By Alan Pergament
Channel 2 sports anchor Ed Kilgore, who celebrated his 40th anniversary at the station three months ago, is leaving the NBC affiliate at the end of the May sweeps to work for a company owned by Buffalo Sabres Owner Terry Pegula.
There had been speculation that Kilgore, who relinquished the 11 p.m. sports shift to Adam Benigni more than a year and a half ago, was in his final year at the station and that Benigni would then take over the 6 p.m. shift as well by the end of the year.
Kilgore, 66, surprised Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner Tuesday by telling him he had gotten an offer from Pegula’s East Management and was going to take it. Channel 2’s release today claimed that “it is important to note that Ed’s position will not involve the Buffalo Sabres, so Ed will continue to objectively cover the Buffalo Sabres during the final weeks of his time at Channel 2.”
“It is truly the end of an era for Buffalo Broadcasting,” said Toellner in Channel 2’s release. “Ed is the last of the TV sports pioneers here. He has been a part of and chronicler of huge changes in media and especially pro sports. A couple sentences are woefully inadequate to summarize his contributions to sports fandom in WNY. We will miss his daily examinations and enthusiasm.”
In a telephone interview, Toellner said that Benigni will add the 6 p.m. shift to his 11 p.m. duties after Kilgore leaves in May and that the station will look for a fourth on-air staffer to replace Kilgore.
In Channel 2’s release, Kilgore said: “Channel 2 has been a huge part of my life. The station is in better shape now than it has ever been. That’s why it’s bittersweet to walk away. But, it’s also okay to walk away now, knowing I was a part of that recent growth.”
Besides anchoring sportscasts, Kilgore was the host of several Bills-related shows and “Bowling for Dollars,” and was the host of Sabres games for a decade when they were carried by Channel 2.
Kilgore graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969. He is a member of the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame and won a New York State Emmy 20 years ago.