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WKBW-TV
Buffalo, New York
Branding WKBW Channel 7 (general)
Channel 7 Eyewitness News (newscasts)
Slogan Celebrating 50 Years of Your Life
Channels Analog: 7 (VHF)

Digital: 38 (UHF)

Affiliations ABC
Owner Granite Broadcasting Corporation
Licensee WKBW-TV License, Inc.
First air date November 30, 1958
Call letters' meaning We
Know
Buffalo's
Watching
(modified from the original WKBW-AM station slogan:
Well
Known
Bible
Witness)
Transmitter Power 97.7 kW (analog)
358 kW (digital)
Height 434 m (analog)
432.9 m (digital)
Facility ID 54176
Website Channel 7 Eyewitness News' Website

WKBW-TV, Ch. 7, is a TV station in Buffalo, New York. It's the ABC affiliate for the Buffalo TV market & is one of many local Buffalo TV stations seen over-the-air & on cable in Canada. It's transmitter is located @ 8909 Center Street in Colden, New York. The station is currently owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation, who also operates Equity Broadcasting-owned RTN affiliate WNGS under a LMA. For many years, it was carried via microwave to cable systems in such areas as Corning & Horseheads for ABC service; this ended when WENY-TV signed on. WKBW offers a newscast called Eyewitness News

HistoryEdit

The Ch. 7 frequency was hotly contested during the 1950s; the Buffalo Courier-Express & former WBUF-TV owner Sherwin Grossman tried several times to gain rights to the channel (to compete with The Buffalo News' WBEN-TV) but was unable to secure a license. The competition for the channel continued to grow when the city's first UHF station, WBES-TV, failed. Clinton Churchill, original owner of 50,000 watt radio station WKBW-AM 1520 in Buffalo, was granted the license to operate the station in 1957.

WKBW was originally intended to be an independent station. However, when NBC closed it's O&O station, WBUF-TV (now WNED-TV), on September 30, 1958, then-ABC affiliate WGR-TV (now WGRZ-TV) went back to NBC. As a result of the network shuffle, WKBW-TV premiered as ABC's new Buffalo affiliate when it went on the air on November 30, 1958. The station was originally located at 1420 Main Street & remained there until it moved to it's current location @ 7 Broadcast Plaza in downtown Buffalo in 1978.

Churchill sold the WKBW stations to Capital Cities Broadcasting (which later became Capital Cities Communications) in 1961. CapCities would serve as WKBW-TV's longest tenured owner, having owned it & it's radio sister for 25 years & the station would reach it's peak during Capital Cities' ownership. WKBW-TV produced iconic children's programing such as Rocketship 7 & The Commander Tom Show from the 1960s through the 1980s. A staple of it's morning programing for many years was Dialing for Dollars, which later became AM Buffalo after the Dialing for Dollars franchise was discontinued. AM Buffalo still airs today.

When Capital Cities merged with ABC in 1986, it sold WKBW-TV to Queen City Broadcasting, a minority-owned firm, instead of becoming an ABC O&O. At that point WKBW radio was sold to Price Communications & renamed it, WWKB (currently owned by Entercom Communications).

In 1995, Queen City Broadcasting merged with Granite Broadcasting. Granite has since remained WKBW-TV's owner.

Until 2000, lottery drawings were shown on WKBW-TV (they have since moved to WGRZ).

On February 17 2009, when the DTV transition occurs, ch. 7 will be switched from WKBW's analog signal, which will cease broadcasting, to the DT signal of sister station WNGS-TV. WKBW-TV's main signal will continue to broadcast on ch. 38.

News OperationEdit

The Irv, Rick & Tom era (1970-1989)Edit

From 1970 until 2003 & from 2008-present, WKBW called it's news operation "Eyewitness News." However, since the fall of 1972, it borrowed most of the basic elements of the "Action News" format used @ longtime sister station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, combined with the format news director Irv Weinstein developed & called "Rock 'n' Roll Radio News" (modified for TV). It even used Move Closer to Your World, the theme song made famous by WPVI (though it was known by the station as The Eyewitness News Theme). Furthermore, WKBW was a source for much of WPVI's on-air talent.

Weinstein was WKBW's main anchor from 1964 until his retirement in 1998, doubling as news director for most of that time. From 1965-1989, he was partnered with sports director Rick Azar & weatherman Tom Jolls (who did double duty as host of Commander Tom); the 3 formed the longest continuing anchor team in TV history until Azar's retirement in 1989.

The station's morning show, the first in Western New York, began in about 1987 as Good Morning Western New York, which started @ 6 AM ET before moving up to 5:30 AM in 1996. It currently starts @ 5 AM. Between 2000 & 2003 (and from 2008-present), the morning show was known as Eyewitness News This Morning & from 2003-2008 was known as 7 News This Morning. (WKBW's morning show predated by 7 years the next competitor, WIVB-TV, which did not debut it's morning show, Wake Up!, until 1994. WGRZ-TV followed suit with Daybreak in 1996.)

1989 to 2003Edit

From about 1989 until February 1997, the station identified itself as News Channel 7, but kept the Eyewitness News name for posterity, resulting in rather long station announcements (eg. "From WKBW-TV News Channel 7, this is Eyewitness News at 5"). During this era, they also reorchestrated the theme with a more futuristic synthesizer-based version. From 1998-2002, they used the slogan "Your Hometown Advantage."

Eyewitness News had been the most-watched newscast in the Buffalo market for many years & was @ times even more popular in the Toronto market than local Toronto news. Some critics have contended this was due to Canadian viewers' attitudes that local Toronto TV news was "staid" & "boring" as contrasted with WKBW's "tabloid" & "sensational" style of production, with American TV stations approaching local news coverage as a "product" rather than a "public service," as is Canada's tradition. However, in 2000, the Nielsen Ratings system switched the Buffalo market from a diary market to an automatically metered market & in part because of WKBW's inflated reputation (coupled with Weinstein's & Jolls's retirements), eventually rival WIVB overtook the #1 spot, although it was still very much a 3-way battle between the 3 local news stations.

Low point: "7 News" (2003-2008)Edit

WKBW decided to abandon their previous heritage & adopt a new identity, thus bringing the Eyewitness News era to an unceremonious end. The station's newscast were rebranded as 7 News in 2003 & Move Closer to Your World was dropped in favor of a more contemporary piece of news music (Right Here, Right Now by 615 Music). The slogan, from 2002-2008, was the alliterative phrase "Live, Local, Late-Breaking", a phrase that has been used on stations across the country. The cosmetic changes did not appear to restore the station to it's former glory; in fact, the moves appeared to backfire & the station fell to a distant 3rd, behind WIVB & WGRZ, according to Nielsen ratings. Ratings continued to fall even further behind it's rivals as the station celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2008.

From 2006-2007, Ch. 7 also produced a sport show called Sportsnite, a nightly sports talk program hosted by WKBW's sports department, that aired weeknights @ 7 PM ET on WNGS. However, in April 2007, due to very poor ratings despite a barrage of heavy advertising, the Buffalo Sabres being in the playoffs & the upcoming 2007 NFL Draft, Sportsnite was cancelled. WNGS was not available on satellite providers during Sportsnite's run, thus limiting the show's audience.

WKBW suspended both of it's Saturday newscasts in September 2008, during college football season; the station plans to resume those newscasts in December, after football season ends. (In previous years, each newscast was delayed approximately 1 hour in the event of football games.)

Return to Eyewitness News (2008-present)Edit

The station revived Move Closer to Your World for promotions celebrating the station's 50th anniversary, for the intro to breaks during their newscasts. It also reintroduced the theme for the introduction to it's 11 PM newscast on September 19, 2008 (along with the restoration of the Do you know where your children are? speech) & used the Eyewitness News name for it's 2 AM 1-minute news brief. Preliminary results have been promising: due to this & in part due to a cable coverage issue with WIVB, WKBW's newscasts have climbed back to a strong 2nd place, behind WGRZ. On October 22 2008, WKBW news anchors launched what has been described as the "Big Tease", an announcement that an ostensibly top-secret "major change" was coming; although only a few of the senior members of the staff knew about the change, it was widely predicted to be a revival of the Eyewitness News name & classic theme.

On October 27 @ 5 AM, the name Eyewitness News permanently returned to the newscasts, with Laura Gray, Ch. 7's reporter, who was filling in that day for regular Morning & Noon anchor Bridget Blythe & Move Closer to Your World was fully restored to all of the station's newscasts. Nevertheless, the station retained the 2003 studio set & graphics package, @ least for the time being.

WKBW-TV partners with Greater Niagara Newspapers, owners of the Niagara Gazette, Tonawanda News, The Journal-Register & the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, for some of it's news reporting. In addition, Buffalo Business First produces the station's business reports & traffic updates are handled by the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority.

Local programmingEdit

  • AM Buffalo & Buffalo Weekend with Linda Pellegrino - Weekday mornings 10-11 AM & Saturday mornings 9-9:30 AM respectively. The show, which dates back to 1978 after the cancellation of the local version of Dialing for Dollars, features 2 types of segments: "talk segments," similar to talk radio shows where viewers call in & discuss the issues of the day with Pellegrino & paid segments, with paid sponsors as "guests" (for instance, a local attorney such as Herschel Gelber or Steve Boyd (a former Ch. 7 reporter) will appear to give legal advice or insight and to advertise their services, Hughesco will air a home improvement segment, or the local anti-tobacco lobby will come onto the show to discuss their latest campaign). The show only had an "AM" version prior to 2004 & a PM Buffalo version aired between 2004-2008.
  • Polka Time was a polka program that aired during the 1960s. It was hosted by polka legend Frankie Yankovic & a house band known as "The New Yorkers" during it's first season; Yankovic, who commuted from Cleveland, left the show after 26 weeks. The New Yorkers revived the show a few years later with various guest stars.
  • Rocketship 7, a morning children's show, was hosted by weatherman Dave Thomas (a.k.a. "Dave Roberts" of WPVI, born David Thomas Boreanaz, father of actor David Boreanaz) & "Promo the Robot" from 1962 until Thomas left the station for Philadelphia's WPVI-TV in 1978 (changing his on-air moniker to Dave Roberts in the process). Thomas also hosted Dialing for Dollars which became AM Buffalo in the mid-1970s.
  • The Commander Tom Show was an afternoon children's show hosted by another WKBW weatherman, Tom Jolls from 1965 until budget cuts forced it's cancellation in 1991. In it's last decade, the show aired on weekends only.
  • A revival of Rocketship 7 aired from 1992-1993 immediately after "Commander Tom" was cancelled; this version, effectively a retooled version of "Commander Tom" with new hosts, featured Commander Mike (Randall) & sidekick "Yeoman Bob," with guest appearances by Commander Tom.
  • Off Beat Cinema, a collection of offbeat B-movies, was created @ WKBW in 1993 & features Buffalo native "Airborne Eddy" Dobosiewicz as the beatnik host "Maxwell Truth". Through independent syndication efforts the show has become a cult hit throughout the US & Canada. It airs locally Saturdays in the late night hours & reruns of the series are also syndicated to RTN nationally, where it airs around the same time.
  • 97 Rock Ball Drop is an annual tradition held on New Year's Eve. Billed as the 2nd-largest New Year's Eve ball drop in the US (behind only the more famous Times Square Ball), the event is televised in synchronized split screen alongside Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve & has been carried by the station since 1988.
  • Buffalo Bills football - WKBW-TV is the "Home of the Bills" & airs both it's preseason games & any games carried on a cable outlet (ESPN or, if the situation arose, NFL Network).

Syndicated programmingEdit

WKBW currently carries comparatively little syndicated programming, instead opting for the AM Buffalo programs & infomercials. Live with Regis & Kelly, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Doctors & the weekend talk show House Smarts with Lou Manfredini are the station's syndicated offerings.

Internet initiativesEdit

WKBW has been proactive in it's ventures on the Internet. The station was among the first in Western New York to launch a Web site in the mid-1990s. More recently, it was the first to offer RSS feeds & podcasts.

WKBW streams it's noon newscasts via live video on the Internet, 1 of the few major network affiliates to offer a video stream. (The video feed is no longer linked on WKBW.com as of April 2007 but is still in operation (video feed).) On demand video of newscasts is also available.

WKBW redesigned it's Web site in April 2007, adding the user-generated content system YouNews TV, a YouTube-like video hosting service centered around news in the Buffalo area.

Financial difficulties & infomercialsEdit

Granite Broadcasting, WKBW's owner, filed for bankruptcy in 2006; as a result, the station group as a whole has been hit hard by financial difficulties. Long time anchors have either been dismissed or seen significant pay cuts. The station is the only 1 in the market that does not produce a 10 PM newscast, nor does it produce a weekend morning newscast, while the other 2 stations in the market have both. Furthermore, effective September 2008, the station no longer even offers any newscast on Saturdays, however both newscasts on Saturdays will return in December 2008. The station has fewer meteorologists, full-time sports anchors & reporters than other stations in the market. Regularly scheduled programming was, for a time in early 2008, increasingly being replaced by infomercials, mostly prime time network & syndicated programs, although this practice was abandoned prior to the May 2008 sweeps.

Since January 31 2008, union employees @ that station who work as producers, engineers, reporters, photographers & assignment desk editors, have been working without a contract. Talks have been ongoing between Nabet Local 25 & the management @ WKBW-TV.

NewscastsEdit

SchedulingEdit

Unlike most TV stations, where 1 team handles Mondays through Fridays & the other Saturdays & Sundays, WKBW staggers their evening personnel. The main anchor team (Keith Radford & Joanna Pasceri) anchors Monday through Friday & during sweeps, also on Sunday. Ginger Geoffrey anchors solo on Saturdays & all other Sundays. On weather, Mike Randall anchors Sunday through Thursday, with Jennifer Stanonis covering Friday & Saturday.

The fill-in anchors also have their own schedules. Laura Gray is always the fill-in anchor when Bridget Blythe is absent. In weather, Stanonis fills in for Aaron Mentkowski & Dave Cash for either evening anchor (Cash, morning traffic reporter & Stanonis, a general assignment reporter, have other positions in the newscast that require this arrangement.) Taney & Geoffrey usually fill in for Radford & Pasceri.

Eyewitness News This MorningEdit

  • Bridget Blythe: News
  • Aaron Mentkowski: Weather
  • Laura Gray: Live Reports
  • Elizabeth Carey: Business First Reports
  • Dave Cash: NFTA Traffic & Transit Updates

Eyewitness News @ NoonEdit

  • Bridget Blythe: News
  • Aaron Mentkowski: Weather

Eyewitness News @ 5Edit

  • Keith Radford: News
  • Joanna Paceri: News
  • Mike Randall: Weather

Eyewitness News @ 5:30Edit

  • Patrick Taney: News
  • Mike Randall: Weather
  • Joanna Paceri: Your Health Matters Reports
  • Jeff Russo: Eyewitness Sports

Eyewitness News @ 6Edit

  • Keith Radford: News
  • Joanna Paceri: News
  • Mike Randall: Weather
  • Jeff Russo: Eyewitness Sports

Eyewitness News @ 11Edit

  • Keith Radford: News
  • Joanna Paceri: News
  • Mike Randall: Weather
  • Jeff Russo: Eyewitness Sports

Eyewitness News WeekendEdit

  • Ginger Geoffrey: News
  • Jennifer Stanonis: Weather
  • Shawn Stepner: Eyewitness Sports

SlogansEdit

  • "If it burns, blows up or bleeds, we'll be there": Unofficial, 1970s.
  • "Come on home to your family": 1982
  • "Expect The Best": 1980's
  • "Your Hometown Team": 1991-1995
  • "Your Hometown Advantage": 1997-2002
  • "The Power of Information": 2002-2003
  • "Live, Local, Late Breaking": 2003-2008
  • "Celebrating 50 Years of Your Life": 2008-Present
  • "Do You Know Where Your Children Are?": 1960s-2003, 2008-present. Was reintroduced on 9/19/08 & is used before the start of the 11 PM news.

PersonalitiesEdit

News AnchorsEdit

  • Keith Radford - Joined 1987, Ch. 7 Eyewitness News @ 5, 6 & 11 PM
  • Joanna Pasceri - Joined 1993 as a producer, Promoted to a reporter/anchor in 1997, Ch. 7 Eyewitness News @ 5, 6 & 11 PM
  • Patrick Taney - Joined 2007, Ch. 7 Eyewitness News @ 5:30 PM
  • Bridget Blythe - Joined 2005, Ch. 7 Eyewitness News This Morning & Noon
  • Ginger Geoffrey - Joined 2004, Ch. 7 Eyewitness News Weekend

Sports Anchors & AnalystsEdit

  • Jeff Russo - Joined 2004, Sports Director
  • Shawn Stepner - Joined 2007, Weekend Sports & Host of Sunday Sports Final
  • Tim Schmitt - Joined 2006, Monday morning analyst & fill-in anchor (on loan from the Niagara Gazette)
  • Vic Carucci - Sunday night analyst during NFL season (Carucci is the editor of NFL.com)
  • Jeff Nixon - Monday morning AM Buffalo analyst during NFL season

WeatherEdit

  • Mike Randall - Joined 1983, Chief Meteorologist, Sunday-Thursday @ 5, 6 & 11 (NWA Seal of Approval)
  • Aaron Mentkowski - Joined 2000, Meteorologist, This Morning & Noon (AMS Seal of Approval)
  • Jennifer Stanonis - Joined 2005, Weather Anchor, Friday @ 5, 6 & 11 (also Saturday, when aired)
  • Dave Cash - Weather Anchor, emergency fill-in

News ReportersEdit

  • Steve Barber - Joined 2006
  • John Borsa - Joined 2003
  • Julie Fine - Joined 2002
  • Laura Gray - Joined 2006
  • Sharon Osorio - Joined 2000, left 2003, returned 2006
  • Jenny Rizzo - Joined 2007
  • Elizabeth Carey - Joined 1999 (business, by agreement with Business First)
  • Kyla Igoe - Joined 2007
  • Adam Francis - Joined 2006
  • Jennifer Stanonis - Began general assignment reporting in 2008

In addition, WKBW considers the ABC News reporters used on their local newscasts as "Eyewitness News correspondents," though they are not on the WKBW payroll.

Traffic ReportersEdit

  • Dave Cash - Weekday mornings/Fill-in weather
  • Leia Militello - Weeknights @ 5 PM

AM BuffaloEdit

  • Linda Pellegrino, joined station prior to 1990, also previously a weather anchor
  • Jon Summers, joined station prior to 1983, previously the station's announcer
  • John DiScuillo (fill-in, DiScuillo is the station's program director)

Pellegrino & Summers were forced to quit their other news positions after AM Buffalo became a production of the station's sales department.

AnnouncersEdit

  • Jon Summers - commercials, 1983-present (also newscasts from 1983-2003)
  • John Young - newscasts, 2003-present

Notable AlumniEdit

  • Tom Jolls, Weather Forecaster/Commander Tom Show (as Commander Tom - 1965-1991), announcer (1965-1999). Retired.
  • Irv Weinstein, reporter/anchor (1964-1998). Retired.
  • Rick Azar, Sports (1958-1989). First voice ever heard on WKBW as he signed on the station in 1958. Station's Sports Director for 28 years. Now @ WLHC.
  • Jerry Azar - Hired in 1989 & served as 11 PM sports anchor for 3 years. No relation to Rick Azar.
  • Rick Zurak - (1989-1991) - Sports - Weekend sports anchor for 3 years before starting his own golf store & is now the head of the New York State Junior Golf Tour & Rick Zurak's Golf Warehouse.
  • Bob Koshinski - (1983-1991) - Sports - Named station's second Sports Director in 1989. Moved on to the Empire Sports Network where he served as General Manager & then created all-sports radio station WNSA-FM in 2000.
  • Danny Neaverth - 1970s - Weather. Better known as a disc jockey; now retired.
  • Kathleen Leighton, News (1989-2001); now does work as a voice talent in political ads, primarily for the Republican Party.
  • Andy Parker, Meteorologist, Good Morning WNY, Eyewitenss News (1992-2000). Now @ WGRZ.
  • Maria Genero, Co-anchor of the 5 PM News (2001-2004). Co-anchor of Eyewitness News This Morning, Eyewitness News @ Noon/7 News This Morning, 7 News @ Noon, now host of WNY Living! @ rival WGRZ-TV.
  • Jim Gardner (1974-1976) Anchor, left for WPVI
  • Dave Thomas, Dialing for Dollars/Rocketship 7 (1960s - 1978, promoted to WPVI-TV under the alias "Dave Roberts")
  • Nolan Johannes, co-host of Dialing for Dollars (1960s - 1978, left for WNEP-TV in Scranton, PA)
  • Liz Dribben, co-host of Dialing for Dollars (1960s - 1978)
  • Clip Smith (1971-1989) Sports/Weather - Died in a car crash in August 2004
  • Tim Fleischer - (1978-1982) Now @ WABC-TV in New York
  • Mark Thompson - Now a FOX announcer
  • Michael Evans - reporter (1988-1991; now @ WPVI-TV in Philadelphia)
  • Susan Banks - 1977-1981, 1990-December 13, 2006. Banks' sudden retirement from WKBW came just 2 days after an announcement was made that the station's owner, Granite Broadcasting, had filed for bankruptcy protection. Banks was 1 of the highest paid TV personalities in the Buffalo market.
  • John Winston - 1970s & 1980s. Reporter, first African-American TV personality in the Buffalo market. Retired.
  • Ann Edwards - First anchor of Good Morning Western New York, left to create own real estate company.
  • Sheila Mahoney - Reporter/anchor, 1988-circa 1997. Originally a weekend anchor, Mahoney went on maternity leave in the early 1990s & then returned as anchor of the morning newscast, "Good Morning Western New York," before leaving on maternity again in the mid 1990s & not returning.
  • Jean Hill - longtime weekend anchor, later moved to mornings after the departure of Mahoney & Leighton. Left in the 1990s & currently works as vice president of Corporate Communications @ M&T Bank in Buffalo.
  • Steve Boyd - another longtime weekend anchor, left in the 1990s to pursue law. He is now a personal injury attorney & still occasionally appears on AM Buffalo.
  • Ken Houston - 2004-2006 5:30 anchor/ 11 PM reporter. Now at Bridges News
  • Pete Kenworthy - WNY Live reporter 2003/7 News This morning anchor 2004-March 23, 2007.
  • Don Polec - Feature/Funny man for the station in the 1980s, before leaving for WPVI-TV.
  • Stefan Mychaijliw - Former host of Good Morning Western New York, was recently @ WGRZ-TV & currently serves as spokesman for Buffalo Public Schools.
  • Don Postles - Former co-anchor with Irv Weinstein, now the head anchor of rival WIVB-TV's nightly newscast.
  • Luke Moretti - Anchor, 1990s - Now an investigative reporter @ WIVB-TV.
  • John Murphy - 1989-September 16, 2007. Murphy was a part time anchor until 1992 when he was named sports director, 1 year after Koshinski vacated the position to join Empire Sports Network. Served as the station's sports anchor for 18 years. A contract dispute, in which Murphy was reportedly expected to take a 20% pay cut, led to his departure. Now @ WIVB-TV.
  • John Kosich - Anchor of "Good Morning Western New York" - 1990s. (Not to be confused with John Kasich)
  • Mary Travers - "Action 7" consumer reporter. Now known as Mary Travers-Murphy & is the town supervisor of Orchard Park.
  • Aaron Baskerville - 2004-2007, left for CLTV
  • Erika Von Tiehl - 2005-2007 - reporter/morning anchor. Left to anchor @ WFOR-TV in Miami.
  • Grace Polanski - 2002-2004 - WNY Live Anchor, now @ FOX 21 News @ 9 weekends - Colorado
  • Helen Tederous - 1997-2005 - Reporter & also PM Buffalo co-host
  • Linda White - 2002-2004 - First anchor of WNY Live, then weekend anchor, now @ WVTM-TV in Birmingham.
  • Kristin Wedemeyer - 2001-2004 - Weekend "weather forecaster"/meteorologist
  • Pat Tomasulo - 2003-2006 - Fill-in sports anchor, now @ WGN-TV
  • Joe Major - Weekend sports anchor circa 2000. Weekend news anchor, Sabres & Bills beat reporter on WECK.
  • Jerry Azar - Sports anchor from the late 1980s-mid 1990's. No relation to Rick Azar. Now @ WBBR.
  • Tracy Humphrey - Weather Anchor - 1998-2000. Later weekend weather @ WNYW (2003-2007), now morning/noon weather anchor @ CBS 5 (KPIX) in San Francisco.
  • Melanie Pritchard - Anchor & reporter, 1997-2008. Left to pursue a career in real estate.

TriviaEdit

  • The station has laid claim to being the first station to use the phrase "It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?" According to lore, beginning the 11 PM Newscast with the phrase originated in the early 1960s & was the idea of a local news viewer in Buffalo, who proposed the idea to Irv Weinstein, who later approved of the idea. The viewer was not paid for the slogan, which is now used by many stations across the country (although ironically, WKBW, during its ill-fated 2003 image restructuring, dropped the phrase until 2008). The phrase is also attributed to WNEW-TV; the station began using a similar phrase for that station's 10 PM newscast @ approximately the same time.
  • WKBW was a sister station to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia for many years. As a result, many of WKBW's personnel were promoted to WPVI, including Jim Gardner, Dave Thomas, Don Polec & Jeff Kaye. Also, the 2 stations had similar styles to their newscasts, including identical theme songs (Move Closer to Your World by Al Ham). The 2 stations were split up in 1988 when ABC bought WKBW's & WPVI's parent company; because of the larger market, ABC decided to keep WPVI & spin off WKBW to local ownership (WKBW is now owned by Granite Broadcasting; WPVI remains owned by ABC).
  • Former Rocketship 7 host Dave Roberts (born David Thomas Boreanaz), now principal weathercaster on ABC-owned WPVI in Philadelphia, is the father of actor David Boreanaz, formerly star of the "Angel" spinoff from "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" & now star of the FOX network series "Bones".
  • The station was featured in the movie Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey & Jennifer Aniston. In the movie, Carrey's character was a reporter for Eyewitness News before getting fired & was then reinstated as it's main anchor. He finds a new meaning for the station's call letters as he is thrown out of building, Wimpy Kiddy Baby Whiners. Additionally, WKBW sports reporter John Murphy was the only real member from the station featured in the movie; he was shown on Bruce's TV in the beginning. The station was featured @ the beginning of Evan Almighty, the sequel to Bruce Almighty, with Steve Carell as the outgoing anchorman for Eyewitness News. A WKBW crew is also shown later in the film.
  • Irv Weinstein, Tom Jolls & Rick Azar hold the record for the 2nd longest on air anchor team from 1965-1989. Dick Nourse, Bob Welti & Paul James, from Salt Lake City's KSL-TV hold the record for the longest on-air anchor team, from 1965-1991.
  • Liz Dribben, in addition to being co-host of "Dialing for Dollars", was 1 of the 1st female journalists in the country. Dribben got her start @ WKBW-TV in 1959 as a publicist.
  • WKBW was once the top rated ABC-affiliated station in the country. A number of factors contributed to this. Cynics will point to the fact that WKBW's prime location on the VHF portion of the dial, in an era when most ABC affiliates were weaker UHF stations, was the cause of this. However, in recent years, rivals WGRZ-TV & WIVB-TV have earned similar accolades for their news broadcasts, which would indicate that Buffalo residents generally watch more local TV than other markets.
  • The Annual Variety Club Telethon is the longest running locally produced telethon in the country. Originally 24 hours in length, it was shortened to 12 hours in 2006.
  • Irv Weinstein's first name is actually "Irwin".
  • The first studios for WKBW-TV (@ 1420 Main Street) were converted in 1958 from a church, original station owner Clinton Churchill's Tabernacle. The building now once again houses a Religious Organization. Fellowship Christian Center, ironically is home to WHLD-AM 1270, the region's first & only 24-hour black gospel radio station, pioneered by local pastor, radio & TV broadcaster, John H. Young, Sr. The tower that once held the microwave relay antenna sending programming to the station's transmitter in Colden, NY remains atop the roof. The former studios have been reconverted back into their original use as a worship center.
  • Many Canadian born stars grew up watching & have fond memories @ WKBW-TV & have mentioned it from time to time in various local & national interviews including Mike Myers, Howie Mandel, John Candy & Jim Carrey (the aforementioned star of Bruce Almighty). WKBW anchorman Irv Weinstein was 1 of the inspirations for Eugene Levy's SCTV character Earl Camembert.
  • Former Eyewitness News reporter Stefan Mychajliw was the first journalist to ask Hillary Clinton about her marital intentions with President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
  • WKBW has had the same call signs throughout it's entire existence. It's the only VHF station in Buffalo that can make that claim (WUTV, a UHF station, also has had the same calls) & has held it's calls longer than any other station in the Buffalo market.
  • WKBW meteorologist Mike Randall is known for his impersonations of Mark Twain & performs in character @ events around the Western New York region. He has his own YouTube channel @ [1].

Newscast NamesEdit

  • Eyewitness News/Channel 7 Eyewitness News, 1970-1989, 1995-2003 & 2008-present
  • News Channel 7's Eyewitness News, 1991-1995
  • 7 News, September 8th, 2003-October 26th, 2008

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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