Channel 4 anchor Don Postles and one of his former general managers, Chris Musial, are among six members of the 2014 class of the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame announced today.
The class includes four media members who have had long careers in Western New York and two members who made their mark although they were here for only a relatively brief three or four years.
The veterans include morning radio disc jockey Bill Lacy, who when he worked at WBEN-AM was in the same Elmwood Avenue building as Postles and Musial. He eventually left WBEN to work at WHTT-FM.
The rest of the class includes Tony Buttino, the creator of PBS’ “Reading Rainbow” who had a long career here; the late WKBW radio disc hockey Jack Armstrong; and former Channel 2 anchor Susan King, who became an ABC and CNN correspondent after she left Buffalo after about three years.
The 2014 class will be honored at a Hall of Fame Dinner on Sept. 18 in the WNED-TV studios. During the ceremonies, WBLK-FM, which is now one of the more popular radio stations in town, will be recognized for its 50th anniversary of broadcasting.
Here is an edited summary of the biographies of the Hall of Famers supplied by the organization, with some opinion added:
Postles’ recognition was long overdue. Postles, who joins his Channel 4 co-anchor, Jacquie Walker in the Hall, has anchored at all three local news affiliates – Channel 2, Channel 4 and Channel 7. The American University graduate arrived in Western New York in 1976 and has been here ever since except for a brief time anchoring in Fresno, Calif.
He has been anchoring at Channel 4 since 1993 and has won several Associated Press and United Press International awards, a first place award in 1995 for investigative reporting from the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Journalism for co-anchoring WIVB's coverage of the crash of Continental Flight 3407.
During about half of Postles’ Channel 4 years, the general manager was Musial, who started at Channel 4 as an intern. His 35-year career at WIVB-WNLO ended a year ago when he retired suddenly. This spring, Musial was inducted in the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
He is this year’s winner of the Al Anscombe Award, which is given annually to the manager in the broadcasting industry who has upheld the highest ideals.
Musial won seven Emmy Awards and several New York State Broadcasters Association awards and was general manager of Channel 4 when it was it was the highest-rated CBS affiliate in the nation for several years.
Lacy has been on morning radio here for more than 30 years, first at WBEN, then at WHTT.
He replaced Jeff Kaye as WBEN’s morning host in 1984 and was there until 2000, when the station began its all-news morning format that now is co-anchored by Susan Rose and John Zach, the emcees of this year’s Hall of Fame dinner. He became the morning host at WHTT in 2001 and remains there.
King, who was the first woman to anchor a weekday television newscast in Buffalo, is this year’s recipient of the Buffalo Bob Smith Award.
Currently the dean of the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, King came to Buffalo in 1972 as a Channel 2 reporter and later anchored weekend newscasts before being promoted to weekdays.
She left Buffalo in 1975 to become a weekend anchor in Washington, D.C. and in the early 1980s became a White House correspondent for ABC News during the Reagan administration. She left broadcasting in 1995 to become a political communications strategist.
Buttino, the WNED-TV programmer who oversaw the development of “Reading Rainbow,” is this year’s “Behind the Scenes” inductee in the Hall of Fame.
A graduate of Timon High School and Ithaca College, Buttino started at Channel 17 as a volunteer cameraman and was promoted over the years to studio supervisor, director, producer, production manager and vice president for television.
Buttino created “Reading Rainbow,” which has a format that included TV field trips, book animation, children’s book reviews and original music.
The station partnered with a Nebraska company in 1981 and they received a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant to produce “Reading Rainbow.” It premiered on PBS stations in 1983 with a summer series of 15 programs.
The program’s old host, LeVar Burton, plans to revive “Rainbow” after raising $5.4 million through a Kickstarter campaign. The program originally ran for 26 years.
Buttino, who received five Emmys, also was executive producer of the Mark Russell shows for PBS.
Armstrong started at KB radio in 1970 and only stayed until 1973, playing Top 40 tunes, and introducing listeners to a variety of catch phrases and a sidekick named Gorilla.
Born John Charles Larsh, he got his stage name working in radio in Cleveland, where all the evening DJs had to use the name Jack Armstrong.
He returned to KB in 2003, when the station had a nostalgia format, by doing a voice track of his show from his home in Greensboro, North Carolina. He died in 2008 at the age of 63.
In addition to inducting the new members of the Hall of Fame on Sept.18, the group is honoring a Fredonia State graduate, Carl Lam, who has interned at Channel 2 and WBEN, with The Tim Russert Medal of Merit. It honors and encourages the best young broadcasters. Employed by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Lam is delivering traffic reports for Channel 2.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony are $50 for members and $60 for non-members and can be purchased by going online at www.buffalobroadcasters.com or by calling 716-873-2233.