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Congratulations, criticisms and credibility

By Alan Pergament

This is what  I am thinking:

First, I'd like to congratulate all the winners of the second annual Buffalo Excellence in Media Awards given out Friday night.

They have all the credibility of the People's Choice Awards, but from pictures on social networks it looked like a nice function that left some young people in the media happy.

Rewarding young people appears to be one of the primary goals of the BEMAs, which have declared members of the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame ineligible.

After all, the first annual awards in 2012 went to such Hall of Famers as Channel 4's Jacquie Walker and Rich Newberg and WBEN radio's Sandy Beach. Channel 7 veterans Linda Pellegrino and Ed Reilly were also 2012 winners.

The only young winner a year ago was Channel 4's Anthony Congi.

Oh, what a difference a year and a new rule makes:

Channel 4's Diana Fairbanks was named TV Personality of the Year. She's a deserving winner even if many of the veteran anchors and reporters (including Walker) are in the Hall of Fame and ineligible.



Diana Fairbanks: Personality of the Year


Jud Heussler of KISS 98.5 was named Radio Personality of the Year, the category won by Beach a year ago.

Channel 4's Ed Drantch was named Backpack Journalist of the Year, the category won a year ago by Reilly.

Channel 4's Brittni Smallwood earned the Rising Star Award, the category won last year by Congi.

WBBZ owner Phil Arno earned the Trailblazer Award, Eileen Buckley of WBFO-FM earned the Pinnacle Award. Channel 4's Mike Mombrea Jr. won the Behind the Scenes Maverick Award. Rob Lucas of Star 102.5 won for Best Use of Social Media and Channel 4's Lenny Kostelny was named Sales Eeec of the Year.

97 Rock was named Radio Station of the Year. Channel 2, which has won most of the prestigious national awards given to Buffalo stations, was named the TV Station of the Year.

In case you wondered, the award winners could nominate themselves. From the looks of Channel 4's dominance, its new reporters took the competition very seriously. Of course, Channel 4 did have another big advantage -- it has hired a lot more new reporters and anchors than its rivals in the last few years.

Congrats are also in order to Katie and Max Bichler, the local newlyweds competing in "The Amazing Race." They qualified for the Final Four Sunday and also won $10,000 each for finishing first in Sunday's leg. The $20,000 they won collectively Sunday follows the new cars they won in the previous episode televised. If they win the whole thing -- and I'd have to say they are favorites now that they have won the last two legs -- they win $1 million.

Cheers to WGR Radio's Joe Buscaglia, who did an excellent job covering the NFL draft after spending months preparing for it. He probably devotes more time to the draft than anyone in the WNY media and has earned credibility for it.

It can be laughable when local TV sports anchors grade the Buffalo draft and act as if they are all knowing. Channel 2's extremely confident Jonah Javad fits the laughable category. He acts as if he has spent as much time as Buscaglia researching the draft. I laughed the loudest when he said over the weekend that he rated a certain player high on his draft board or draft list. He has a draft board? What is he Mel Kiper Jr.? 

There is a lot to like about Javad. His on-camera presentation is strong and he has dished out more opinions in his brief time here than Hall of Famer Ed Kilgore did in 40 years. But -- and it is a big but  -- he hasn't been around here long enough to have any credibility about the draft or anything else connected to Buffalo sports. It would be better not to come on so strong so early in your career here.

I covered the NFL draft for this newspaper when I was a sportswriter so I realize that giving the Bills a grade on it can be entertaining. But the truth is nobody really knows what they have in April and they won't really find out until a year or two from now.

What local TV reporters can do is report on what so-called experts say about the Bills draft, even though the term "expert" can be loosely applied.

The "experts" all over the place on the Bills 'selection of quarterback E.J. Manuel in the first round. ESPN's Todd McShay got a lot of attention for slamming the pick. But to put the criticism of the pick in perspective, let's consider what happened to Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson a year ago. If the Seahawks had picked Wilson in the first round a year ago instead of the third round, the McShays of the world would have slammed the pick. And they would have been dead wrong since Wilson became one of the stars of the 2012 NFL season.





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