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Ch.7 signs new reporter away from the Bills; Finale scores in ratings

By Alan Pergament

Channel 7, the official station of the Buffalo Bills, has hired Hannah Buehler away from the National Football League team.

General Manager Mike Nurse confirmed that Buehler will be a multi-media journalist for the ABC affiliate after working for the Bills for two years. She handled community outreach and was heavly involved in social media for the team.

A 2011 graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Buehler is a Western New York native and  former Channel 7 intern. She begins her new job on Jan.13.

While working for the NFL team, she has been on Channel 7 in the morning doing features about the Bills in the community.

Speaking of the Bills, their 34-20 season-ending loss to the New England Patriots Sunday had a 29.0 rating on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate. It didn't approach the ratings for games earlier in the season, but the game still was the highest-rated program of the week by far in WNY.

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Hamlisch program is a New Year's Eve winner

 By Alan Pergament

During one of his numerous talk show appearances replayed on tonight’s American Masters program on WNED-TV, Marvin Hamiisch suggested to an interviewer that there was a good reason that there is "ham" in his last name.

Throughout the 90 minutes of "Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love," you can see why the late principal pops conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic would say that.

And you can see why I suggested last week that if you didn't see Hamlisch perform with the BPO here, you’ll regret it after you see how funny, delightful and appealing the famed ham and composer of "A Chorus Line," "They're Playing Our Song" and numerous shows and movie tunes was before any audience.

Continue reading "Hamlisch program is a New Year's Eve winner" »

Ch.4's 10 O'Clock News on WNLO expanding to an hour

By Alan Pergament

Starting next Monday, Channel 4's top-rated 10 O'Clock News on sister station WNLO-TV is expanding from 30 minutes to an hour.

Why?

I doubt that viewers have been clamoring for the extra 30 minutes of news before the 11 p.m. news on Channel 4 because sometimes it isn't easy filling 30 minutes of significant news at 10 p.m.

More likely, the expansion is partly designed to sell more local advertising than Channel 4 can sell on the 30-minute syndicated program that has followed the 10 p.m. news on WNLO for years, and partly to promote segments by the station's specialists.

Continue reading "Ch.4's 10 O'Clock News on WNLO expanding to an hour" »

Lockport policeman plans new low power TV channels

By Alan Pergament

A Lockport police officer who nearly died a decade ago in a shootout is behind a low power TV station that may debut as many as six channels as early as Feb.1.

Steven Ritchie was granted FCC approval to take over the license for WBXZ-TV, Channel 56, in August after purchasing it from a Syracuse owner of several low power stations for $25,000.

Ritchie said the station has been around for about 20 years and has carried home shopping and music channels before.

He has bigger plans. His goal is to carry five or six standard definitions channels by next month if weather permits the installation of the equipment needed to send them from a tower on top of the HSBC building in downtown Buffalo.

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A TV Christmas story for those looking for jobs

By Alan Pergament

I received an email the day after Christmas that I thought might be encouraging to all the people who may have lost their jobs recently and are looking for new ones.

The release came from Channel 2's Dan Meyers and was about his own promotion as the station's marketing and promotions director.

Or as he put it: "Attached is a release about me (which is kind of odd for me to be doing)."

After I laughed, the release made me think back to a year ago when Meyers was released by Channel 4 from the same job title after working there for 12 years and the CBS affiliate for 23 years.

Continue reading "A TV Christmas story for those looking for jobs" »

TV leftovers after the holiday

 By Alan Pergament

Some leftovers after the mid-week holiday:

The University at Buffalo football team was on its way to an impressive local rating on ESPN during the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against San Diego State when disaster struck before halftime in a 49-24 loss.

The game averaged a double-digit rating for an hour in the first half and peaked at a 12.4 at 7 p.m.

But after San Diego State took a 28-10 halftime lead, local viewers left in droves and the game finished with a 6.4 rating. That's about what the Buffalo Sabres have been averaging for many games this season.

Continue reading "TV leftovers after the holiday" »

Ch.2's Toellner is honored by trade publication

By Alan Pergament

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner has been named the general manager of the year for stations in markets No.51-100 by the trade publication Broadcasting & Cable.

B&C noted that WGRZ "has moved from also-ran to market leader" under Toellner.

A Western New York native and graduate of the University at Buffalo, Toellner has been the station's general manager for more than 10 years.

Continue reading "Ch.2's Toellner is honored by trade publication" »

WNED delays PBS celebration of Hamlisch until New Year's Eve

By Alan Pergament

Many local fans of Marvin Hamlisch have been waiting for the American Masters tribute to the late  principal pops conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra scheduled nationally for this Friday night.

They'll have to wait longer here to see the 90-minute celebration, "Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love."

WNED-TV, the local PBS affiliate that is known for occasionally and annoyingly playing programs at a different time than the national schedule, is delaying the Hamlisch special for four nights.

Continue reading "WNED delays PBS celebration of Hamlisch until New Year's Eve " »

Ch.2 putting news replays on new digital weather, sports channel

By Alan Pergament

You might think that local news devotes enough time to local weather, especially after all the warnings about flooding, rain and freezing rain the past few days from Channel 2's Kevin O'Connell, Channel 4's Don Paul, Channel 7's Aaron Mentkowski and their backups.

But be prepared for constant weather reports from Channel 2 on one of its three digital channels.

Starting by the end of the end of this year or in January, local and national weather will be the primary focus of a digital channel that also will  air repeats of the station's 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts and University at Buffalo sports programming.

The news of the arrival of "Storm Team 2 Weather Nation" comes several weeks after Time Warner Cable announced in a legal notice that Channel 2 was adding a new digital channel, 2.3, after already using 2.2 to carry classic television programming from Antenna TV.

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner has confirmed that the plan now is to air a 24-hour weather channel on 2.2 except when it is preempted by local programming.

The local programming will include a replay of Channel 2's 6 p.m. news at 7 p.m. and a repeat of the 11 p.m. news at midnight on 2.2. In addition, recorded local weather segments featuring Kevin O'Connell, Andy Parker and the station's entire weather team will air every 10 minutes.

UB sports programming, including several men's basketball games, also will appear on 2.2, which is carried by TWC and can be received over the air on newer TV sets without it.

Antenna TV fans shouldn't worry. "Mr. Ed," "Bewitched," "I Dream of Jeannie" and all the old movies are  just moving to 2.3, the new digital channel.

The importance of weather is undisputed by news consultants but in my view the best part of this realignment is the replay of the local newscasts on 2.2, especially at 7 p.m. There are times when many people get home from work too late to catch the 6 p.m. news and likely would be happy to get the 7 p.m. alternative.

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Bills game isn't completely blacked out today

By Alan Pergament

As anyone with the NFL RedZone knows, the Buffalo Bills game with the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. today won't be completely blacked out.

The channel, which is part of Time Warner Cable's Sports Pass, is produced by the NFL Network and switches to every Sunday game when teams get inside the 20-yard line.

So if quarterback Thad Lewis drives the Bills inside the Miami 20 or Ryan Tannehill drives the Dolphins inside the Bills 20, RedZone will take you to the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The RedZone also carries every touchdown scored today.

There is a catch. To get the Red Zone, you have to pay $8.99 per month for Sports Pass. But that isn't close to what a ticket for the game would be and Sports Pass also includes several other channels, including the NHL Network.

I signed up for it today and was assured by a TWC representative that today's coverage would include the blacked-out Bills games.

The good news is if you don't want to keep the Sports Pass, you can cancel it at any time. In other words, you can watch it today and cancel it Monday if you don't instantly love it. In other words, it might cost you as little as 30 cents for one day.

I am also told the RedZone Channel is available on Verizon's FiOS and DirecTV has long had its own version of the channel.

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