Episode 4: Crazy Cichons

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

A few years ago, I was a docent at the Erie County Fair Heritage and History Center, and one of the more popular questions was about when the fair was in South Buffalo near Indian Church Road for a few years back in the 1800s.

That inevitably lead me to mention that my grandma lived a block south of Indian Church off Seneca on Fairview, which usually lead to some small talk about who lived where or the bikes in the Babe Boyce store windows and PM Berst Furniture– both of which were at Seneca and Indian Church.

If people don’t seem immediately certain where grandma’s street is, I’ll mention it’s where Heidie’s Tuxedo used to be on the corner.

That sparked something for one guy.

“Heidie’s, right. Yeah, who was that fuckin’ crazy family that lived on Fairview?”

I tried to think of the name of one family a couple of houses down that my ol’man wanted nothing to do with… but then the obvious answer struck me.

“The Cichons?” I asked.

“Holy shit! Yeah, that’s them! They were all fuckin’ crazy! What was your family down there?”

“That’s my family,” I said, expressionless.

The guy’s wife blanched. He started apologizing, mostly, I think, because he was worried he offended a “fuckin’ crazy Cichon.”  But I laughed, and said, “naw, it’s ok– we are crazy.”

He rattled off a list of uncles and a few cousins that he drank with and fought with and fought against.

Then I said, “Yeah, one or two of those guys might get mad when I tell ‘em you think they’re crazy.”

As the color drained from his face again, I said, “Just kidding,” with a smirk.

We chatted a while longer, but I think I tweaked him around enough to maybe watch his back for crazy Cichons for a while. 

Hahaha. He was right. We are a fuckin’ crazy family. Hahahaha.

Episode 3: Trafficopter

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

An old photo brought up the memory.

I once was a teenaged radio traffic reporter… flying high above drive-time city traffic with live reports from from “Skyview 930” almost 30 years ago now.

Even then, the days of each station having their own helicopter were over, and it was a little-shared secret that there were three traffic reporters from different competing radio stations all in the same fixed-wing airplane, seeing the same backups at the same time, flying in a figure-eight pattern over the area highways.

In the days before DOT cameras and Google maps, watching traffic from that vantage point was invaluable in learning about how cars move– Especially when you’d fly over a trouble spot, and then you wouldn’t see it again for 20 minutes or so.

That’s probably why, off the top of my head, I can still give you a completely made-up morning or afternoon traffic report on the spot that’s going to be completely accurate— even if not specific and filled with lots of confident-sounding bet-hedging.

I learned a lot about talking off the top of my head and the way area traffic patterns work, but looking back, the best thing about that experience was the guidance, kindness, and encouragement from nearly every single person at the two sister AM news and FM music stations during what was my first on-air gig.

I was treated like everyone’s kid brother and the station mascot. Everyone was bursting at the seams to help me succeed and that feeling– and the confidence it built– certainly helped launch the rest of my career.
Sadly, the only true specific memory from those days involves the one person who wasn’t on the “Aww shucks, let’s help the kid” plan.

She thought she was on her way to becoming the female Howard Stern, I think– this woman who was personally a mess during the short time she was in town. To me, and other station underlings, she wasn’t very friendly, a bit of a diva, and wouldn’t even look at me (let alone talk to me) in the hallway.

So now I was doing traffic on her fancy FM show– no big deal. I’m 16, but a pro.

“An accident has the Kensington backed up…. and that has the main line slow back to William… The 190 might be your better bet heading downtown— no wait at either the Black Rock or Ogden tolls. this report brought to you by Builders Square… in Skyview 930, I’m Steve Cichon…”

That should have been the end of the report, but with her whiskey-soaked cigarette voice she tried to lay on the sultry at the end of one of my first reports– in what might have been the first words she ever directed at me.
“HeeeEEEEyy SteeeEEEeeeve, you know, you sound sexy,” said the nasty hag to the teenaged boy live on the radio.

I was 16 or 17 years old, and a little embarrassed– but more pissed. I knew my future was at the news station, was making a big effort to sound professional and journalistically trustworthy… and not just some kid.

By any measure, I know didn’t sound sexy. And she knew it. She was being mean to be funny— trying to throw off a kid on his first day for a laugh.

I can tell you for sure my terse and dismissive response, horrified, pissed, and embarrassed, jammed in the back seat of a tiny airplane with 50 pounds of equipment on my lap, wasn’t sexy.

“SteeeeEEEeeeeve, you sound seeeEEEEeeeexy.”

“Well, OK,” I said, “if you think an accident on the 33 is sexy. Thanks…” as I quickly clicked off the mic.

Hahaha. I’d have handled that differently today, but the way teenaged me handled it makes me smile to think about.

When I got back to the station, I complained to my boss about the woman– who at this point was already on her way to being fired. But with my heart in my throat, I told him what I said, too… concerned about being in trouble for “going off the script.”

Trying to keep his usual military bearing, my mentor and boss barely held back a big grin, telling me I handled things perfectly. I couldn’t have been sure then, but there’s no doubt there was delight in the fact that “the kid gave it to the witch” live on the radio.

This was exactly the kind of loving support I found over and over again from the radio family that is still so much a part of my heart.

Still, I carried shame about this incident for a long time— not happy with the way I handled myself. Even at this moment, nearly three decades later I’m second-guessing— but of course… there’s no good way for a kid to handle a small-hearted jerk.

More than anything, I guess I should thank her, because somewhere deep in the echoes of my mind, the incident reverberated every time I went off the script to tell some kid “great job” on the air.. even when listeners might have wondered if we’d been listening to the same report.

And there’s little doubt I felt some part of that sting as I’ve called out and bawled out dozens of people who’ve mistreated “lower-statused” co-workers through the years…

Things like “The guy’s doing the best he can— why don’t you worry about your own work.”

Now that’s sexy.

Episode 2: The Fish Fry

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

My ol’man and Gramps— my ol’man’s ol’man— were certified, bonafide American originals.

They were the kind of men that could only be forged in a place like Buffalo and in a tough neighborhood like the Valley.

Late in life, Gramps lost his sight and his mobility— around the same time that my dad lost his leg to diabetes and heart disease after a couple of years in and out of the hospital.

Those two became best friends— talking to each other on the phone four or five times a day, helping one another defeat loneliness while enriching the father-and-son bond between these two guys who were made from the same good stuff.

Gramps was in his 80s, reflective, and accepting-but-sad. Dad was in his 50s, still a Marine at heart, and despite not having a leg or enough stamina to learn to walk on a prosthetic— he sometimes forgot about his physical condition. Especially when it came to trying to lighten the burden of his dad’s loneliness and isolation.

It wasn’t easy to get Dad out of the house or Gramps out of the nursing home.

Getting them both out at the same time was a real adventure, but my ol’man would beg for me to help him take his dad out the same way a five-year-old begs to go out for ice cream. That means relentlessly, with big sad eyes, not really understanding or caring why its a bad idea, and with a complete and utter disregard for whatever bullshit being spewed to explain why it’s not the best idea.

One day in particular, the planets aligned and I made secret plans to get my ol’man and gramps out for an early dinner.

When the day came and I asked Dad if he wanted to head over to pick up Gramps for a fish fry— it was less like telling a kid we were going for ice cream— but more like telling him we were going to Disney World.
My ol’man was wide-eyed and breathless.

He was excited to get out of the house. He was excited to get a fish fry.
“I hope they got that good potato salad,” said Dad excitedly.

But more than anything, he was excited to be sharing all these things with his dad.

With my wife’s help, I got Dad in the car. Kinda spilled him into the backseat. Then to the nursing home and Gramps in the front seat.

We went to the good Greek place only a mile or so away. My wife and I were completely spent from getting these two into the car when we had to unpack them.

Both times, Gramps was pretty compliant but as heavy as the smell of fried fish in the air.

He sat with the wheels locked on his wheelchair in a far-away parking spot because it was the only place where we could get the door open and enough room to get these guys out.

If Gramps was easy— getting one-legged Dad out of the back seat was like trying to pull a rabid cat out of a carrier crate.

My ol’man was excited and crazed and even forgot himself in the mayhem, trying to lift himself out of that backseat using the long-gone leg he’d had amputated years earlier.

Sweaty and wild-haired by the time he was out of the car, he was pissed because we weren’t moving fast enough.

There was goddamn fish fry waiting to be eaten, and nothing was slowing down my ol’man.

“Here Dad, let me help you,” said my father to his father, despite his inability to muster enough power to move his own wheelchair.

Grabbing the push handles at the back of Gramps’ wheelchair, my ol’man started jiggling and shaking himself trying to break the internia of two guys sitting reluctantly immobile in their medically-necessary chariots.

None of the gyrations worked even a little.

“Relax Dad, we’re going as fast as we can,” I said, stressed and worn-out myself, now trying to push both wheelchairs at once and adding to the ridiculousness of the scene. It was a live-action Three Stooges show.

Eventually we got in and had some great fish fry and great conversation and lots of laughs.

This was the last time we’d go through this deeply beautiful and satisfying comedy routine— it was actually Dad’s last good day.

All that jiggling— and his trouble getting up and down the stairs and in and out of the car— almost certainly contributed to the major heart attack he had that night.

Dad’s many heart attacks were quiet. He never knew as they happened. He’d just feel lousy— which he did all the time anyway. After a couple of days in the ICU, my ol’man died at the age of 58.

My ol’man’s last good meal and last good time was a fish fry with his ol’man. And it killed him to make it happen. And if he was sitting here, he’d tell you it was worth it.

Every dad deserves a son like my ol’man, and every son deserves a dad like my grandpa. My ol’man and Gramps. Two of the best. How blessed I have been.

Episode 1: Smokin’ in the Park

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

Mulroy Playground was around the corner from my house. During the summer of 1983, there were always dozens and dozens of kids— and zero adults.

Everyone was there mid-morning, when the city would drop free lunches off the back of big yellow Pep Dairy trucks everyday.

Wrapped on a small styrofoam tray about the size for a pound of hamburger, came rock hard peaches, sour half-frozen orange juice in a sealed plastic cup, and a sandwich— either thick-sliced low-grade bologna or a “choke sandwich,” which was wrapped to look like an ice cream sandwich, but instead was peanut butter and jelly between graham crackers.

It was low-grade peanut butter and stuck to your esophagus for hours— that’s why we called ’em choke sandwiches. There was milk, too, but unless it was chocolate milk, I don’t remember anyone drinking it.

There was a 1950s concrete wading pool, which normally was filled with broken glass, but no water. After a heavy rain, we’d carefully wade in the rainwater, brown glass bits, and floating gold foil Genesee Beer labels.

Next to that, there was a monkey bar castle to climb on, but the older boys commandeered what was another worn-out 1950s structure. That was actually fine with us, because who ever had been throwing the beer bottles in the wading pool had been using the castle turrets as urinals. On hot sunny days the smell was unbearable.

Over on the swings, where everyone was doing their best to try to swing over the bar, Jimmy was usually on the last swing, barely swinging, his feet making noise with the gravel and dirt with every pass.

He was obese in a way that most of us had never seen in another kid. He was big. He was also my age—around 7— but I didn’t know him. He went to a public school a couple of blocks away, I went to Holy Family school right behind the playground.

I’m not even entirely sure that his name was Jimmy, but it’s hard to forget this kid.

As the early summer morning sun turned up the swampy heat and the smell of piss coming from the castle turrets, seven-year-old Jimmy laconically sat swinging all day, chain smoking.

Even among the group of vagabond, hobo, street-urchin children we were, something felt terribly wrong about Jimmy puffing away non-stop; inhaling even.

It wasn’t even the fear that he’d get in trouble— it just didn’t seem right. And sometimes, often even, other kids would say something.
Like a 12 or 13 year old would take a drag off a Marlboro and ask Jimmy, “Aren’t you too young to smoke?”

With the same amount of detached interest he showed in swinging, he’d answer, “Nah, I’ve been smoking since I was 6.”

He told a lot of stories that seemed unbelievable, but there he was– a seven-year-old chainsmoker. It really made anything seem possible.

I don’t remember talking about Jimmy with my parents, but since it bothers me this very moment almost 40 years later in the same way it did back then, I imagine I might have said something.

Probably to my ol’man, who probably half-listened, and then responded with a Parliament dangling out of the corner of his lip as he growled.

“Don’t let me find out that you’ve been smoking over in that goddamn park,” he would have said. “I’ll put my boot so far up your goddamn ass you won’t sit for a week.”

We moved and I never saw Jimmy again. I hope someone put a boot up his ass and he’s doing ok today.

From 1880 to Today: The Erie County Jail

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

For more than 140 years, Erie County has held prisoners on Delaware Avenue between Eagle and Church streets.

Erie County Jail, 1890s.

The Erie County Jail was built in 1877 with room for 200 prisoners. It was connected by an underground passage with what was then Buffalo City Hall (and is now old County Hall and the County courthouse).

The current holding center building was built on the spot in 1938.

The Friday Night Polka—One-On-One Sports with the Bulldog, WBEN

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

I don’t remember exactly how it started on the air, but I know that back in the early/mid-90s, when I was the producer of One-On-One Sports with Chris “The Bulldog” Parker on WBEN, I was buying up as many obscure albums as I could from Salvation Army and AMVETS thrift shops—including polka albums with interesting cover art of great song titles.

Chris “The Bulldog” Parker, mid 90s at WBEN.

At some point, with me going through these albums, Chris must have said—we should have a Friday Night Polka—so we did.

The show closed with a polka every Friday night, and we eventually had a good rotation of songs about drinking and about Buffalo.

Heard here for the first time in more than 20 years—a medley of the Friday Night Polkas from WBEN’s One-On-One Sports with the Bulldog.

We’d only play a minute or so from each selection at 10:59pm to close out the show—these are the minute long clips we’d play.

Chris and I really enjoyed the music– but we’d get side eye from the lovely call screeners Monica and Rose (which is really how most of the show went most nights anyway.)

One-on-One Sports with the Bulldog Friday Night Polka Medley

On this track:

  • “Bulldog Talking Sports” theme
  • Bulldog welcomes you to a Friday night, 1996
  • Ice Cubes & Beer, Ray Budzilek & The Boys
  • Buffalo Polka, Krew Brothers Orchestra
  • No Beer in Heaven, Li’l Wally
  • Bartender Polka, Walter Solek
  • Meister Brau Polka, Li’l Wally
  • Why don’t you people give the ball scores?— from a complaining voicemail
ME! Steve Cichon, producing One-On-One Sports in the WBEN control room, 1995

The Bulldog theme is taken from an aircheck… and you can hear the ancient WBEN delay system folding back on itself as the theme music plays.

One of my personal all-time favorite moments in music came when the late, great Tony Krupski of the Krew Brothers played the Buffalo Polka on demand– and grinned from ear-to-ear when I sang along with him, knowing all the words because of this great Friday night tradition in Buffalo radio.

Na zdrowie and sto lat!

Remembering Seneca Street’s Mr. Manny

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

I saw news on Facebook today that Manny Ciulla has died.

Mr. Manny, one of the greats

Manny’s on Seneca Street was the kind of institution we need more of… run by the kind of man we need more of.

After my ol’man’s bar closed, Manny’s was the only ginmill where dad’d feel comfortable, because Mr. Manny was more than just a guy who pushed drinks over the bar– he cared about his customers and the people of the Seneca Street community like family.

“Mrs. Manny” made great pizzas and burgers, but Manny’s was a clearly a tavern. Still, when I’d stop in as a 12 or 13 year old and ordered a Birch Beer at the bar, there was nothing untoward about it– and I know Mr. Manny loved it, and he’d talk to me like he talked to my dad or my uncles.

I can’t imagine there’s anyone who knew Mr. Manny who didn’t love him. Just like Tony Scaccia at Tony the Barber and Gerry Maciuba at The Paperback Trading Post, Manny was one of those Seneca Street shopkeepers who made Seneca Street– where both grandmas lived– feel like home to a kid who moved seven times before sixth grade.

Conrad Loewer, c1855-1893, my third-great grandfather

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

Conrad Loewer is my third-great grandfather, born in the Holy Roman Empire state of Hesse Cassel/Kurhessen (in today’s Germany) sometime around 1855. He died in Buffalo in 1893.

Conrad and Katherine Weigand Loewer

With his father (my fourth-great grandfather) John (born 1821), sister Katherine, and brother Henry, he came to the United States aboard the Bark Therese. The 52-day voyage from Bremen, Germany landed at the Castle Garden immigration station in New York—the forerunner to Ellis Island– on August 13, 1868.

A bark (barque) is a ship with three or more masts. The image of the Bark Therese was created by Norwegian artist Frederik Sørvig in 1853.

John was a tailor in Germany and continued that trade in Buffalo—passing it onto his son Conrad as he came of age in Buffalo. In 1885, Conrad sold his property on Hickory Street near Batavia (Broadway) and eventually made his way to Carbondale, PA, where he opened a men’s tailor shop on Seventh Street there.

In 1887, newspapers in Carbondale and Scranton reported on Conrad’s childhood association with one of the anarchists who lobbed bombs at police officers in Chicago’s Haymarket square. In Hesse, Loewer attended school with August Spies, who was eventually executed for his role in “The Haymarket Affair.”

“It’s a pleasure to know that this early association with the bomb thrower did not contaminate him, for Mr. Loewer is ‘mild-mannered’ and an industrious citizen,” reported the Scranton Republican.

In 1888, Loewer returned to Buffalo with his wife and children, moving around Jefferson Avenue and William Street. Living at 899 Smith Street, he died in 1893 from pneumonia.

My great-great grandmother, Jeanette “Nettie” Loewer-Greiner, and her twin brother John were seven years old when their father died. Sisters Agnes and Dora were even younger.

Conrad Loewer’s daughters: Katherine, Elizabeth, Jeanette, Agnes, Dora

Especially after the death of my third-great grandmother Katherine Weigand-Loewer in 1900, Conrad’s brother Henry became a father figure in the lives of the Conrad’s destitute and orphaned six children, doing what he could to support them. Henry also supported his elderly father John until his death in 1897.

Henry A. Loewer was a cloth cutter at the Erie County Penitentiary before he was elected Buffalo’s Morning Justice in 1901. For four years, he was the judge who’d travel from precinct to precinct deciding on the cases of men arrested overnight for drinking, fighting, etc. During his time on the bench, he also solemnized 169 marriages.

Henry Loewer 1864-1907

When Henry died in 1907, the Buffalo Enquirer called him “one of the East Side’s best-known Republicans,” and said, “he was a man of bulky size and a familiar figure to the people of the East Side.”

Tracing the history of the Loewer family in Buffalo is challenging since there is another Loewer family with children named Conrad, Henry, and John. They were also from Hesse Cassel and also tailors. It’s very likely that they were related “in the old country,” but there’s no evidence of them working together, sharing business, etc in Buffalo—despite living only blocks away from one another in the Fruit Belt and the streets just south of the Fruit Belt with tree names in the Ellicott Neighborhood.

Conrad Loewer’s daughter Jeanette married Frederick W. Greiner, the son of Joseph Prentiss Greiner and Mary Atkinson-Greiner. Their daughter, Jeannette Greiner-Wargo married Stephen Wargo. They were my grandmother’s parents.

My great-great grandparents Fred and Jeanette Greiner lived on the corner of Hickory and Sycamore in a house with a corner porch. My 5’2″ grandma used to tell stories about her 4’8″ grandma chasing kids off that porch with a broom. Hahaha. Here’s a picture of Fred– a WWI cavalry sergeant and bottler at the Iroquois plant– enjoying a smoke in his living room on the corner of Hickory and Sycamore in the Ellicott Neighborhood.

Joe Bruno was friendly– but ready to fight

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

Longtime New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno died today.

Some of my most interesting times as a reporter happened when I was the only journalist on the scene.

As a radio guy without a camera, I think it puts a lot of newsmakers at ease— or maybe it makes them feel like they’re at an advantage.

Anyway, I was at an event to ask Joe Bruno about state budget negotiations as headed by Albany’s long-infamous “three men in a room,” where the governor, the Assembly Speaker, and the Senate Majority Leader would swap and balance their special interests to make sure the budget would have the votes to pass for the governor’s signature.

Bruno was warm and overly friendly— and entirely evasive. We both played the game. I likely had at least two more stops that night and it was clear I wasn’t going to win a Pulitzer for the story that would result from the interview. It would probably just end up as a couple of quick sound bites for the morning show.

My last question was something like, so what is it like being one of the three men in the room?

With the same overly friendly approach, he said that three men in a room was a myth, not how it actually worked, etc, etc… it was a sound bite he’d been well-practiced at giving for more than a decade.

I thanked him and stopped my recorder.

“There’s no such thing as ‘three men in a room,’” he said, with calculated seriousness and determination in his eyes that hadn’t been there during the interview.

Then a gleam grew from that cold look and a faint smile appeared at the corners of his lips, but the way he straightened his spine at the same time gave more of a sinister vibe than a warm one.

He made sure our eyes were locked when he said, “but it’s great being one of those three men,” keeping that gaze long enough to intimidate but short enough to claim otherwise.

He was not only a tough old-time politician, but he was also a boxer— a good one.

I met a little of both that day.

On WBEN’s 90th birthday, the station’s longest-serving announcer is still on the air…

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

WBEN signed on the air September 8, 1930—90 years ago today.

The station’s birthday is important to me because the station has played such an important role in my life as a listener, employee, and now alumni of the station.

I first walked into the station as a 15-year-old intern, and would spend the next five years working my way up through the producer ranks up to what was the highest profile producer job in radio—producer of Buffalo Bills Football with Van Miller and John Murphy. I also met and worked alongside the woman who’d become my wife during those days on Elmwood Avenue.

Five years later, I returned to the station, this time in the newsroom—and over the next decade I worked my way up to news director.

Through all my years in media, I always took special pleasure in being able to share my passion for Buffalo and Buffalo Broadcasting with the listeners of WBEN, and the station’s birthday, I’ve dipped into the archives to share some of the stories I wrote and produced about WBEN and the people we all listened to at 930am.

Steve Cichon- WBEN celebrates 80 years-1
Steve Cichon- WBEN celebrates 80 years-2
Steve Cichon- WBEN at the Aud-1
Steve Cichon- WBEN at the Aud-2
Steve Cichon- WBEN at the Statler-1
Steve Cichon- WBEN at the Statler-2
Steve Cichon- WBEN says Goodbye to Barbara Burns-1
Steve Cichon- WBEN says Goodbye to Barbara Burns-2
Steve Cichon- Brian Meyer inducted into Broadcast Hall of Fame-1
Steve Cichon- Brian Meyer inducted into Broadcast Hall of Fame-2
Steve Cichon- Remembering WBEN on 9/11 ten years later-1
Steve Cichon- Remembering WBEN on 9/11 ten years later-2
Steve Cichon- John Zach celebrates 50 years in Broadcasting-1
Steve Cichon- John Zach celebrates 50 years in Broadcasting-2
Steve Cichon- John Zach covers Martin Luther King-1
Steve Cichon- John Zach covers Martin Luther King-2
Steve Cichon- John Zach lived the Jersey Boys-1
Steve Cichon- John Zach lived the Jersey Boys-2

WBEN’s longest serving announcer

The 90th anniversary of WBEN’s first sign-on brings to mind many of the stable and authoritative voices which have unflappably informed Buffalo over those decades at 930am.

The longest tenured of those voices remains a daily fixture.

From her early days of airborne traffic reporting from the Skyview 930 helicopter to the last two decades as morning drive host, Susan Rose has been a steady, unwavering, and professional voice on WBEN and a clear connection to the great news voices of generations past.

Susan Rose with current co-host Brian Mazurowski

Rose is not your typical “radio star.” She’s never wanted to be. It’s exactly that which makes her a fit in the pantheon of WBEN greats.

“A superb anchor,” wrote Buffalo News critic Anthony Violanti. “Reads the news with journalistic style and skill.”

After graduating from Buffalo State College and starting her radio news career at Lockport’s WLVL, Rose joined WBEN in 1985.

WBEN Newsteam 1988: Brian Meyer, Ed Little, Susan Rose, Tim Wenger, Monica Wilson, Mark Leitner

Her blue-collar approach to journalism combined with 35 years of continuous, daily broadcasting on the station puts her in the same rarified company as past WBEN greats, many of whom she regularly worked with across the decades.

Mark Leitner and Ed Little were WBEN stalwarts and frequent Rose co-anchors through the 80s and 90s.

Rose was hired to join the WBEN news team by legendary news director Jim McLaughlin.

The legendary Lou Douglas was at WBEN for 30 years before retiring, overlapping a couple years with Rose.

After three decades at WKBW, John Zach spent another 18 years at WBEN, including 16 years co-anchoring “Buffalo’s Early News” with Rose.

John Zach & Susan Rose, WBEN, 2002.

While she doesn’t have that booming voice— once considered the most important hallmark of the then all-male radio news profession— Rose’s even and reliable presence has been featured on the station longer than any broadcaster, including Clint Buehlman, who hosted mornings at WBEN for 34 years.

Perhaps that’s part of the secret why Rose’s approach and sound is still as upbeat and fresh as the day she walked through the studio doors 35 years ago.

Rose’s husband, Tim Wenger, was her co-anchor on evening drive news program “Buffalo’s Evening News” in the early 90s.

She doesn’t project her personality into the news. Through her career—rather than stand out in front— she has allowed her writing, editing, news judgement, and steady on-air presence to support the team.

It’s even fair to say Rose avoids the spotlight— but it’s also fair to say when crisis strikes in Buffalo, there aren’t many voices on the airwaves today which bring credibility and calm like hers can.

A recent WBEN bio said “it was always her dream job to work for the number one news station in Buffalo.”

She’s taken it one step further to personify it.