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39th Annual Professional Recognition Awards and Scholarship Dinner

May 6, 2017, 6 PM cocktails, 7 PM dinner

at Drumlins Country Club, 800 Nottingham Road

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E.R. Vadeboncoeur

WSYR Radio and TV

Syracuse Journal

Mention the name E.R. Vadeboncoeur and it's his radio news broadcasts and Election Night commentaries that come to mind for many longtime Central New Yorkers. Long forgotten is that "Curly," as he was known to his friends, started out to be a newspaperman.

 

He got his first job on a newspaper after leaving Central High School and worked his way up to city editor at the old Syracuse Journal. When the paper merged with the Herald a few years later, he was offered a spot on the new Herald-Journal. Instead, he decided -- on the advice of his wife Orletta -- to switch to broadcasting by accepting another job offer at WSYR Radio.

The change made sense because Curly had been doing a Sunday night broadcast on WFBL called "City Editor" during his later years at the Journal. Soon after joining WSYR, he began doing noon-hour news and commentary every day. In the late 1940s, he successfully crusaded against a proposal for a city sales tax. (Years later, however, the tax became reality).

In an effort to help his listeners better understand what was happening overseas during World War II, Curly traveled to the Pacific for a month. He is believed to be the only war correspondent accredited personally by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Several times, he risked his life by flying in bombers on missions out of New Guinea to get a better feel of war.

In the early 1950s, several years after he became general manager of WSYR radio and television, Vadeboncoeur gave up his broadcasts to become more involved in S.l. Newhouse's plans to expand Newhouse Broadcasting, which owned WSYR. The expansion included purchase of stations in Harrisburg, PA; St. Louis, MO; Birmingham, AL; and Portland, OR. Curly traveled weekly to Harrisburg and once a month to the others. He also was involved in the development of Newhouse cable properties.

Meanwhile, he continued to appear on television every Election Night, analyzing returns for viewers after being introduced as the "dean of Syracuse newsmen."

As a boy, Curly Vadeboncoeur earned money to support his widowed mother by bicycling prints of films from theater to theater. His interest in theater led him to join Murray Bernthal to create the Famous Artists Series in 1946. The two men also launched a concert series. The following year, they inaugurated the star-driven Famous Artists Country Playhouse in Fayetteville, later expanding to East Rochester and Watkins Glen.

Vadeboncoeur served as president of the Upstate Chapter of American Cancer Society, was awarded the Simon LeMoyne Medal by LeMoyne College, and chaired numerous Red Cross benefits.

Even after Newhouse sold off the television stations and then the radio stations, E.R. continued to preside over the Newhouse cable enterprises almost until his death in 1986.
--Joseph A. Porcello
Last Updated ( Monday, 17 November 2008 01:26 )
 
 "Don’t be deluded into believing that the titular heads of the networks control what appears on their networks. They all have better taste."
--Edward R. Murrow

Wall of Distinction

The Syracuse press Club would like to send its condolences to the family of long-time channel 3 and WSYR radio reporter Jerry Barsha.  Barsha died September 10th at the Cleveland Clinic where he was undergoing treatment. He was 83.

Funeral services will be Tuesday at the Sisskind Funeral Chapel at 3175 East Genesee Street, Syracuse at 11am. Calling hours will immediately precede the services at the funeral home beginning at 10 am.

Jerry was a native of Brooklyn, who like many central New York broadcasters settled in the Syracuse area after attending and graduating Syracuse University.   Jerry's career at what was then WSYR-TV 3 and WSYR Radio began in 1957, where he worked in both radio and television news. Jerry worked for 32 years at the station before retiring.  He also taught for 35 years at Onondaga Community College.  Jerry was a Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction honoree and a winner of the club's lifetime achievement award. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Martha, four daughters, and six grandchildren.

Here is a link to our page on Jerry, when he was installed on the Wall of Distinction

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