Channel 7 sportscaster Leight leaving station for job with Sabres - The Buffalo News
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Channel 7 sportscaster Leight leaving station for job with Sabres

This is what I’m thinking: It looks like Channel 7 sportscaster Allen Leight is betting on the Buffalo Sabres getting out of the basement before the ABC affiliate he has worked for recently is able to escape the ratings cellar.

Leight’s final Channel 7 broadcast was Friday. News Director Lisa Polster confirmed that he is leaving to join the Sabres in an unspecified job. Another Channel 7 source said the job is in production.

The Sabres haven’t announced his hiring, which I’m told is standard practice for staff hirings in non-visible roles. It probably means Leight won’t be seen on-air in any capacity.

Leight became part of Channel 7’s sports staff when Jason Grenauer turned down the opportunity to become the third member of the station’s sports team to remain a news reporter. Leight had a nice low-key style as a sports reporter and a news reporter before that.

Polster said in a text that the station plans to replace Leight on its sports team. The sports staff has three on-air members, one more than Channel 4.

Speaking of sports, it has been a great week of comparisons for Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. On ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” last week, co-host Michael Wilbon said Kane is better than slumping Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby.

During the Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, one of NBC’s analysts compared Kane to Buffalo Sabres legend Gilbert Perreault. I wasn’t sure if the remark came from analyst Brian Engblom or Joe Michelletti since they sound alike. But I did hear play-by-play man Kenny Albert add: “Where did Patrick Kane grow up? Buffalo.”

I’m sure many older Sabres fans would debate the comparison since Perreault and Kane are two very different players from different hockey eras. But there is no debating it is quite a compliment for a Buffalo kid to be compared to Perreault.

Local independent station WBBZ is calling this “Giants of Broadcasting Week” and kicked it off at 7:30 p.m. Monday and today with two, 30-minute specials featuring Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar and Tom Jolls recorded after their “Giants of Buffalo: Television” event at the Buffalo History Museum two months ago. WBBZ’s John Di Sciullo was the co-host of the event.

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, the station is repeating “Giants of Buffalo: Radio” that featured Danny Neaverth, Joey Reynolds, Stan Roberts, Shane Gibson and Sandy Beach. The program originally aired about a year ago.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, it is carrying an original production, “Women in Buffalo Television,” featuring interviews with Susan Banks, Carol Jasen (now Carol Nigrelli), Laurie Lisowski (now Laurie Lisowski-Frey) and Doris Jones. They all are off TV now. There is one legend still on the air, Channel 4’s Jacquie Walker, which may be the reason she isn’t on the program. Di Sciullo said Nigrelli was interviewed on the phone from the WBBZ studio, Lisowski-Frey at her home and Banks and Jones at the station’s studio.

Finally, the controversy surrounding the firing of the first female editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, was extensively dealt with on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” and on two national cable media shows, Fox’s “Media Buzz” with Howard Kurtz and CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter.

There were varying opinions about why Abramson was fired and whether she was the victim of sexism and held to a different standard than male editors are held.

But one thing became clear: Abramson has won the public relations battle, aided by star media reporter Ken Auletta’s original story that she was let go after confronting the Times about unequal pay. Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has denied that.

Auletta backed away from the original blog on one of the media shows Sunday and again Monday morning on NBC’s “Today” and now says the pay issue and Abramson’s hiring of a lawyer played into “the narrative” that Abramson was difficult. “I don’t believe this is a case of sexism,” said Auletta.

But the original blog that he has backed away from still resonates and Abramson still is being depicted as the victim. On “Today” Monday morning, Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packer chief executive officer, repeated a claim that she made on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that, of course “women are held to a different standard.” That may be true in many cases, but she seemed to be assuming it was true in this case when other so-called media experts disputed it Sunday.

This whole ugly episode reminds me of questions that used to be raised when professional sports teams or colleges made history by hiring minorities to become coaches or general managers. The question used to be after minorities were hired, how difficult will it be to fire them if they deserve to be let go?

I’m not saying Abramson deserved to be let go. I have no idea. But the same publisher who made history by hiring the first female executive editor can’t be too happy now about being accused of sexism by Abramson supporters. And sadly, Abramson’s public relations victory may ultimately backfire on women in the industry and prevent more of them from getting the top jobs now that their potential bosses see how this episode is being played out.


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