Jon Summers quietly retired last week after 27 years with WKBW TV. (News file photo)

Now it can be told.

When former "AM Buffalo" co-host Jon Summers didn't answer my telephone calls last week to discuss his retirement from the program, I suspected he might have been forbidden to talk as part of a settlement with WKBW-TV.

Wrong.

It turned out that Summers went on vacation in his native Kentucky shortly after exiting Channel 7 on March 1 and his departure couldn't have been more amicable.

He confirmed that he was asked to apply for the full-time multi-media journalist job that was being created by combining his part-time job and that of part-timer Courtney Corbetta.

"I think that was very fair of them to offer me that," said Summers. "In my entire 27 years at Channel 7, I don't think you would have described my job as anything but part-time. I never had to put in a full day."

Nor did he want to start now. That was as much behind the decision to leave as the technology that would have required him as a MMJ to shoot and edit his own stories.

"I was not looking for a full-time job," said Summers. "I was quite comfortable in my part-time capacity."

He applauded the decision to give Corbetta the full-time MMJ position created.

"It certainly makes sense," Summers said. "I thought she was quite good and she has all the necessary tools and talents. She has a degree in communications and experience shooting and editing."

Summers was ready for retirement or semi-retirement.

"I have about 59 and close to 60 years in broadcasting," Summers said. "I think it is about time."

That was a hint about Summers' age. He started his broadcasting career working weekends as a teenager at a station in Owensboro, Ky. But he is a little sensitive – he said "old fashioned" -- about revealing his age.

When I guessed 74 or 75, Summers would only say "in that neighborhood. I might be a couple houses down one way or the other."

He may have left Channel 7, but he told station officials they could still use his voice in promos, commercials or whatever way they want to use it.

"I'm retired, but I am going to do things at my own speed and my own choosing," said Summers. "There is no reason I can't participate in the freelance business. And I plan on being pretty ambitious in that regard."

"I still have my voice," added Summers. "I plan on using it whenever asked. I consider what I did a  dream job and they let me do it for 27 years and paid me for it. I got no gripes, I really don't. They were good people."

Now it is time for some reminders:

All four NCAA college basketball tournament games at Key Bank Center being played today will be carried by WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate, and on CBS nationally. That just about assures a larger audience for the games than if they had been on one of the Turner channels involved in the tournament.

Standup comedian Brian Regan is playing Seneca Niagara Casino Saturday, which brings to mind a comment made in Pasadena, Calif. by comedian Pete Holmes in a press session for his new HBO series "Crashing." Asked who is the greatest living comic today who nails it every time in any situation in front of any audience, Holmes didn’t bat an eye.

“It’s Brian Regan, I think for sure,” said Holmes. “And the funny thing about Brian Regan is he’s not that famous. A lot of comedians are aware of him, but I’m happy if you put that in your stories because anybody who looks up Brian, he’s also very, very clean. Again, kind of coming from the Christian world, he was a hero of mine. But he’s one of those clean comics who you don’t notice he’s being clean.

“The other comedian that I love is I love Bill Burr, but because he can be a little bit divisive, that’s why I gave it to Regan, because you said ‘any situation.' There’s a couple Disney cruises where Bill would be thrown overboard."

By the way, HBO just renewed "Crashing" for a second season.

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger quickly responded to the news that the first budget proposal by President Donald Trump calls for ending funding to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. She issued this statement this morning.

"PBS and our nearly 350 member stations, along with our viewers, continue to remind Congress of our strong support among Republican and Democratic voters, in rural and urban areas across every region of the country. We have always had support from both parties in Congress, and will again make clear what the public receives in return for federal funding for public broadcasting. The cost of public broadcasting is small, only $1.35 per citizen per year, and the benefits are tangible: increasing school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse."

The PBS release added that two national surveys show overwhelming opposition by Democrats, Republicans and even Trump voters to eliminating federal funding for public television.

It is widely believed the cut in funding will especially hurt stations in rural areas, where Trump had great support.

In January, Donald K. Boswell, the chief executive officer and president of the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association (WNYPBA), said the local public broadcasting television and radio stations, including WNED-TV, WBFO-FM and WNED-FM,  received $1.736, 000 last year from CPB. He added that represents 11.4 percent of the budget for local public broadcasting TV and radio stations.

He said it would be a big blow if funding ended. That has often been a goal of some Republicans.

“We would have to do layoffs, big time,” said Boswell. “We would have to let people go. A lot of acquisitions we acquire using that money. We wouldn’t be able to acquire a lot of content.”

Kerger and Boswell hope that the public support will press Republicans to once again restore funding to CPB.

email: apergament@buffnews.com

 

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