Buffalo in the ’90s: Channel 2 anchors Laurie Lisowski and Rich Kellman

By Steve Cichon

Through the 1980s and ’90s, there were dozens of featured news anchors on Channel 2, but two of the most popular remain Rich Kellman and Laurie Lisowski. They were paired on the anchor desk at 5 p.m. in 1990.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

While Channel 2 was nearly wall-to-wall in the third-place news basement during Rich Kellman’s 32 years at the station, he was always a bright spot as ownership and other on air faces changed.

A reporter’s reporter with a slew of Emmy statues weighing down his mantle, Kellman’s strengths have always been in showing empathy without being sappy, being sensitive while still getting answers, and just being a human, friendly person in a medium where that can’t be taken for granted.

In her seven years at WGRZ, Lisowski was paired with no fewer than five co-anchors. She came to Channel 2 in 1989 after weekend duty at Channel 7, and within a year was replacing Alison Rosati as the station’s primary female anchor, on the desk for the 5 p.m. news with Kellman and the 11 p.m. news with Don Postles.

News critic Jeff Simon called her short-lived pairing with Nick Clooney as good as the best in Buffalo TV news history.  The father of George and brother of Rosemary, Clooney was only in Buffalo for four months in 1994 before he left for a job with cable TV’s American Movie Classics channel. Lisowski also worked alongside Ed Caldwell and Marty Aarons taking turns reading the WGRZ TelePrompTer.

Since leaving the anchor chair in 1996, Lisowski has appeared as a spokesperson for a handful of local businesses — but most visibly for Frey Electric, her husband’s family company.

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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.