Jack Sharpe and WEBR’s Trafficopter

       By Steve Cichon

Excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting 

After attending Nichols and serving in World War II, Jack Sharpe returned home to start a career in journalism as a Buffalo Evening News copyboy in 1948.

Jack Sharpe behind the wheel of WEBR’s mobile transmitter

He joined WEBR Radio in 1952. Seven years later, he combined his love for on-the-scene reporting with Buffalo’s place at the center of the aviation industry by initiating Buffalo’s first airborne traffic reports in the WEBR Traffic Copter. He became Buffalo’s “flamboyant, outspoken eye in the sky.”

Jack Sharpe (right) with Jack Prior of Prior Aviation. Buffalo was the second city in the country to carry airborne traffic reports on the radio. 

Sharpe (right) with WNY Safety Conference President Gordon Trank, kicking off Buffalo Safety Week 1962.

Sharpe would scold motorists and highway planners while reporting breakdowns and delays. After one big snowstorm, he saw that instead of attacking the road conditions– a half-a-dozen city plows were parked outside a restaurant.

“If you’re wondering why your streets aren’t plowed,” he said in a live traffic report, “it’s because all the plows are parked at Your Host!”

He kept the helicopter hovering so he could watch the drivers scurry away from their grilled bow ties and back out onto the road.

Sharpe spent 14 years flying over Buffalo’s highways until he ran for office in 1973. He’d spent five terms as Supervisor of the Town of Amherst, overseeing that community’s continued transformation from a farming community to a suburban population center.

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. 

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