Excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting
Among the Election Day 1960 races being covered closely by Carl Erickson on Ch.4 were between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy for President as well as Edward Rath and Chester Gorski for Erie County Executive.
Erickson came to WBEN in 1948, and was the newsman on Clint Buehlman’s show.
He spent most of the 50s and 60s as Chief Announcer for WBEN Radio.
A new era in broadcasting was ushered in 1960 when WBEN opened its new studios on Elmwood Avenue. WBEN AM-FM-TV had outgrown the studios it had called home on the 18th floor of the Statler Hotel since 1930.
The Buffalo Evening News stations bought the former WBUF-TV studios, which had been built by NBC only a few years earlier, and added more studio space and an office building to the complex.
Bill & Mildred Miller show off the stove in their new studio, 1960
Clint Buehlman, operator Tom Whalen, and engineer Earnest Roy— who started with the station before it even went on the air in 1930– are shown in the new, far more spacious radio studios.
WBEN announcers Carl Erickson and Jack Ogilvie are seated as Mike Mearian leans on the piano of Norm Wullen, 1960.
WBEN executives George Torge, Alfred Kirchhofer, station owner Kate Butler, James Righter, and C. Robert Thompson inspect the new WBEN-TV control room. The $1.5 million building was heralded as the “most modern broadcasting center in the nation.” The final broadcast from the Statler was Jan. 10, 1960.
After WNED-TV left for the Lafayette Hotel, the studios for WGR Radio were in the building behind WBEN’s studios in the late 50s and early 60s.
It’s incredible to think that when Van Miller started calling the play-by-play for the brand-new Buffalo Bills of the American Football League in 1960, he was better known as Ch.4’s 11pm news and weather announcer than a sports broadcaster. Through two AFL straight championships, four straight Super Bowls, and two stadiums, Van’s sense of the game and amplified level of excitement became the filter through which football-loving Buffalo took their love to the next level. He’d call every game during the NBA Buffalo Braves’ stay in the city and work as Ch.4’s primary sportscaster for more than 30 years. “Do you believe it?” he’d ask, as fandemonium went into overdrive, imploring “fasten your seatbelts!” until retiring as the Voice of the Bills after 37 years in 2003.
This page is an excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting by Steve Cichon
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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