This week we've been looking back at the history of 1230am.
For 20 years, Tiny WNIA had a powerhouse sized influence on rock 'n' roll radio in Buffalo, from the same ranch house we broadcast from on Genesee Street.
From Mike Melody's "Make Believe Ball Room," to "Be Big... BE A BUILDER," to Richard Maltby's Midnight Mood, WNIA and 1230am were very much a part of the tapestry that made up life as a teenager in Buffalo in the 50s and 60s.
By the late 70s, those days were over, the station was sold. WNIA became WECK, "The Roll that Rocks."
Get it? WECK Roll? Anyway, 1230 grew up with those 50s and 60s rock 'n' rollers and was spinning the disco tunes with DJs like Frankie Nestro in the late 70s and early 80s.
After years of "Music of Your Life," then talk for a while.. we're now back to our roots as Buffalo's home for Good Times, and Great Oldies... Buffalo's Very Own WECK.
Burt Reynolds spent time in Buffalo during the shooting of “Best Friends” in 1982.
He happened to be in Buffalo for a bit of history.
Reynolds and his co-star Goldie Hawn were at the Aud when Wayne Gretzky broke Phil Esposito’s single season goals record.
Read more and see photos:
All this week, we're looking back at the disco era in Buffalo-- and fashion was a big part of it.
Buffalo in the Disco Era
In 1975, New York City’s Studio 54 was still two years away, but Buffalo’s Club 747 was touting itself as “America’s only superjet disco.”
The flashy sights and groove-filled sounds of the disco experience filled places like Club 747, Uncle Sam's, Mulligan's, and dozens of smaller clubs around WNY.
Buffalo in the Disco Era
This week we’re looking back at the Disco era in Buffalo.
By 1975, the music and fashion and lifestyle associated with disco music was sweeping the nation.
Today, what Buffalo looked like when we first did the Hustle and learned to do a little dance, make a little love, and get down tonight in 1975.
Buffalo in the Disco Era
Over the last week, we've been looking at Buffalo's definitive foods and their history.
It's by no means a complete list, but can you imagine Buffalo without beef on weck or wings... or without WNY's special spin on pizza, fish fry or hot dogs?
Buffalo’s Definitive Foods
As we continue to look at Buffalo's definitive foods, we look at the hot dog.
Just like pizza, they have hot dogs everywhere, but we all know there's something special and different about a Buffalo hot dog.
And recently, a national food blogger wrote "forget wings, Buffalo is a hot dog town.
So what does all that mean?
We’re continuing our week-long look at Buffalo’s definitive foods…
You can get a fish fry in other places, but Western New York is the only place you can get a Buffalo Fish Fry.
We’re looking at Buffalo’s definitive foods this week…
An author recently referred to Buffalo as “The Comfort Food Capital of America,” and Buffalo's definitive comfort food is take-out pizza.
This week we’re looking at Buffalo’s definitive foods, and we’re starting with a classic.
Beef on Weck has been a Buffalo staple since around the time of the 1901 Pan Am Exposition.
Buffalo’s Definitive Foods: The Beef on Weck
This week we’re looking at some of the great kids shows we grew up with in Buffalo, and two great ones from Channel 7.
The Kids Shows of Channel 7
We spent this week listening in to the sounds of the Erie County Fair.
Hear the sounds of I Got It, Ramblin' Lou, The Human Block Head, The Demolition Derby, and Felix's Pizza Truck.
The Sounds of the Erie County Fair
This week we’re celebrating the sounds of The Erie County Fair.
The oddities shows were once very much a part of the fair, and few were more famous than The Human Block Head, Melvin Burkhart.
This week we’re celebrating the sounds of the Erie County Fair.
The Demolition Derby has been a final-weekend-of-the-fair tradition for generations.
This week we’ve been looking back at some of Buffalo’s favorite and best remembered commercial jingles.
So, do you remember where you’ll find the Jolly Little Baker?
Not too long after the last rotisserie chicken was sold at the Swiss Chalet restaurant on Niagara Falls Boulevard in February 2010, the building was torn down, leaving fans (OK, at least me) with the hope that something might be built that could somehow fill the hole left in our hearts by the closure of one of Buffalo’s best-remembered restaurants of yesterday.
Torn-Down Tuesday: Swiss Chalet on Niagara Falls Blvd
The Boost Buffalo campaign started hitting Buffalo radios, TVs, and with 10-thousand bumper stickers in 1960-- organized by the marketing men of Buffalo.
The Boost Buffalo Jingle
The Pine Grill Reunion is one of the events that makes Buffalo, Buffalo.
For the first two weekends of August, the sounds of jazz fill Martin Luther King Jr. Park for the Pine Grill Reunion.
Starting in 1962, The Sound of the City became WEBR Radio’s theme song, and it’s one of the sounds that makes Buffalo, Buffalo.
Chances are you’ve heard it enough times over the 56 years since it debuted that you might even know all the words, but get ready to hear it a bit differently from now on.
When we think of old fashioned Public markets in Buffalo, we think of the Broadway Market. But it wasn't too long ago that there were a handful of them around the city... including in Black Rock.
Where tops is at Grant and Amherst... next to the Scajaquada Expressway.. Once stood the Black Rock Market.
“Built to serve 50,000 families” and “equipped in the finest and most modern manner,” the Black Rock Market came to be after years of lobbying by the Grant-Amherst Political Association, it opened in 1926, and had the same kind of feel of the current Broadway Market, with butchers and produce vendors.
In 1959, the market was torn down to make way for the Scajaquada Expressway. Part of the property where the market once stood is now part of the Tops Market property at Amherst and Grant Streets.
This week, we’re looking back at the glory days of shopping on Main Street downtown, and we begin with the giant: AM&A’s.
Adam, Meldrum & Anderson was Buffalo’s largest and most popular department store for 127 years.
The Glory Days of Downtown Shopping: Part 1, AM&A’s
This week we’re looking at the women who were the first to make their presence felt in what has traditionally been the male-dominated broadcasting industry.
Today– Buffalo TV’s first ladies…
Listen and see archival photos:
A Buffalo Legend hung up his sweater vest after a quarter of a century last night. Kevin O'Connell is certainly one of the people that makes Buffalo Buffalo.
Kevin O'Connell makes Buffalo Buffalo
Calling the Cheektowaga Police into the Walden Galleria to calm the crowds of 1,300 people clamoring for Build-A-Bear was reminiscent of another nationwide meltdown over a toy-- 35 years ago this Christmas.
The Cabbage Patch riots of 1983
Remember when the milk man used to deliver the milk right to your back door?
Well, the people who collect the trucks they used to drive are getting together in WNY next week.
The Divco Club of America will be holding it's 2018 convention in Hamburg starting next week, and their trucks will be on display at the Hamburger Festival on July 21st.
Buffalo’s milkmen and their Divco trucks
Our grain elevators are part of what makes Buffalo Buffalo.
More than 15,000 men worked in Buffalo’s flour and feed milling industries in the 1940s and 50s.
Watch the video:
With his familiar shout, “Who needs a beer?” Conehead — known as Tom Girot when deconed — has been wandering the stands of Buffalo sporting events with ice cold beer since he poured his first beer at a Sabres game at the Aud back in 1972.
Conehead is one of the people that makes Buffalo… Buffalo
Among the things that make Buffalo… Buffalo is Bob Wells.
Bob Wells was the host of one of Buffalo’s most popular radio shows of the post-war era– the Hi Teen show ran on WEBR for 17 years, hosting as many of 2000 kids in the Dellwood Ballroom at Main and Utica every Saturday.
Today would have been the 89th birthday of Jimmy Griffin, and I'd bet that his advice for a hot weekend might be the same for a snowy one...
Grab a six pack and enjoy.
Tough to believe that Mayor Griffin died ten yars ago last month.
In honor of his birthday, we're looking at the Buffalo Tie he helped make famous:
#Buffalove, 1980s style: the Buffalo tie
And more about the phrase he made famous during the Blizzard of 1985:
When "Grab a Six Pack" became Buffalo's Mantra
Two Buffalo Marines are being remebered with a new monument in Gettyburg, PA-- but it's not what you might think.
On June 26, 1922, two Marines aboard the plane died when their plane crashed in Gettsyburg.
This week, a new historical marker was unveiled not for from the spot... which is not far from the Civil War Battlefield.
The Pilot was Captain George Hamilton, a highly decorated World War I hero, grew up in Buffalo as the son of a correspondent for the old Buffalo Times newspaper.
Gunnery Sgt George Martin also died in the crash. The 23 year old was a graduate of Buffalo School 37 and lived on Virginia Street in Buffalo.
The ultimate sacrifice of two Marines with Buffalo ties, being remembered 96 years later in Gettyburg, PA.
From The Gettysburg Times:
Buffalo Evening News coverage of the crash:
This day in Buffalo History... June 27th
1956-- Capital Airlines begins service to the Buffalo airport
1957-- The Buffalo Evening News offers a $1000 reward in the hunt for vandals who destroyed the Pine Hill Cemetery.
1962-- Bishop Joseph A Burke celebrates 50 years as a priest of the Buffalo Diocese. His home parish was Holy Family in South Buffalo and he was the long time pastor at St. Mark in North Buffalo.
1966-- in the midst of a heat wave, Buffalo recorded a record high of 91.
1967-- Buffalo's East side was in the midst of several days of civil unrest.
1972-- Civil Rights Groups filed suit to end segretagtion in Buffalo Schools.
From the Courier-Express, on this date in 1965:
Nine out of ten Grandmas recommend Malecki's Polka Brand Wieners! There's no monkeying around when she chomps into a wiener. Only the full, tangy, meaty flavor that's made hot dogs an all-time favorite will satisfy.
For decades, Buffalo's Finest Hotel was the Hotel Statler on Niagara Square, which was the largest hotel in the country when it was built in 1923.
To make sure his hotel was a success, Ellsworth Statler bought Buffalo's previous most popular hotel-- the Iroquois-- and turned it into an office building. The Iroquois replaced the Hotel Richond and St James Hall, which was where President Lincoln's body laid in state while making its way back to Illinois from Washington DC after he was assassinated in 1865.
To stand in the spot where of all that Buffalo history, just head down to one of the M&T lunch time concerts. Those free concerts have been going on for 49 years now-- but had you been standing on the northernmost part of M&T Plaza-- closest to the old AM&As-- you'd have been in the Iroqouis' lobby.
It was torn down in 1940, and the small building that replaced it was the home of the BOND Men's store--- where you always got two pairs of trousers with your suits.
You wouldn't have known what to make of my ol'man had you met him-- and that's one tradition I certainly carry on.
His name was Steve Cichon, too-- and when people would ask if he was "the Steve CIchon on the radio," he'd say, "No-- I'm THE REAL Steve Cichon."
For as long as I can remember, whenever he would talk about himself to us kids, he'd often call himself "your ol'man."
Those things combined to make the title of the short book I put together right after he died. You can read some of those deeply personal remembrances and great stories here:
The Real Steve Cichon: A Tribute to My Relationship with My Ol’Man
Looking back at a time 80 years ago– when Buffalo was big enough to have the biggest act in pop music here twice that year.
Listen to the story:
Read more and see photos of the visit:
A very famous local radio personality-- whose name we won't mention because he works at another station-- is celebrating 50 years in Buffalo Radio this week.
He came to Buffalo with his famous laugh in 1968. His laugh is famous, so are his jokes and his political opinions, which again, he's been sharing for 50 years now.
But if you were around when the Timeless Favorites we play on WECK were the top hits on KB Radio, you remember our guy as a big-time rock 'n' roll DJ.
Before he came to Buffalo, he even interviewed the Beatles-- George Harrison, anyway.
So if you happen to run into a guy whose name rhymes with Randy Peach-- who does a show 300 kilohertz south of WECK-- wish him a happy 50th anniversary in Buffalo.
Sandy Beach celebrates 50 years in Buffalo Radio
The reaction to the piece I wrote the other day about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety has been overwhelming.
One aspect I didn't entirely think through-- was that when people would share their stories with me, I'd really like to be able to offer some kind of next step to help them, some kind of way forward with some resources to get get on the road to better mental health.
So I turned to the experts.
"I think what's important to remember is that everyone's definition of crisis is different," says Jessica Pirro with Crisis Services. She says it's important to know that whatever kind of crisis you feel, at whatever intensity, at whatever moment, Crisis Services wants to help.
"Our hotline is available 24 hours a day for anyone that's in need," says Pirro. "You don't have to be in extreme crisis. You could just need some information and referrals to resources. Maybe you're interested in getting linked in with treatment or counseling. We can walk you through what that might look like."
Not just for when "it's really hitting the fan," Crisis Services also is for support to help prevent some future crisis.
They want to help getting you to the next step after the phone call, in whatever way makes you comfortable to get to that next step.
"People can call our hotline anonymously. A lot of people call us every day, just to talk about what's going on. Really our goal is to provide empathy. We're not here to judge anybody. We just want to provide some resources to help you through the situation you're faced with," says Pirro.
Anyone of any age who is experiencing a personal, emotional or mental health crisis can call 24 hours a day and find someone who just wants to help you make your way towards your next step to feeling better.
If you were to write a song about the early morning fire on Bailey Avenue back on September 25, 1979, you might call it "The Day the Roast Beef Died."
Flames and smoke poured out of the three-story structure at 1298 Bailey Ave., the longtime home of Bailo's House of Beef. The fire caused $150,000 in damage and ultimately lead the Buffalo landmark to close.
Read more about Bailo's, and the rumors which have plagued the place for 50 years or more:
Most of us hear about the lurid details of a suicide and can’t even fathom hanging ourselves by a belt from a door knob like Robin Williams did. Seems impossible that he would, either. He was always the life of the party, always smiling and trying making people laugh.
Most of us can’t rectify being so despondent that, like Kate Spade, you can coherently write a note to your 13 year old daughter and explain why you’re about to end your own life. Beyond that, it seems incongruous with the bright, sunny fashionable mark she made in the world.
And now Anthony Bourdain has taken his own life in a hotel room in arguably the most beautiful city in the world. This was a man who could seemingly find common ground and connect with anyone, in any place, and be comfortable any place in the world.
We talk about and make social media posts about the tragedy and the incongruity of it all, with the lamentation, “had they only gotten help.”
Not me. I painfully understand the struggle to overcome depression and anxiety.
It's impossible to remember Downtown Buffalo in its prime without remembering the sparkling incandescent lights and glowing neon which brought the night time to life.
In the 40s and 50s, Main Street near Chippewa was aglow with what was described as "Buffalo's great white way," and the greatest display of dazzling and flashing marquees and signs between New York and Chicago.
Marquees for the Town Casino, Shea's Buffalo, Paramount, and Cinema theatres; the big neon signs for Swiss Chalet, Laube's Old Spain, and the Hippodrome. Many of those signs made by Flexlume, which is still in business a bit further up Main Street.
There were Huge billboards for Chevrolet and Coca Cola with lights and motion, just like in Times Square, but comparisons to Time Square really started rolling in when the news started rolling in-- or scrolling in-- on the Western Savings Bank building.
We're looking back at this date in Buffalo Drive in Movie history, June 7, 1958-- 60 years ago today.
If you were heading to a movie at the drive-in today, these were your options according to the listings in the Courier-Express:
It was 50 years ago today, only weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy died of gunshot wounds suffered moments after a victory speech celebrating a win in the California Primary.
Hear the story, and read more about how as New York Senator, Bobby Kennedy spent plenty of time in Buffalo.
It was 18 years ago this weekend, on June 3, 2000, that a 60 year Buffalo radio career came to an end.
Stan Jasinski hung up his headphones and walked away from the weekly Polish American program he'd been hosting on Buffalo radio stations up and down the dial for more than half a century.
Stan Jasinski’s Polish American Program
We hit 91 degrees on May 30, and even the most summer-loving of us saw our patience– and our antiperspirant– tested.
So, here are a few thoughts to try to cool things down– or at least make you a little more thankful for the heat.
Either you love them or you hate them, but the thought of never eating a Necco wafer again was too much for many people around the country to bear.
Steve Cichon talks with Don Vidler at Vidler's 5&10 in East Aurora about Necco wafers and other candy memories. Listen and Read more:
This morning, we're looking at one man's quest to make sure the memories of the 532 WNYers killed in Vietnam live on.
Promises of peace came and went several times during the decades that American soldiers were in Vietnam.
Peace was fleeting, too, for many if not most of the men and women who retunred home from Southeast Asia. A huge project and labor of love started with a simple thought in the mind of Historian and Vietnam Veteran Pat Kavanagh.
With Memorial Day around the corner, we're remembering those who fought and died for our freedom.
Often, the stories of those who made it home help us put into perspective the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom.
The late Michael Accordino was a member of the 299th Combat Engineer Batallion on D-Day. I spoke with him in 2011.
Many of us are making plans for a three-day weekend, but in this run up to the Memorial Day weekend-- we're remembering the sacrifices made in Buffalo and by Buffalonians.
First, it's the story of Buffalo's own Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. 300 US Army volunteers, buried in a mass unmarked grave in the middle of what is now the Delaware Park Golf Course.
About 300 soldiers, who came to Buffalo to protect our national border during the War of 1812 and died of hunger and disease as they spent the winter of 1814 in tents in middle of what is now Delaware Park-- but what was then America's frontier.
Long before he was President Eisenhower, he was Cadet Eisenhower at West Point... and he didn't have a ticket to Kansas to get home for Christmas. So he hitched a ride to Buffalo with a buddy to spend the holiday here.
Read more & Listen here:
Buffalo in 1913: Ike Slept Here
You can visit the home where Ike celebrated Christmas 1913 on the Parkside Tour of Homes this weekend.