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

The station's newscasts are called Channel 2 News; prior to 1998, it was 2 News and previously NewsCenter 2. Until July 2005, its partner station for the area was WPXJ-TVmarker (Pax 51).WGRZ is also seen throughout Torontomarker and much of Southern Ontario on Rogers and Cogeco cable systems.

Rich Kellman (news anchor) and Ed Kilgore (sports) have been staples of "Newscenter 2" since the 1970s. Barry Lillis, the station's weatherman for almost twenty years, left WGRZ in the mid-1990s and is now a priest with the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America.

Effective April 30, 2009, Shaw Broadcast Services and Shaw Direct are no longer transmitting WGRZ, replacing its signal with that of fellow NBC affiliate WDIV-TVmarker in Detroitmarker (which Star Choice also carried before becoming Shaw Direct).

Digital television

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

Digital channels
Channel Programming
2.1 main WGRZ/ NBC programming
2.2 Universal Sports
2.3 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-TVmarker.

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's virtual channel as 2.

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 WBUFmarker/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-TVmarker/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 [115977].

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-TVmarker in Scrantonmarker/Wilkes-Barremarker, WHAM-TVmarker in Rochestermarker (the call letters of which Transcontinent would change to WROC-TVmarker) and WDAF-AMmarker/FM/TVmarker in Kansas Citymarker, and eventually became known as Transcontinent Broadcasting. Transcontinent merged with Taft Broadcasting in 1964.

In 1983, WGR's callsign changed to WGRZ after 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 WCIXmarker. (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 KITVmarker in Honolulu, Hawaiimarker) 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-TVmarker in Grand Rapids, Michiganmarker from Argyle II in a 1996 swap deal (with KOCO-TVmarker in Oklahoma City, Oklahomamarker and WLWTmarker in Cincinnati, Ohiomarker 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

Syndicated programs

WGRZ currently airs Rachael Ray, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Dr. Phil, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Insider, and Entertainment Tonight on weekdays. Merv Griffin's Crosswords was seen on WGRZ from 2007 to 2008, but after that show suspended production, WGRZ dropped the show. Weekend syndicated programs include Whacked Out Sports.

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," is a standard 30 minute news show that will incorporate some features from "Your Today in WNY." (WGRZ is the last of the "big three" Buffalo television stations to adopt a thirty-minute noon newscast; the others have had one since the late 1980s.)
  • 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 WNLOmarker and WIVBmarker'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 WNYOmarker, 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 WIVBmarker, 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, as of the May 2009 sweeps, WGRZ has lost significant ground to WIVB and a resurgent WKBWmarker, and is now in distant second, closer to third-place WKBW than it is to WIVB.) Both WGRZ and WIVB are 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 one of its primary selling points being its commitment to "holding those in power accountable."

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.

WGRZ is the only broadcast station in Western New York to operate an in-house weather radar, running its own system known as "Precision Doppler 2" (formerly known as "Doppler 2000" prior to 2000) from its broadcast tower in South Wales, New Yorkmarker. (WIVB also used to run a local Doppler, but no longer does, opting instead to use the more powerful National Weather Service radar.)

Logo

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").

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

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


Station Slogans

  • Buffalo's Leading News Station (1970s)
  • Your 24-Hour News Station (1989-early 1990s)
  • It Takes 2 (1995–1999)
  • On Your Side (1999-present)
  • Western New York's Information Center (2008-present)
  • NBC in Western New York (used on station identification)


  • Turn to 2 (2009-present)


News Music Packages



News Reporters and Journalists

Current personalities

News Anchors
  • Jodi Johnston, co-anchor of Daybreak and Channel 2 News First at 5
  • Scott Levin, co-anchor of Channel 2 News First at 5, 6, and 11
  • Mary Alice Demler, co-anchor of Channel 2 News at 5:30, 6, 10, and 11
  • Ron Plants, anchor of Channel 2 News at 6 and 11 Weekend
  • Erika Brason, anchor of Daybreak Saturday Morning
  • Marissa Bailey, anchor of Daybreak Sunday Morning
  • John Beard, co-anchor of Daybreak and Midday
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 anchor


Weather
  • Kevin O'Connell, chief weather anchor of Channel 2 News at 5, 6, 10 and 11pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Andy Parker, meteorologist for Channel 2 Daybreak and Midday, Monday through Thursday.
  • Autumn Lewandowski, meteorologist, Channel 2 Daybreak and Midday, Friday and 6, 11pm weekends.
  • Maria Genero, Channel 2 Daybreak weekends and fill-in weather anchor [115978]
  • Josh Boose, occasional fill-in weather anchor


All WGRZ weather anchors carry AMS seals of approval except Josh Boose.

Traffic
  • Thea Tio, Daybreak Monday-Friday


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 reporter
  • 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
  • Heather Ly, joined in 2006, Daybreak Reporter, from News 10 Now
  • Kevin O'Neill, joined in 2006 from WIVBmarker, "The Why Guy"
  • Kristin Donnelly, joined in 2007 from WTVHmarker in Syracusemarker
  • Thea Tio, joined in 2007 from KXTVmarker in Sacramento, CAmarker
  • Dave McKinley, joined in 2008 from WROC-TVmarker in Rochestermarker
  • Michael Wooten, joined in 2009
  • Andy Pierotti, joined in 2009
  • Aaron Saykin, joined in 2004, left in 2006 for WTAE-TVmarker in Pittsburgh, PA, rejoined in August 2009
  • Don Polec, feature reporter, joined in 2009


Producers/Backpack Journalists
  • Theresa Fulcher- DeLuca, joined in 2005, News Producer
  • Matt Granite, joined in 2009, Web Producer
  • Larry "The Web Guy", Movie Reviews


Past Personalities

  • Marty Aarons (Anchor)
  • Douglas Bell, anchor, left 1998
  • Susan Banks, anchor, came from WKBW-TVmarker in 1980s, returned to WKBW in [1990]
  • Tracy Carloss, left in 2000, went to WEWS-TVmarker in Clevelandmarker, OH
  • Nick Clooney, briefly anchored at the station in 1994
  • Keith Eichner, part-time meteorologist, left in 2007 to rival WIVB-TVmarker
  • Harold Fisher, left 1998
  • Anette Falwell, now at WCTI-TVmarker in New Bern, NCmarker, former weekend anchor
  • Wes Goforth, now at WCTI-TVmarker in New Bern, NCmarker
  • Victoria Hong, anchor; returned to WIVB, 2002
  • Ron Hunter, anchor (1972–1974), left for Chicagomarker. 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
  • Jim Lytle, part-time meteorologist, left in 2007
  • Chesley McNeil, meteorologist, left in 2009 for sister station WXIA-TVmarker
  • Stefan Mychajliw, reporter, left in 2007; now the media spokesperson for the Buffalo Public School system
  • Danny Neaverth, host of Nearly Noon with Dan Neaverth, retired.
  • Gary Papa, sports, left in 1981; went to WPVI-TVmarker in Philadelphia, died in 2009
  • Matt Pearl, reporter, left in 2009 for sister station WXIA-TVmarker
  • Laura Steele, left in 2006 (Anchor of First at Five)
  • Liz Vetrano, 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 to run for Erie County Legislator


References

External links




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