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Buffalo Snow Drone Captures New York Snowstorm From the Air

Buffalo stations were able to give viewers the softer side of the aftermath of Lake Effect snow with video shot by Jim Grimaldi’s drone.

The local drone pilot didn’t go far enough or high enough to trigger any action from the FAA, but he did give WIVB and WGRZ some nice bump video showing how a snowstorm can change a neighborhood. WKBW featured the video on its website. Check it out.

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In Buffalo, Big Snow Brings Big Ratings

WGRZAs surely as the snow has overwhelmed the Buffalo area, viewers have turned to local TV stations in huge numbers–particularly the morning newscasts.

The Buffalo News notes stations’ wall-to-wall coverage produced primetime-sized ratings throughout the day, with Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ leading the pack:

If you combine all three early evening newscasts, the rating was equal to or exceeded what a Buffalo Bills game normally receives.

The 6 a.m. morning ratings were much higher than the stations often get for most prime time network entertainment programs.

The clear winner for the day starting at 5 a.m. and continuing everywhere but 11 p.m. was Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate.

WIVB’s Jacquie Walker Diagnosed With Cancer

AR-141118954Jacquie Walker, anchor at Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB, will take the next few weeks off as she is treated for breast cancer. The Buffalo News reports the cancer was detected early, and Walker plans to return to work in about a month:

The station’s general manager, Rene LaSpina, made Channel 4’s staff aware of Walker’s condition Tuesday when she posted an email from Walker.

Here’s the full statement from Walker, who has been at Channel 4 for 31 years: “To my colleagues here at Channel 4. I wanted to let you know why you are not seeing me in the newsroom this week. I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and I am now being treated by the experts at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I expect to return to work in a few weeks.

“During Breast Cancer Awareness Week in October, you hear about the importance of early detection and the importance of mammograms. Believe it. I have never missed an annual mammogram, and that is how my cancer was discovered at an early stage.

“My family and I have faith that I will be cured. We ask for your prayers and understanding. We look forward to a healthier New Year, as we continue our lifelong support of those seeking a cure for cancer.”

Buffalo’s WKBW Staff Stranded at Police Station After Storm

The ferocious lake effect snowstorm that dumped five feet of snow outside Buffalo, N.Y. left many people stranded on the roads or confined to their homes. Three WKBW staff members even had to spend the night at the Lackawanna Police station.

A photographer at the ABC affiliate sent in the photo above after waking up at the station this morning. WKBW reports that around 15 people spent the night there.

So far, five people have died from the storm, while hundreds are currently stranded. Follow @WKBW on Twitter for more news and safety updates.

Buffalo Stations in Rolling Snow Coverage

WGRZIt’s a long, cold and busy day for Buffalo newsers. Stations are in rolling live coverage as the region is pounded by lake effect snow. WGRZ, the NBC affiliate, has reported 838 closings from the storm, and has crews positioned throughout the area–most of those crews facing temperatures that “feel like” 4 degrees.

The WGRZ Twitter page has a series of viewer photos of the snow, some of which show whiteout conditions on the roads, and hundreds of stranded vehicles.

WIVBCBS affiliate WIVB warns viewers to expect hours of snow, blowing snow, and “thundersnow”, bringing up to 20 inches to some parts of the viewing area.

ABC affiliate WKBW has devoted its Facebook page to travel updates and viewer photos, many of which show snow piled several feet high outside families’ homes.

Anchor’s Joke Panned by Priest, Politician

130301114946_MaryAlice DemlerTalk about a tough crowd. According to a report in The Buffalo News, a recent turn as emcee at a community event by Maryalice Demler, anchor at Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ, turned a tad cringeworthy.

Mark Poloncarz, the county executive, posted a bad review of Demler’s attempt at light humor:

A certain news anchor was asked to emcee the event and started off the program with this beaut: “If you don’t know who I am you are obviously watching the wrong station.”

“Not a single laugh,” added Poloncarz. “Instead you could hear a pin drop, until the priest next to me said, ‘that’s why I don’t watch that channel – they are more interested in themselves than reporting the news.’”

“From the mouth of a man of God,” concluded Poloncarz.

WIVB Adds Scott Levy as News Director

levy wivbScott Levy has been hired by WIVB as news director.

Levy comes to the Buffalo CBS affiliate from WTAJ in Altoona, Pa. where he was news director.

According to his LinkedIn bio, he has also worked in Elmira, NY, New York, NY, Tulsa, Memphis, Dallas and Oklahoma City.

Levy replaces Joe Schlaerth who left WIVB in July.

[Buffalo News]

Is Buffalo Sports Director Moving to News?

94dc5b05678d59cc753e3b3792ca6ad53c47b0b7According to a report by Buffalo News media critic Alan Pergament, WKBW sports director Jeff Russo may be thinking about a move to news. Russo recently anchored the 5:30 p.m. newscast at the Buffalo ABC affiliate, which may suggest the station is considering the sports-to-news shift:

Why would Russo consider the move?

It could be because there is a much better opportunity to increase one’s salary as a news anchor than as a sports anchor that is on the air for only a few minutes a newscast.

In addition, if Russo is any good at news anchoring and gains credibility, he could become the heir apparent to Keith Radford once he retires from Channel 7. It won’t happen any time soon. Radford recently signed a new deal.

Russo has been at Channel 7 for 11 years and was named sports director in December of 2007 when John Murphy went to Channel 4. If he were to switch anchor posts, the station would have an opening in the sports department.

WIVB EP To Be Assistant ND at WKBW

wkbw logoAaron Mason will join Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW as assistant news director.

Mason comes to WKBW from Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB where he was executive producer.

In January, assistant news director Lisa Polster was promoted to news director after Polly Van Doren left for WKEF-WRGT in Dayton.

John Borsa Out at WKBW

JohnBAnchor/reporter John Borsa is no longer working at E.W. Scripps owned WKBW. According to The Buffalo News, Borsa’s name and picture were removed from the station’s website Monday and general manager Mike Nurse has confirmed his departure.

Borsa had worked at the ABC affiliate for more than 11 years. Nurse provided no further comment on the matter, although it is believed Borsa’s contract was about to expire and the station declined to renew it.

The Buffalo News also claims that WKBW will soon announce a change in its weekend plans, with Ed Drantch and Katie Morse anchoring on Sundays. Kendra Eaglin (Borsa’s former co-anchor) will remain the Saturday anchor.