Channel 2’s Kevin O’Neill is one happy guy these days.
And I’m not just talking about his on-air announcement Friday morning that he is engaged to be married to a former Channel 2 employee, Jen Radomski.
In a brief interview Friday after doing a feature about the Canalside’s latest attraction, the world’s largest rubber duck, O’Neill said everything is just ducky as far as he is concerned about the realignment of the Channel 2 weather department even though it leaves him out in the cold when it comes to a regular shift.
O’Neill had been the weekend weather anchor of Channel 2’s “Daybreak” since March. Now he’ll do his regular job as a feature reporter for “Daybreak” five days a week, unless he is needed as a weather fill-in.
“For me, there really is not that big of a change,” said O’Neill. “I was always mainly a morning guy and was a fill-in weather guy, and I still am. It is not like I am crestfallen oh, ‘man, I wanted the evening weather gig or I wanted the morning weather gig.’”
“I really think I have the best job in local broadcasting. I have built such a rapport and such a following with the viewers that is just very gratifying to me. What I like about the morning show is I sort of have a normal life. I’m here till 12:30 or 1, go back home and take a nap and then I am up at 2:30 and I was able to raise my child. I was able to go to a Sabre game, to have dinner with my family, I could do all that. And go to bed and wake up at 4 a.m. and do it all over again.
“I feel bad for the evening people. Look at the sacrifices. (Channel 2 anchor) Scott Levin has missed out on so many recitals, and games and dinners with family, Sabre games and other parts of being a Buffalonian. If I had my choice of doing awesome, fun live shots in the morning or doing the evening shift, I’m going to pick the first one.”
“As long as I love my job and people like what I do in my hometown, I don’t see a reason to really change it up. And I’m not bored. I still love my job. I challenge myself every day to find new locations."
The absence of a regular weather gig doesn’t bother him.
“I am going to be filling in for Kevin O’ Connell in a couple of weeks. I am going to do an evening shift for the entire week. I still have a regular chance to do weather. I have a Facebook page with 5,000 followers and a Twitter feed with 5,000 followers. I do weather on that every day.
“I don’t consider like I have been denied a promotion or anything like that. I’m under contract, I’m making the same amount of money, and I have the same awesome job… It is not a huge switcheroo to me.”
The Buffalo Bills’ 21-16 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins Friday night was practically unwatchable. But plenty of Western New Yorkers watched it. The game had a 17.5 rating on Channel 7, which easily made it the top-rated program of the week and one of the highest-rated programs of the summer. Regular season games usually get ratings in the 30s.
Amusingly, three announcer microphones out of four died during the game, with play-by-play man Andrew Catalon losing his a few times. That meant analyst Steve Tasker had to do play-by-play and sideline reporter Mike Catalana was called on to do analysis at times.
Before the game, Chris Brown and Mark Kelso both said on the WGR pregame that they could see the Bills winning 10 games this upcoming season. Gee, and I thought the 8-8 prediction from Sports Illustrated was optimistic. Of course, Brown and Kelso are paid by the Bills.
WGR’s Matthew Coller said a classy and longgggg goodbye on his final appearance on the sports station Friday. The analytics specialist, who is becoming a Minnesota Vikings analyst for 1500 ESPN.com in the Twin Cities, may have a set an unofficial thank you record. I don't have any analytics handy to check.
I was a fan of his expertise but not his voice.
Here’s what I wrote about him in October of 2014 in my assessment of the top 30 most distinctive and recognizable voices in local media: “The sports producer who occasionally does on-air work is as knowledgeable about hockey as anyone, but his weak voice is a distraction.”
Several months later, he was promoted at WGR and praised by local Entercom head Greg Ried: “Matt is quickly becoming a Buffalo sports radio favorite for his passion for analytics, progressive articles and social media presence.”
Clearly, Coller has overcome my criticism of his voice.