WBNY partners with FC Buffalo soccer over summer


Patrick Koster, News Editor

Over the summer, SUNY Buffalo State’s student-run radio station, WBNY (91.3 FM), partnered with local National Premier Soccer League team FC Buffalo.

Students from WBNY were involved with underwriting for FC Buffalo, which is a not-for-profit informative, non-persuasive form of advertising. WBNY also hosted a weekly FC Buffalo radio show, where they had the opportunity to talk with coaches, owners, and players.

Nick Mendola, FC Buffalo co-owner and founder, said that he and some of the other co-owners of FC Buffalo were or still are deeply involved in the local music scene in Buffalo.

“I guess what we liked was kind of folding into the WBNY tradition, which we had been a part of in different arenas,” Mendola said. “Before we were a sports team, we were very much at WBNY to hear our bands, to hear our friends’ bands.”

Mendola said that the partnership with WBNY “seemed like a bit of a natural fit.”

“We always knew WBNY was a really good asset for our area,” Mendola said. “And so, I think, speaking plainly, we wanted to look into what it might take to be an underwriter on the station, and just to kind of support it. And what ended up coming out of it was an opportunity to have our games on there and, in theory, to maybe even work out a pretty cool talk show, which we did a few times and was a lot of fun. So really, it was kind of born out of an appreciation for the history of WBNY and soccer very much.”

“One of the big things about FC Buffalo we’re very grateful for is that their big motto is ‘For our city,’” WBNY General Manager Nick Lippa said. “They feel like they’re giving back to the city by helping some of the students here at the college, and they definitely are. And we’re very appreciative of that at WBNY.”

Lippa said that FC Buffalo worked with WNYmedia Network for the video aspect of their games, providing live streams for the season. While video coverage existed for FC Buffalo, there wasn’t yet a consistent radio presence.

“However, we give them a radio presence. We give them a radio show that they can utilize as podcasts if need be as well. So they were able to do that with us and that’s what we offer,” Lippa said.

WBNY Sports Director Joe DiBiase played a major role in the station’s partnership with FC Buffalo. DiBiase, along with a few other DJs, helped host the FC Buffalo talk show, which aired every Monday from 5-6 p.m.

“Joe did a really great job of establishing a relationship with FC Buffalo. I wasn’t available a lot of the time over the summer, I was handling some other things, so I put Joe in charge of FC Buffalo,” Lippa said. “Joe was a big part of that because the big part that WBNY DJs did with it was the FC Buffalo show.”

DiBiase said his favorite moment while covering FC Buffalo was during the last game of the season. FC Buffalo was facing one of their rivals, AFC Cleveland, for a chance to make the playoffs.

“They were tied going into the 80th minute, I believe, and our play-by-play man, Ben Tsujimoto, was ecstatic after a red card was given to one of our players that gave them a penalty shot, and our goalie made the save,” DiBiase said. “The last game was sold out, so there was probably a good 2-3,000 people there, so it was a really good crowd. Just the atmosphere and everything was amazing, and the way it came over the air, like the crowd noise with the play-by-play and everything. They actually went on to lose the game and there was a lot of antics at the end, but just the atmosphere and everything was awesome.”

WBNY and FC Buffalo are looking to meet within the next couple weeks to discuss continuing their partnership. Mendola said that the team would like to make the radio talk show more frequent, even during the offseason.

Aside from working with FC Buffalo, WBNY is close to finalizing a deal to cover the inaugural season of the newly formed National Women’s Hockey League team, the Buffalo Beauts. Lippa said the coverage would be similar to what WBNY has done with FC Buffalo. WBNY has also been in talks with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra about a possible partnership.

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