Sandy Beach starts his 52-year run in Buffalo Radio

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo


Excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting 


His famous laugh filled Buffalo airwaves for more than 50 years, and the jingle that opened his WBEN talk show for 23 of those years says Sandy Beach is “bigger than life and twice as loud.”

Sandy Beach, inside the KB studio

That may be, but News critic Jeff Simon added this in 2007:

Sandy Beach “may be the most talented figure in (the) storied history of Buffalo radio,” and Beach was the “last legend still heard daily on Buffalo radio.”

Aside from a brief stop in Erie, Pennsylvania and four years in Milwaukee, Beach has been a constant in Buffalo radio since arriving at WKBW to take over the night shift there in 1968.

Listening to even five minutes of his show – any of his shows – over the course of 52 years is explanation enough for why News critic Hal Crowther dubbed Beach “the Needle” shortly after the deejay landed on the Buffalo radio scene.

In a 1972 interview, legendary WKBW Program Director Jeff Kaye said that within four years of arriving in Buffalo, Sandy had “worked every shift on KB except morning drive, and improved the ratings in each part.”

Beach spent the 70s, 80s and 90s in and out of Buffalo as a disc jockey, program director and eventually a talk show host. After leaving his post as KB Radio’s Program Director in the early 80s, he held morning show jobs at Buffalo’s Hot 104 and then Majic 102.

He hosted talk shows on WBEN and WGR before leaving town for the mid-90s, but when he came back to host afternoons on WBEN in 1997, he was ready to make the change permanent.

“I liked playing the oldies,” Sandy said coming back, “but you can only play ‘Doo-Wap-Diddy’ so many times.”

Six years later, he would play oldies once again, this time at WBEN’s sister station and his old stomping grounds, now sporting the call letters WWKB. For the three years KB played music of the 50s and 60s from 2003-06, Beach was a disc jockey mid-mornings and a talk show host for afternoon drive on WBEN.

The show was never edgy or provocative just for the sake of being so—but Beach was strong in proclaiming his often-conservative views and left little room for opinions (or leaders) he thought were weak or unfounded.

Stan Roberts, Dan Neaverth, Sandy Beach. Late 60s.

When he left WBEN in 2020, management called Beach a “provocative and edgy talk show host” who entertained with “distinct humor.” And an unforgettable laugh.

Watching TV rarely gets you on the front page of the paper, but it seems appropriate that it did for the staff at Tonawanda’s Jenss Twin-Ton Department store in 1969.

That man would step foot on the moon is an unimaginable, superlative, epoch-defining feat in human history. But that more than half a billion would watch it happen live on their television sets made it a definitive moment in a broadcast television industry that was barely 20 years old at the time.

Gathered around the TV “to catch a few glimpses of the Apollo 11 events” were Mrs. James Tait, Margaret Robinson, Marian Feldt, Jack Dautch, Grace Hughes, Dorothy Wiegand, Rose Sugden and Rose Ann Fiala.

By the time of the 1969 moon landing, Jenss Twin-Ton’s future was already in doubt as city fathers in the Tonawandas were looking to expand already present Urban Renewal efforts to include the store at Main and Niagara. Jenss Twin-Ton closed in 1976 when the building was bulldozed as urban renewal caught up.


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.