definitive of disseminator information it is today. Webb recently passed away after several years of retirement in East Aurora.
2003 Goodyear Award
The Goodyear Award is named in honor of George Goodyear, the Buffalo philanthropist who
co-founded WGR-TV, and is awarded each year to those in Broadcastings front office
who have made a career of advancing the ideals of the BBP.
Larry Levite spent the 1970s moving up and down Buffalos radio dial breathing new life (and ratings!) into stations like WYSL, WPHD, and WEBR. When, in 1978, federal regulations forced the Buffalo Evening News to sell off its radio and television stations, Levite formed Algonquin Broadcasting to fill the void, and purchased WBEN AM/FM. Larry continued the tradition of the News stations by bringing in top quality talent in all facets of broadcasting, and did so through the deregulation of the broadcasting industry, until selling the stations in the mid 90s.
2003 Behind the Scenes Award
It takes more than just a pretty face or golden voice to put on a radio or television
program, and with the Behind the Scenes Award, the BBP celebrates the folks who are the
guts of any broadcast: The directors, producers, photographers, writers, engineers... All
the often nameless, faceless people on the other side of the glass.
For nearly thirty years, Tom Whalen was the man playing the records and turning the
dials for Yours truly Buehly on WBEN Radio. Whalen served in the Army Air
Corps during World War II on the communications staff, and joined WBEN in 1947.
Soon after, he grew into Clint Buehlmans right hand man, and remained there until Clints retirement in 1977. Part of the reason Buehlmans show sounded like he was talking to each person individually, is because he was talking to Tom individually about the weather, Toms kids... Your AM-MC said often that Tom was the nicest man he knew, and it came across in Clints warm chats with Tom. Whalen retired in 1983 leaving a 36 year legacy as one of radios nice guys, making one of Buffalos greatest radio personalities comfortable, and thereby making you comfortable every morning.
We always welcome new members to the BBP. Its our mission to preserve and promote Western New Yorks rich TV and radio history, and to salute and bring attention to quality broadcasting of today. Membership is $25, and anyone with a passion for broadcasting can join as a member. Its just as easy to join us in celebrating this years honorees. Tickets to our Hall of Fame event are available for to general public at $40 per person. Send your ticket order or membership request with payment to: The Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers; 5672 Main Street; Williamsville, New York 14221.
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