Buffalo in the ’60s: Irv Weinstein and Gov. Nelson Rockefeller

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

During a mid-’60s visit to Buffalo, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller stopped by the Main Street studios of WKBW-TV for an interview with now-legendary Channel 7 newsman Irv Weinstein.

Buffalo News archives

At the time, however, Channel 7 was, as pejoratively described by Irv himself, “the fourth station in a three-station market.”

Channel 7 signed on in 1958, 10 years after Channel 4, and four years after Channel 2. The offerings of the ABC network didn’t help endear WKBW-TV to Buffalo viewers: Weinstein likes to remind people of quality network programming such as “My Mother the Car.”

When Weinstein left WKBW Radio to join Channel 7 alongside Rick Azar in 1964, the evening newscast went on the air at 7:20 p.m. to avoid competition from the other stations’ 6 p.m. newscasts.

irv720pm

Buffalo Stories archives

A few years later, Tom Jolls joined the crew, and the Irv, Rick and Tom team that dominated Buffalo TV news in the ’70s and ’80s was complete.

The three men, plus addition of more local newsfilm, better tight writing and a display of personality and human interaction unseen before on local TV made Channel 7 — and Irv Weinstein — No. 1 in the market, virtually uninterrupted, from the late 1960s through Irv’s retirement in 1998.

Nelson Rockefeller was governor of New York from 1958 to 1973 and was appointed vice president by Gerald Ford. He served from 1974 to 1977 and died in 1979.

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GALLERY: Remembering Irv, Rick and Tom

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.