The New York State Broadcasters Association celebrated its 50th anniversary by announcing its first Hall of Fame inductees this week. The list of 29 includes four members with Buffalo ties.
Al Anscombe has spent more than a half century in radio and television. He was vice president of WKBW radio in the late 1950s and turned it into one of the major rock stations in the country. Anscombe also put WKBW television on the air and was a major force in the birth of cable television.
Phil Beuth was station manager for WKBW television, Channel 7, during that station's glory days of the '70s and '80s. Beuth was instrumental in building "Eyewitness News" into a ratings powerhouse and later became president of ABC's "Good Morning America," when it ruled national ratings.
George "Hound Dog" Lorenz was a pioneering rock 'n' roll disc jockey in Buffalo and the United States. Lorenz was the first major local rock DJ at WKBW during the 1950s. In 1964, he founded WBLK, considered one of the first FM stations in America to play African-American music. He died in 1972.
Frankie "the Chief Rocker" Crocker grew up in Buffalo and made his mark in local radio at WUFO here before becoming one of the first dominant African-American disc jockeys in New York City. He took disco, R&B music and devised a new kind of radio format called "progressive R&B." Crocker died in 2000 and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Those four will be joining select company. The other inductees include Walter Cronkite, former CBS News anchor; Don Imus, current radio personality in New York; and William S. Paley, considered the father of CBS radio and television.
Also being inducted are six television engineers who were killed in the 9/1 1 attacks while working at the World Trade Center in New York City. They are: Steven Jacobson, William Steckman, Gerard "Rod" Coppola, Isaias Rivera, Bob Pattison and Donald DiFranco.