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Beard, Christian and Hager highlight new Hall of Fame broadcasting class

Former Channel 2 and 4 anchor John Beard and veteran radio announcer Roger Christian of Star 102.5 head the list of six new members in the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame class of 2018.

The announcement will be made later today at WNED-TV.

Beard worked in Buffalo television for 12 years in two different time periods. He recently ended his 8-year run as co-anchor of WGRZ-TV Channel 2's "Daybreak." It was his second stint in Buffalo after earlier being the lead male anchor at Channel 4 (WIVB-TV) from 1977 through 1981 before becoming a popular anchor in the Los Angeles market.

Christian is the midday announcer at Star 102.5 (WTSS). His smooth voice has been heard on radio for almost 42 years.

He was a teen disc jockey on WYSL-FM (103.3) in 1964 and after graduating from college became an overnight disc jockey at WYSL in 1970. He also has worked at WGRQ (96.9), WBEN/WBEN-FM (Rock 102), which became WMJQ (Majic 102, then Q102) and now Star 102.5.

The other four members of the class may be less known because they spent most of their time away from a microphone or a camera. They are:

John Hager, a Buffalo native who started in the radio business as the program director and morning host at WCJW-AM in Warsaw and was hired by WPHD-FM in 1981 as a weekend host. He is receiving the Al Anscombe Award, presented to a broadcaster who made a lasting impression in a management position.

Hager was promoted to a full time on-air personality at 97 Rock in 1983, became an on-air talent and research director at WCMF-FM in Rochester in 1985 and a year later became program director and afternoon host at WPHD-FM.

In the summer of 1988, he relaunched 97 Rock as its new program director and has served in that role for 30 years.

Tom Langmyer, who started his radio career at WJYE-FM and also worked at WGR-AM, WKBW-AM, WJJL, WBEN AM and FM, is currently as vice president and general manager of E.W. Scripps stations in Milwaukee and has had similar roles for stations in Chicago and St. Louis. He is receiving the Buffalo Bob Smith Award, given to someone from Western New York, or who has worked in this market, but made their mark on the national stage.

At WGR, he was known as "Captain Tom" as the station’s airborne traffic reporter.

Tom Atkins, who has been an engineer for many Buffalo radio stations and national radio groups, is the Behind The Scenes Award honoree .

He has been the Chief Engineer of WYSL AM and FM, (later WPHD); WBLK; WKBW (WWKB), WKSE (Kiss 98.5), WGR, WWWS, WBEN and WTSS (Star 102.5).

He was an on-air personality at WYSL AM and FM in 1976. He was one of only four staff members to keep the station on the air during the Blizzard of '77.

The late Mary Lounsbury was the first woman to be the general manager of a popular and successful Buffalo radio station, from 1956 and continuing until 1980. Lounsbury, who died in 1994 at age 66, is the recipient of the Buffalo Broadcasters Memorial, given to a deceased broadcaster who made a lasting impression in the broadcasting industry.

At age 29, Lounsbury began her broadcasting career in 1956 at WNIA in Cheektowaga. According to the Buffalo Broadcaster release, her official title was "office manager," because having a woman as general manager was unheard of at the time.

Under her guidance, the station with a daytime signal of just 500 watts and a nighttime output half of that, competed against much more powerful stations.

According to the Buffalo Broadcasters release, Lounsbury "was committed to placing new music into the playlist on WNIA, and tried to program just-released records on the air, often before they were played by her competition. She gained a national reputation and became known as a manager who was willing to take a chance on a new artist and/or record.

"Perhaps her greatest legacy lies in the fact that she provided that all-important 'first job in radio' for countless aspiring disc jockeys in the area. She took the time to nurture talent she hired, providing a combination of constructive criticism and personal encouragement. Almost every person she hired has found success and fulfillment in broadcasting or a related career area, and most have treasured 'Mary stories' about how her influence and support helped them grow and advance in their profession."

The Hall of Fame dinner will be held Sept. 27 at WNED-TV.

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