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Eager to Explain Confusing Media Stories

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

Sometimes I read local stories about the media and think of Sofia Vergara of ABC’s “Modern Family.”

Who doesn’t think of Sofia, the Colombian actress who plays Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the Emmy award winning comedy?

Gloria’s English is so difficult to understand at times that she needs an interpreter.

One also was needed to understand a Buffalo News story last week with the headline: “WNED eager to take over WBFO.”

Recently, I did a story for Buffalo Spree magazine about the two stations and I didn’t even understand a story built around the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association’s $4 million purchase of WBFO-FM and two Southern tier stations from the state. The WNYPA consists of WNED-TV, WNED-FM and WNED-AM and is commonly referred to as WNED.

The headline — which isn’t written by the reporter — was part of the confusion. One of the big issues surrounding the purchase is what is going to happen to WNED-AM, which carries several of the same programs as WBFO. The headline suggested to some that WNED was going to take over WBFO.

That made no sense since WBFO is the stronger station and goes into more areas of WNY than WNED-AM. WNED-AM does have a reach in some areas where WBFO is weak.

I was so confused that I called Don Boswell, the president and chief executive officer of the WNYPBA, to determine what, if anything was new since public forums were held almost three months ago to get public input on what to do with the two stations after the WBFO deal is approved.

So here is what I gathered from listening to Boswell.

Once the FCC approves the sale and some technological things needed to be done are accomplished. WBFO will carry the best programming from both stations.

WNED-AM will simulcast the WBFO programming until it is determined whether it would be best to put on some other programming or whether WNED-AM should be sold.

To expand WBFO’s potential audience, Boswell is looking for ways to get it into the lucrative Canadian market, which is a big part of the success of WNED-TV.

Boswell is trying to be realistic in the face of the $6 million the local public broadcaster is in debt because of the purchase of WBFO and some problems with the interior of the building on Lower Terrace.

In addition, the WNYPBA may have to pay more money for NPR programming. At the same time, it may lose revenue if the stations don’t get the same pledge support from listeners as they have in the past.

Hope that clears almost everything up.


I also feel an obligation to interpret a Channel 2 report Wednesday. I was a math major in my freshman year in college. I bring this up because I was confused by the math being done by Channel 2’s Aaron Saykin in Wednesday’s story about what the tax cut extension being argued about in Congress will mean to the average American. The report noted that President Obama is getting his message across by asking what an extra $40 a week would mean to taxpayers.

First, Channel 2 carried a chart that showed the tax cut would mean $750 to someone making $35,000 a year, $1,000 for someone making $50,000, $1,500 for someone making $75,000 and more than $2,000 for someone making more than $100,000.

Then WNYers were asked what they would do with an extra $40 a week. According to my math, the only people who should have been asked that question are those making more than $100,000 a year because $40 a week equals $2,080 a year.

WNYers won’t be able to hear them (unless they get a pirated telecast of the blacked-out game), but CBS is sending first-team broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms Saturday for the Bills game with the Denver Broncos at the Ralph. If you’ve watched ESPN in the last month or so or listened to any sports talk show, you know why Nantz and Simms are coming to a game involving a team in a seven-game losing streak. They are here to see Denver quarterback Tim Tebow,  a devout Christian, on Christmas Eve.

Finally, happy holidays everyone.



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6 responses to "Eager to Explain Confusing Media Stories"

  1. Bob says:

    It’s funny I don’t see Obama, or any of the media, telling us how much a week the national debt is costing us.

  2. Pergy's friend says:

    I missed Mr. Saykin’s report. Did it appear the interviewees made > 100K/year?

  3. Mark Scott says:

    I wish, Alan, that you and the rest of the media would stop repeating a clear falsehood. WNED-AM duplicates programming that WBFO airs. It is NOT the other way around. WBFO first broadcast All Things Considered on May 3, 1971. WBFO first broadcast Morning Edition on November 5, 1979. WNED-AM came on board much later, in 1993. So, can the media please get this right? I’m not critical of WNED-AM. These are clearly great programs. And NPR research says the more stations that broadcast Morning Edition and All Things Considered in a given market, more listeners are reached. But again, the media need to get the story right. WNED-AM duplicates WBFO programming. It’s not the other way around!

  4. Jlessord says:

    I’m still confused by Alan’s “clarification” of the matter

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