Veteran Broadcaster Tony Russell Dead at Age 72
One of the area's favorite radio broadcasters, Tony Russell, has passed away at the age of 72. Tony passed away at Idea Senior Living Center in Endicott. He was a mainstay in local broadcasting from the 1970's til his retirement several years ago.
After growing up in Niagara Falls, NY Tony came to Binghamton in the early 1970's and entertained radio listeners until his retirement in 2011. His name was well-known on several stations before he found a home on WNBF Radio.
On WNBF to start he was known as "The Round Mound of Sound" He was the master of the "Oldies" music format. His knowledge of song origins and recording artists was unsurpassed. His "Saturday Morning Oldies Show" on WNBF was a listener favorite.
Tony held a number of positions with WNBF. He had a long term as the station's Program Director. He teamed up with Mike Hart in the 1980's to form "The Mound and Mr. Mike Show". From there he took over Morning Drive duties and then as WNBF moved to an all news and talk format Tony began what became his signature program...."Talk With Tony" aired from 9 AM to Noon weekdays. Tony took on callers, lawmakers and politicians at all levels. His listeners loved it. They had found someone who stood up for them and told people what he thought. He often said what his listeners wanted to say to someone but either didn't have the chance or nerve to do so. Tony "stirred the pot" and got listeners to vent their thoughts and opinions on topics of all kinds.
One of his favorite promotions involved his "Beat the Flapjacks" contest. The Baltimore Skipjacks were big rivals of the Binghamton Whalers and since WNBF aired all Whalers' games it was a natural. Tony called the Skipjacks the Flapjacks as a way to insult them but also a way to create a marketing opportunity. He was able to connect Perkins Pancakes to tie in with him to give away Flapjacks dinners prior to Binghamton home games with the Skipjacks. Winners won free dinners and tickets to the game that night and of course it was all hosted by Tony.
Tony Russell is survived by his daughter Gen. He met his late wife Peggy when she worked for Stoner Broadcasting in Binghamton, the company that formerly owned WNBF Radio. As his fans recall he loved to fish and his tales of fishing and the adventures surrounding his fishing trips became fan favorites.