WGRZ is the NBC affiliate television station in Buffalo, New York. Its studio is located at 259 Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo. Its transmitter is located at 11530 Warner Hill Road in South Wales, New York. The station is owned by TEGNA.
|Buffalo, New York|
|Branding||Channel 2 (general)
Channel 2 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||2 On Your Side|
|Channels||Digital: 33 (UHF)Virtual: 2 (PSIP)|
|Subchannels||2.1 NBC2.2 Universal Sports
|First air date||August 14, 1954|
|Call letters' meaning||WGR (radio station)Z=2 (refers to virtual channel and former analog channel)|
|Former callsigns||WGR-TV (1954–1983)
|Former channel number(s)||2 (VHF analog, 1954-2009)|
|Former affiliations||ABC (1956–1958)DuMont (secondary, 1954–1955) |
|Transmitter power||480 kW|
|Transmitter coordinates||42°43′6.6″N 78°33′47.2″W|
The station's digital signal is UHF 33, multiplexed.
|2.1||main WGRZ programming / NBC HD|
|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-TV.
WGRZ ended analog broadcasts at 1:00 P.M. on June 12, 2009 and began a two week analog night light operation. The station's digital signal remained on channel 33. However, digital television with PSIP capability display WGRZ's virtual channel as 2. WGRZ dropped the -TV suffix, like most Gannett stations just a week after the transition.
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 outletWBUF/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-TV/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.
During the 1960s, WGR-TV also operated a repeater station on VHF channel 6 in Jamestown, New York; 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-TV in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, WHAM-TV in Rochester (the call letters of which Transcontinent would change to WROC-TV) and WDAF-AM/FM/TV in Kansas City, and eventually became known as Transcontinent Broadcasting. Transcontinent merged with Taft Broadcasting in 1964.
On May 1, 1983, WGR added a Z to its callsign, thus becoming WGRZ. Less than two weeks later Taft Broadcasting and General Cinema Corporation (which operated the Coral Television division) completed the trade deal that was first announced in December 1982 in which Taft gave Channel 2 to General Cinema while in exchange Taft got Miami's WCIX. (Taft held on to WGR-AM/FM until 1987, when it was 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 KITV in Honolulu, Hawaii) 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.
WGRZ nearly lost its NBC affiliation in 1994 when NBC's parent company, General Electric, announced plans to purchase King World Productions, the then-owner of CBS affiliate WIVB-TV. Had it occurred, WIVB would have become an NBC owned-and-operated station. However, the deal fell through, and WIVB was sold to the LIN TV Corporation (who entered into a long-term affiliation renewal with CBS for that station) instead (coincidentally, King World would eventually be acquired by CBS, who merged the company into CBS Television Distributionin 2007).
Gannett acquired WGRZ and WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan from Argyle II in a 1996 swap deal (with KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and WLWT in Cincinnati, Ohio 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).
- 2 Your Home - housing show about renovation of homes throughout Western New York, formerly known as DIY Western New York
- Tee 2 Green - A Sunday morning golfing program hosted by Buffalo Sabres studio host Kevin Sylvester.
- WNY Living - A Saturday morning show hosted by Janet Snyder from Kiss 98.5. It highlights local attractions, upcoming events and businesses. 
- The Healthy Zone - A weekday show hosted by Janet Snyder from Kiss 98.5 and Dr. Derek Alessi, which focuses on physical, emotional, and financial health and wellness. This show debuted in December 2010 and follows Channel 2 News Midday.  
- Lunchtime with the Classics - A half hour hosted rerun program, hosted by Lydia Dominick, that features classic television programming from Retro Television Network. A different show(s) will be featured each day of the week. The original lineup was announced as It Takes a Thief, Emergency, Kojak, Dragnet and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, with the possible addition of The Rockford Files, but none of those shows is currently in the lineup. The current lineup includes Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mork and Mindy,The Twilight Zone, Happy Days, I Love Lucy and The Beverly Hillbillies. Lunch with the Classics debuted September 7, 2010. As of December 2010, Lunch with the Classics has been shortened to 30 minutes and now only features comedy programs.  The series, as of March 2011, has been re-expanded back to 60 minutes.
Previous local programs include the talk show Your Today in WNY (2007–2008), a local version of It's Academic (2008), the talk show Nearly Noon (hosted by Dan Neaverth, 1980s), and a local version of Bowling for Dollars (hosted by Ed Kilgore, two runs—one in the 1970s and a second shorter run in 2008).
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 WNLO and WIVB's plans to launch its own 10:00 news) produced a 10:00 newscast for PAX TVaffiliate WPXJ. In 2006, WGRZ began producing a new 10 pm newscast for local WB (now My Network TV) affiliate WNYO, 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 WIVB, has begun to challenge WIVB's dominance in news ratings, specifically in the 5:00 pm 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, in the May 2009 sweeps, WGRZ lost significant ground to WIVB and a resurgent WKBW, and fell to a distant second, closer to third-place WKBW than it was to WIVB. And in the November 2009 sweeps, WGRZ was one of many NBC affiliates to fall victim to the so-called "Leno Effect" (referring to NBC's airing of The Jay Leno Show, which leads into the late-night newscasts of NBC affiliates including WGRZ): As in many of the affected markets, WGRZ's 11 pm newscast fell to a distant third, behind both WIVB and WKBW (although WGRZ's weekday morning news show regained the lead over WIVB's morning show, thanks in large part to the return of John Beard to the Buffalo market). With NBC moving Leno back to late-night in February 2010, WGRZ rebounded to a much closer second place behind WIVB in the July 2010 sweeps; however, WGRZ lost ground with Daybreak, once again falling behind WIVB. All three Buffalo stations have been among the highest rated local stations in the country and they are fiercely competitive.
Unlike most television stations, WGRZ takes an openly activist "watchdog journalism" approach to its news coverage, with its commitment to "Holding People In Power Accountable" and being "On Your Side." To do this, WGRZ has the largest staff in the Buffalo market with more general assignment/feature story reporters and sports reporters than either WIVB or WKBW.
As of February 17, 2010, WGRZ became the first Buffalo station to broadcast its newscasts in upconverted widescreen SD. The news video is produced entirely in 4:3 SD (since none of Buffalo's stations have true 16:9 widescreen cameras yet), which is then cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio and upconverted to 1080i in the control room for broadcast.
On January 7, 2011, WGRZ mentioned that they will be receiving a brand new news set during a short segment. During the 10 day construction period, one of their interview areas was used as a temporary news set.
WGRZ's new set debuted during Daybreak on January 17, 2011. The set which is designed for the transition to High Definition newscasts now features extensive use of steel, glass and wood in combination with HD flat panel displays, blue lighting, and a background of several local landmarks. The landmarks are Buffalo City Hall, Niagara Falls, Erie Community College City Campus, and Old Erie County Hall. The new set complements the HD weather set that debuted in February 2010.
Storm Team 2 Weather
Storm Team 2 is WGRZ's weather team, which currently features a staff of two meteorologists, two weather anchors, and a fill-in meteorologist. WGRZ is the only broadcast station in Western New York to operate an in-house weather radar from its broadcast tower in South Wales, New York. This is branded as "Precision Doppler 2" (formerly known as "Doppler 2000" prior to 2000). Precision Doppler 2 radar has street-level mapping and storm-tracking capabilities.
In February 2010, WGRZ unveiled a new weather set. Changes with the new set include HD flat panel displays, improved lighting, and graphics and technology upgrades which would be phased in throughout Spring 2010. Storm Team 2 Interactive Radar was introduced in February 2010 as an enhancement to the main website.
Starting April 15, 2010, the upgraded Storm Team 2 weather graphics, radar system, and weather alert systems debuted on air. The new systems include: WSI TruVu MAX for standard graphics, WSI TruVu TITAN for Live Precision Doppler 2, and WSI TruVu Alert for weather alerts. All radar and graphics systems are now in full High Definition (the first Buffalo station to have High Definition systems on-air; WKBW will follow in November 2010) and provide enhanced capabilities compared to previous systems used.
On May 3, 2010 during daybreak, Precision Doppler 2 was shown in 3D for the first time in showing storms going through the Buffalo area. The Live Lightning indicator was also introduced. WGRZ is the second station in Buffalo to have these capabilities; WIVB was the first in 2007. Also, the new weather crawl system called "Storm Team 2 Alert" debuted. Enhanced features include the ability to display both county maps and doppler radar with any warnings being issued.
Storm Team 2 Weather App
- The Niagra News Report (1954-1959)
- WGR-TV News (1959–1965)
- The Sixth Hour Report/Eleventh Hour Report (1965–1971)
- TV-2 NewsCenter (1971–1976)
- NewsCenter 2 (1976–1989)
- Channel 2 News (1989–present)
- First in Color on the Niagra Frontier (early 1960s)
- Buffalo's Leading News Station (1970s)
- TV-2, Proud As A Peacock! (1979–1981; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- TV-2, Our Pride Is Showing (1981–1982; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- We're TV-2, Just Watch Us Now (1982–1983; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Channel 2 There, Be There (1983–1984; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Channel 2, Let's All Be There (1984–1986; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Working Harder to Be Buffalo's Best (1980s)
- Come Home to Channel 2 (1986–1987; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come on Home to Channel 2 (1987–1988; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Come Home To The Best, Only On Channel 2 (1988–1989; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- Your 24-Hour News Station (1989-early 1990s)
- WGRZ-TV's The Place To Be! (1990–1992; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- It's a New Channel 2 (1992–1993; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- The Stars Are Back on Channel 2 (1993–1994; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- It's Channel 2 (1994–1995; localized version of NBC ad campaign)
- It Takes 2 (1995–1999)
- On Your Side (1999–present; primary news slogan)
- Western New York's Information Center (2008–present; secondary news slogan)
- Turn to 2 (2009–2010; general slogan)
- NBC in Western New York (used on station identification)
- No One But 2. (2010–present, general slogan)
News music packages
- WGR News
- Part Of Your Life
- NewsCenter Theme
- WGRZ 1985 News Theme
- We Know What Matters
- Broadcast News
- We're 4 New York
- Image News
- Gannett News Music Package
News reporters and journalists
Current on-air staff
- Scott Levin, co-anchor of Channel 2 News First at Five, 6, and 11 (Monday-Friday)
- Maryalice Demler, co-anchor of Channel 2 News at 5:30, 6, and 11 (Monday-Friday)
- Marissa Bailey, anchor of 2 On Your Side News at 10 (Monday-Friday) 
- Jodi Johnston, co-anchor of Daybreak and Channel 2 News First at Five (Monday-Friday)
- John Beard, co-anchor of Daybreak and Midday (Monday-Friday)
- Ron Plants, anchor of Channel 2 News at 6 and 11 (Weekends)
- Josh Boose, anchor of Daybreak (Weekends) 
- Ed Kilgore, sports director and sports anchor of Channel 2 News at 6, 10 and 11pm (Sunday-Thursday)
- Adam Benigni, sports anchor of Channel 2 News at 6 and 11 (Friday-Saturday)
- Stu Boyar, sports reporter and fill-in sports anchor
- Ben Hayes, sports feature reporter
Storm Team 2 Weather
- Kevin O'Connell, chief weather anchor of Channel 2 News First at Five, 5:30, 6, 10 and 11pm (Monday-Friday)
- Andy Parker, meteorologist for Channel 2 Daybreak and Midday (Monday-Friday)
- Autumn Lewandowski, meteorologist of Channel 2 News at 6 and 11pm (Weekends)
- Maria Genero, weather anchor for Channel 2 Daybreak (Weekends) 
- Mary Beth Wrobel, fill-in meteorologist, former weekend meteorologist at rival WIVB
Traffic Tracker 2 Live Traffic
- Christie Witt, Daybreak (Monday-Friday) 
- 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 investigative reporter, anchor fill in
- 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, reporter, anchor of Daybreak weekend
- Heather Ly, joined in 2006, Daybreak Reporter, from News 10 Now
- Kevin O'Neill, joined in 2006 from WIVB, "The Why Guy"
- Marissa Bailey, joined in 2006. reporter, anchor of 2 On Your Side News at 10
- Dave McKinley, joined in 2008 from WROC-TV in Rochester
- Michael Wooten, joined in 2009
- Aaron Saykin, joined in 2004, left in 2006 for WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, PA, rejoined in August 2009
- Lydia Dominick, feature reporter & host of "Lunch With the Classics", joined in 2010, Former "CW 23 Girl"
- Heather DuBose, feature reporter, joined in 2010, Daybreak "Unique Eats" reporter which showcases local restaurants.
- Sarah Hopkins, joined in 2010 from Hagerstown, MD 
- Patrick Moussignac, joined in July 2010 from News 12 Norwalk, CT 
- Matt Granite, joined WGRZ in 2009 and WKYC in 2011. Web/Consumer Reporter with daily "Ways 2 Save" segments for both WGRZ and sister station WKYC. 
- Rob Macko, joined in 2010 as a fill-in reporter from rival WIVB-TV
- Theresa Fulcher-DeLuca, joined in 2005, News Producer
- Larry "The Web Guy", Movie Reviews
- Don Polec, joined in 2009, produces "Don Polec's World" reports for Channel 2 News at 5:30
- Jackie Albarella, "2 The Garden" reporter on Daybreak Saturday Morning
Former on-air staff
- Marty Aarons (anchor)
- Douglas Bell, anchor, left 1998
- Susan Banks, anchor, came from WKBW-TV in 1980s, returned to WKBW in 1990
- Erika Brason, anchor, 2005 to 2010
- Tracy Carloss, left in 2000, went to WEWS-TV in Cleveland, OH
- Nick Clooney, briefly anchored at the station in 1994
- Mike Corbin, weekend anchor
- Keith Eichner, part-time meteorologist, left in 2007 to rival WIVB-TV
- Pat Fagan, anchor (1954–1968), died 2010
- Harold Fisher, left 1998
- Annette Falwell-Newell, now at WCTI-TV in New Bern, NC, former weekend anchor
- Wes Goforth, now at WCTI-TV in New Bern, NC, former sports reporter
- Victoria Hong, anchor; returned to WIVB, 2002
- Ron Hunter, anchor (1972–1974), left for Chicago. Hunter is allegedly one of the inspirations for Ron Burgundy;(Cichon) deceased
- Frank Benny, weather anchor (1970s, deceased) 
- Mike Igoe, joined in 1989 as the Money Matters Reporter (Retired 2009)
- Bazi Kanani, weekend anchor, now at sister station KUSA-TV
- Carol Kaplan, left in 2006
- Barry Lillis, Chief Meteorologist left early 1990s
- Laurie Lisowski, anchor
- Mike Latella, meteorologist, left in August 2003 and returned to WCBS-TV
- Jim Lytle, part-time meteorologist, left in 2007
- Kim Martucci, meteorologist, left for sister station WUSA-TV
- Chesley McNeil, meteorologist, left in 2009 for sister station WXIA-TV
- Stefan Mychajliw, reporter, left in 2007; now the Community Relations Coordinator for the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School district
- Danny Neaverth, host of Nearly Noon with Dan Neaverth, retired.
- Gary Papa, sports, left in 1981; went to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, died in 2009
- Matt Pearl, reporter, left in 2009 for sister station WXIA-TV
- Laura Steele, left in 2006 (Anchor of First at Five)
- Liz Vetrano, Traffic Tracker 2 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
- Eric Wilson, meteorologist, left in 2000
- 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; now an Erie County Legislator
- Kristin Donnelly, reporter, left in 2009 to return to her native Long Island, NY
- Andy Pierotti, reporter, left in early 2010; now at WBBH-TV in Florida as an investigative reporter
- Thea Tio, Traffic Tracker 2 reporter, left in March 2010; now in Media/Public Relations at Upstate New York Transplant Services
- Mike Spong, videographer, left in June 2010; accepted position at rival WKBW-TV as reporter
In the 1960s, the station used two cartoon elves, named Earis and Iris, as part of its 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").
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 Dodgerson 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.
- ^ a b Jim Ellwanger. "TV Guide: Lake Ontario Edition". Ellwanger.tv. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- ^ By Alan Pergament / News TV Critic (2010-07-03). "Pergament: Channel 2 to turn to classics at noon". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- ^ "Talkin' TV - Blogs - The Buffalo News". Blogs.buffalonews.com. 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- ^ http://www.packofseven.com/tvnt/showthread.php?t=7259&highlight=wgrz
- ^ http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150362905720599&oid=28898790358&comments&ref=mf
- ^ http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10150130311290359&set=a.199449955358.166710.28898790358
- ^ a b http://www.wsi.com/Collateral/Documents/English-US/titan.pdf
- ^ http://www.wgrz.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=74739
- ^ http://www.wsi.com/Collateral/Documents/English-US/WSI_TruVu%20MAX.pdf
- ^ http://www.wsi.com/Collateral/Documents/English-US/WSI_TruVu%20ALERT%20HD.pdf
- ^ "Press Release Details". Wsi.com. 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- ^ http://www.wsi.com/products-media-television-truvu-alert-hd.htm
- ^ Storm Team 2 Weather app product announcement at WGRZ.com
- ^ a b Talkin, Still (2010-07-14). "stilltalkintv: Channel 2 Names Bailey 10 p.m. Anchor". Stilltalkintv.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- ^ "Buffalo, NY | Blog Page". WGRZ.com. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- ^ Pergament, Alan (2010-10-07). Brason departs channel 2. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
- ^ By Alan Pergament (2010-07-08). "Genero finds perfect fit with part-time weather". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ wgrz.com
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ http://wkycdirectorscut.blogspot.com/2010/11/wkyc-adds-matt-granite-to-channel-3.html
- ^ "Frank Benny". Buffalobroadcasters.com. Retrieved 2010-07-23.