WGRZ-TV: Wikis

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WGRZ
WGRZ-TV logo.png
Buffalo, New York
Branding Channel 2 (general)
Channel 2 News (newscasts)
Slogan 2 On Your Side
Western New York's Information Center
Channel Digital: 33 (UHF)
Virtual: 2 (PSIP)
Subchannels 2.1 NBC-HD
2.2 NBC Universal Sports
2.3 RTV
Affiliations NBC (1954-1956, 1958-present)
Owner Gannett Company, Inc.
(Multimedia Entertainment, Inc.)
First air date August 14, 1954
Callsign meaning WGR (radio station)
Z=2 (refers to former analog channel)
Former callsigns WGR-TV (1954–1983)
WGRZ-TV (1983-2009)
Former channels Analog:
2 (1954-2009)
Former affiliations ABC (1956–1958)
DuMont (secondary, 1954–1955) [1]
Effective power 480 kW
Height 295 m
Facility ID 64547
Antenna coordinates 42°43′6.6″N 78°33′47.2″W / 42.7185°N 78.563111°W / 42.7185; -78.563111
Website www.wgrz.com

WGRZ is the NBC affiliate in Buffalo, New York. Its studio is located at 259 Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo. Its transmitter is located at 11530 Warner Hill Road in South Wales, New York. The station is currently owned by Gannett Company, Inc., publisher of the national newspaper USA Today, and owner of numerous television stations.

Contents

Digital television

The station's digital signal is UHF 33, multiplexed.

Digital channels

Channel Programming
2.1 WGRZ-HD main WGRZ/ NBC programming
2.2 WGRZ-US Universal Sports
2.3 WGRZ-RT Retro Television Network

WGRZ-DT2 was part of NBC Weather Plus until December 2008, when that network shut down, and aired a locally originated "Weather Plus" channel between that time and June 2009. Incidentally, both of WGRZ's current subchannel networks were originally on WKBW-TV.

WGRZ discontinued regular analog programing on Friday, June 12, 2009 at 1:00pm and began a two week analog night light operation. Its digital signal remains on channel 33. However, digital television with PSIP capability will display WGRZ-DT's virtual channel as 2. WGRZ dropped the -TV suffix, like most Gannett stations just a week after the transition.

History

The station premiered in 1954 as WGR-TV, owned by the WGR Corporation along with WGR-AM 550. It was an NBC affiliate sharing the Barton Street studios of UHF outlet WBUF/Channel 17. In 1955, WBUF, which was silent at the time, was sold to NBC. In January 1956, WGR became an ABC affiliate after NBC moved its programming to WBUF. It was a bad move. All television reception at the time was via set top rabbit ears or roof top aerials. UHF television technology was in its infancy, and most people did not understand how to receive the signals, which are very different and subject to much greater degradations in strength than those of the other local stations, which transmitted on VHF. WGR switched back to NBC in September 1958 after NBC shut down the money-bleeding WBUF, although WGR continued to carry a secondary affiliation with ABC for another two months until WKBW-TV/Channel 7 signed on in November of that year. The abject failure of WBUF-TV in Buffalo actually gave UHF a bad name to the broadcasting industry and the viewing public, but served as a boon to WGR-TV locally. Viewers still wanted more choices, could easily receive the VHF channel 2 signal, and the station now had more syndicated and network program options. The station also carried programming from the now-defunct DuMont Television Network [2].

During the 1960's, WGR-TV also operated a repeater station on VHF channel 6 in Jamestown, NY; this continued until the channel 2 transmitter was moved from Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo to the South Wales transmitter site, which greatly improved signal coverage into the population center of the mountainous Chautauqua region south of Buffalo.

In 1959, WGR launched an FM radio station, WGR-FM 96.9 (now WGRF). Over the years, WGR Corporation bought several other radio and television stations across the country, including WNEP-TV in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, WHAM-TV in Rochester (the call letters of which Transcontinent would change to WROC-TV) and WDAF-AM/FM/TV in Kansas City, and eventually became known as Transcontinent Broadcasting. Transcontinent merged with Taft Broadcasting in 1964.

In 1983, WGR's callsign added a Z, thus it changed the callsign to WGRZ. It was sold by Taft Broadcasting to General Cinema Corporation, which operated the Coral Television division. Taft gave Coral WGRZ, while in exchange, Taft got Miami's WCIX. (Taft held on to WGR-AM/FM until 1987, when they were sold to Rich Communications. The AM station is now owned by Entercom Communications, while its former FM sister is now owned by Citadel Broadcasting.)

In the years following the 1983 exchange deal, WGRZ changed hands several times. General Cinema exited the broadcasting business by selling Coral Television to WGRZ Acquisition Corp., a partnership between SJL Broadcast Management, TA Associates and Smith Broadcasting, for $56 million in 1986. Native Buffalonian and current Newport Television CEO Sandy DiPasquale also held an ownership stake in WGRZ (through his stake in Smith Broadcasting) at this time. Two years later, Tak Communications purchased WGRZ from the SJL-led group for $100 million in 1988. Less than four years later, Tak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991, and a group of creditors seized the company's assets in 1994. Argyle Television Holdings II, a broadcasting holding company formed by a group of managers who had recently left Argyle I after that company sold all of its stations to New World Communications, purchased the station (and then-sister KITV in Honolulu, Hawaii) from Tak's creditors for $91 million (on WGRZ's end) in 1995. Argyle II closed on WGRZ in April of that year, followed by KITV two months later.

Gannett acquired WGRZ and WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan from Argyle II in a 1996 swap deal (with KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and WLWT in Cincinnati, Ohio going from Gannett to Argyle II). The deal closed in January 1997, seven months prior to Argyle II's merger with the broadcasting unit of the Hearst Corporation to form what then became Hearst-Argyle Television (which Hearst now wholly owns under a new name, Hearst Television).

Programming

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Syndicated programs

WGRZ currently airs Rachael Ray, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Dr. Phil, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight, and The Insider on weekdays. Weekend syndicated programs include Whacked Out Sports and Monk (TV series).

Local shows

  • It's Academic - local quiz show launched in April 2008, hosted by Kevin O'Neill later cancelled in late 2008.
  • 2 Your Home - housing show about renovation of homes throughout Western New York, formerly known as DIY Western New York
  • Western New York Living - a show about living in Western New York hosted by WKSE Morning Anchor and former co-host of "Your Today in WNY" Janet Snyder, Maria Genero left at the end of September 2008.
  • Your Today in WNY - Your Today in WNY was a short-lived local TV and Internet show hosted by Kevin O'Neill, Chesley McNeil, and WKSE morning show personality Janet Snyder which aired from September 20, 2007 until February 15, 2008. Intended to capitalize on The Today Show's expansion to four hours, Your Today in WNY aired at 11 a.m., immediately after Today and featured extended news stories, local features and interactive chat in a format similar to the old AM Buffalo style of the 1990s. Its replacement, "2 On Your Side at Noon," was a standard 30 minute news show that incorporated some features from "Your Today in WNY." (WGRZ was the last of the "big three" Buffalo television stations to adopt a thirty-minute noon newscast; the others had one since the late 1980s.) In 2009, WGRZ Again changed the time of their afternoon news to 11 a.m. immediately following the today show, a 30 minute program called "Channel 2 News Midday" The first of its kind in Buffalo.
  • Bowling for Dollars - An abbreviated revival of the classic 1970s bowling show is hosted by sports director Ed Kilgore, who also hosted the original. It aired daily during "Your Today in WNY" and its future is uncertain at this time.

Newscasts

Historically, the station used the NewsCenter brand in the 1970s. The current brand, "Channel 2 News," dates to the 1980s and early 1990s. In the early 1990s, WGRZ used the 24 Hour News Source format. In 2000, WGRZ took over the live broadcast rights of the state lottery from its long-time home on WKBW-TV when that station's contract with the lottery ran out.

WGRZ's return to respectability in the ratings began in 2001. In the May ratings "sweeps," the 11pm newscast finished in first place over long time news leaders WKBW-TV and WIVB-TV. It was WGRZ's first ratings win in decades.

From 2001 to 2003, WGRZ (as part of an NBC initiative, as well as an effort to preempt WNLO and WIVB's plans to launch its own 10:00 news) produced a 10:00 newscast for PAX TV affiliate WPXJ. In 2006, WGRZ began producing a new 10pm newscast for local WB (now My Network TV) affiliate WNYO, known as "2 On Your Side at 10" (formerly known as "2 News on 49 - 10 at 10", which originally featured 10 minutes of news and the rest dedicated to sports).

WGRZ was the last of the three Buffalo television news outlets to produce a noon newscast, having launched it in February 2008. In June 2009, it dropped its noon newscast in favor of an 11:00 a.m. "midday" news, the first of its kind in the Buffalo market.

WGRZ's newscasts, which have performed a strong second in recent years to rival WIVB, has begun to challenge WIVB's dominance in news ratings, specifically in the 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. newscasts according to Nielsen's May 2007 sweeps data. By July 2007, WGRZ's morning show, Daybreak, was soundly beating WIVB's morning show in the ratings. Channel 2's 11 p.m. newscasts have also returned to the #1 position, and have among the highest-rated in the entire United States. However, in the May 2009 sweeps, WGRZ lost significant ground to WIVB and a resurgent WKBW, and fell to a distant second, closer to third-place WKBW than it was to WIVB. And in the November 2009 sweeps, WGRZ was one of many NBC affiliates to fall victim to the so-called "Leno Effect" (referring to NBC's airing of The Jay Leno Show, which leads into the late-night newscasts of NBC affiliates including WGRZ): As in many of the affected markets, WGRZ's 11 pm newscast fell to a distant third, behind both WIVB and WKBW (although WGRZ's weekday morning news show regained the lead over WIVB's morning show, thanks in large part to the return of John Beard to the Buffalo market). With NBC moving Leno back to late-night in February 2010, it remains to be seen if WGRZ can regain its competitive edge at 11 pm. Both WGRZ and WIVB have been among the highest rated local stations in the country and the two stations are fiercely competitive.

Unlike most television stations, WGRZ takes an openly activist "watchdog journalism" approach to its news coverage, with their commitment to "Holding People In Power Accountable" and being "On Your Side." To do this, WGRZ has the largest staff in the Buffalo market with more general assignment/feature story reporters, sports reporters, and meteorologists than either WIVB or WKBW.

As of February 17th, 2010, WGRZ became the first Buffalo station to broadcast their newscast in upconverted widescreen HD.[1]

Storm Team 2 Weather

Storm Team 2 is the name of WGRZ's weather team. Currently featuring a staff of 3 meteorologists and 2 weather anchors, it boasts the largest weather staff in the Buffalo market. WGRZ is the only broadcast station in Western New York to operate an in-house weather radar from its broadcast tower in South Wales, New York. This is branded as "Precision Doppler 2" (formerly known as "Doppler 2000" prior to 2000.) Precision Doppler 2 radar has street-level mapping and storm-tracking capabilities, which are used frequently during weather events. It updates each minute on-air, online, and on the WGRZ mobile site (m.wgrz.com.)

In February 2010, WGRZ unveiled a new weather set. Changes with the new set include HD flat panel displays, improved lighting, and graphics and technology upgrades which will be phased in throughout Spring 2010. It is not known at this time if these upgrades will be to high definition. The new set has renamed the doppler radar to "Live Doppler 2" although the radar is still referred to "Precision Doppler 2" at the present time.[3]

In the WGRZ facebook exclusive, Chief Weather Anchor Kevin O'Connell also states that there will be some upgrades to the wgrz.com weather page which will include new interactive technology.

Storm Team 2 Interactive Radar

Storm Team 2 Interactive Radar was introduced in February 2010 as an enhancement to the main website.

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • NewsCenter (early-mid 1970s)
  • NewsCenter 2 (late 1970s-1989)
  • Channel 2 News (1989-present)

Station Slogans

  • Come and See WGR TV-2 (1973-1974; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Buffalo's Leading News Station (1970s)
  • TV-2, Proud as a Peacock! (1979-1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • TV-2, Our Pride is Showing (1981-1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • We're TV-2, Just Watch Us Now (1982-1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 2 There, Be There (1983-1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Channel 2, Let's All Be There (1984-1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to Channel 2 (1986-1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come on Home to Channel 2 (1987-1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Come Home to the Best, Only on Channel 2 (1988-1989; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
  • Your 24-Hour News Station (1989-early 1990s)
  • It Takes 2 (1995–1999)
  • On Your Side (1999-present; primary news slogan)
  • Western New York's Information Center (2008-present; secondary news slogan)
  • Turn to 2 (2009-present; general slogan)
  • NBC in Western New York (used on station identification)
  • No One But 2. (new slogan)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

News Music Packages

News Reporters and Journalists

Current personalities

News Anchors

  • Scott Levin, co-anchor of Channel 2 News First at 5, 6, 10, and 11
  • Maryalice Demler, co-anchor of Channel 2 News at 5:30, 6, 10, and 11
  • Jodi Johnston, co-anchor of Daybreak and Channel 2 News First at 5
  • John Beard, co-anchor of Daybreak and Midday
  • Ron Plants, anchor of Channel 2 News at 6 and 11 Weekend
  • Erika Brason, anchor of Daybreak Saturday Morning
  • Josh Boose, anchor of Daybreak Sunday Morning starting February 28, 2010 [4]

Sports

  • Ed Kilgore, sports director and sports anchor of Channel 2 News at 6 and 11 and co-host of Western New York Sports Zone
  • Adam Bengini, sports anchor of Channel 2 at 6 and 11 Weekends, and co-host of Western New York Sports Zone
  • Stu Boyer, sports reporter and fill-in sports anchor
  • Ben Hayes, sports feature reporter

Storm Team 2 Weather

  • Kevin O'Connell (AMS Seal of Approval #236), chief weather anchor of Channel 2 News at 5, 5:30, 6, 10 and 11pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Andy Parker (AMS Seal of Approval #1011), meteorologist for Channel 2 Daybreak and Midday, Monday through Friday.
  • Autumn Lewandowski, meteorologist of Channel 2 News at 6 and 11pm weekends and fill-in meteorologist.
  • Maria Genero, weather anchor for Channel 2 Daybreak weekends and fill-in weather anchor[5]
  • Mary Beth Wrobel (AMS Seal of Approval #767), fill-in meteorologist, former weekend meteorologist at rival WIVB[6]

All WGRZ weather anchors and meteorologists carry AMS seals of approval except Autumn Lewandowski. Genero had an AMS seal at one point but allowed it to expire before joining WGRZ. [7]

Traffic Tracker 2 Live Traffic

  • Thea Tio, Daybreak Monday-Friday
  • Lydia Dominick, fill-in, also full time feature reporter, joined in 2010, Former "CW 23 Girl"

Reporters

  • Rich Kellman, joined in 1972, denoted as the senior correspondent, now working only on special assignments
  • Pete Gallivan, former Daybreak anchor of 11 years, now head investigative reporter, anchor fill in
  • Mary Friona, joined in 1998, As Seen On TV reporter
  • Claudine Ewing, joined in 1999 after leaving News Radio 930-WBEN
  • Scott Brown, joined in 2002, former politician
  • Josh Boose, joined in 2006, reporter, anchor of Daybreak Sunday
  • Heather Ly, joined in 2006, Daybreak Reporter, from News 10 Now
  • Kevin O'Neill, joined in 2006 from WIVB, "The Why Guy"
  • Marissa Bailey, joined in 2006. Received a reporter promotion and no longer anchors Daybreak Sunday as of February 28, 2010.
  • Thea Tio, joined in 2007 from KXTV in Sacramento, CA
  • Dave McKinley, joined in 2008 from WROC-TV in Rochester
  • Michael Wooten, joined in 2009
  • Aaron Saykin, joined in 2004, left in 2006 for WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, PA, rejoined in August 2009
  • Lydia Dominick, feature reporter, joined in 2010, Former "CW 23 Girl"
  • Heather DuBose, feature reporter, joined in 2010, Daybreak "Unique Eats" reporter which showcases local restaurants.
  • Rob Macko, joined in 2010 from rival WIVB-TV
  • Sarah Hopkins, joined in 2010 from Hagerstown, MD [8]


Producers/Backpack Journalists

  • Theresa Fulcher-DeLuca, joined in 2005, News Producer
  • Matt Granite, joined in 2009, Web Producer, daily "Ways 2 Save" reporter
  • Larry "The Web Guy", Movie Reviews

Past Personalities

  • Marty Aarons (Anchor)
  • Douglas Bell, anchor, left 1998
  • Susan Banks, anchor, came from WKBW-TV in 1980s, returned to WKBW in [1990]
  • Tracy Carloss, left in 2000, went to WEWS-TV in Cleveland, OH
  • Nick Clooney, briefly anchored at the station in 1994
  • Keith Eichner, part-time meteorologist, left in 2007 to rival WIVB-TV
  • Harold Fisher, left 1998
  • Annette Falwell-Newell, now at WCTI-TV in New Bern, NC, former weekend anchor
  • Wes Goforth, now at WCTI-TV in New Bern, NC, former sports reporter
  • Victoria Hong, anchor; returned to WIVB, 2002
  • Ron Hunter, anchor (1972–1974), left for Chicago. Hunter is allegedly one of the inspirations for Ron Burgundy;(Cichon) deceased
  • Mike Igoe, joined in 1989 as the Money Matters Reporter (Retired 2009)
  • Carol Kaplan, left in 2006
  • Barry Lillis, Chief Meteorologist left early 1990s
  • Laurie Lisowski, anchor
  • Mike Latella, meteorologist, left in August 2003 and returned to WCBS-TV [9][10]
  • Jim Lytle, part-time meteorologist, left in 2007
  • Chesley McNeil, meteorologist, left in 2009 for sister station WXIA-TV
  • Stefan Mychajliw, reporter, left in 2007; now the Community Relations Coordinator for the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School district [11]
  • Danny Neaverth, host of Nearly Noon with Dan Neaverth, retired.
  • Gary Papa, sports, left in 1981; went to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, died in 2009
  • Matt Pearl, reporter, left in 2009 for sister station WXIA-TV
  • Laura Steele, left in 2006 (Anchor of First at Five)
  • Liz Vetrano, Traffic Tracker 2 reporter, left in 2008; currently CFBE with the Holiday Inn and Fill-In Traffic Reporter with the NFTA for WKBW
  • Jessica Weinstein, reporter, left in 2007
  • Julie Wolfe, reporter, left in 2005; went to Atlanta
  • Robyn Young, reporter, left in 2007; attending law school
  • Addie Bradshaw, reporter, left in 2009; moved back to homestate of South Carolina to take a position in public relations.
  • Lynne Dixon, reporter, left in 2009; now an Erie County Legislator
  • Kristin Donnelly, reporter, left in 2009 to return to her native Long Island, NY
  • Andy Pierotti, left in early 2010; now at WBBH-TV in Florida as an investigative reporter [12]

In the 1960s, the station used two cartoon elves, named Earis and Iris, as part of their logo. In 1983, to coincide with the new call letters WGRZ, the "futuristic" logo consisted of two lines, making an outline of the number two. In 1988, the station's logo consisted of simply a large number "2" in a common Avant Garde font, with a yellow triangle over blue added in the early 1990s. In the mid-1990s, the logo changed to a blue-on-red box with the bottom reading WGRZ-TV Buffalo. The NBC logo is placed to the left of the numeral "2"; however, "NBC" is not mentioned in the station's on-air brand (which is simply "Channel 2").

Additional Facts

According to the Baseball Hall of Shame book series by Joe and Al Zullo, WGR-TV did not complete the telecast of the game between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 26, 1981. The station went to an Army training film as scheduled at 5 p.m. that afternoon. As a result, local baseball fans missed Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan's record fifth no-hitter.

WGRZ was one of the founding members of the "Love Network" that carried the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon; WGRZ carries the telethon to this day. WGRZ also carries its own "Kids Escaping Drugs" telethon.

References

External links


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