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WKBW-TV, Channel 7, is a television station in Buffalo, New York. It is the ABC affiliate for the Buffalo television market, and is one of many local Buffalo TV stations seen over-the-air and on cable in Canada. Its transmitter is located at 8909 Center Street in Colden, New York. The station is owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation, who previously operated WNGS under a local marketing agreement (LMA). For many years, it was carried via microwave to cable systems in such areas as Corning and Horseheads for ABC service; this ended when WENY-TV signed on. WKBW-TV Channel 7 signs off on Saturday and Sunday mornings until 4:30 a.m., there is no station info, but the American and Canadian national anthems are played before and after the test pattern, like Sinclair-owned stations WUTV FOX 29 and WNYO MYTV Buffalo.

WKBW-TV
[1]
Buffalo, New York
Branding WKBW Channel 7 (general)

Channel 7 Eyewitness News (newscasts)

Slogan Be An Eyewitness to News
Channels Digital: 38 (UHF)

Virtual: 7 (PSIP)

Affiliations ABC
Owner Granite Broadcasting Corporation

(WKBW-TV License, Inc.)

First air date November 30, 1958
Call letters' meaning We

Know Buffalo's Watching (modified from the original WKBW AM station slogan: Well Known Bible Witness)

Former channel number(s) Analog:

7 (1958-2009)

Transmitter power 358 kW
Height 432.9 m
Facility ID 54176
Transmitter coordinates 42°38′14.8″N 78°37′11.9″W / 42.637444°N 78.619972°W / 42.637444; -78.619972
Website www.wkbw.com

[edit] History

The Channel 7 frequency was hotly contested during the 1950s; the Buffalo Courier-Express and former WBUF-TV owner Sherwin Grossman tried several times to gain rights to the channel (to compete with The Buffalo News's WBEN-TV) but was unable to secure a license. The competition for the channel continued to grow when the city's first UHF station, WBES-TV, failed. Clinton Churchill, original owner of 50,000 watt radio station WKBW AM 1520 in Buffalo, was granted the license to operate the station in 1957.

WKBW was originally intended to be an independent station. However, when NBC closed its owned and operated station, WBUF-TV (now WNED-TV), on September 30, 1958, then-ABC affiliate WGR-TV (now WGRZ-TV) went back to NBC. As a result of the network shuffle, WKBW-TV premiered as ABC's new Buffalo affiliate when it went on the air on November 30, 1958. The station was originally located at 1420 Main Street, and remained there until it moved to its current location at 7 Broadcast Plaza in downtown Buffalo in 1978.

Churchill sold the WKBW stations to Capital Cities Broadcasting (which later became Capital Cities Communications) in 1961. CapCities would serve as WKBW-TV's longest tenured owner, having owned it and its radio sister for 25 years, and the station would reach its peak during Capital Cities' ownership. WKBW-TV produced iconic children's programing such as Rocketship 7 and The Commander Tom Show from the 1960s through the 1980s. A staple of its morning programing for many years was Dialing for Dollars, which later became AM Buffalo after the Dialing for Dollars franchise was discontinued. AM Buffalo still airs today.

When Capital Cities merged with ABC in 1986, it sold WKBW-TV to Queen City Broadcasting, a minority-owned firm, instead of becoming an ABC O&O. At that point WKBW radio was sold to Price Communications and renamed WWKB (currently owned by Entercom Communications).

In late 1993, the Granite Broadcasting Corporation acquired a large minority (45 percent) stake in WKBW-TV from Queen City Broadcasting. A year and a half later, in June 1995, Granite bought the remainder of the station.

Until 2000, lottery drawings were shown on WKBW-TV (they have since moved to WGRZ).

WKBW, through at least the early 2000s, operated the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service on its second audio program. It was pulled after NFRRS began reading content that was of questionable decency for over-the-air broadcast.

From 2006 to April 2009, WKBW operated WNGS, a station owned by Equity Media Holdings, for most of that time under Equity's then-in-house network Retro Television Network. Equity went bankrupt in 2009, selling off RTN to one of its shareholders by January 2009 (which led to WNGS and other Equity stations dropping the program) and the Equity stations being liquidated to Daystar Television Network in April 2009. As a result of the changes, WKBW has dropped all involvement with WNGS.[1]

[edit] Digital television

The station's digital channel is UHF 38. WKBW signed off its analog signal the afternoon of June 12, 2009, after which WKBW-TV's digital signal remains on channel 38. However, digital television with PSIP capability will display WKBW-TV's virtual channel as 7.

Though WKBW has multiplexed its channels in the past, it currently does not do so. Both networks carried by WKBW on its digital subchannels are now carried instead on WGRZ-TV.

Channel Programming
7.1 WKBW-HD main WKBW-TV/ABC programming
7.2 vacant (formerly WNGS/RTN)
7.3 vacant (formerly WCSN)

[edit] News operation

[edit] The Irv, Rick and Tom era (1970 to 1989)

From 1970 until 2003, and from 2008–present, WKBW called its news operation "Eyewitness News," and uses that format's iconic circle 7 logo to this day. However, since the fall of 1972, it borrowed most of the basic elements of the "Action News" format used at longtime sister station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, combined with the format news director Irv Weinstein developed and called "Rock 'n' Roll Radio News" (modified for television). It even used Move Closer to Your World, the theme song made famous by WPVI (though it was known by the station as The Eyewitness News Theme). Furthermore, WKBW was a source for much of WPVI's on-air talent.

Weinstein was WKBW's main anchor from 1964 until his retirement in 1998, doubling as news director for most of that time. From 1965 to 1989, he was partnered with sports director Rick Azar and weatherman Tom Jolls (who did double duty as host of Commander Tom); the three formed the longest continuing anchor team in television history until Azar's retirement in 1989. The noon newscast, during the mid-1970s, featured the first pairing of current WPVI anchor team Jim Gardner and Dave Roberts (then known as Dave Thomas), with Danny Neaverth frequently filling in for Thomas.

The station's morning show, the first in Western New York, began in 1989. Good Morning Western New York (the show's title from 1989 to 2000 and from 2009 to the present) initially started at 6 a.m. ET before moving up to 5:30 a.m. in 1996. It currently starts at 5 a.m. Between 2000 and 2003 (and from 2008 to 2009), the morning show was known as Eyewitness News This Morning, and from 2003 to 2008 was known as 7 News This Morning. (WKBW's morning show predated by seven years the next competitor, WIVB-TV, which did not debut its morning show, Wake Up!, until 1994. WGRZ-TV followed suit with Daybreak in 1996.)

[edit] 1989 to 2003

From about 1989 until February 1997, the station identified itself as News Channel 7, but kept the Eyewitness News name for posterity, resulting in rather long station announcements (e.g., "From WKBW-TV News Channel 7, this is Eyewitness News at 5"). During this era, it also reorchestrated the theme with a more futuristic synthesizer-based version. From 1998 to 2002, it used the slogan "Your Hometown Advantage."

Eyewitness News had been the most-watched newscast in the Buffalo market for many years, and was at times even more popular in the Toronto market than local Toronto news., June 2010 Some critics[who?] have contended this was due to Canadian viewers' attitudes that local Toronto TV news was "staid" and "boring" as contrasted with WKBW's "tabloid" and "sensational" style of production, with American TV stations approaching local news coverage as a "product" rather than a "public service," as is Canada's tradition. However, in 2000, the Nielsen ratings system switched the Buffalo market from a diary market to an automatically metered market, and in part because of WKBW's inflated reputation (coupled with Weinstein's and Jolls's retirements), eventually rival WIVB overtook the #1 spot, although it was still very much a three-way battle between the three local news stations.

Beginning in 2000, the station began making some questionable moves that arguably began its fall to the bottom. The first was displacing longtime 5:00 anchor Kathleen Leighton to mornings in favor of former WIVB weather anchor Maria Genero, who had been host of the talk show Good Day New York). Genero's experience as an evening news anchor was minimal, and within months, Leighton quit the station, with Genero being moved to mornings. Then, in 2002, WKBW adopted the slogan "Live, Local, Late-breaking," a slogan used on stations across the country, and started its own local talk show (WNY Live!) that originally was used for long-form features but quickly turned into a spot for paid interviews. This move was described as "deadly" to the ratings for its evening newscasts. In September 2003, however, came the most iconic change: dropping its entire heritage for the much more nondescript 7 News package.

[edit] "7 News" (2003 to 2008)

WKBW decided to adopt a new identity, thus bringing the Eyewitness News era to an end. The station's newscast were rebranded as 7 News in 2003, and Move Closer to Your World was dropped in favor of a more contemporary piece of news music (Right Here, Right Now by 615 Music). The slogan, from 2002 to 2008, was the alliterative phrase "Live, Local, Late-Breaking,", a phrase that has been used on stations across the country. 5 March 2008.</ref> as the station celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.

From 2006 to 2007, Channel 7 also produced a sport show called Sportsnite, a nightly sports talk program hosted by WKBW's sports department, that aired weeknights at 7:00 p.m. ET on WNGS. However, in April 2007, due to very poor ratings despite a barrage of heavy advertising, the Buffalo Sabres being in the playoffs and the upcoming 2007 NFL Draft, Sportsnite was cancelled. [1]. WNGS was not available on satellite providers during Sportsnite's run, thus limiting the show's audience. Through 2009, WKBW continued to produce a special version of Sportsnite, Sportsnite Niagara, in cooperation with Niagara University during college hockey and basketball season.

WKBW suspended both of its Saturday newscasts in September 2008, during college football season; the station resumed those newscasts in December, after football season ended. (In previous years, each newscast was delayed approximately one hour in the event of football games.)

[edit] Return to Eyewitness News (2008 to present)

The station revived "Move Closer to Your World" for promotions celebrating the station's 50th anniversary, for the intro to breaks during its newscasts. It also reintroduced the theme for the introduction to its 11:00 newscasts on September 19, 2008 (along with the restoration of the Do you know where your children are? speech), and began using the Eyewitness News name for its 2 a.m. one-minute news brief. On October 22, 2008, WKBW news anchors launched what has been described as the "Big Tease,"[2] an announcement that an ostensibly top-secret "major change" was coming; although only a few of the senior members of the staff knew about the change, it was widely predicted to be a revival of the Eyewitness News name and classic theme.

On October 27 at 5:00 a.m., the name Eyewitness News permanently returned to the newscasts, with Laura Gray, Channel 7's reporter, who was filling in that day for regular Morning and Noon anchor Bridget Blythe, and Move Closer to Your World was fully restored to all of the station's newscasts. Nevertheless, the station retained the 2003 studio set and graphics package, at least for the time being, and has moved the "7 News" and "Live/Local/Latebreaking" slogans back to the 2 a.m. news brief. Preliminary results have been promising: due to this, and in part due to a cable coverage issue with WIVB, WKBW's newscasts have climbed back to a strong second place, behind WGRZ. WKBW, although it has retreated back to third when WIVB returned to cable, has kept many of those viewers gained during the cable dispute and has made the Buffalo ratings race a much closer three-way race again, with only the station's morning newscast still in distant third.[3][4] These gains appear to have held as of May 2009, as the station made gains on a struggling WGRZ. However, WKBW fell further back into third place in November's sweeps, prompting a shakeup in the morning show that has so far failed to produce improvement.

Buffalo Business First produces the station's business reports and traffic updates are handled by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. WKBW's weather staff provides forecasts to Regent Communications stations WJYE and WYRK.

As of May 2010, WKBW's newscasts are entirely in standard-definition. This is in contrast to WGRZ and YNN Buffalo, both of which are broadcasting all of their local newscasts in upconverted HD, as well as WIVB, which has some limited HD graphics content.

[edit] Local programming

  • AM Buffalo with Linda Pellegrino - Weekday mornings 10-11 a.m. The show, which dates back to 1978 after the cancellation of the local version of Dialing for Dollars, features two types of segments: "talk segments," similar to talk radio shows where viewers call in and discuss the issues of the day with Pellegrino, and paid segments, with paid sponsors as "guests" (for instance, a local attorney such as Herschel Gelber or Steve Boyd (a former Channel 7 reporter) gives legal advice or insight and to advertise their services, Hughesco airs a home improvement segment, or the local anti-tobacco lobby discusses its latest campaign). The show only had an "a.m." version prior to 2004; a PM Buffalo version aired between 2004 and 2008, and a weekend version called Buffalo Weekend aired from 2008 to 2009.
  • Rocketship 7, a morning children's show, was hosted by weatherman Dave Thomas (a.k.a. "Dave Roberts" of WPVI, born David Thomas Boreanaz, father of actor David Boreanaz) and "Promo the Robot" from 1962 until Thomas left the station for Philadelphia's WPVI-TV in 1978 (changing his on-air moniker to Dave Roberts in the process). Thomas also hosted Dialing for Dollars which became AM Buffalo in the mid-1970s.
  • The Commander Tom Show was an afternoon children's show hosted by another WKBW weatherman, Tom Jolls from 1965 until budget cuts forced its cancellation in 1991. In its last decade, the show aired on weekends only.
  • A revival of Rocketship 7 aired from 1992 to 1993 immediately after Commander Tom was cancelled; this version, effectively a retooled version of Commander Tom with new hosts, featured Commander Mike (Randall) and sidekick "Yeoman Bob," with guest appearances by Commander Tom.
  • Off Beat Cinema, a collection of offbeat B-movies, was created at WKBW in 1993 and features Buffalo native "Airborne Eddy" Dobosiewicz as the beatnik host "Maxwell Truth". Through independent syndication efforts the show has become a cult hit throughout the US and Canada. It airs locally Saturdays in the late night hours and reruns of the series are also syndicated to RTN nationally, where it airs around the same time.
  • Yule Log - WKBW-TV introduced its own two-hour version of the Yule Log on Christmas morning 2008, to replace the station's Christmas morning newscast; however, the music played was generic instrumental Christmas-style music, and not any popular Christmas songs in particular. Previously the station was the only one in the market to air a newscast on Christmas morning. Neither the newscast nor the yule log returned in 2009, instead going straight to ABC's national feed and replays of America This Morning.
  • Countdown to 20## (title changes each year to correspond with the coming year) is an annual tradition held on New Year's Eve. The multi-part broadcast covers, most notably, official coverage of the Buffalo Ball Drop (formerly the 97 Rock Ball Drop), billed as the second-largest New Year's Eve ball drop in the United States (behind only the more famous Times Square Ball); the event is televised in synchronized split screen alongside Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and has been carried by the station since 1988. Also covered by the broadcast are local First Night celebrations.
  • WKBW airs an annual twelve-hour Variety Kids telethon each March.
  • Buffalo Bills football - WKBW-TV is the "Home of the Bills" and airs both its preseason games and any games carried on a cable outlet (ESPN or NFL Network).

[edit] Syndicated programming

WKBW currently carries comparatively little syndicated programming, instead opting for the AM Buffalo programs and infomercials. Live with Regis and Kelly, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Doctors and the weekend talk show House Smarts with Lou Manfredini are the station's syndicated offerings. In addition, its noon newscast also features Mr. Food.

[edit] Internet initiatives

WKBW has been proactive in its ventures on the Internet. The station was among the first in Western New York to launch a Web site in the mid-1990s. More recently, it was the first to offer RSS feeds and podcasts.

WKBW streamed its noon newscasts via live video on the Internet, one of the few major network affiliates to offer a video stream. (The video feed was removed from the WKBW.com page in April 2007 but remained in operation through at least mid-2008.) On demand video of newscasts is available.

WKBW redesigned its Web site in April 2007, adding the user-generated content system YouNews TV, a YouTube-like video hosting service centered around news in the Buffalo area.

[edit] Financial difficulties, cutbacks and infomercials

Granite Broadcasting, WKBW's owner, filed for bankruptcy in 2006; as a result, the station group as a whole has been hit hard by financial difficulties[2]. Long time anchors have either been dismissed or seen significant pay cuts.[3] The station produces less news content during the week than its competitors (24½ hours, compared to thirty for WGRZ and forty for WIVB), is the only one in the market that does not produce a 10 p.m. newscast, nor does it produce a weekend morning newscast, while the other two stations in the market have both. From September to November 2008, no Saturday newscasts were produced. The station has only two meteorologists compared to WIVB's four and WGRZ's five (WKBW uses a general assignment reporter, Jennifer Stanonis, to read weekend weather forecasts) and only two sports anchors compared to WGRZ's four (WIVB also currently has just two sports reporters). The station also relies more on photojournalists than its competitors, and as a result, it has fewer general assignment reporters.[5] Regularly scheduled programming was, for a time in early 2008, increasingly being replaced by infomercials, mostly prime time network and syndicated programs; although this practice was mostly abandoned prior to the May 2008 sweeps, the station continues to sell this air time to charitable organizations such as Operation Smile, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Billy Graham Crusades.

Since January 31, 2008, union employees at that station who work as producers, engineers, reporters, photographers and assignment desk editors, have been working without a contract. Talks have been ongoing between NABET Local 25 and the management at WKBW-TV, though recent contract offers have been rejected.[6]

Particular disdain among WKBW's critics has been directed at WKBW's general manager, Bill Ransom, who was named the worst person in television news in entire United States by the trade site FTV Live, beating out several national personalities including Jon Klein, Bill O'Reilly and Jeff Zucker.[7]

[edit] Newscasts

[edit] Good Morning Western New York

  • Bridget Blythe: News
  • Mike Randall: Weather
  • Laura Gray: Live Reports
  • Elizabeth Carey: Business First Reports
  • Dave Cash: NFTA Traffic and Transit Updates

[edit] Eyewitness News at Noon

[edit] Eyewitness News at 5:00

  • Keith Radford: News
  • Joanna Paceri: News
  • Aaron Mentkowski: Weather
  • Leia Militello: NFTA Traffic & Transit Updates

[edit] Eyewitness News at 5:30

  • Patrick Taney: News
  • Aaron Mentkowski: Weather
  • Joanna Paceri: Your Health Matters Reports
  • Jeff Russo: Eyewitness Sports

[edit] Eyewitness News at 6:00 and 11:00

  • Keith Radford: News
  • Joanna Paceri: News
  • Aaron Mentkowski: Weather
  • Jeff Russo: Eyewitness Sports

[edit] Eyewitness News Weekend

  • Ginger Geoffery: News
  • Jennifer Stanonis: Weather
  • Shawn Stepner: Eyewitness Sports

[edit] News/station presentation

[edit] Newscast titles

  • Eyewitness News (1970–2003)
  • 7 News (2003–2008)
  • Channel 7 Eyewitness News (2008–present)

[edit] Station slogans

  • Do You Know Where Your Children Are? (1960s-2003 and 2008–present; was reintroduced September 19, 2008 and is used before the start of the 11 p.m. news)
  • Come on Home to Your Family (1982)
  • Hello Buffalo/Say Hello (1980s; used during period station used Frank Gari's "Hello News")
  • Expect The Best (1980s)
  • Your Hometown Team (1991–1995)
  • Your Hometown Advantage (1997–2002)
  • The Power of Information (2002–2003)
  • Live, Local, Latebreaking (2003–2008)
  • Celebrating 50 Years of Your Life (2008)
  • The Hardest Working Team In Local News (2009)
  • Be an Eyewitness to News (2010–present)

[edit] News music packages

  • The Fuzz (Frank De Vol), 1968–1970
  • Cool Hand Luke: The Tar Sequence (Lalo Schifrin), 1970–1972
  • Move Closer to Your World (Al Ham)
    • Original version, 1972-c. 1986
    • "Cut One," 1986-1989, 1995–2003, 2008–present
    • New Age reorchestration, 1989–1995
  • Right Here, Right Now (2003–2008)
  • Good Morning Western New York Theme (Nick Randall), 2009–present, for the morning show

[edit] On-air staff

[edit] News anchors

  • Keith Radford - joined 1987, Eyewitness News at 5, 6 & 11 p.m.
  • Joanna Pasceri - joined 1993, Eyewitness News at 5, 6 & 11 p.m.
  • Patrick Taney - joined 2007, Eyewitness News at 5:30 p.m.
  • Bridget Blythe - joined 2005, Good Morning Western New York, Eyewitness News at noon
  • Ginger Geoffery- joined 2004, Eyewitness News Saturday and Sunday at 6 & 11 p.m.

[edit] Sports anchors

  • Jeff Russo - Joined 2004, sports director
  • Shawn Stepner - Joined 2007, weekend sports & host of Sunday Sports Final

[edit] Weather

  • Mike Randall - joined 1983, Chief Meteorologist, Good Morning Western New York (5-7 a.m.) & noon (NWA & AMS Seals of Approval)
  • Aaron Mentkowski - joined 2000, Meteorologist, Weekdays at 5, 6 & 11 (AMS CBM Seal of Approval, fill-in Saturdays)
  • Jennifer Stanonis - joined 2005, weather anchor, Eyewitness News this Weekend at 6 & 11 (fill-in mornings)
  • Dave Cash - weather anchor, occasional fill-in evenings

[edit] News reporters

  • Elizabeth Carey - joined 1999 (business, by agreement with Business First)
  • John Borsa - joined 2003 (occasional fill-in anchor)
  • Ginger Geoffery- joined 2004 (also weekend anchor)
  • Jennifer Stanonis - joined 2005 (also weekend weather)
  • Laura Gray - joined 2006
  • Kyla Igoe - joined 2007
  • Kendra Eaglin- joined 2010
  • Jason Gruenauer- joined 2010
  • Mike Spong- joined 2010

[edit] Photojournalists/reporters

  • Adam Francis- photojournalist and general assignment reporter
  • Allen Leight- only reporter for WKBW.com
  • Lou Chilelli- photojournalist/reporter
  • Ed Reilly- photojournalist/reporter

[edit] Traffic reporters

  • Dave Cash - weekday mornings/fill-in weather
  • Leia Militello - weeknights at 5 p.m.
  • Steve Schnepf - fill-in weeknights & mornings
  • Liz Vetrano - fill-in mornings & afternoon

[edit] AM Buffalo

  • Linda Pellegrino, joined station prior to 1990, also previously a weather anchor
  • Jon Summers, joined station prior to 1983, previously the station's announcer)

Pellegrino and Summers were forced to quit their other news positions after AM Buffalo became a production of the station's sales department, though Summers has since resumed announcing certain news elements.

[edit] Announcers

  • Jon Summers - commercials, 1983 to present (also newscasts from 1983 to 2003)
  • John Young - newscasts, 2003 to present

[edit] Notable former staff

  • Tom Jolls, weather forecaster/Commander Tom Show (as Commander Tom - 1965-1991), announcer (1965–1999). Retired.
  • Irv Weinstein, reporter/anchor (1964–1998). Retired.
  • Rick Azar, sports (1958–1989). First voice ever heard on WKBW as he signed on the station in 1958. Station's Sports Director for 28 years. Now at WLHC.
  • Jerry Azar - hired in 1989 and served as 11 p.m. sports anchor for three years. No relation to Rick Azar.
  • Rick Zurak - 1989-1991 - sports - Weekend sports anchor for three years before starting his own golf store and is now the head of the New York State Junior Golf Tour and Rick Zurak's Golf Warehouse.
  • Bob Koshinski - 1983-1991 - sports - Named station's second Sports Director in 1989. Moved on to the Empire Sports Network where he served as General Manager and then created all-sports radio station WNSA-FM in 2000.
  • Danny Neaverth - 1970s - weather. Better known as a disc jockey; now retired.
  • Kathleen Leighton, news (1989–2001). Currently employed as a voiceover talent for an agency in Kansas City.
  • Andy Parker, Meteorologist, Good Morning WNY, Eyewitenss News (1992–2000). Now at WGRZ.
  • Maria Genero, co-anchor of 5 p.m. Newscasts (2001–2004). Co-anchor of Eyewitness News This Morning, Eyewitness News at Noon/7 News This Morning, 7 News at Noon, most recently host of WNY Living! and now the weekend morning/fill-in weather anchor at rival WGRZ. [4]
  • Jim Gardner (1974–1976) Anchor, left for WPVI
  • Dave Thomas (Dave Thomas Boreanaz), Dialing for Dollars/Rocketship 7 (1960s - 1978, promoted to WPVI-TV under the alias "Dave Roberts")
  • Nolan Johannes, co-host of Dialing for Dollars (1960s - 1978, left for WNEP-TV in Scranton, PA)
  • Liz Dribben, co-host of Dialing for Dollars (1960s - 1978)
  • Clip Smith (1971–1989) sports/weather - died in a car crash in August 2004
  • Tim Fleischer - (1978–1982) Now with WABC-TV in New York
  • Mark Thompson (TV) - now a Fox announcer
  • Michael Evans - reporter (1988–1991; now at WPVI-TV In Philadelphia)
  • Susan Banks - 1977-1981, 1990 - December 13, 2006. Banks' sudden retirement from WKBW came just two days after an announcement was made that the station's owner, Granite Broadcasting, had filed for bankruptcy protection. Banks was one of the highest paid television personalities in the Buffalo market. Currently in advertising.
  • John Winston - 1970s and 1980s. Reporter, first African-American television personality in the Buffalo market. Retired.
  • Ann Edwards - first anchor of Good Morning Western New York, left to create own real estate company.
  • Sheila Mahoney - reporter/anchor, 1988-circa 1997. Originally a weekend anchor, Mahoney went on maternity leave in the early 1990s and then returned as anchor of the morning newscast, "Good Morning Western New York," before leaving on maternity again in the mid 1990s and not returning.
  • Jeff Myers AKA "The Traffic Guy" was known for his witty commentaries about the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls.
  • Jean Hill - longtime weekend anchor, later moved to mornings after the departure of Mahoney and Leighton. Left in the 1990s, and currently works as vice president of Corporate Communications at M&T Bank in Buffalo.
  • Steve Boyd - another longtime weekend anchor, left in the 1990s to pursue law. He is now a personal injury attorney and still occasionally appears on AM Buffalo.
  • Ken Houston - 2004-2006 5:30 anchor 11 p.m. reporter.
  • Pete Kenworthy - WNY live reporter 2003/ 7 News this morning anchor 2004-March 23, 2007. Now at WEWS in Cleveland
  • Don Polec- feature/funny man for the station in the 1980s, before leaving for WPVI-TV. Now at rival WGRZ-TV.
  • Stefan Mychaijliw - former host of Good Morning Western New York, was recently at WGRZ-TV and currently serves as spokesman for Buffalo Public Schools.
  • Don Postles - former co-anchor with Irv Weinstein, now the head anchor of rival WIVB-TV's nightly newscast.
  • Luke Moretti - anchor, 1990s - Now an investigative reporter at WIVB-TV.
  • John Murphy - 1989-September 16, 2007. Murphy was a part time anchor until 1992 when he was named sports director, one year after Koshinski vacated the position to join Empire Sports Network. Served as the station's sports anchor for 18 years. A contract dispute, in which Murphy was reportedly expected to take a twenty-percent pay cut, led to his departure. Now at WIVB-TV
  • John Kosich - anchor of "Good Morning Western New York" - 1990s. (Not to be confused with John Kasich). Now at WEWS in Cleveland
  • Mary Travers - "Action 7" consumer reporter. Now known as "Mary Travers-Murphy" and is the town supervisor of Orchard Park.
  • Aaron Baskerville- 2004-2007, left for CLTV
  • Erika Von Tiehl - 2005-2007 - reporter/morning anchor. Left to anchor at WFOR in Miami.
  • Grace Polanski - 2002-2004 - WNY live anchor, now at Fox21 News at Nine weekends - Colorado
  • Helen Tederous - 1997-2005 - reporter and also PM Buffalo co-host
  • Linda White - 2002-2004 - first anchor of WNY Live, then weekend anchor, now at WVTM-TV in Birmingham.
  • Kristin Wedemeyer - 2001-2004 - weekend "weather forecaster"/meteorologist
  • Pat Tomasulo - 2003-2006 - fill-in sports anchor, now at WGN-TV, guest host on Live with Regis and Kelly and co-host of Shaq Vs. on ABC.
  • Joe Major - weekend sports anchor circa 2000. Weekend news anchor and Sabres and Bills beat reporter on WECK.
  • Jerry Azar - sports anchor from the late 1980s to mid 1990's. No relation to Rick Azar. Now at WBBR.
  • Tracy Humphrey - weather anchor - 1998-2000. Later weekend weather at WNYW (2003–2007) now morning/noon weather anchor at CBS 5 (KPIX) in San Francisco
  • Melanie Pritchard- anchor and reporter, 1997-2008. Left to pursue a career in real estate.
  • Steve Barber- reporter, 2006-2009.
  • Terrell Owens - sports. As a one-time sweeps week stunt, Owens replaced sports anchor Jeff Russo for the 6:00 newscast on May 18, 2009.[8]
  • Sharon Osorio - joined 2000, left 2003, returned 2006, let go 2009
  • Jenny Rizzo - joined 2007, let go 2009
  • Julie Fine - reporter, 2002-2010. Now at WPXI.
  • Kevin Jolly - reporter, 2009-2010. Now at YNN Buffalo.

[edit] Trivia

  • The station has laid claim to being the first station to use the phrase "It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?"[5] According to lore, beginning the 11pm Newscast with the phrase originated in the early 1960s and was the idea of a local news viewer in Buffalo, who proposed the idea to Irv Weinstein, who later approved of the idea. The viewer was not paid for the slogan, which is now used by many stations across the country (although ironically, WKBW, during its ill-fated 2003 image restructuring, dropped the phrase until 2008). The phrase is also attributed to WNEW-TV; the station began using a similar phrase for that station's 10:00 newscasts at approximately the same time.
  • WKBW was a sister station to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for many years. As a result, many of WKBW's personnel were promoted to WPVI, including Jim Gardner, Dave Thomas/Dave Roberts, Don Polec and Jeff Kaye. Also, the two stations had similar styles to their newscasts, including identical theme songs (Move Closer to Your World by Al Ham). The two stations were split up in 1986 when WKBW's and WPVI's parent company bought ABC; because of the larger market, ABC decided to keep WPVI and spin off WKBW to local ownership (WKBW is now owned by Granite Broadcasting; WPVI remains owned by ABC).
  • Former Rocketship 7 host Dave Roberts (born David Thomas Boreanaz), now principal weathercaster on ABC-owned WPVI in Philadelphia, is the father of actor David Boreanaz, formerly star of the "Angel" spinoff from "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" and now star of the Fox network series "Bones".
  • The station was featured in the movie Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston. In the movie, Carrey's character was a reporter for Eyewitness News before getting fired, and was then reinstated as its main anchor. He finds a new meaning for the station's call letters as he is thrown out of building, Wimpy Kiddy Baby Whiners. Additionally, WKBW sports reporter John Murphy was the only real member from the station featured in the movie; he was shown on Bruce's TV in the beginning. The station was featured at the beginning of Evan Almighty, the sequel to Bruce Almighty, with Steve Carell as the outgoing anchorman for Eyewitness News. A WKBW crew is also shown later in the film.
  • Irv Weinstein, Tom Jolls and Rick Azar hold the record for the 2nd longest on air anchor team from 1965 - 1989. Dick Nourse, Bob Welti and Paul James, from Salt Lake City's KSL-TV hold the record for the longest on-air anchor team, from 1965 to 1991.
  • Liz Dribben, in addition to being co-host of "Dialing for Dollars", was one of the first female journalists in the country. Dribben got her start at WKBW-TV in 1959 as a publicist.
  • WKBW was once the top rated ABC-affiliated station in the country. A number of factors contributed to this. Cynics will point to the fact that WKBW's prime location on the VHF portion of the dial, in an era when most ABC affiliates were weaker UHF stations, was the cause of this. However, in recent years, rivals WGRZ-TV and WIVB-TV have earned similar accolades for their news broadcasts, which would indicate that Buffalo residents generally watch more local television than other markets.
  • The Annual Variety Club Telethon is the longest running locally produced telethon in the country. Originally 24 hours in length, it was shortened to 12 hours in 2006.
  • Irv Weinstein's first name is actually "Irwin".
  • The first studios for WKBW-TV (at 1420 Main Street) were converted in 1958 from a church, original station owner Clinton Churchill's Tabernacle. The building now once again houses a Religious Organization. Fellowship Christian Center, ironically is home to WHLD-AM 1270, the regions first and only 24 hour black gospel radio station, pioneered by local pastor and radio and television broadcaster John H. Young, Sr. The tower that once held the microwave relay antenna sending programming to the station's transmitter in Colden, NY remains atop the roof. The former studios have been reconverted back into their original use as a worship center.
  • Many Canadian born stars grew up watching and have fond memories WKBW-TV and have mentioned it from time to time in various local and nation interviews including Mike Myers, Howie Mandel, John Candy and Jim Carrey (the aforementioned star of Bruce Almighty). WKBW anchorman Irv Weinstein was one of the inspirations for Eugene Levy's SCTV character Earl Camembert.
  • Former Eyewitness News reporter Stefan Mychajliw was the first journalist to ask Hillary Clinton about her marital intentions with President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
  • WKBW has had the same call signs throughout its entire existence. It is the only VHF station in Buffalo that can make that claim (WUTV, a UHF station, also has had the same calls), and has held its calls longer than any other station in the Buffalo market.
  • WKBW meteorologist Mike Randall is known for his impersonations of 19th-century authors Mark Twain and Charles Dickens[9], and performs in character at events around the Western New York region. He has his own YouTube channel at [6].

[edit] Newscast names

  • Eyewitness News/Channel 7 Eyewitness News, 1970–1989, 1995–2003, 2008–present
  • News Channel 7's Eyewitness News, 1991–1995
  • 7 News, September 8, 2003-October 26, 2008

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Fybush, Scott. Show Time For a Nervous Industry. NorthEast Radio Watch. 20 April 2009.
  2. ^ Pergament, Alan
  3. ^ Pergament, Alan. News leader now in third place. The Buffalo News. 13 October 2008.
  4. ^ Pergament, Alan. Channel 4 returns to the lead, but cable quarrel boosts Channel 7. The Buffalo News. 18 November 2008.
  5. ^ Pergament, Alan. What happened to Channel 7 news? The Buffalo News. 8 June 2008.
  6. ^ Pergament. Bad economy hits TV news teams. 16 December 2008.
  7. ^ Simon, Jeff (2010-07-02). The Winner?. The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  8. ^ Pergament (2009-05-20). On a slow day, TV news goes overboard for Owens.
  9. ^ Mike Randall to appear at SCA. Springville Journal. 5 December 2008.

[edit] External links

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