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Tom Puckett



Contact Tom Puckett

I grew up in West Seneca, interviewed a presidential candidate at age 10, and signed off a Buffalo radio newsroom (THREE TIMES NO LESS!!). Just a sampling of what my life and career's been like.
 
Growing up in West Seneca, my dream was to be in Ted Darling's seat, calling play-by-play for the Buffalo Sabres. Since that job really hasn't opened in my lifetime, I looked for other ways to break into broadcasting.
 
If you watched "Reading Rainbow" in the 1980s, you probably saw a little chubby guy wearing a 77 t-shirt reviewing a couple of books. Yes, friends, that was me at the age of 8. I auditioned with a bunch of other kids in the area and got picked to do a pair of book reviews for the show. If you catch the show on the right Monday or Wednesday, you'll see LeVar Burton with more hair and me much shorter.
 
I actually got into journalism at age 7, writing occasional sports articles for the Lackawanna Front Page. I made it a habit of turning autograph meet and greets with area athletes at now defunct stores into a quick interview section. I still remember interviewing Rod Kush in 1984 at AM&A's and only eight people were in line all night.
 
My foray into news began at 10, when Walter Mondale came to town on his presidential campaign. I did a little wrangling with help from then Democratic party chairman Joe Crangle to get an "exclusive" interview (translation: photo op) with Mondale. A picture of me with the former Vice-President made to the national wires.
 
I moved on to high school at West Seneca East Senior, where I was on the school radio station (translation:morning announcements) and was a sports columnist for the Trojan Times newspaper. In 1992, Bill Clinton took the White House, and I took on the Communcation Arts program at Gannon University in Erie, PA. I anchored news (translation: rewriting articles from the afternoon paper) and had my own morning show (wasn't as funny as I thought). I graduated one semester early in December 1995.
 
During my senior year in 1995, I was hired by WLKK Radio in Erie to become weekend news anchor. I was promoted to full time staffer in February 1996, where I stayed for a little more than a year. I returned home to Buffalo to work at WNED as a part time reporter and weekend morning board operator. I applied for a sports reporter opening at WGR in the summer of 1997, and ended up becoming the overnight anchor at the station for two years, moving to evening anchor until WGR's news department closed down in 2000. I signed the news department off, but got cut off as I was tagging out. Larry Hunter said, "Let's do that again" and I screwed up, so we had take three...where I finally said goodbye.
 
After spending about two months as assignment editor at Channel 4, I joined WBEN as a night reporter, then anchor in the summer of 2000. In 2002, Buffalo's Evening News was revamped and I have taken the hour format by the horns ever since.
 
In my spare time, I'm usually playing poker, usually on the computer or occasionally in the casino. I've played a couple of tournaments and won a good chunk of change, but I'm still waiting for that World Series main event bracelet. I also try (poorly) to get in a workout or two, but that is usually trumped by enjoying good food (suicidal chicken wings and a certain cheesesteak are two of my mortal weaknesses). Every Thanksgiving morning since 2003, I've helped jump start the holiday for thousands of runners as the MC of the YMCA Delaware Turkey Trot.

I live in South Buffalo, and am the proud godfather of a little boy, Christopher Heath.
 

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