2008 Golden Age Award
One of the original superstars of Buffalo Radio
in the 20s and 30s for the Buffalo Broadcasting Corporation on WGR and WKBW,
Baker was the Queen City's first definative sportscaster. Those who remember him
in the sports booth remember the ultimate professional-- no focus on
personality, so much as the product on the air. Calling Bisons games in the 30s
from Offermann Stadium, he was straight, and by the book. After being tapped by
Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to call the 1933 World Series to a
nationwide audience on CBS, Baker landed a job in Cincinnati calling the
National League Reds on WLW. After the war, Baker returned to Buffalo, reading
news on WKBW Radio, but eventually moving into the General Manager's office at
the short-lived Buffalo UHF pioneer WBES-TV, where he also read news. Along with
Bill Mazer, Baker was also an original member of the WGR-TV sports team when the
station signed-on in 1954. Baker moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico for health
reasons, continuing his broadcast at KOB for several more years.
2008 Goodyear Award
John entered his first TV studio as a boy with
his grandma in Philly to watch a taping of the Mike Douglas Show. It was the
most fun he'd seen adults have, ever, and he was hooked. A decade later,
his early mentor Dave Thomas (A TV icon in both Buffalo and Philly), sent the
fresh out of college DiSciullo up to his hometown for an interview at his old
stopping grounds, Channel 7. That was 1982. Save a few weeks since then when he
tried his hand at producing TV in New York in 1988, he's been at 7 Broadcast
Plaza as a driving force behind AM Buffalo and The Variety Club
Telethon, while keeping busy with everything from news, to promotions, to
programming. In an age where telethons and locally originated TV talk shows
might seem like a vestage of the past for some, DiSciullo points to his two pet
projects as examples of how, with plenty of pure passion and alot of fighting
and kicking along the way, doing the right thing on television can continue to
have a positive impact on the community.
The Goodyear Award
is named in honor of George Goodyear, the Buffalo philanthropist who co-founded
WGR-TV, and is awarded each year to those in Broadcasting’s front office who
have made a career of advancing the ideals of the Buffalo Broadcasters
2008 Buffalo Bob Smith Award
His fate at the man who'd become the "The Polish Rifle" was sealed just
before his senior year at Lackawanna High School. Drafted to play baseball at
17, he wanted to forget college to have a shot to play with Bob Gibson and the
St. Louis Cardinals. But two weeks of a real Buffalo summer job of bending rods
in a steel mill was enough motivation to get an education.
A standout at Youngstown State, Jaws played 17
years in the NFL for 4 teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was he
1980 NFL MVP. He also backed up Dan Marino for 2 seasons with the Miami
Dolphins. But no matter where he played, and now, no matter from which city he
analyzes Monday Night Football, Ron hasn't forgotten his years as a
season ticket holder at the Rock Pile, and certainly hasn't forgotten his
friends and family in Lackawanna.
His compatriots on the ESPN MNF staff are
just glad he hasn't forgotten where the good wing joints are.
Named after one of Buffalo’s most famous sons, the Buffalo Bob Smith Award
is given to broadcasters with local roots who made his or her mark away from the
Niagara Frontier, but is still a Buffalonian at heart.
||Father Barry Lillis
wearing a smile like no other, Barry's best known for his 20 years (1976-96) in
front of WGRZ-TV weather maps. But that earnest grin, and the personality that
went along with it, also made Barry a natural as the local host for annual the
MDA telethon, and well as the Kids Escaping Drugs Campaign, which Barry himself
named in 1987.
Just before Barry left the air in 1994, he was
ordained an Orthodox Catholic Priest. To this day, much of his ministry involves
counseling those battling drug and alcohol dependence. Its a challenging and
rewarding vocation, which is often helped along by those thousands of weather
forecasts where Barry made it feel like he was trying to make just you
Often someone will say they remember the time he
wore a t-shirt promoting their scout troop's soup dinner on TV. People love to
share memories of Barry's zany overnight presentation of poorly lipsynched
movies on Barry's Cats Pajamas. But for Fr. Barry, it means so
much more; maybe opening a door to help someone else along in life. It makes his
career in broadcasting one of Buffalo's most special ever.
2008 Behind The Scenes Award
Bill's love of electronics growing up led him to
broadcasting in college, where he was the college station's chief engineer.
That, he thought, was the end of radio business for him, which he lived and
breathed as a kid. He started a business that did use his engineering
background, however, selling and installing two-way and CB radio equipment for
companies around WNY.
His voyage back into radio started with a tour of
WPHD in 1979, where PD Harv Moore decided he was the right fit to fill an open
engineering job. Since taking that job, Bill's run his own broadcast engineering
firm, building studios and performing maintenance all over New York state and
all over the country, often explaining to someone hundreds of miles away over
the phone how to fix what's wrong.
Its a story made more incredible when you find out
he did all of that without sight. Bill is blind. "I realize I have limitations,
but made my mind up to live like everyone else. I was scared when all the sudden
I was responsible for two stations (in 1979), but I rely on memory alot, and
I've had the help of alot of great people over the years." And a lot of people
have relied on, and rarley been disappointed with Bill.
The Behind the Scenes Award celebrates the many people who make any broadcast
possible, but don’t usually get the credit: The directors, producers,
photographers, writers, engineers and office staff.
Those of you who know the him as "Artie Baby Boo-Boo, The Tiny Tot of the Kilowatt," as Art might say: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute! As a kid growing up on Buffalo's East Side, Art would ditch school to watch Foster Brooks and Buffalo Bob Smith do their WGR show live from Grant's Department Store.
After a stint in the Navy, Art was the Radio Director for the VA Hospital, before landing at WKBW in 1956, where he eventually joined the news staff as a Pulsebeat Newsman under the direction of Irv Weinstein. By the late 1960's, Art had programmed radio stations all around the country, including WOR-FM in New York, where he met the Beatles and became close with their manager Brian Epstein. Its this work done in music radio where Art feels more accomplished.
He'd return to Buffalo in the early 80s, first to program, but then to talk sports on 1400-AM. After Bills General Manager Bill Polian told Art to "get out of town," he was picked up by WGR and later Empire Sports Network to talk sports. He always pictured his show as guys in a barroom. And opinions could be right, wrong, or indifferent, so long as they were entertaining.
Click here to
buy Hall of Fame DVDs and Box sets