Jeff Kaye & KB’s War of the Worlds

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo


Excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting 


Jeff Kaye might be best remembered by his rich, well-controlled voice and his ability to use it. He came to Buffalo as a rock ‘n’ roll disc jockey in 1966, but very quickly was tapped for more substantial duties.

As program director at WKBW Radio through the late 60s and early 70s, his voice was the station’s anchor. Later, that voice brought an even-greater sense of gravitas to WBEN where did the impossible, replacing Clint Buehlman in 1977.  Eventually, he became the voice of NFL Films and the sound that a generation of football fanatics would associate with those highly-produced highlights packages.

That all-time “voice of God” wasn’t even Kaye’s greatest asset. His ability to turn the fantasy in his head into great radio copy and superbly produced radio elements made him an all-time create force in the history of broadcasting.

His reboot of War of the Worlds on KB, first airing Halloween Night 1968, was an instant classic– impeccably conceived, produced, and promoted.

The masterful promotional folks at KB knew that by sending out this warning–with hope of it being published, that people would flock to hear– as Jeff Kaye puts it in the intro to the 1971 version of the dramatization– “what all the hubhub was about.”

As a producer and programmer, Kaye found superb vehicles not only for his own vocal talent, but also put the stars of KB in situations where they could shine brightest. The writing and production on a piece like “War of the Worlds” stands up 50 years later, and gives the listener a true sense of the talent that went into “playing the hits” on KB.

Three different versions of the War of the Worlds ran on KB. The primary difference in each is the news, the deejay and the music at the start of the show. Sandy Beach was in the original broadcast in 1968, Jack Armstrong was in the 1971 version, and Shane in 1973.

In 1974, Jeff Kaye became the afternoon drive host on KB’s competitor WBEN, effectively ending any future reworking of the “covering of the invasion” half of the show– which remained mostly unchanged through the different broadcasts.

Membership card showing Jeff Kaye, leader of KB’s Teenage Underground.


This page is an excerpt from  100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting by Steve Cichon

The full text of the book is now online.

The original 436-page book is available along with Steve’s other books online at The Buffalo Stories Bookstore and from fine booksellers around Western New York. 

©2020, 2021 Buffalo Stories LLC, staffannouncer.com, and Steve Cichon

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.