Celebrating 60 Years of Buffalo Television

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

60 Years of Buffalo TV

Featuring over 2 dozen current and vintage Buffalo Television logos, this fundraiser for the Buffalo Broadcasters and the Preservation of Buffalo Television History was made possible through the cooperation of Buffalo’s Television stations, The Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers, and staffannouncer.com.

A great way to celebrate 60 years of Buffalo Television History, and help save it at the same time.

This 11×17 poster is printed in full-color on archival heavy 80lb gloss stock, and will be delivered in a mailing tube.


Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

Buffalo in the 70’s: WYSL/WPHD Album Charts and Jock Pics

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Buffalo, NY – Ranging from 1971-1979, these singles and album charts from WYSL and WPhD are a great snapshot of what Buffalo was listening to musically and on the radio in the 70s.

And as far as the jock photos– let’s just say we all looked great in the 70s. Thanks to Paul, who gave me most of these charts for “safe keeping” a few years back.

 

Robert W Taylor, Crystal Beach
1977
Tom Tiberi– Slick Tom, ad for the first World’s Largest Disco. August 25, 1979.
August 25, 1979.
Jim Nowicki, August 11, 1979
August 11, 1979
August 11, 1979
Dean Matella wearing an “I love You Buffalo” t-shirt. Wear a MILK Mustache ad. August, 1979
August, 1979
Jim Nowicki, July 1979.
July 1979.
Nancy Miller, May 1979
May 1979
Tom Tiberi, May 1979
May, 1979
Chuck Stevens, April 1979
April 1979
Dino in the Morning April 1979
April 1979
Kevin Hines, Club 747 ad for the first computerized disco, April 1979
April 1979
Chuck Stevens March 1979
March 1979
Dino in the morning March 1979
March 1979
Nancy Miller March 1979 14 Rock WYSL Non Stop Music
March 1979
Kevin Hines March 1979
March 1979
Jim Nowicki Feb 1979
Feb 1979
Nancy Miller Feb 1979
Feb 1979
Dean Matela, Dec 1978
Dec, 1978
Nancy Miller, Oct. 1978
Oct. 1978
Robert W. Taylor
Sept. 1978
Jim Nowicki
Aug 1979
Nancy Miller
Larry Norton July 1979
July 1978
Jim Scott, June 1978
June 1978
John Piccillo JP, June 1978. Milk Mustache I Love You Buffalo t-shirts
June 1978
Larry Norton, May 1978
May 1978
Harv Moore May 1978, American Top 40
May, 1978
John Piccillo, April 1978
April 1978
March 1978 Rick Arnay
March 1978
Bill Potter Jan. 1978
Jan. 1978
Tom Atkins 1977 American Top 40
1977
JP John Piccillo November 1977
November 1977
Rick Arnay October, 1977
October, 1977
John Piccillo, Crystal Beach ad. September, 1977
September 1977
Craig Matthews, June 1977
June 1977
Chuck Stevens June 1977
June 1977
Kenny Davis May 1977
1977
Kenny Davis April 1977
April 1977
Robert W. Taylor 1977
April 1977
Harv Moore April 1977
April 1977
Sean Grabowski 1977
February 1977
Grabowski October 1976
October 1976
Grabowski October 1976
October 1976
Jim Scott, September 1976
September 1976
Harv Moore, July 1976
July 1976
John Piccillo WYSL, “Laverne & Shirley Sing” 1975
Grabowski
1976
1976
Robert W Taylor 1976
Robert W Taylor 1976
1976
1976
Robert W Taylor 1976
Robert W Taylor 1976
1975
1975
Grabowski, 1975
Grabowski, 1975
Jim Scott, 1975
1975
1975
Tom Tiberi, 1979. Burger King at Main & Utica, Just Opened!
Tom Tiberi, 1979. Burger King at Main & Utica, Just Opened!
1979
1975
Kevin O'Connell. WYSL, 1971
Kevin O’Connell. WYSL, 1971
WYSL 1971
WYSL 1971
WYSL, 1971
WYSL, 1971
Jack Evans WYSL
WPHD 1979
WPHD 1979
WPHD 1979
Taylor & Moore, WPHD 1979
May 1978
May 1978
Jim Nowicki, May 1978
Jim Nowicki, May 1978

 

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

Remembering The Uncle Bobby Show

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – Back in 2005, I was tickled to be able to speak with Bobby Ash over the telephone… known to a generation of Canadians (and kids just over the border like me) as Uncle Bobby.

In the few minutes of the interview you can listen to here, Uncle Bobby gives background on how and why Bimbo the Birthday Clown started and then begat Mr. and Mrs. Happy and son of Happy, the dancing birthday creatures.

He also details many of the other characters who were a part of the show, and though his memory for some of the details is fading a bit– nothing beats Uncle Bobby sharing the names of some of his old friends from our childhood.

Among Uncle Bobby’s human pals were Alex Laurier, who played guitar on the show, Meredith Cutting, “the Singing Policeman;” Cy Leonard, “the ventriloquist;” Ron Leonard, “the magician;” Traffic Officer John, who gave the children tips about road safety. Nancy McCaig played accordion, and Barry McKay was a drawer of birds, animals and other things. Ruth Winkler sculpted plasticine models and told stories that went along with what she was modelling.

Some clips from The Uncle Bobby Show….

After talking to Uncle Bobby on the telephone, he sent me the following letter:

With that letter came these stills from Uncle Bobby himself,  sent along so that all the boys and girls can remember and enjoy…

Off his rocker?From a syndication Advertisement:
Born in a Staffordshire Theatre, brought up in the “pirate” circuses of Britain and steeped in the rich traditions of the theatre — Bobby Ash naturally steps into his role as the show’s active, animated host. Children love him, and give THE UNCLE BOBBY SHOW top priority on their viewing schedules.

The Uncle Bobby Show.
A Treat of Fun and Fancy.
Distributed by Glen-Warren Productions, Limited.

The Bimbo Story
Birthday announcements were a popular feature on the Uncle Bobby Show, and somewhere along the way, Bimbo the Birthday Clown made his first appearance. Though he was first made of cardboard, soon a wooden backing was added, then wheels, moving eyes, and of course the Happy Crew then came along: Mr. & Mrs. Happy, and Son of Happy.

My Uncle Bobby memories…
I can remember getting up very early, getting an apple out of the fridge, turning on my pre-cable TV, and watching the mystical Uncle Bobby Show… I think made even more mysterious by the melodious BIMBO BIMBO EVERYBODY BIMBO chant… And, of course, Uncle Bobby’s accent. I think the only other person I would have known with a British Accent at that point in my life would have been my Great Grandfather…. And now that I think about it, as a very young sprat, I may have thought that Uncle Bobby was my great Grandpa.

More from The Uncle Bobby Show…
This page, originally at my first website staffannouncer.com, was the first place where you could find any information about The Uncle Bobby Show on the Internet back in 2003.

So many years later, many people have sent photos and videos to share… here are just a few.

 


Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

WBEN 1973- Clint Buehlman, The Buffalo Braves, and more….

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo


Originally Posted: February, 2008

Just unearthed! Recordings of entire days of WBEN Radio… Unheard since the days they were broadcast over 35 years ago! Names like Clint Buehlman, Van Miller and the NBA Buffalo Braves! Read on!

WBEN AM/FM/TV, 1960

So where did these tapes come from? In 1995, Lin Television performed a massive cleanout of the 2077 Elmwood Avenue building they had just purchased as a part of their buying WIVB-TV.

Among the “treasures” I found dumpster diving, was a box of Reel-to-Rel tapes that appeared to be WBEN Radio Logger tapes from the early 70s. Many of the reels were blank… But even those with the audio intact were nearly useless… The tapes were recorded at 15/32 IPS. That is very slow, and at the time the tapes were rescued, the only way to hear the tapes properly involved about 4 hours of work for an hour of final product. For 13 years, I’ve been trying to figure out how to play these tapes back… And now… thanks to a new reel deck.. and some new digital audio editing programs, viola!

The audio quality is not the best… Its warbly sometimes… And it jumps quite a bit… And These logger tapes were in the Engineering Shop because there were problems with the recording…. But what is really amazing. Imagine your grandparents listening to WBEN all day… That’s what you get here. Things were slow to change at WBEN. Clint Buehlman’s Show in 1973 was not really all that different from the show in 1953. Van Miller is in great voice and cadence calling Buffalo Braves basketball. As far as I know, these are the only complete recordings of Braves basketball in tact.

Below, you’ll find exactly what and who is on these tapes… and some brief cuts from each.

Clint Buehlman

One of the most often asked questions to this website is, “What was the name of Clint Buehlman’s theme song?” The answer is, there were dozens of light airy instrumentals that were used to open each hour of the Buehlman show, after newsman Jack Ogilvie introduced Your AM-MC after each newscast. Listen below for several such opens, along with other snippets from the Buehly.

 

Newsman Jack Ogilvie (right) and AM-MC Clint Buehlman spent mornings together for over a quarter of a century starting in 1951 and ending in 1977.

Buffalo Braves Basketball

As Van Miller’s one time producer in both radio and TV, I can tell you I don’t know that he ever sounded better than behind the mic courtside at the Aud during Braves games, as shown to the left with Dr Jack Ramsey, standing.

Another of those popular questions is Do you have any Braves Games? Apparently, the answer has been yes for quite a long time… only they’ve been stuck on tapes I couldn’t play. But now, I have at least three Braves games in their entirety.

Braves vs Lakers: December 19, 1973
Kareem Abdul Jabbar visits Memorial Auditorium

Braves vs Bucks: February 2, 1973
Wilt Chamberlain visits Memorial Auditorium

 

Van Miller interviews Fred Hilton and Randy Smith in the WBEN studios circa 1972.

 


Some Highlights from WBEN Friday December 28, 1973

WBEN’s Al Fox interviews a cow.
Dick Rifenburg (l) and Clint Buehlman (r) receive an Award for Ski Coverage.
Ward Fenton
Dick Rifenburg
Jack Ogilvie
Ken Philips
Lou Douglas
Lou Douglas in Studio A
Stan Barron showing some kids around the studio.

Some Highlights from WBEN March 15, 1973

 

 


Random Highlights from WBEN 1973

 

Ed Tucholka at the WBEN-FM automation center.
Virgil Booth on the Channel 4 set.
Marty Gleason at the Editors Desk.
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

 

Remembering Memorial Auditorium and the NBA Buffalo Braves… Randy Smith Sings the The Bob McAdoo Song

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

bravespatchIt was the Bicentennial Summer of 1976– And as the nation was celebrating America’s 200th Birthday with all kinds of fife and drum music, here in Buffalo, the NBA Buffalo Braves were being musically celebrated all over the Buffalo radio dial with the McAdoo Song.

It’s a goofy song all about Braves Forward Bob McAdoo, who was 1973 NBA Rookie of the Year and 1975 NBA MVP.

The best part about the song is the singer– it was sung by Big Mac’s Teammate, Buffalo State College Grad Randy Smith.

randysmith bobmcadoo

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

When Radio Reporters were Real Men

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

By all accounts, I have a pretty cool and interesting job. I spend my day wandering the Niagara Frontier talking to Newsmakers and regular people, often finding myself in the midst of the announcements and events that shape the lives of WNYers…

fagan-mclaughlin atticaIt sounds glamorous, but sometimes the important assignments can leave a reporter ragged… Like the night I slept in the car outside the State Police Barracks in Fredonia at the height of the Ralph “Bucky” Phillips hunt… Or the 5 days without a shower (!) covering Hurricane Katrina down in Louisiana.

I’m not looking for sympathy here… I’m just lamenting the fact that no one, on any story I’ve ever been on, looked as “Movie-Star Cool” as WKBW Radio News Director Jim McLaughlin did in this 1971 picture taken at the height of the Attica Prison Riot. His tie know slightly ascue, curly locks ever-so tussled, and the caption decribes him as “with cigar.” (Not to mention the extra cigars in the breast pocket.)

Chances are, no matter the era, that I’d never look that cool doing my job (OK, you’re probably right… Never look cool period.) Though I might have been smoking a cigar, I’d probably be standing there Like WKBW’s Jim Fagan or Bob Buyer from the Buffalo Evening News… Just as weary, but without the panache. Even given that I know I wouldn’t have been the cool Perry White style reporter….. It still would have been great to work side-by-side with Jim McLaughlin (with cigar).

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

Santa Show Video and “staffannouncer about town…”

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

I’ve been working on a few special projects over the past few days… First… You can see it be clicking on the link…

You’ll see this video looped along with a big display I put together on the Santa Show at Fairgrounds for thier Christmas Show…

I’ve also spent some time putting together props to help a build an 80’s radio studio for a movie being shot here in Buffalo. They’re using the old Ward Beck Board from the WBEN Newsbooth as used from 1975-2000 at the Elmwood Ave Studios, along with some other 2077 Elmwood remnants and assorted other junk from my attic. The Carts are the sound effect carts of the great John Otto, and I’ve owned the cart machines since I was about 9 years old.

As far as web content, I’m working on a Crystal Beach page, and a some Buffalo History pictures… As appeared in the 50th and 100th Anniversary of the Buffalo Evening News Periodicals. I’m also trying to finish the renovation of the dining room in my 1909 EB Green home by the time the holidays roll around… Its been busy!

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

11th Annual Buffalo Broadcast Hall of Fame Awards

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

This story was published in Forever Young Magazine

Buffalo’s history as a great TV and Radio market goes back to even the days before Radio and TV, when the finest vaudeville acts always counted on Buffalo as a vaunted stop along the circuit. The actors, singers and comedians all knew that the people of The Queen City of the Lakes were very critical, but always appreciative of a good show.

Fast forward 70 years, and the finest Radio and TV personalities know Buffalo is such a great stop along the way, that many limited engagements are held over as Western New York becomes a permanent home.

Now in our second decade, the Buffalo Broadcasters celebrate the finest of those holdovers, as well as our homegrown radio and television personalities with the annual Hall of Fame Ceremony. With the inductees of the 11th Hall of Fame Ceremony, the number of Hall of Famers reaches 70.

From those who made the leap from vaudeville to radio and TV like Bill & Mildred Miller and “Buffalo” Bob Smith, to today’s personalities of the satellite age, The Niagara Frontier has long been, and will long continue to be, the home of great broadcasting worthy of our celebration.

 

Susan Banks: Since arriving on local televisions in 1977, Susan Banks has proven herself able to not only bring us the news in a dignified and authoritative manner, but also able to hold her own with the quick-witted minds of Irv Weinstein and Keith Radford on the anchor desk. Susan has always brought the perfect balance of dignity, warmth, and camaraderie to the anchor’s chair; a balancing act that becomes more difficult as the line between news and entertainment blurs.  She spent 20 years in two stints at WKBW-TV, from 1977-81, and from 1990-2006, with stops in Boston, WGRZ-TV, and Houston in between.

 

Kevin O’Connell: Born not far from the spotlight as the son of the City Comptroller of Buffalo, Kevin first stepped into the glow while still in high school as a Rock’n Roll DJ at WYSL Radio in the mid-60s. From there, Kevin grabbed his records and headed for the Channel 4 weather desk, where he gave us Weather with a Beat, as well as Disco Step-By-Step. Los Angeles beckoned in the early 80’s, and though stationed on the left coast, Kevin could still be seen here daily as the host of the NBC network gameshow GO!  After returning to Buffalo at WIVB-TV’s News Desk, Kevin has weathered the last 14 years at the Storm Team 2 Weather Center, as WGRZ-TV’s Top Weather Anchor.

 

Dick Rifenburg: In today’s world of broadcasting, rarely does one individual shift from sports to news to music, let alone at one station, let alone on one shift. But that’s exactly what “Rife” did working for WBEN-AM/FM/TV from 1951-1978. He was a Michigan All-American end, and played a year with the Detroit Lions before landing at WBEN. From Bills Broadcasts, to ski reports, to 17 years worth of “Breakfast At—“ programs live from various local restaurants, to being the Night Owl’s friend on the WBEN-AM All Night Show, for 27 years, Rife did it all. Our Golden Age Award Winner passed away in 1994.

 

Don Criqui: Be it along side Frank Gifford, Bob Trumpy, or Steve Tasker, sports fans nationwide will immediately recognize the voice that has been synonymous with NFL football since the mid-60’s… That of Don Criqui. But growing up in Kenmore, the now nationally famous sportscaster first learned something about the games he’d soon be bringing to millions by listening to local play-by-play on WGR, WBEN, and WKBW, especially Bill Mazer calling Canisius Basketball. As the 2007 winner of the Buffalo Bob Smith Award, Criqui emulates one of the city’s great ambassadors by making the city proud he’s one of us.

 

Mike Mombrea, Sr: 32 years a cameraman for Channel 4, it was through Mike’s viewfinder that Western New York witnessed the Attica Prison uprising, the installation of Pope John Paul II, and somewhere north of one million feet of newsfilm capturing the day to day happenings of Western New York. He was a true pioneer, one of the original TV photojournalists, taking to the streets in the mid-50’s with a wind-up black-and-white camera and no trail to follow as to how news was supposed to be shot. Mike is the recipient of the 2007 Behind the Scenes Award.

 

Ron Rice: 30 years of sales and management excellence gives Ron Rice the credentials for the 2007 George Goodyear Award. After 5 years of pounding the pavement in sales for WBEN Radio, he became Sales Manager, a position from which he was able to up the stations—and his own—involvement in the community. But by his own admission, Ron’s career was highlighted by 18 years at WHTT. By 1994, Rice had captained Oldies 104 to America’s top rated Oldies station… only by beating out over 700 other such spots along the dial.

The Buffalo Broadcasters Association 11th Annual Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony will be held for the third straight year at the WNED Studios, Downtown Buffalo. Please e-mail bflobroadcasters@aol.com for Ticket information.