Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Buffalo War of the Worlds celebrations

With thanks to Bob Koshinski, Buffalo's resident expert on War of the Worlds broadcasts, here's the full detail of the event planned to celebrate the declaration that Buffalo has been proclaimed the “War of the Worlds Radio Capital of the World.”

DiPaolo’s To Hold “War of the Worlds” Halloween Party Fundraiser.

New York Governor David Paterson and the New York State Senate today proclaimed Buffalo New York as the “War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast Capital of the World”. This declaration is due to the fact Buffalo New York has been the home of more unique radio broadcasts of the H.G Wells story “War of the Worlds” than any other city on the globe.

As many as eight Buffalo radio stations have either produced and broadcast their own original production of the H.G Wells story or have re-aired the classic Orson Welles 1938 original since 1968. Those stations include WKBW, WWKB, WGRF, WEDG, WNUC, WNSA, WEBR and WNED.

Governor Paterson’s declaration and the Senate Proclamation was presented today by Senator William Stachowski (D 58th) to Buffalo Broadcast Association Chairman Don Angelo at a news conference held at DiPaolo’s Restaurant in Blasdell NY.

To celebrate this distinction, the DiPaolo’s Scholarship Fund will hold a Halloween “War of the Worlds” costume party on October 31st to raise funds for Kids Escaping Drugs and the DiPaolo Scholarship Fund. The DiPaolo Scholarship Fund has raised over $750,000 for local charities as well as scholarships for local high school wrestlers since 1996.

The party will be held 7-11 pm on Halloween. Cost will be $25 per person and will include food, beer, wine and soft drinks. A guest Martian DJ will be provided and great prizes for best costume.

Buffalo’s fascination with the Wells story began in 1968 when WKBW’s Program Director Jeff Kaye created an original War of the Worlds radio production which aired on Halloween night. Kaye, along with Engineer and Director Dan Kriegler created a broadcast that has been featured in books, television documentaries, web sites and has received world acclaim. This unique local production, now known as the most famous radio broadcast in Buffalo history, featured such legendary Buffalo broadcasters as Irv Weinstein, Dan Neaverth, Sandy Beach, Jim Fagan, Joe Downey and of course creator Jeff Kaye.

Then on Halloween night 1998 WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM broadcast their own unique War of the Worlds production under the direction of PD John Hager. The broadcast featured staffers Larry Norton, Rob Lederman, Ted Shredd, Tom Ragan, Tom Tiberi and Anita West. It also included WKBW-TV’s Irv Weinstein, WGRZ-TV’s Kevin O’Connell, WIVB’s Don Postles and Carol Jasen, Empire Sports Network’s Bob Koshinski, Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski and even a special cameo from Jeff Kaye.

In fact, Halloween 1998 stands out because on that night stations WGRF and WEDG aired their own unique broadcast, WWKB re-aired the WKBW original and WNUC 107.7 FM re-aired the Welles 1938 original. No radio market in the world had four distinct stations airing unique versions of the H.G Wells classic on the same night.

In keeping with that tradition this Halloween night WWKB 1520 AM is re-airing the 1968 WKBW original and WECK 1230 AM is airing the Orson Welles 1938 version.