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.
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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

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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).

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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.

 

The Carl Yastrzemski Song; The Yaz Song

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

staffannouncer.com gets dozens of hits with people looking for the Carl Yastrzemski song. It was the masterwork of Longtime Boston Disc Jockey and WHDH Morning man Jess Cain. Sung to the tune of “Allelujah!,” The Yaz Song was an add-on to the LP record put out by WHDH following the unlikely 1967 season… Which saw the Red Sox fight their way into the World Series.

This is the original posting of this song on the Internet… There’s a YouTube video with the two images I scanned… and the song I digitized on someone else’s account— you can even hear the butcher job they did in cutting off my jingle.

Oh well… You’re here, so please enjoy THE ORIGINAL!!

dreamfront

A word of Warning before you click…The Song is VERY infectious. You’ll be singing it for hours, if not days. Consider yourself warned…. You’ll be walking around singing “CAAAAAAAAARL Yastrzemski…. CAAAAAAAAARL Yastrzemski…. CAAAAAAAAARL Yastrzemski…. The man we call Yaz, We Love Em!”impossible-label

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

Shane Brother Shane: Buffalo’s Poet Laureate

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

I started trying to describe Shane to a co-worker the other day…. But there’s no way to describe the Cosmic Cowboy…. Buffalo’s Shane Brother Shane.

shane

From the Day he arrived in Buffalo in 1974 for WKBW’s Great American Talent Search wearing pants with SHANE written in studs up and down the legs, to the day he ran for Common Council in Buffalo, Shane always kept the Queen City on its ear. Please share your Shane memories below… and enjoy some audio clips from Shane’s stellar Buffalo Radio career…

 

shanesings

Listen to more Shane:

  • Shane Brother Shane rocks Freedom City USA!
  • The scary sounds of Halloween on WKBW: 5 hours worth of K-Big talent on display
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Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

Tom Shannon explains “Wild Weekend”– KB 1983

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – The great Tom Shannon, South Buffalo’s breaker of hearts and as smooth a disc jockey as Buffalo, Detroit, Denver, LA, or anywhere else has ever known…

tommy-shannon-in-KB--studio
Tom Shannon at KB Radio’s main studio, late 1950s.

Starting at tiny little WXRA Radio in Kenmore while still at Bishop Timon High School, Tom’s last on air gig in Buffalo brought him to WHTT for about a decade starting in the mid 90s.

He also spent some time at WGR in the early 60s, but is best known in Buffalo for his time at WKBW Radio.

Tom’s first stint at KB was from 1958-62, and as this aircheck from during his second 1983-86 stint at KB explains, his theme song was as famous as he was.

Tommy plays the old theme song, explains how it came about, and explained how an instrumental version of the song — “Wild Weekend,” by the Tune Rockers– became Top Ten hit, and how Tom was in the Army when he found out, and– oh, well, let’s just let Tom tell us.

The song has a special place in my heart– not just because Tom and I (and Tim Russert) all went to Holy Family grammar school on South Park Avenue in South Buffalo… but because it was to “Wild Weekend” that my wife and I made our entrance to wedding reception.

“So glad we could get together.”

Steve Cichon and Tom Shannon, 2004.
Steve Cichon and Tom Shannon, 2004.

 

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