I have to say, when Tom Bauerle came to me several weeks ago and said he wanted to broadcast his show from the February 28th Albany Gun Rally, I thought it was a pretty good idea. It would bring Tom and his listeners closer to the workings of democracy and out state government. So I agreed.
But when he went on to propose we send a bus full of listeners to Albany for the protest, I scratched my head and thought, really? Would anyone seriously take a full weekday, spend ten hours on a bus, all for a two hour rally?
Well I'm not sure why I questioned it at first. Obviously the answer is a resounding YES!
Our Promotions Manager Krystyna Karstedt quickly jumped into action as we opened registration online and saw the numbers grow by the hour for the free trip. Carl Paladino jumped onboard and supported a bus with his businesses along with Firearms training of WNY and The Buffalo Gun Center. But we did wonder, will they show up for a 5:30am departure? Again, the answer is a resounding yes as our parking lot at the WBEN studios in Amherst started to fill and come to life by 4am.
It really doesn't matter to me or WBEN where you stand on this issue of the NY SAFE ACT. What matters to us is that people have the passion for their beliefs and that they'll fight within their Constitutional rights for what they think is right. .These people aboard both our buses, more than eighty strong, are working Western New Yorkers who are taking a day of their life to rally for what they believe in. That's what it's all about.
I've met every single person on the buses and all are friendly and excited, despite being a tad tired. There is a sense of excitement aboard the buses as a group of mainly strangers who came together on the radio make a day-long trip to have their voices heard.
What will happen when the rally is over and the people and buses leave? No one knows for sure. The hopes of those aboard the buses is that a repeal will be in the works. But when all is said and done and the last person leaves the rally and the buses arrive back home, one thing is for sure.
Democracy worked and allowed a group of people passionate about an issue and their rights to be heard.
After the unthinkable happened this week at The Buffalo Sabres, the firing of longtime Head Coach Lindy Ruff, I got to thinking that what people say about someone after they've been fired says a lot about that person.
For months, thousands of Sabres fans have been calling for Ruff's head as a way to "right the ship" and get the Sabres back on a consistent winning track. Now it's happened. And the funny thing is, most of those people who called for his ouster are saying the Sabres did the right thing but, at the same time, are heralding Lindy as a "great guy" and someone they respect. Sixteen years as head coach and memories as one of the great former players gets you that.
I've listened to hours of coverage of Lindy's firing on both WBEN and WGR. I've read the columns and watched the local TV news. And I've heard what the national NHL media is saying about his firing. The theme is a common one. "The time was right for a change behind the bench", they all say, followed up quickly by their emphasis on the fact that Lindy is a great guy, a great coach and respected member of the Buffalo community.
There is something about this town when it comes to longevity. We hang on to people in notable positions for a long time. There aren't many places where a head coach gets sixteen years to prove himself. And there aren't many places where the mayor serves sixteen years and where the anchors of the local news and talk show hosts measure their stays in decades, not years. Buffalo is something special in that regard.
I encounter a lot of people from a lot of places across the country and often times the conversation turns to why people stay in Buffalo and Western New York for so long. In many cases, for life. Aside from all the complaining we do about the politics and taxes in New York State, there is something special about the area that keeps us here. For many it's family. For many it's careers. And for many, believe it or not, it's the four seasons. But for whatever it is, it's real. And it's rare.
My guess is that a guy of the caliber of Lindy Ruff will be standing behind an NHL bench or analyzing the game nationally in the near future. And he may even lead a team to the playoffs and the Stanley Cup. But I'm also guessing he and his family will keep Clarence and the Buffalo area their home.
I can't be the only one that got so wrapped up in the coverage of the culmination of the search for Christopher Dorner that I was downright disappointed as 9pm approached and I knew the networks would make the switch to the State of the Union Address. Even the news networks knew they had the nation's attention and held on to Dorner coverage as long as they could. But then, as expected, they pulled the plug and went to the obligatory coverage of the President getting into the limousine, entering the House and all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with the annual address.
Now I realize the State of the Union is important and I also realize there are many who would rather hear what the President had to say than watch a cabin burn out. And just in case you're thinking this is partisan and wouldn't be written if a Republican was in office, that's not true! I don't recall a story of the Dorner magnitude hitting on the night of the address. It was a real live drama being played out and the culmination of a manhunt that terrified southern California and captivated a nation. I would have felt the same if Reagan were still in office.
With CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and FOX, I was hoping just one of the networks would flip-flop standard policy and keep the Dorner coverage in the forefront and run crawl updates on the State of the Union. That's how I think as a programmer. If WBEN had the wherewithal to offer either/or, I would have gone with Dorner. Unfortunately our radio network, CBS, wasn't offering the option. We were relegated to offering four updates an hour on Dorner while presenting the State of the Union.
Just ask a few people around work today. What were you more interested in? I'm guessing I know the answer.