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WBFO Captures Top Statewide Honors

By Associated Press and Mark Scott

Saratoga Springs, NY – WBFO-FM in Buffalo and Binghamton's WBNG-TV each took home a grand prize tonight for having the most winning entries in the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association's annual news awards competition.

WBFO won five first-place awards to earn the National Public Radio affiliate the Steve Flanders Award. It's given to the radio station in New York state with the most top finishes in the competition for news stories aired during the 2006 calendar year.

The awards were presented during the NYSAPBA's annual banquet in Saratoga Springs Saturday night.

WBFO News Director Mark Scott attended the banquet and accepted the awards on behalf of the station.

WBFO Assistant News Director Eileen Buckley received two first place awards for her live coverage of a tornado that stuck Cheektowaga in June 2006 and a feature on accordianists attended an international convention in Buffalo.

WBFO Arts and Cultural Affairs reporter Joyce Kryszak was honored with three first place awards for an investigative piece into calls to 911 being put on hold locally, a summer camp for children of skeptics and a one-hour special on the debate over intelligent design vs. evolution.

WBFO received special mentions for its coverage of the visit to UB of the Dalai Lama, the October snowstorm, the Buffalo Sabres 2006 playoff run, a profile of community activist Rosa Gibson and the opening of a restaurant in Williamsville patterned after the Seinfeld "Soup Nazi" episode.

"This is the first time a Buffalo radio station has received the grand prize award from the Associated Press," Scott said. "I am extremely proud of all the staff members who contributed to our award winning work in 2006. Besides Eileen and Joyce, I'd like to recognize Gabe DiMaio, Mark Wozniak, Bert Gambini, Howard Riedel, David Benders and Christopher Jamele."

WBNG also won five first-place awards to capture grand-prize honors in the television competition.

WPIX in New York City won four first-place awards in the competition among large-market television stations, while News 12 Long Island in Woodbury won three awards. Capital News 9 in Albany led the medium-market stations with three first-place awards.

In the radio competition, WCBS in New York City and Buffalo's WBEN each won four first-place awards, followed by WNYC, WKNY in Kingston and Oswego's WRVO with three apiece.

TV stations winning two first-place awards apiece included New York City's WNBC-TV, Rochester's R News and WHAM, and WWNY in Watertown.

Radio station WSLU in Canton also took home two awards.

In the competition for TV college stations, ICTV at Ithaca College and Fordham University each won a first-place award.

In the college radio station competition, Fordham's WFUV-FM in New York City won the inaugural Bill Leaf Memorial Award for best regularly scheduled local news program. Leaf was a 25-year-old reporter at WSYR-AM and a fill-in sports anchor at WTVH-TV, both in Syracuse, when he was killed in a collision with a drunk driver in January 2006.

WFUV also took first place for best news story.