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New man in the morning ; Buffalo booster Jeff Glor is eager to anchor CBS' "The Early Show"

Jeff Glor can't wait for Monday.

This isn't just the usual enthusiasm of a guy who has covered many top news stories -- from papal visits to the Olympics -- since joining CBS News in 2007.

On Monday, the Tonawanda native and Kenmore East graduate becomes the news anchor on CBS' "The Early Show." He joins co-anchors Erica Hill and Chris Wragge and weather forecaster Marysol Castro on the show, which will be aired locally from 7 to 9 a.m. on WIVB-TV, Channel 4.

From an airport in Raleigh, N.C., where he and the other three members of the new "Early Show" team were touring the country's local CBS affiliates, Glor says, "All of us collectively can't wait for Jan. 3. We really want to get to work."

He and Hill, Wragge and Castro have enjoyed the road trip, he says. "It's been really nice, because from the moment we first met, we hit it off. We enjoy each other's company and we're all passionate about news. I think if some of that comes across on the air, we'll hopefully be OK."

Even before this promotion, Glor had made a name for himself as the most recent Western New York native to bring his Buffalo pride to the airwaves. He follows in the footsteps of South Buffalo's Tim Russert, the "Meet the Press" host and NBC News Washington bureau chief, who often boasted of his Buffalo roots until his untimely death in 2008. Wolf Blitzer, who grew up in Kenmore and graduated from Kenmore West, often shares his memories of Buffalo on his show, CNN's "The Situation Room."

Glor has repeatedly mentioned his Buffalo roots, most prominently as he covered the devastating crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence Center. But he also mentions it in passing, as when he quipped that the area's early December snowstorm was "a dusting," adding, "We can handle it. We're Buffalonians."

"Buffalo really does seem to be one of those cities that when you're from there, you want to tell people about it," says Robert J. Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University. "People from Buffalo are completely out about the fact that they are from Buffalo."

Speaking of Russert, Blitzer and Glor, Joe Schlaerth, news director at WIVB, says, "Each one of them strongly identifies themselves as a Buffalo player. This may be a case where our weather reputation helps to identify people as being strong and tough. The Buffalo Bills also give them an opportunity to mention it."

Local interest in Glor, as well as the new look of "The Early Show," may boost its ratings locally, says Schlaerth. "People may follow him because we've got another Buffalonian out there doing well and showing people nationally what Buffalo is all about," he says.

For his part, Glor says, "I am so proud of where I come from, I am so proud of my hometown and the people who live there and the parents who raised me, that any chance I can talk about them I do, and it feels good."

Schlaerth says the feeling should be mutual. "Western New Yorkers should be proud of him, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun to follow his career," he says. "This is a huge step -- some of the biggest anchors of our time sat in chairs similar to the one he's going to be sitting in and developed their skills there. He's going to be part of a new-look morning newscast that has a very strong, up-and-coming, young, go-getting staff."

During his three years at CBS, Glor was one of the first journalists in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January 2010; was embedded with U.S. combat troops in Baghdad; covered the Summer Olympics in China and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver; and was a lead member of the team that covered Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States. He was also "The Early Show's" primary campaign correspondent during the 2008 presidential election.

As his resume shows, "I love good stories, and if it's the big story, I like to be there," he says. "I like to think I have the range to cover many things that come along, [but] I grew up with a passion for sports as a Bills and Sabres fan, so sports stories are always going to have a special place in my heart."

He also sat in for Katie Couric as anchor of "CBS Evening News."

Glor has said in the past that anchoring and reporting use "different muscles." One of the reasons he is so excited about the new post, he says, is that "I love doing both of them, and I love the fact that I'm going to be able to do both of them."

After his 1997 graduation from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Glor, who is now 35, worked in TV news in Syracuse for six years. He then spent three years at WHDH-TV in Boston.

But Glor says he never had a career plan for success that went beyond his immediate assignment. "My focus has always been on trying to do the best possible work I can, and in trying to get better at what I do, every single broadcast, every single story," he says. "If things happen along the way that are positive, that's a good thing. I've been asked before about my end goals, and I've never really had specific ones, other than trying to get better at what I'm doing."

His new schedule will require him to wake up around 4 a.m., do some prep work from home, then travel across town to the studio, arriving around 5 a.m. But Glor says he's not dreading the morning hours. "I'm a morning person to begin with," he says. "I had already been doing a significant amount of reporting for 'The Early Show,' and I used to do the morning broadcast in Syracuse for 3 1/2 years, so the hours are not completely foreign to me."

Glor and his wife, Nicole, have a 1-year-old son, Jack, who is also an early riser. "In the last year, we have somewhat tried to adjust our schedule to his, and when you're a parent obviously you have little choice," he says, laughing.

Glor is the oldest of three brothers and was back in town in September for the wedding of his youngest brother, Dave, who graduated from Kenmore East six years after Jeff. "The theme of the wedding was Buffalo Love," says Jeff Glor. His middle brother, Richard, is an assistant professor of biology at the University of Rochester.

The three Glor boys have no sisters, and their father is one of four boys and no sisters, says Glor, adding, "My poor mother! My poor grandmother!" His mother and both grandmothers still live in Western New York.

Schlaerth says Glor's talent has helped him succeed. "He's got a great look, he's got a nice way of telling a story and he's very comfortable on camera," he says. "He makes you feel like you know him."

e-mail: aneville@buffnews.com

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