Now that the 2016 class of the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame has been announced, it is time to play a game: Who surprisingly hasn’t made it yet?
But first, let’s get to the latest class.
Don Paul. The meteorologist completes a local TV hat trick when he appears on Channel 7 on Sept. 11. It was surprising that it took so long for him to make the hall. Paul, who left Channel 4 in March after 29 years, also worked at Channel 2 for three years.
Larry Norton. The former morning man at 97 Rock had a 40-year radio career. He retired in December.
Tom McCray. Known as Tom Donahue in his long radio career, he used his real name as a SUNY Buffalo State College communication professor. McCray, whose voice is heard on several commercials, returned to Buffalo State last year to teach .
The release announcing the hall noted that McCray is receiving the “Behind-the Scenes” award and “is being honored, not only for his lengthy, award-winning career in broadcasting, but especially his unique role working with several generations of students hoping to gain a foothold in the industry.”
McCray, who as Donahue has been the morning host on WECK since 2008, has taught many people who have gone on to successful broadcasting careers including Channel 2 reporters Claudine Ewing and Dave McKinley, WBEN morning anchor Susan Rose, sports talk hosts Howard Simon and Chris (the “Bulldog”) Parker and former VH-1 President Tom Calderone.
Susan Hunt. The former co-host of “PM Magazine” has since worked on many cable and network reality shows. She also worked in local radio and still appears in local commercials. A pioneer in women’s sports broadcasting, she has several “firsts” on her résumé, including being the creator and host of the first women’s sports program, “LPGA Magazine,” on ESPN. Years earlier, she was hired by Channel 2 as a reporter and anchor during Buffalo Sabres telecasts when the station owned the broadcasting rights.
Steve Zappia. The former producer and director at WKBW-TV during its glory years, Zappia is being inducted in the Al Anscombe Broadcast Management Category. He was involved with Channel 7 from the start of the station, helping to make the old Churchill Tabernacle Building on Main Street become the original home of WKBW-TV. During a lengthy career at Channel 7, Zappia rose from cameraman to head of operations and was part of the team that created the popular “Rocketship 7.”
Nolan Johannes. The late former Channel 7 news anchor was the popular co-host of “Dialing for Dollars” in the 1960s and 1970s before leaving Channel 7 in 1982 to have a long and successful career at a Scranton, Pa. TV station. He died in September 2015 at the age of 81.
The six new members of the Hall will be inducted at a Sept. 29 dinner in the WNED-TV studios. At that time, WBTA Radio in Batavia will be honored for its 75th anniversary and Canisius College journalism student Stephanie Aponte will be presented the Tim Russert Medal of Merit.
Tickets are $50 for Buffalo Broadcasters Association members and $70 for nonmembers and are available at buffalobroadcasters.com
Now on to the hall game. Here’s who I think should be inducted:
• Mike Randall, the Channel 7 meteorologist and reporter who has been at the station for 33 years. Channel 2’s Kevin O’Connell and now Paul have made it, so why not Randall?
• Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner is a North Tonawanda native who started his career at The Buffalo News and also worked at Channels 4 and 7. He has practically done the impossible and made Channel 2 a news powerhouse.
• John Murphy, the former WBEN, Channel 4 and Channel 7 sports anchor and color analyst and play-by-play man of the Buffalo Bills.
• Maryalice Demler is about to celebrate her 23rd anniversary at Channel 2 and worked in local radio before that.
• Joanna Pasceri, the former Channel 7 co-anchor who was at the station for 22 years, nine as the main female anchor.
• Bob Koshinski, a former Channel 7 sports anchor who became general manager of the Empire Sports Network and WNSA-FM and WBBZ-TV.
• John Pauly, the at-times controversial former investigative reporter at Channels 7 and 2, later worked in Philadelphia.
• Sherry Margolis was a former Channel 7 reporter and anchor who left for an anchor job in Detroit.
• Finally, Roger Christian, the smooth-voiced disc jockey who has been on local radio for 40 years, deserves to be in the hall, if only for surviving in that constantly changing business.
I’m sure I am missing many more and hope my readers will weigh in.
Genero gets her wish
Remember last month when I mentioned that Channel 2 weather anchor Maria Genero is sick of working mornings and Patrick Hammer may be moved into the time slot on the popular morning program “Daybreak”?
That move and the realignment of the station’s weather department were revealed Thursday by Toellner.
Genero is moving to weekend “Daybreak” and also is getting a promotion. She almost immediately will be the primary early evening and late news weather anchor on Monday, the weekday that Kevin O’Connell gets off. When O’Connell retires in January, Genero and a new weather hire who has been working at AccuWeather, Heather Waldman, will essentially split the early afternoon and evening shifts from Monday through Sunday.
Jennifer Stanonis moves to Hammer’s weekend night shifts.
Hammer was originally hired to replace O’Connell. However, there was no secret inside the halls of Channel 2 that a parade of meteorologists was being interviewed recently for O’Connell’s position. That led to speculation that Hammer would move to the mornings. The move makes sense. Hammer worked the mornings in Minneapolis for years.
Genero, who supposedly was only a temporary morning fix after Andy Parker bolted to Channel 7 almost two years ago, had told friends she wanted out of those dreadful hours.