The transfer this week of 11 p.m. sports anchor duties from Ed Kilgore to Adam Benigni at WGRZ-TV Channel 2 signals the end of an era for Kilgore, the longtime broadcaster in his 38th year at the station.
"I've really had a great and long run at Channel 2, and that will continue a while longer," said Kilgore, 64, during a telephone interview. "But I'm also ready for a change and doing some different things outside the station. I'll still be sports director, and I'll still be covering the Sabres and the Bills. In fact, I'll be able to see more of the Sabres games."
It was Kilgore who helped hire Benigni in 1997, shortly after Benigni graduated from Syracuse University. Benigni, 42, a native of Massachusetts, will now serve as sports anchor for the 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts Sunday through Thursday. "Adam and I are good friends," Kilgore said. "He does a great job, we've had a great relationship the entire time and continue to have."
Kilgore last year was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He is the area's longest running sports anchor, an accomplishment noted by Jim Toellner, WGRZ-TV president and general manager.
"Ed is the one constant at Channel 2 through all the regimes," said Toellner. "During the last 49 years I was the 25th GM at the station, and I just had my eighth anniversary. Not only has he been a pillar of stability, but an asset to the community in helping raise thousands of dollars for various charities, especially Kids Escaping Drugs."
Kilgore, who directs a team of sports staffers at Channel 2 including Benigni, Stu Boyar and Ben Hayes, said he is pursuing other outlets in the area.
"I don't want to jinx anything, but I am nailing down the details on several fronts," Kilgore said. "I actually have some choices to make, which is kind of nice."
Kilgore last year climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. He is looking forward to a visit later this month from 24-year-old daughter Shannon, who is expected to complete advanced journalism studies at the University of the Arts London in December. Both Kilgore and his daughter, he pointed out, graduated from the University of Missouri in journalism.
His wife, Deborah Kilgore, who spearheaded a series of fundraising efforts for St. Luke's Mission of Mercy on Walden Avenue, is a professional singer.
"We're pretty busy," Kilgore said, "but I'm actually enjoying the heck out of being able to come home and enjoy dinner with my wife. It's good to be able to lead a more normal life."