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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Van out, Al in

    May 24, 1972 -- This was a rather historic day in Western New York sports radio history. Van Miller was out as the Bills' play-by-play man.

    It was quite a shock at the time to hear that announcement. The Bills switched flagship stations of their radio network from WBEN to WKBW. Miller had been the only broadcaster the Bills had ever had, dating way back to 1960. So a new voice on the games was almost traumatic.

    Al Meltzer made the trip up from Philadelphia to do the games until 1976, with Rick Azar and Ed Rutkowski serving as his sidekicks. It was something of a return for Meltzer, who was one of the most beloved sports voices in Philadelphia history. He had come to that city in 1964 after working at WEBR in Buffalo.

   Miller stayed with WBEN and did the Buffalo Braves basketball team. But he missed some serious fun on the job Ô it was Meltzer who got to describe O.J. Simpson's 2,003-yard season in 1973 and playoff game in 1974.

   Then the Bills went back to WBEN in 1977, and Miller was waiting for them. He served as the team's announcer until his retirement after the 2003 season.

--- Budd Bailey 


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.