I'll Beat You Up, Said the Zookeeper

South Buffalo-based blogger Mike Blake relates the following story:

In response to a traffic accident on the 33 Expressway, my brother called in and said the accident was caused by a motorist falling asleep while listening to Bauerle’s show. Instead of simply moving on, Bauerle went on a long rant in response to the call. I’m not an expert on talk shows, but it seems like the exact opposite of what he should have done. I get negative responses to my site all the time. But the last thing on my mind would be to dignify them with a response.

Bauerle then took it an unnecessary step further by forwarding my brother’s phone number to his friends. They in turn sent him threatening texts. Very strange and bizarre that any member of the local media would do something like this, especially in an age where it is so easy to document and trace everything. In fact, here is one of the threatening texts Bauerle had one of his people send…

Apparently, WBEN’s morning zookeeper spent about 10 minutes of Thursday’s show not only acknowledging that Blake’s story is true, but by expressing pride that his “friends” would threaten a caller who made a joke, and that they “hold a trump card” of some sort. Of course, if you give out your phone number and ask for phone calls, some of those calls may make fun of the host. This wasn’t even a prank call – there was no Baba Booey moment – this was just a joke.

Is this a perpetual middle school where every real or perceived slight is met with harassment and threats?

When asked, WBEN’s program director/operations manager, Tim Wenger, shrugged.

The discussion got bogged down in a specific issue – whether WBEN’s Telos system displays caller ID information for the host. That’s not the issue. Perhaps the screener had the caller ID information and relayed it to the host some other way. The issue is that the person who made a joke on the air received a threat that the radio host acknowledged on the air as having happened. When confronted with that information, we get an argument about caller ID from the station’s PD – any responsible manager would be appalled that an employee had threatened a consumer of their product.

WBEN’s host is out of control because the station is out of control – between 4 hour-long gun rally infomercials and 4 hour-long Carl Paladino for school board infomercials, the station has abandoned any sense of journalistic ethics or propriety and become nothing more than a right-wing advocacy group, and one that encourages belligerence from its staff.

Pat Blake should be able to make a joke without fearing threats of bodily harm. If so much as a hair on his head is misplaced by another, the radio host, the station, and its corporate parent all share liability and deep pockets.

By the way, the screener hits *69 at Entercom.

Welcome to the third world.


  • I have to say I find it amusing that you would expect anything different from a cast of characters like this.  Why even lend them the credibility of trying to engage in intelligent discussion?  Turn the dial and leave them them to thrash around in their little cesspool.  If you’re going complain, do it to legal counsel at their parent corporation or to the FCC.  

  • It might be worthwhile to watch “The Fisher King” right about now.

  • Interesting.  Never hear of this guy as I try not to listen to this crap but occasionally I do listen to Sandy Beach…just because I sometimes enjoy hearing him make an idiot of himself.
    Hmmm.  My number is in the phone book.  If you know the name you can look it up.
    Question:  Is it true that Sandy Beach was secretly the voice of Colonel Bird from the Muppets?  Sounds just like him!  Sandy, gimme a call.

  • Baurele….get a haircut…..and while you’re at it catch a clue…..

  • Bauerle will never get numbers like Rush, WBEN needs to stop chasing the conservative dragon.

  • Legal threats are awesome. They make America great!
    But really, we’re on quite the quixotic crusade vs. WBEN aren’t we?

  • Here’s the thing.  WBEN serves a wonderful service to the community.  School closings, weather, accidents on the 33, all helpful things to know.  However take all that stuff away and you have a tire fire.  The content is so hard to listen to.  It’s like walking into a restroom after someone did a big nasty.  You have a purpose for being there but you sure can’t wait to get out.  We deserve better from our flagship station. 
    And lately there have been incidents where the language becomes threatening.  And true enough, management just shrugs.

    • School closings, weather, accidents on the 33, all helpful things to know.

      Can’t all of that of that be heard on non-Entercom stations such as WBFO/88.7, or CulumbusMedia-owned 96.9, 103.3, 104.1, or TownsquareMedia-owned WYRK/106.5, WJYE/96.1, WBLK/93.7, … ?

      The text message threats deserve criticism and should be reported to police.

      But aside from that, aren’t most complaints about on-air content like living near the airport then complaining about the noise?

      We deserve better from our flagship station.

      What make it a flagship?  I don’t even know if it’s the highest rated.  But if it is, that’s still only a small fraction of listeners compared to the total.  Regardless of the portion – if that amount of people enjoy it, let them have it.

      If those who force themselves to listen to Bauerle, Beach, or Zach/Rose only to try catching them in things to bitch about would stop listening, maybe ratings would drop enough that they’d be replaced by big improvements with Bellavia or Dobson. Then I might start listening again.

      Now for my list of lies Randi Rhodes told on 1520 during drive time today:
      (j/k – would be too many to list!)

      •  Starr: Good luck finding out the answer to the question of whether WBEN is the highest rated; apparently, only Townsquare stations subscribe to the rolling Arbitron ratings.

        As for a flagship station…think about it: what station have WNYers over the years turned to first in times of crisis, weather-related or otherwise?

      •  Jesus Christ, as I bang my head against a brick wall.  Who cares what Randi Rhodes has to say or Rush Limbaugh.  The issue is what we have to put up with locally.  Some douche bag had the nerve to contemplate on air if there was an anti gun rally, would they be targets?  How much of that crap has to go over the airwaves before it becomes reality?  With all due respect to the first amendment, can’t we do better?  As Carl points out, WBEN is the station people turn to for news.  We are a diverse community with our local flagship station acting like we are 1950’s Alabama.

        • The issue is what we have to put up with locally. …  With all due respect to the first amendment, can’t we do better?  As Carl points out, WBEN is the station people turn to for news.

          @Jim. “with all due respect” to some people’s lazy habits perhaps inherited from their parents, over 99% of the time there’s nothing even slightly unique about what info WBEN provides in mornings.

          I listed non-Entercom stations that all provide weather, traffic updates, and school closings.  WBFO also provides local news, often with higher quality than WBEN. 

          My list might have forgotten one – 1230 still has a local morning show.
          I don’t know if it includes local news, but it used to – of the same type as WBEN which usually consists of reading unattributed headlines and lead sentences from the Buffalo News.  I’m pretty sure sure 1230 mornings include weather, traffic, and school closings. Some of the other non-Entercom stations have an traffic updates from an NFTA employee if I’m not mistaken.

          So let’s see – there’s how many alternatives for morning weather, traffic, school closings, and local news headlines?
          1230 (Donahue), 88.7 (WBFO), 93.7, 96.1, 96.9, 103.3 (Shredd/Ragan), 104.1 (Bill Lacy, former WBEN host), and 106.5 … that’s at least eight others you can choose among instead of Zach/Rose.

          After 9am, there’s higher quality local news on 88.7, or switch to WBEN at the top of an hour then switch away.  For the far less than 1% of the time when there’s a breaking news event which only WBEN covers live – okay, maybe then and then only you “have to put up with” only one option.  Boo hoo.

          Again, I agree with criticism of the threats if those happened.  And I can’t stand Beach, Bauerle, Rose, or Zach, so I’ve greatly reduced listening to those – like Carl suggested, except I don’t have an ideological reason. I do like Limbaugh sometimes, and when Bellavia or Dobson fill in locally. 

          But the victim mindset complaints from Jim an others look like if anti-porn activists claimed Playboy is the only magazine they can read for movie reviews. 
          The “infomercial” complaint from Alan also looks strange unless we’re also going to call the shows of Rhodes, Miller, etc. national infomercials for Obama – which I don’t.

          •  Starr: All well and good, BUT all the stations you mentioned(save for WBFO)run music in the morning. When you have a snowstorm, you don’t want to wait for the song to end before they get to the school closings and weather; you want the information ASAP.

          • @Carl that isn’t quite true.  

            103.3 Shredd/Ragan morning drive show plays music only rarely.  And I think morning shows on some others like 1230, 104.1, and 106.5 would greatly reduce music during a big storm event in favor of closings and reports.

            If a big storm hits during non-mornings, that falls into what I said before that once in a great while people have no other choice – but that’s like maybe, what?  3 days a year or less, and even then only for a few hours?  Small potatos for anyone to be playing the victim “we deserve better from our flagship station” card over, no?

            btw – that’s what I disagree with you all about – not that I think that station is good, but the victimized mindset about it.  That’s just a pet peeve of mine in general lately.

          • The “infomercial” label from Alan also looks strange unless we’re also going to call the shows of Rhodes, Miller, etc. national infomercials for Obama – which I don’t.

            I’m not talking about Beach or Bauerle. I’m talking about the supposed straight newscast between 5am and 9am. On two recent occasions, it was an infomercial for the gun rally and Paladino. When I say infomercial, note that Paladino was specifically identified as a candidate for office and no dissenting opinion was offered. As for the gun rally, WBEN proudly sponsored the bus trip itself. 

            I’m assuming Zach/Rose didn’t really devote 100% of any 4-hour show to boosting Paladino or the gun rights people, and I’ll also suppose at least sometimes their news coverage did report on the pro-Cuomo side of the argument.

            a. Perhaps 99%. b. There was no anti-Paladino or pro-Cuomo argument presented or entertained. 

          • a. Perhaps 99%. b. There was no anti-Paladino or pro-Cuomo argument presented or entertained.

            Okay, a couple things about that:

            That 99% won’t mean anything close to 99% of 4 hours (some time on national, other local news, weather, sports, business reports, traffic, etc., commercials).

            But the 99% you estimated of the Paladino portion made me curious, so I just looked that their audio clip web page.

            At least one interview posted there (day you’re referring to) wasn’t pro-Paladino, or anti-, just analytical.
            Calabrese brought up pros and cons about him.  He didn’t endorse.  By mentioning cons, that’s some dissent even if not much.  Perhaps that’s the 1% you subtracted from 100%?  It would at least be “entertaining” an anti-Paladino argument, as did some of Caputo’s interview also posted there.  Caputo sounded more pro-Paladino than Calabrese, but also mentioned some flaws.

            It’s a good question why no anti-Paladino interviews that day – like from Rumore, or Superintendent Brown, or board members he criticizes (Hernandez, etc.).  There should’ve been, IMO.  But is it possible they weren’t available that day/time?  Rumore has been interviewed many times on that show

            Past interviews with Hernendez and Pamela Brown both show up too, so there’s no reason to think they won’t be on again offering anti-Paladino dissent if they want to.

            Perhaps on some days when they’ve interviewed Rumore or those others, they might not have any interviews dissenting from them.

            So no doubt they’ve leaned strongly pro-Paladino even in a “news” show (which as I said should be renamed “news & talk” or something), it doesn’t appear as totally one-sided as an infomercial, or as Artvoice “news” coverage is about fracking news or preservation news – and yes, I judge weekly papers the same as radio station news.  They should want to be held to the same standards.

          • While on that page, also noticed Zach/Rose interviewed Betty Jean Grant speaking mildly against the county resolution for repealing Cuomo’s gun law. http://audio.wben.com/a/71308506/debating-the-gun-law-legislature-chair-betty-jean-grant.htm
            although that wasn’t on rally day.  Horribly done interview, as most of these are – which is why I listen so seldom. 

            Day before that, they interviewed a Daily News reporter who mostly defended Cuomo regarding guns.

            Also posted there is Cuomo speaking his side of the gun law during Buffalo visit 
            If they have it posted, possibly they carried it live or put in on air soon after his visit.

            So at least sometimes they air pro-Cuomo arguments and/or entertain them.

            If they didn’t have any pro-Cuomo interviews on rally day like you said – yes, that looks bad.  But again, were any pro-Cuomo local people offering to be interviewed that day?   Maybe they should’ve worked beforehand to find someone, somewhere on that side, since they do call the show “news”.  Or they could’ve at least noted during the rally day show that on other days they’ll present Cuomo’s side – which they do on occasion.

          • The morning of the rally – WBEN sponsored buses to transport its listeners there in an effort to create news – I listened for the last 1.5 hours – the time it took me to run an errand or two before going to Rochester. I heard nothing on their air (and this was during the nominal “newscast”) that was in any way in favor or defense of the SAFE act, or any part of it. 

          • I agree with you it sounds like their news show was very, perhaps fully, biased that day against the Cuomo gun law.  Sounds like how some other media outlets are in their “news” about those other topics I mentioned before.

            Other days at least they’ve included some in the pro-Cuomo gun law direction, but based on posted interviews on that topic they look imbalanced in the anti- direction.  “Advocacy journalism”.

          • Carl Calabrese is a Republican. Is a Republican voice what passes for “the other side” when discussing Carl Paladino? 

          • If that question is implying a Republican can never say anything critical of another Republican… wow.  Did you never hear Paladino and Skelos speak about each other, McCain and Paul, … ? 

            The audio link is in my previous comment. 3 minutes in, Calabrese questioned whether Paladino could be a team player if elected to the Board of Ed.  He pointed out Paladino has never held office and it’s and unknown whether he’d be able to solve problems even if he can identify them.  Toward the end, around the 5-minute mark, Calabrese asks “Can he [Paladino] change to the point where he can actually enact public policy?”

            None of that sounds like “informercial” speak, which you claimed filled up “99%” of the 240-minute Zach/Rose show that day.  Saying someone would need to change isn’t a compliment. Niether is questioning whether he can be a team player, or raising doubts about problem solving abilities.  

            All that sounds like at least some of entertaining of an anti-Paladino view.  It wasn’t a lot – but you told us it didn’t happen at all.  (Why was that, by the way?) And yes, Calabrese also said some positive things about Paladino.  Which part of “pro and con” wasn’t clear in my previous comment?  

            I also said IMO someone like Phil Rumore or Ralph Hernandez should’ve been included that day.  But how should I know if they were invited or not, or if they were available and willing that day?  

            Regardless, Rumore is a pretty frequent guest according to the audio interviews posted there, so maybe on those days you can hear an anti-Paladino view without rebuttal when listening four hours straight because there’s no other station to hear reports on Buffalo’s massive traffic jams – except for at least a half dozen other stations who report it too.

          • So, when CNN is debating Obama’s policies, does Donna Brazile represent balance? 

          • It would depend on what she says, of course, not her label or former jobs.  

            Hypothetically, if she said about Obama the same words I quoted and paraphrased from Calabrese about Paladino – then sure, those would be some negative balance about him despite her party label.  I’d also say those words wouldn’t sound like an Obama “infomercial”, or like “99% positive” about Obama if she’d said them.

            We don’t need to be hypothetical about Calabrese, since his remarks were online.

            I don’t watch CNN enough to know if Brazile is ever critical of Obama on there, but a Google of 
            donna Brazile attacks Obama
            finds this she said on ABC:  Donna Brazile calls Obama’s oil spill response ‘not tough enough’.  

            So she was good balance at least that time.  

            Maybe better examples of political operatives willing to criticize Obama even though they’re Democrats too would include ex-Clinton aide Lanny Davis here, and again here.  Also former Cuomo aide and ex-DNC official Kirsten Powers

            So just because someone is a Democrat or former official doesn’t mean they can never provide any objectivity or balance.  Ed Koch was another example.

          • Btw, I hadn’t noticed this before but here’s their webpage summary of that day

            FWIW, that doesn’t look anything close to the 99%-positive or informercial-like approach as you characterized the on-air version.  Even the headline isn’t cheerleading.

            WBEN Extra: Carl Paladino Too Hot For School Board?

            The biggest, most expensive and possibly most controversial school board election ever in the city of Buffalo is coming this spring and it starts with the candidacy of outspoken developer Carl Paladino- three years after his run for governor of New York.

            During that campaign he got into a shouting and shoving match with the New York Post’s Fred Dicker, he came under fire for insensitive, sexual, and some say racist e-mails that he passed off as humor, and has sent out hotly-worded open letters on a range of issues.

            And now that he’s running for Buffalo School Board, with hopes of funding candidates to join him– he hasn’t toned things down much.  In just the past month he was kicked out of a recent board meeting and returned to Albany to flip Dicker the middle finger.  …

            If they wanted to be 99% positive, why even bring up both incidents with Dicker, or the emails?

            You’re still saying none of that counts as even entertaining an anti-Paladino view?

      • Ridgewaycynic2013

        The “flagship” title seems to be self aggrandizing on their part, as well as the fact they have a fairly strong signal.  I suppose the “flagship” also applies if you’re of the same political bent as the station’s viewpoints.

      •  Randi Rhodes is worth listening to.  Please ignore starrrbuck’s unsubstantiated dig on her and please listen yourself, first hand, then decide.

  • Ridgewaycynic2013

    I’ve made a point before in an earlier thread regarding contrived controversy.  Since Entercom owns this pack of right wing whack jobs AND wwkb 1520, which is the left leaning a.m. station, how seriously can we take either set of programming, or the stooges advocating their views?  You’re either left wing OR right wing, unless you’re playing off both sides for your own purposes.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Entercom encourages stirring the pot to enhance their bottom line…advertisers of a political persuasion look to book ad time on a station that  mirrors their values, well here in WNY both the left and the right are filling Entercom’s bank accounts.

  • This is the local equivalent of Bill O’Reilly threatening to send “Fox security” to callers on his radio show….except it’s MUCH lower rated than BillO’s. To paraphrase Keith Olbermann, “Tom thinks he has his own goon squad.” It is high past time that Buffalo PERMANENTLY turn off We Bend Extremely Neo-conservative(aka WBEN)and go somewhere else.

    And to advance Ridgeway’s point further, why Cumulus couldn’t have turned 1270 into a full-fledged competitor to WBEN, instead of a sports talk competitor to WGR, escapes me.

  •  Ridgeway is correct, Entercom plays both sides from the middle.  Which is why Clinton’s decision to allow corporations to buy up as many radio stations as they would like was a mistake.  The difference between WBEN and WWKB is  WWKB offers no local format, unless you consider the weekend spots people buy.  I’m not even advocating left leaning local programming.  My point is if WBEN is our flagship station, they should cater to the community, not just a sliver.  As an advertiser I would welcome listeners of all stripes.  Why the hell would you advertise on a station that excludes many more listeners/customers than it attracts?

  • if STERN was not a repeat, i would not have been listening to the local ALEX JONES. Believe me, i am not afraid of  this kook and his elf army. I saved all the text and and phone numbers. One guy says he is “involved with law and  P I work and his father works at Verizon and i will lose service. When this kook says our president is Hitler or tells his unstable listeners to shoot cops that are coming for their guns, good people need to speak up. The problem is you can’t call WBEN if you have a different opinion , so i called and said the accident was caused by his listeners falling asleep and crashing because he does the same show day after day. He gave my number out and if i wanted to i could start giving out his address, but that is not something i would do. 

    •  Pat: I’m not a lawyer, but here’s some unsolicited advice: LEGALLY pop this SOB in the mouth if this escalates. And by that, I mean file a lawsuit. Make it hurt so badly that they’ll think twice before pulling this stunt again. (The REALLY nasty side of me says “reference The Chicago Way from the movie The Untouchables.”)

    •  There’s a big difference between Howard Stern and Tom Bauerle.  Clear Channel Communications was fined $495,000 for Stern’s on-air repartee.  To my knowledge, WBEN has not been fined for Bauerle’s rants.

      • You missed what Pat is saying… Howard Stern is on vacation (off the air this week) which is why he tuned into Bauerle (one does more damage than the other by the way). Trapped in traffic on the 33, Mr. Blake decided to bust Tom Bauerle’s balls. Mr. Bauerle decided to take the route similar to Justin Bieber not just but 3 short weeks ago. Patrick Carney of one of the Black Keys mentioned that the Grammys are awards for musical-ability not marketability. See cited article below.


        Mr. Bauerle’s fan are now conducting themselves like Belibers… in other words little whiney girls.

      •  Because, apparently, the FCC has a problem with sexual talk. But they’re OK with the violence.

  • Whose fans are the worst? Beiber or Bauerle?

    •  The latter.

      The vast majority of Bieber’s fans will grow out of their fandom of Justin and move on to another person in due course.

  • WNRA is doing a fine job and so is their paperback version of Sandy beach Lil Tom Bauerle with all of his cool cop pals. I observed a friend of my wife’s on Facebook who is also friends with Lil Tom tell Tom that he was out of line when Tom said he’d have told a woman to STFU (except he spelled it out) after her first remark. Well the woman was the guy’s cousin and they were really having a friendly bit of jousting about whether the guy an MD was part of the 1%. It was just fun banter between a business owner and her MD cousin and she was making the case that he had no more right to call himself a 1%er than she did even as a successful business owner. So when Lil Tom jumps in and tries to smack down the woman, (ever notice how these wee righties don’t like strong females?)b the guy has to tell him he’s outta line. Tom’s response? crickets. Must be cool to just go around mouthing off at everyone and making an ass of yourself then blaming them for noticing. I can’t stand listening to that twerp for a minute. Pat Blake deserves a medal. That shit was funny. And of course the little man who loves to dish it squeals like a little bitch when he gets a taste of it in return.

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