Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Ch.7 adds third member of sports team; Critics honor "Good Wife"

 By Alan Pergament

It may be last in local news, but Channel 7 beat Channel 4 at something.

While Channel 4 keeps looking for a third member of its sports team, Channel 7 has found its replacement for Allen Leight, who now works for the Buffalo Sabres.

Nick Filipowski arrives at the E. W. Scripps station from KTIV in Sioux City, Iowa, where he has been a weekend sports anchor and reporter. He moves from the 147th TV market to the No. 52 market.

Here is what he says about himself in his KTIV bio: "Growing up in a military family, I lived in eight states and in Japan for eight years.  Moving and living in different places, and experiencing new cultures allowed me to gain a better understanding of sports and the stories that drive the business."

"After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I spent the next few months selling shoes for New Balance,  before landing my first job as the Weekend Sports Anchor at KNOP-TV in North Platte, Nebraska.

"I love the Yankees, Nets and Broncos. Yes, I bleed Husker red."

The Broncos? Channel 7 will have to talk to him about that. 

He doesn't arrive until mid-August, which means the station will have to cover the Buffalo Bills training camp with Sports Director Jeff Russo and backup Shawn Stepner.

Channel 4, which lost sports producer Jay Harris to John Murphy's Buffalo Bills radio show on WGR and only has two on-air sports staffers in Steve Vesey and Lauren Brill, has been looking for a third member of the sports staff for weeks. However, the station is often slow to fill positions.

In another sports note, John Hager, program director of 97 Rock and Sports Radio 1270 The Fan,  wouldn't say if 1270 is interested in carrying Syracuse University football and basketball now that ESPN 1520 has dropped the Orange in favor of a new deal with the University at Buffalo.

But he did't rule it out, either.

"We are looking at several options to replace UB sports, and should have an announcement soon," Hager said in an email.

Finally, "The Good Wife" may have been ignored in the best drama category of the Emmys, but the Television Critics Association honored the CBS series for "outstanding achievement in drama" at its annual awards Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Here are some other TCA winners:

"Breaking Bad" of AMC as the program of the year.

Matthew McConaughey of HBO's "True Detective" for individual achievement in drama.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus of HBO's "Veep" for individual achievement in comedy.

"COSMOS: A Space Time Odyssey"  on Fox for outstanding achievement in news and informational programming.

"RuPaul's Drag Race" on LOGO for outstanding achievement in reality programming.

"The Fosters'" on ABC Family  for outstanding achievement in youth programming.

"Orange is the New Black" on Netflix for outstanding new program.

"True Detective" for  outstanding achievement in movies, miniseries and specials.

"Veep" and "Louie" (Fx)for outstanding achievement in comedy.

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" earned the Herritage Award and director James Burrows earned the Career Achievement Award.  

UB deal means Syracuse is being dropped from ESPN 1520

By Alan Pergament

The move of University at Buffalo football and basketball radio broadcasts from Sports Radio 1270 The Fan to ESPN 1520 won't make every local college sports fan happy.

That's because it means that Syracuse University games in those sports no longer will be carried by the 50,000 watt station where UB is headed in a move that will increase the exposure of its athletic program.

Greg Ried, the general manager of ESPN 1520 and all local Entercom stations, confirmed Thursday night that Syracuse is being dropped.

"ESPN 1520 will be exclusive to UB sports as far as full season coverage," wrote Ried in an email.

Asked if that meant Syracuse games wouldn't be carried on any Entercom station -- it also owns WGR and WBEN -- Ried wrote: "As of right now we will not."

That would seem to leave an opening for 1270 The Fan to carry the Orange if Syracuse is willing to go on a station affiliated with CBS Sports Radio that only operates with 1,000 watts at night and 5,000 in the daytime.

I reached out to a 1270 representative Thursday night to see if the station would be interested in carrying Syracuse and will report when I hear back.

While Entercom's decision to carry the local college team is commendable and understandable, you could have a lively debate here whether there is more local interest in UB basketball or Syracuse basketball.

There are a lot of Syracuse graduates in the area (full disclosure: I am one of several members of the local media who is a SU graduate if you didn't know that already), its basketball program is annually one of the best in the country and it now plays in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference.

Syracuse's two appearances in the NCAA tournament at the First Niagara Center last March -- it lost the second game to Dayton -- attracted so many SU fans that they were like home games for Jim Boeheim's squad.

However, just about every Syracuse basketball game is carried either on national or local television, which might reduce interest in its radio broadcasts.

Still, Syracuse's games should be attractive enough to interest 1270 The Fan enough to consider trying to make a deal to carry them to offset its UB loss.

If not, it wouldn't be shocking to see Entercom try to carry some Syracuse games on one of its stations in the area when they don't conflict with UB games.    


UB football, basketball broadcasts moving to ESPN 1520

By Alan Pergament

One of the complaints about the radio broadcasts of the University at Buffalo football and basketball broadcasts last season was that the station carrying them often couldn't be heard near the Amherst campus.

That won't be a problem this season as UB announced today that those broadcasts are moving from AM 1270 to ESPN 1520, a 50,000 watt sports station owned by Entercom.

By comparison, Sports Radio 1270 The Fan is a 1,000 watt station at night, 5,000 watts during the daytime.

Besides carrying UB football and men's and women's basketball games, 1520 will also carry 30-minute weekly shows with football coach Jeff Quinn, men's basketball coach Bobby Hurley and women's basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack, the school announced.

The games also will be carried on stations in Rochester, Albany and New York City, which UB said makes it the first time in school history that it will have a radio network carrying games across the state.


Local World Cup rating out of this world for soccer

By Alan Pergament

Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina in extra time Sunday to win the World Cup had local ratings that were out of this world for soccer.

ABC's coverage during game time from 3 p.m. to around 5:45 p.m. had a 10.4 rating on local affililate Channel 7, which was more than double the 4.6 local rating for Spain's victory over Netherlands four years ago during game time.

The rain showers Sunday afternoon may have helped the local rating, as did the fact the game went into extra time.

However, the rating clearly confirms the impressive surge in interest in the United States and Western New York for the soccer competition played every four years. The question now is whether the interest will continue beyond the World Cup. 

The final hour of Sunday's game from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. averaged a 12.5 rating locally, peaking at 13.7 in the final 15 minutes when the winning goal was scored by Germany's Mario Gotze.

While Univision also has had impressive national ratings for its coverage of the World Cup, its coverage didn't register a rating here. The channel is only on Time Warner Cable's Buffalo system, the satellite dishes and FiOs.

The national rating for the World Cup isn't available at this writing. It may include the pregame show, which will lower the rating.

Update: ESPN reports the game averaged a 9.7 overnight rating in the 56 metered markets, including Buffalo. That includes the pregame show, which is why ESPN says that Buffalo averaged an 8.6 rating rather than a 10.4 rating. The rating is reduced when the low-rated pregame show is added. Still, ESPN said Buffalo was one of 12 markets that recorded its highest men's World Cup rating ever.   

To put the local rating in further perspective, let's compare the World Cup final to the decisive games in major sports.

The World Cup rating was:

Higher than the 9.2 rating on Channel 2 for the Los Angeles Kings title clincher over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals.

Higher than the 8.6 rating on Channel 7 for San Antonio's title clincher over the Miami Heat in the NBA finals.

Higher than the 9.6 rating on WUTV for the Boston Red Sox's World Series clincher over the St. Louis Cardinals.

However, it was lower than the 12.2 rating on Channel 4 for the University at Connecticut's NCAA men's basketball final victory over Kentucky.

It was nowhere near the 51.0 rating on WUTV for Seattle's Super Bowl romp over Denver. But expecting the world version of football to compete with interest in the American version on television was way too much to ask. 

Sabres release statement asking for Jeanneret's privacy

By Alan Pergament

The Buffalo Sabres released a statement this morning about play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret's announcement today that he has throat cancer.

Here's the entire release sent by Michael M. Gilbert, vice president of public & community relations for the National Hockey League team.

"The Buffalo Sabres are deeply saddened to learn of Rick Jeanneret's cancer diagnosis. RJ has been a vital part of the Sabres family and the Buffalo community for 43 years and this news undoubtedly weighs heavily on everyone who has had the privilege of listening to his broadcasts through the years. As he begins treatment in the coming weeks, we will continue to keep RJ, his wife, Sandra, his mother, Kay, his sister, Marcia, his children, Mark, Chris and Shelly, and his grandchildren in our thoughts. We wish RJ a full and speedy recovery and know his tenacity will serve him well in his fight. On behalf of the Jeanneret family, the Sabres are asking for respect of the family's privacy as RJ undergoes treatment -- any inquiries should be directed to Michael Gilbert The team has also set up a dedicated email address,, for fans to send well-wishes and notes of encouragement." 



Huge soccer surge in popularity may be bending the truth

By Alan Pergament 

NBC News correspondent Bill Neely finished his Monday night report on Team USA's 2-2 draw with Portugal by declaring that this year's World Cup performance of the team "may prove to be the turning point for soccer in the United States."

About 36 hours earlier, ESPN's Roger Bennett used a two-year-old ESPN survey to declare in a commentary on "CBS Sunday Morning" that "we now live in a nation in which demographics determined that soccer is the second most popular sport for those aged 12-24, ahead of basketball, baseball and college football."

"In fact," the Brit added, "the United States has become a bona-fide soccer nation. And the 2014 World Cup will empower the sport to complete its takeover."

I hope that's all true. It's a wonderful sport. It also is a safer sport to play than football, which is why so many parents prefer their kids play it.

But is it a continuing revolution? Not so fast.

Please forgive me for interjecting some reality and perspective and possibly be a downer at the party, but I have my doubts because I've heard this revolutionary song before.

Continue reading "Huge soccer surge in popularity may be bending the truth" »

"America's Got Talent" sensation was "Beast at East"

By Alan Pergament

If you think you saw Justin Rhodes perform in Western New York well before he became a singing sensation on "America's Got Talent" Tuesday but the name doesn't ring a bell, you just might be right.

Rhodes isn't his real name.

"Rhodes is the name of the keyboard he played on," explained Maureen Reilly, his choral director at Williamsville East High School.

She added that he went by the name Justin Michael when he played lounge music at Rizzo's and Banchetti's in Williamsville after graduating from high school.

And she said his real name is Justin Bartkowski. A 2007 story in the Buffalo News noted that he was a keyboardist and vocalist on a band called Northern Trends.

"He was a fantastic musician," said Reilly. "He could hear something on the radio and sit down on the piano and start playing it. He played most everything by ear. He is a great kid. Everyone loved him."

And what did she think of Justin's performance of "Wake Me Up" on Tuesday?

Continue reading ""America's Got Talent" sensation was "Beast at East"" »

NY Times piece on Buffalo hockey ratings causes reflection

By Alan Pergament

The New York Times story I said was coming about hockey ratings in Buffalo by award-winning, TV Sports columnist Richard Sandomir is currently online.

I read the piece online late Sunday night, two days after I wrote in Friday's blog that it was coming. Sandomir did a lot of work for the short story, interviewing four people including yours truly.

I've written often about how strong the ratings for hockey are here, the latest blog being Sunday's report on Buffalo having the highest rating in the country for Los Angeles' 5-4 double overtime win over the New York Rangers Saturday night outside of the markets of the participating teams.

But Sandomir's email questions about it made me reflect more than I have in years about why hockey means so much to the area. He asked if the cold weather here, the proximity to Canada and youth hockey were factors.

I probably gave Sandomir a lot more than he wanted or needed considering all the work he had done on the story. He only quoted one line of mine in the three emails that I sent him in response to his questions. But he did me a favor by causing me to reflect about hockey's popularity here. So here is an edited version of the emails that I sent him.


I'm a native of Long Island but I've been here for 44 years so I know this has always been a huge hockey market.

Buffalo's proximity to Canada certainly helps. You just go over the Peace Bridge and you are in Ft. Erie, Canada. We''re also about 90 minutes to two hours from Toronto (if the Peace Bridge isn't clogged).

We also get Canadian television stations here, which means many people have been watching pro hockey even before the Buffalo Sabres started playing in the National Hockey League in 1970.

Actually, viewership here is even higher than NBC reports because many people here watch CBC's  Hockey Night in Canada and it isn't given a Nielsen rating here. The CBC coverage isn't in high definition on cable (it is on over-the-air TV), but many Western New Yorkers prefer CBC's announcers to NBC's.

This also is a huge area for youth hockey of all ages and for both genders. Many people say Buffalo is a Midwestern city (like Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis) located in the East.

Of course, you know about South Buffalo''s Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. But there are several other NHL players from the area, including Pat Kaleta of the Sabres, Lee Stempniak of the Penguins, Brooks Orpik of the Penguins, Tim Kennedy of the Coyotes. (Better check if they are still with all those teams).

I'm not sure about the weather being much of a factor. As I said, I grew up on Long Island and I know it is cold there, too, in the winter. It is cold in a lot of Midwestern cities that don't get great ratings. The ratings are great here now -- No. 2 for game 1 behind only New York -- and it is going to be in the 70s all week.

You should also know that Buffalo obviously hasn't had the NBA since the late 1970s and college basketball isn't strong here, either. Essentially, our pro sports interest is in the NHL and the NFL. The Bills games also get huge ratings even without a playoff team for I believe 14 years (you better check).

The sports station in town, WGR, has a year-round morning hockey show focused on the Sabres and the NHL and a year-round evening pro football show focused on the Bills and the NFL.

And though I love the area and it has a great cultural life for a city its size, Buffalo obviously doesn't have as many entertainment options as New York, Los Angeles and other big markets.

One more thing. The NBC affiliate here is a strong one and that helps. I hope this helps.

I should add one other thing. Hockey fans here follow ex-Sabres playing around the league. I'm not sure how many of the Rangers or Kings played here. I don't think many.

I know Dominic Moore had a cup of coffee here.

Kane obviously was a big draw for the Chicago-L.A. series and Ryan Miller for the St. Louis-Chicago series.


A money-saving way of dealing with TWC and other costly issues

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

In my never-ending quest to save my readers money, I will tell you my experience with Time Warner Cable on Friday night.

I was preparing to watch the Chicago Blackhawks try to stay alive in the third period of a close Game 6 of their Western Conference final of the Stanley Conference with the Los Angeles Kings when my cable went out.

I then tried to watch it on my computer via the internet, only to discover the internet was out, too.

In short, I missed Patrick Kane's game-winning goal, which earned Chicago the right to lose in game seven Sunday night.

Really, really irritated, I called TWC Saturday and asked for a rebate. The customer service representative gave me back a day’s worth of cable and the internet, which in my case means about seven dollars.

Continue reading "A money-saving way of dealing with TWC and other costly issues" »

Preakness, Stanley Cup ratings strong here

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo didn't win, place or show in national ratings for NBC's coverage of the Preakness Stakes Saturday.

But it came close.

The Buffalo market finished fifth nationally with a 10.5 rating on Channel 2, one of the strongest NBC affiliates in the country for sports.

That was well ahead of the 6.3 national rating that the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown received, but well below the 16.8 rating here for the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier when the Buffalo market was fourth nationally.

However, the decline from the Derby to the Preakness isn't unusual locally or nationally.

The good news for Channel 2 and NBC is that the back-to-back wins by California Chrome in the first two legs of the Triple Crown should drive ratings for the Belmont Stakes on June 7 when it tries to become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

The rating for the Preakness was more than three times the local rating Saturday for NBC's coverage of the New York Rangers' 7-2 victory over Montreal in the first game of the Eastern Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The game started at 1 p.m., where viewership is generally lower than it is later in the afternoon when the Preakness was carried. 

The game had a 3.3 rating on Channel 2, which was No.1 among NBC affiliates. That was slightly ahead of the 3.2 rating in New York, which is the nation's largest TV market. Of course, a ratings point in New York is worth many more viewers than one in Western New York. The Montreal market is not measured in the United States.



« Older Entries

About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

@StillTalkinTV |