Omar Fetouh

Online Editor/Program Host

Monday - Friday, 10 a.m.. - 2 p.m.

Omar started his radio career at the former WNED AM 970 as an intern in 2001. After hosting a weekly night shift for several years, Omar became a full-time program host in 2009. He currently hosts the midday shift, which includes the NPR programs 'On Point' and 'Here & Now.' Omar also serves as assistant news director for WBFO and is responsible for managing reporter assignments and much of the station's website and social media content. An avid public radio fan, the Buffalo native says he's proud to be a part of Western New York's best radio news team.

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Photo from Fenton History Center. /

The name of Robert H. Jackson, who was raised and educated in Chautauqua County, will likely soon adorn Buffalo's new federal courthouse. 

Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand say the Senate has passed their legislation to name the Niagara Square building after Jackson.  A companion bill has already passed in the House. 

Jackson was raised in Frewsburg and spent many years of his young adult life practicing law in Jamestown and Buffalo. 

WBFO News file photo

Monitors at the Erie County Board of Elections are resuming their count of ballots in the 63rd State Senate primary race between democrats Tim Kennedy and Betty Jean Grant. 

Entering the oversight process, Kennedy, the incumbent, held a lead of 91 votes over Grant, the chair of the Erie County Legislature. 

The Board is counting absentee and affidavit ballots today.  More than 1,100 such ballots have been counted, with about 400 left to tally.  Any disputed ballots will be left to the discretion of State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Glownia. 

Omar Fetouh/WBFO News

Young talent from the Toronto Blue Jays organization will entertain baseball fans at Buffalo's Coca Cola Field starting next season. 

The Blue Jays, who are considered to have one of the strongest collections of prospects in all of baseball, are now officially the parent club of the Buffalo Bisons.   The Bisons will serve as the AAA farm team for the Jays for at least the next two seasons, ending a four-year relationship with the New York Mets.

Toronto players over the past four years had a much farther trek, with their AAA affiliate located in Las Vegas. 

Omar Fetouh/WBFO News

Dr. Judy Elliott, the recently-appointed distinguished educator for Buffalo's public schools, spoke to the media for the first time Wednesday at City Hall.

Elliott, who was born and educated in Western New York, was appointed by State Education Commissioner John King in June.  She started her part-time job in the district on August 1.

The former chief academic officer in Los Angeles, who calls herself a data-driven systems thinker, sought to clarify her role in the district.

The contentious issue of hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, in New York State continues to divide residents. 

A recent Siena College poll shows likely voters are evenly divided on whether they want fracking allowed in the state: 39 percent support it, 38 percent are opposed, while 23 percent either have no opinion or don't have enough information. 

"You also have to look at this from a regional perspective," said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg.

Omar Fetouh/WBFO News

A bronze statue honoring the late Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin now stands outside the downtown ballpark he helped build. 

Th statue was unveiled Friday afternoon outside of Coca Cola Field in the area known as James D. Griffin Plaza at the corner of Swan and Washington streets. 

Griffin, who served as mayor for 16 years from 1978 to 1993, died in 2008.  He was considered instrumental in getting what was then Pilot Field constructed in 1988.

WBFO News photo by Omar Fetouh

Local law enforcement agencies are making progress in dismantling a notorious East Side gang suspected in numerous violent crimes. 

Authorities say the "Bailey Boys", which operated in the neighborhood bordered by Main Street, Eggert Road, Winspear Avenue, and the Kensington Expressway, have been in operation since 2004. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce says the crimes they are accused of include murder, attempted murder, robbery, and narcotics trafficking.

"They owned their territory because no one would challenge them," Bruce told reporters.

Construction on a new, permanent Seneca Nation casino in downtown Buffalo is now underway.

The Senecas had originally planned a large-scale, $333 million casino/hotel complex for the site.  But when the recession hit in 2008, those plans were put on hold. 

Earlier this year, the tribe unveiled planned for a smaller facility that will occupy nearly ten acres, with a price tag of $130 million.  It will include a restaurant, a bar, and a four-level parking garage.

The Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan is leaving the newspaper to become public editor for the New York Times. 

Sullivan, a Lackawanna native, has worked at The News in some capacity since 1980, rising through the ranks from intern to reporter to columnist, before becoming the paper's first female editor in 1999.  She is credited with helping the paper successfully navigate the challenges of the digital age and stay profitable while avoiding layoffs. 

Late Friday afternoon, members of Buffalo's Board of Education responded to accusations from Buffalo developer Carl Paladino asserting the board violated the state's open meetings law by convening in closed-door executive sessions when it chose Dr. Pamela Brown to be the district's new superintendent.

Paladino, a frequent critic of the board, has filed papers in State Supreme Court seeking to block Brown's hiring, as well as her transitional contract that pays her a consulting fee of $800 a day. 

Utility customers across the country are being victimized by a new scam that attempts to acquire social security and banking numbers under the guise of a government program that pays their utility bills. 

The scammers  ask for banking information and social security numbers, and are then give out fake account numbers tied to the fictitious program. 

Scammers are using phone calls, e-mails, and going door-to-door attempting to solicit the information. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo Sabres play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret will be in the broadcast booth for all 82 games next season.  That's a change from the past few seasons, where the veteran broadcaster took a reduced role behind the microphone, calling fewer games. 

Jeanneret signed a new, multi-year contract with the team earlier this month. 

An Orleans County man pleaded guilty today to one count of second-degree murder in the killing of his 15-year-old sister-in-law. 

22-year-old Carlos Cardenas admitted to the crime Wednesday morning in Orleans County Court.  He was accused of raping and strangling Katherine Sanchez in January 2011.  Cardenas was arrested the following month. 

File photo

With hot, humid weather in the forecast today through Thursday, kids in the City of Buffalo are now able to cool off at one of the city's splash pads. 

The city is opening the pads early this year. They usually open for the season on July 1, but with temperatures expected to hover around 90 mid-week, the city has moved that schedule up.

Eight of the city's 11 splash pads are now up and running, including Cazenovia, Centennial, Kensington, Masten, Allison, Lanigan, Schiller, and Lincoln. Three pads are under construction.

WBFO News file photo

Buffalo's Public Schools will be under the leadership of a new superintendent in the fall, with the election of Dr. Pamela Brown to head the district.    The city school board voted 7-2 Wednesday night in favor of the veteran educator.

"Such a very vital position. Everyone has strong feelings.   We strived to come up with a unanimous decision," said School Board President Lou Petrucci following Wednesday night's nomination and public vote at City Hall. 

A Buffalo man has been arrested and charged with assaulting his eight-week-old infant son. 

Buffalo Police investigators were called to Women and Children's Hospital around 2:30 a.m. when the boy's father, 22-year-old Mark Bridenbaker of Indian Church Road, brought in the injured child. 

The boy was found to have internal injuries and a head injury, and Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards says there are indications of previous physical injuries.  He is currently listed in critical condition. 

A Barberville, Virginia airline pilot has been arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a concealed firearm for attempting to bring a handgun on a plane this morning at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. 

Piedmont Airlines pilot Brett Dieter was scheduled to fly a plane from Buffalo to New York's Laguardia for US Airways, when a TSA agent noticed what appeared to be a firearm in Dieter's bag.  NFTA Police then recovered a loaded .357 magnum holding five rounds of ammunition. 

County legislator to appear on The Daily Show

Apr 24, 2012

A familiar face in local politics will be on national television Tuesday night. Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick and Canisius College political science professor will make an appearance on Comedy's Central The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Hardwick was contacted by the show's producers based on a comment he made to The Buffalo News recently on how New York's late presidential primary renders it moot in the national political picture.  He told The News, “It’s like being next in line for concert tickets when the ticket window closes.”

An accused Liberian war criminal who was living in Western New York has been deported following a six-year investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

62-year-old George Boley, the former leader of the Liberian Peace Council, was living in Hilton, New York, north of Rochester.  During the Liberian Civil War of the 1990s, Boley is alleged to have committed human rights abuses against civilians, including the rapes and murders of dozens of Liberian villagers. 

Mickey Kearns win in the 145th Assembly district, according to Buffalo News political reporter Bob McCarthy, can be attributed to name recognition and attaching his opponent to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

That was one of the topics discussed Thursday morning when McCarthy joined WBFO and AM 970 News.

McCarthy also notes how state Republicans are optimistic over their chances to oust Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and how Kathy Hochul's newly-configured district could make for a difficult reelection.

Shea's Performing Arts Theatre unveiled its 2012-2013 Broadway Series lineup to season ticket holders in a special reception last night.

This coming season marks the 25th anniversary of the popular series.

The highlight is The Book of Mormon, the blockbuster #1 Broadway show, which will begin a one-week run in June.

Also coming to the downtown theatre are Billy Elliott, Jekyll and Hyde, White Christmas, Sister Act, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with the original Broadway cast.

Buffalo to suspend winter parking restrictions

Mar 14, 2012
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

There is welcome news today for Buffalo residents who rely on on-street parking. 

Mayor Byron Brown has lifted the city's winter parking restrictions, which are normally in effect until April 1.  The move could become official as soon as tomorrow if the Common Council approves the suspension in special session, which is expected. 

"We believe we do not need, for the remainder of the year, these overnight parking restrictions. We want to add to the convenience of parking for residents in the City of Buffalo," said Brown.

The pressure appears to be mounting on the Buffalo Teachers Federation as the Buffalo school district scrambles to save $9 million in state funding.

At a special meeting at noon Tuesday, the Buffalo School Board is expected to formally request that the Buffalo Teachers Federation drop its request that any new teacher evaluation system account for the district's dismal student attendance record.