WADV FM was born in a waiting room at the Buffalo Courthouse. Dan Lesniak, an announcer for WWOL, had been called for jury service, and to pass the time, he picked up a beat up old magazine. Inside was an article heralding a new future for broadcasting - FM stereo.
This new technology excited Dan so much that he spent the next several months researching stereo technology, and he didn’t let it rest until he and his wife, Nancy Lee, had started WADV FM Stereo Radio in 1962. Originally sharing a building with the Boy Scouts in the Episcopal Diocese offices on Pearl Street, the pair moved to the Rand Building in 1963.
Building a radio station from scratch was hard going, but they persevered, accumulating equipment and hiring talented announcers such as Rick Bennett, Pat Vincent and Fred Klestine. The entire family was involved. Dan was an announcer and salesman at heart, while Nancy ran the business. The Lesniaks’ son, Rick, even spent some time as an announcer when he was a teenager. Rick’s laconic approach to broadcasting prompted one loyal listener to write in suggesting that he needed some more training. “Who is he, the boss’s son?” he complained.
WADV was on the air for 19 years. In that time it became famous for Dan Lesniak’s Polka Ballroom show, Bernie Sandler’s Big Band sounds and Joe Vendetti’s Jazz Program among others. The Lesniaks hosted a succession of contemporary music stars such as Tony Bennett, Englebert Humperdinck, Tom Jones and Harry Belafonte at the Rand Building.
WADV signed off for the last time in 1981, shortly before Dan Lesniak’s death. In 2001, he and Nancy Lee were honored as distinguished broadcasters and inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
THE ORIGINAL HOME OF WADV FM RADIO:
2200 Rand Building,
14 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203
LINKS TO NEWS ARTICLES AND PROMOTIONAL LITERATURE FROM WADV'S HISTORY:
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