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WIVB-TV is the CBS television affiliate in Buffalo, New York. It broadcasts its analog signal on VHF channel 4, and its digital signal on UHF channel 39. It is owned by LIN TV Corporation, and is sister station to WNLO 23, the area's CW network affiliate. The master control operations for both stations are located at the WISH-TV hub facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

WIVB's transmitter (see WIVB-TV Tower) is located at 8242 Center Street in Colden, New York. It is one of several local Buffalo TV stations seen in Southern Ontario, including Toronto, which happens to be the channel's biggest target audience. It is also, due to the absence of a CBS affiliate in the Elmira market, the CBS affiliate for portions of Steuben County.


The station went on the air in May 13, 1948 as WBEN-TV, almost three years after its owner, the Buffalo Evening News applied for a license. It is the oldest television station in the market and one of the oldest in the nation. As the only television station in Buffalo for its first several years, it carried programming from all four networks of the time: CBS, NBC, ABC and the DuMont Television Network; however, it was a primary CBS affiliate due to then-sister station WBEN Radio's longtime affiliation with the CBS radio network. It lost NBC when WGR-TV (Channel 2, now WGRZ-TV) signed on in 1954, and ABC to WGR-TV when NBC purchased WBUF-TV (Channel 17) in 1956. WBEN-TV continued to share DuMont programming with WGR-TV until 1956, when DuMont ceased network operations.

The station operated out of studios on the eighteenth floor of Hotel Statler until 1960, when it moved to studios at 2077 Elmwood Avenue originally built for WBUF-TV, which had gone dark in 1958 two months prior to the sign-on of the present-day ABC affiliate, WKBW-TV (Channel 7). One early show, running from the late 1940s until 1970, was Meet the Millers featuring Bill and Mildred Miller and their cooking and household tips each weekday afternoon.

Another staple throughout the 1950s and early 60s was a short visit to the North Pole with Santa Claus and Forgetful the Elf. This was a daily show aired only during December and sponsored by Hengerer's Department Store.

When the Federal Communications Commission disallowed same market co-ownership of newspapers and broadcast licenses in the early 1970s, the combination of the Buffalo Evening News and WBEN-AM-TV was grandfathered under the new rule. However, the death in 1977 of Katherine Butler, the longtime owner and publisher of the Evening News, led to the sale of the newspaper to its current owner, Berkshire Hathaway. This sale brought an end to 104 years of Butler family ownership of the Evening News. As a result, the Buffalo media combination lost its grandfathered protection, and Berkshire Hathaway opted to keep the newspaper and sell off the broadcasting properties. The television station was sold to newspaper publisher Robert Howard of Oceanside, California for $25.5 million. The new owner changed Channel 4's callsign to WIVB, which stands for "We're 4 Buffalo". (The WBEN callsign remains on News Talk 930 AM radio, which had been sold to Larry Levite's Algonquin Broadcasting. That station is currently owned by Entercom Communications.) WIVB was then sold to King World Productions (at that time a separate entity from both Viacom and CBS) in 1988. LIN acquired the station in 1995.

The station added a morning newscast on September 19, 1994, known as Wake Up!.

In 2000, WIVB's parent company LIN bought the station then known as WNEQ (channel 23), the region's secondary PBS affiliate. In January 23, 2001, WNEQ was relaunched as WNLO, an independent station, and soon WIVB began airing a 10 p.m. newscast on WNLO. WNLO began serving as the region's UPN affiliate in 2002. (The previous UPN station WNGS is now a Retro Television Network affiliate, owned by Equity Broadcasting but operated by WKBW's owner Granite Broadcasting under an LMA.) In September 2006 the station became the CW Television Network affiliate in Buffalo, NY.

On May 18, 2007, LIN TV announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives that could result in the sale of the company.

Cable coverage disputes

WIVB has had significant contract disputes with both of the major cable television providers in the station's coverage area, Time Warner Cable (which covers most of Western New York) and Atlantic Broadband (which covers much of its Northern Pennsylvania area as well as the rest of the western New York region). In both cases, WIVB is demanding a rights fee of 25 cents per month per subscriber (in addition to another 25 cents for sister station WNLO) and is refusing to allow the carriers the right to carry the signal. The current agreement with Time Warner expired October 2, 2008 and negotiations are still underway.

WIVB-TV, along with sister station WNLO-TV, was taken off Time Warner Cable at 12:30 AM the morning of October 3, 2008 (replaced with CBS College Sports and HBO Family respectively in the channel lineup), when an agreement between LIN Television and Time Warner Cable could not be reached. According to WIVB-TV News, LIN Television and Time Warner Cable are still trying to work on a deal; Time Warner Cable says negotiations broke off at the time of the shutoff. Since the change, WIVB has openly advocated for Time Warner customers to switch to DISH Network. Time Warner, in turn, has been giving away free antennas and struck a deal with the Buffalo Bills Radio Network to simulcast the audio of the games on channel 4.

There is no agreement or negotiation with Atlantic Broadband, but that company continues to retransmit WIVB without permission.

Accolades and honors

WIVB has been the #1 news channel in Western New York after rival WKBW's long winning streak ended in the early 2000s. The station regularly scored ratings wins for every newscast it aired, from morning to night. The station had become so dominant in the market that it at one time garnered the highest television ratings for a local newscast in the entire nation, according to advertisements run by the station, an honor regained by the station in February 2008.

As of late, rival WGRZ-TV, which has also had strong ratings in the market, has begun to challenge WIVB's dominance, specifically in the 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. newscasts Nielsen's May 2007 sweeps data. By July 2007, WGRZ's morning show was soundly beating WIVB's Wake Up! in the ratings, likely because WGRZ picked up former WIVB reporter Kevin O'Neill, AKA "The Why Guy." WIVB has since reclaimed the top position in the November 2007 sweeps, although still in a statistical tie with WGRZ. Both WGRZ and WIVB are among the highest rated stations in the country and the two stations are fiercely competitive.

The station and its staff have won several Emmy awards including one in 1999.

WIVB chief meteorologist Don Paul has recently been voted Buffalo's favorite television personality, according to advertisements run on the station.

WIVB is the only WNY news station to have 4 full time meteorologists on duty.


News Anchors

  • Lisa Flynn - 5:30 on WIVB; 10 P.M. on WNLO
  • Mylous Hairston - 6 and 11 P.M. (weekends)
  • Victoria Hong - Wakeup! and Early Show News Updates
  • Michelle McClintick - Wakeup! (weekends)
  • Don Postles - 5, 6 and 11 P.M.
  • Lisa Scott - Wakeup! and Noon
  • Jacquie Walker - 5, 6 and 11 P.M.


  • John Murphy - sports director, weekdays at 5, 6 and 11 on WIVB; 10 P.M. on WNLO
  • Paul Peck - weekends at 6 and 11 on WIVB; 10 P.M. on WNLO - sports reporter
  • Robin Adams sports reporter and fill-in anchor


All WIVB weather anchors are certified meteorologists with AMS seals of approval.

  • Mike Cejka - Wakeup! and Noon
  • Don Paul - chief meteorologist - 5, 5:30, 6, and 11 P.M. on WIVB; 10 P.M. on WNLO
  • Lindsay Schwarzwaelder - Wakeup! (weekends)
  • Mary Beth Wrobel - weekends 6 and 11 on WIVB; 10 P.M. on WNLO


  • Jericka Duncan
  • Melissa Holmes
  • Rob Macko
  • Ellen Maxwell
  • Luke Moretti - investigative reporter
  • Rich Newberg - senior correspondent
  • Alysha Palumbo
  • George Richert
  • Lorey Schultz
  • Al Vaughters - investivegative reporter
  • Tricia Cruz

Notable former reporters

  • John Beard - evening anchor (early 1980s). Later worked at KNBC and KTTV in Los Angeles, California.
  • Brian Blessing, sports anchor in the early 1990s. Went on to co-host Hockey Hotline on Empire Sports Network. Now in Las Vegas, hosting Sportsbook Radio and Behind the Lines on KBAD.
  • Erika Brason, anchor of Weekend Wakeup!. (1999–2005) (Now at WGRZ-TV in Buffalo)
  • Ray Collins , news anchor and the first anchor of Wake Up! alongside Sue Serio. (1994–1999) (Now at WTVT in Tampa)
  • Chuck Gurney, meteorologist and (for a brief time) co-anchor of Weekend Wake Up!. (Now at WBNS-TV)
  • Chuck Healey, former boxer and sports announcer. He was WBEN's news anchor from 1965 until 1971 when he returned to the sports desk where he remained until his retirement in 1978.
  • Carol Crissey Nigrelli (AKA Carol Crissey and Carol Jasen), evening anchor. (1979-June 2002) Left the station to marry former WIVB reporter Craig Nigrelli and move to New Mexico.
  • Jodi Johnston, did hourly news updates (1994–1999) (Now at WGRZ-TV in Buffalo).
  • Bob Koop, variously anchored the 11 p.m. news and the 5:30 news amongst other from 1980 until his leukemia forced him to go on sick leave in 1994; he died the next year.
  • Van Miller was associated with WBEN/WIVB's from 1955 until his retirement from the station in 1998. For much of that time he was the station's sports director. He also hosted the station's high school quiz show It's Academic from the late 1960s until the 1990s. He also hosted the bowling show Beat the Champ from 1978 through the 1980s taking over from Healey.
  • Kevin O'Connell was an anchor at WIVB throughout the 1970s before moving to Los Angeles, where he worked as a weather man at KNBC, KABC-TV and KCBS-TV, as well as hosted the short-lived NBC game show Go!. Now the chief weather anchor at rival WGRZ-TV.
  • Kevin O'Neill a.k.a. "The Why Guy." (September 1994-November 2006) O'Neill resigned after 12 years as WIVB's feature reporter. (Now at WGRZ Channel 2 )
  • Marie Rice, longtime WIVB reporter and morning update anchor since the 1970s, retired in 2006.
  • Wadi Sawabini, longtime WIVB reporter (Now head of Sawabini & Associates Law Enforcement Video)
  • Sue Serio, joined WIVB as the first female co-anchor of Wake Up! in 1994. Serio married sports reporter Bill Vargas during her time at WIVB; by 1997, she was pregnant with his child. She went on maternity leave in 1997 but never returned to Buffalo; instead, both Serio and Vargas quietly went to WTXF-TV where she is today.
  • Dennis Williams, sports director (1996-February 2008). Now at WGR.

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