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The retiring Radford takes the blame for dropping the ball on New Year's Eve

The retiring Radford takes the blame for dropping the ball on New Year's Eve

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Keith Radford

“We got caught off guard,” said Keith Radford of the New Year's Eve delay.

If you thought you heard that WKBW-TV (Channel 7) anchor Keith Radford was planning to retire in June months before he announced it on New Year’s Eve, you’re right.

Radford announced his planned retirement in August, when I ran a column with the headline about several news veterans with the title: “Local TV personalities share their thoughts about retirement.”

Back then, Radford, 69, said he was going to retire on June 30, 2021, and gave his reasons.

“That will be 50 years to the week since I walked into Channel 9 in Windsor/Detroit. … It will also be just short of 34 years here in Buffalo,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky. I’ve never been out of work in all that time, and I got to do what I had always dreamed of as a kid. Besides, maybe people have had enough of me by now? Ha.”

Judging by the praise Radford received on social media after his New Year’s Eve confirmation, people haven’t had enough of him.

However, Radford and co-anchor Ashley Rowe were criticized on social media for failing to be on the ball when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.

The miscommunication was understandable when you consider they were anchoring from the studio and not where the ball drop was occurring in downtown Buffalo where they are normally stationed.

Radford took one for the team. He blamed himself while noting that he couldn’t see the countdown clock while pictures of ball drops at Times Square and in downtown Buffalo were on the split screen.

“We got caught off guard,” said Radford. “It was live, and the pictures didn’t correlate. It was my fault. I didn’t know we wouldn’t be able to see the clock. It wasn’t more than a few seconds. I should have paid more attention to the timing.”

By the way, the decision to announce Radford’s retirement again wasn’t the anchor’s idea.

News director Rob Heverling explained: “Keith has been a host for our New Year’s Eve Ball Drop show for 30-plus years. This was Keith’s last NYE Ball Drop.

“We have a committee that planned our Buffalo Strong NYE show content. We all thought a good moment during the NYE show would be a montage of Keith hosting over the years and allow Keith to briefly reminisce about his NYE experiences over the decades. It was a nice moment. Keith also stated he’s not done yet, he’ll be here till the end of June.

“This was not news. This was not a newscast. This was a moment built into our NYE Ball Drop show that simply made sense.”


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TV Critic

Alan Pergament has had a variety of roles at The News since 1970, including as a news and sports reporter. He has been the TV columnist since 1982, with more than year off for good behavior. He is a member of the national Television Critics Association.

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