Ralph Hubbell & Around the Dial

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo


Excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting 


Ralph Hubbell, WBEN

As already mentioned, his first radio job was reading poetry over the brand new WBNY, where he also became the station’s sportscaster in 1936.

Ralph Hubbell started as WGR’s sports director and moved on to WBEN in 1948, becoming “The Dean of Buffalo Sportscasters” along the way, “displaying a quick wit, warm personality and mastery of language.”

Ralph Hubbell (right) at WGR’s news desk with chief announcer Jack Gelzer

In 1948, he was Buffalo’s first TV sports anchor, although the term hadn’t been invented yet. He was in the booth for the first few seasons of Bills football. Youngster Van Miller was on the play-by-play, but Buffalo’s good sports fans loved the steady observations of Hubb during the games.

Charley Bailey of WEBR, Jim Wells of WBEN, Sig Smith of WKBW, and Hubb were Buffalo’s top radio sportsmen of the 1940s.

When Hubbell retired after 58 years in Buffalo broadcasting in 1989, Buffalo News Sports Editor Larry Felser, a legend in his own right who grew up listening to Hubbell, remarked “those familiar vocal cords… always seemed to have been freshly dipped in motor oil.”

Typically, each 15-minute segment of Clint Buehlman’s daily broadcast was sponsored by a single business. In the earliest days, as outlined in this ad, “Your AM-MC” would not only talk conversationally about that sponsor and its services and products, but also sit at the piano and sing songs about sponsors, weather, news and just about anything else.

By the time Buehlman was forced into retirement at age 65 in 1977, his days of sitting at the piano were long gone — replaced by adult contemporary music that could be heard all over the AM dial in that era. But between records, Buehly still would mix weather, things you needed to know and a few words from his sponsor, just like he had for the previous four decades.


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.