Dan Neaverth’s insane interest in the commonplace contributed to his longevity on the air and in life. At 77, the retired broadcaster is youthful, really very shy and – listen to this – he appreciates snow. In fact, he is certain that snow helped power his career through 40 years on WKBW-AM and WHTT-FM.
He was a morning man who not only woke people up, but got them to work with a smile on their faces – no matter what the weather. In a city where media personalities are treated like family, Neaverth became embedded in the community. He called games for the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Braves. He recorded a wildly popular novelty single called “Rats in My Room” with Joey Reynolds. At one time, Neaverth was thought to be the highest paid DJ in the city.
The only child of a South Buffalo banker and a stay-at-home mom, Neaverth graduated from Bishop Timon High School. His marriage to Marie Seifert in 1958 produced four sons, including his namesake, Dan Jr. The Neaverths, who live in Orchard Park, have a platoon of grandchildren.
People Talk: Do any broadcasters today turn your head?
Dan Neaverth Sr.: Disc jockey-wise? Not really. I mean there are still some talented people. Sandy Beach is a good friend. I go on his show occasionally. Shredd and Ragan, I think are very talented. I don’t listen to much radio.
PT: You get in your car. What do you listen to?
DN: Sandy Beach, Tom Bauerle and country music on satellite, and I’ll listen to WBEN for news.
PT: Do you really like snow?
DN: I really enjoy the weather. In fact, it did a lot for my career. The Blizzard of ’77 and all the storms worked out to promote me – really – because everyone would ask: “How did you ever get there so early in the morning? The roads were horrible.” I’m a last-minute person, too. My show started at 6. My theme was already playing, and I’m not in the studio yet. I’m still coming out of my car.
PT: You were coming from the Southtowns?
DN: Yes. And many times I could not see a thing. One time there was a huge state plow on the road ahead of me, and I decided to follow him. He’s going out South Park and that’s where I want to go. All of a sudden he stops so I stop, and we’re not going anywhere. So I leave my car. He’s sitting up in his cab, and I tap the window, and I ask him what was going on. He said he couldn’t see anything – so we sat there. The weather never bothered me. If I was late, the disc jockey who did the all-night show would just work a little longer.
PT: Do you consider yourself retired?
DN: Yeah. The thing is I don’t want to work full time anymore, but WBBZ wanted me to put something together – a show called “I Didn’t Know That.” For example, in West Seneca off Transit Road and near Eighteen-Mile Creek, there’s like a big cage a person could fit into, and it’s on a cable going from one side of the creek to the other. I checked into it. It’s something to do with the geological survey to gauge the depth of the water. Stuff like that.
PT: You were the Bills announcer?
DN: I was the Bills announcer, the Braves announcer. Interesting story: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was Lew Alcindor, came to Buffalo to play the Braves. It was just after he changed his name. He was huge, and every time he scored a basket I said: “Basket by Jabbar.” During a timeout he comes walking over, and I’m sitting down. “Hey, Mr. Announcer Man,” he said. “The name is Abdul-Jabbar.” I answered: “And my name isn’t Mr. Announcer Man.” I thought he was going to hit me.
PT: How’s your health?
DN: I’m the Bionic Man. I have a pacemaker, hearing aids, an artificial knee and a bulging disc in my back.
PT: You are a regular at the gym.
DN: Three days a week. I ride five and a half miles on the bike. I lift weights, do push-ups. I can do a push-up and clap my hands. I’ll show you.