[Update No. 2: It appears that Dave DiPietro will be moving on from WECK to another radio station in the near future. Here’s the gracious email I received from the Assemblyman on February 3, 2021, also sent to WECK’s owner, Buddy Shula:
From: “David DiPietro”
To: “Buddy Shula”
Sent: Wednesday February 3 2021 1:26:07AM
Subject: David DiPietro
Art and Buddy,
Great to hear from you Art. I am happy to hear that you are doing
well. I miss our talks, you always had a great depth of knowledge on
many subjects and I relied upon you many times for advice! I
appreciate your offer! I met with and was offered to have my show on
another station today, and I am meeting with another radio station
tomorrow. You definitely would have been a great “Counterpunch” and
fun to work with! Let me know if you make it out to East Aurora, we
can grab coffee!
Stay safe and God Bless!
[Update No. 1: On Friday afternoon, January 29, 2021, two days after I sent a message to WECK’s owner, Buddy Shula, offering my service as a voice to counter Assemblyman Dave DiPietro’s ultra-conservative pronouncements – and minutes after I left a follow-up voice-mail message to Mr. Shula – an assistant to WECK’s owner phoned to say that WECK is not interested in pursuing any more political talk at this time, but will focus on music that brings joy to its listeners. I don’t blame them. Perhaps I’ll find another way to serve as that well-needed counterpoint.]
Alan Pergament, TV critic for the Buffalo News, had a revealing column in the publication’s January 27, 2021 print version, entitled “Capitol attack led to hiatus of DiPietro show, WECK says.” The “DiPietro” referenced in the headline is the right-wing State Assemblyman David DiPietro (R), former mayor of the Village of East Aurora. The “hiatus” mentioned in the headline is the decision made by Buddy Shula, the owner of WECK – a local radio station – to temporarily take off the air the hour-long Saturday morning radio show, BUFFALO MATTERS with David DiPietro.
According to Dave DiPietro, WECK “pulled the plug” on his show, following the election of Joe Biden, when “the owner received threats from Antifa types to ‘burn down the station’ if he did not remove me.” According to the Assemblyman – who likes using ALL CAPS – “THIS is how leftists CENSOR CONSERVATIVE TALK.”
As conveyed by Mr. Pergament, Buddy Shula has a different explanation: “I received emails and calls from both the right and the left expressing their views, but never, ever threatened… When I saw the commotion at the Capitol (on Jan. 6), it made me sick and scared… It was after watching that that I decided that my radio station really should not get involved in a one-sided political area at this time.”
What I found most interesting personally were the following statements by WECK’s owner: “I would love to have Dave back on the air, but with a person from the other side of the aisle… [I]t is important not to be one sided… I want[ ] the show to have a counterpoint from the other side of the aisle.”
Well, I have known Dave DiPietro since the late 1990s – when he was working at his family’s dry cleaning business in the Town of Aurora. And, while I perhaps may stutter at times, and may not be the world’s smoothest talker, I think that I could be an excellent “counterpoint” to Dave’s perspective on politics and what matters in Buffalo. With that thought in mind, I sent a message today to Buddy Shula (whom I do not know), offering to provide the alternative view.
What follows is my verbatim message to the owner of WECK (which, by the way, is primarily a music station “that attracts baby boomers and seniors in Western New York”). For my readers’ edification, I have added some links and the image of two writings mentioned in the email. I’ll keep you posted if I hear back.
With All Due Respect,
Dear Mr. Shula,
I would like to offer my services as a counterpoint to Dave DiPietro’s conservative voice at WECK.
I am a life-long Democrat from a working-class family in Rochester who worked hard and graduated from Harvard law school 45 years ago, moving to Buffalo in 1976. My law practice has focused on public interest matters, zoning, land use and environmental law, and, in earlier years, prisoners’ rights. While I am a progressive, I have not shied away from criticizing Andrew Cuomo (for an example, click here), Byron Brown (for an example, click here), or other prominent Democrats when writing op-ed pieces or columns in the Buffalo News, Buffalo Law Journal, or my own blog at https://WithAllDueRespectBlog.com. [Note: I acquired a trademark in 2014 to use the term “With All Due Respect” for news analysis and commentary, and sold my interest in the mark to Bloomberg TV, retaining a license to use the name at my blog, related articles or commentary in newspapers and publications, etc.]
I first met Dave DiPietro in the late 1990s while I was raising a family and conducting a solo law practice in East Aurora. Dave would call me or stop by my home regularly to discuss village issues and the law when he was serving as a Village Trustee. In a March 2001 editorial (inserted below), the East Aurora Advertiser attempted to slam both Dave and me by characterizing me as Trustee DiPietro’s “research assistant.” [Note: I was respected by many in East Aurora for representing the Village Board in 1994 when it successfully turned back Wal-Mart’s rezoning request.]
However, in February 2002, while running for East Aurora mayor, Dave threw me under the proverbial bus when the incumbent mayor claimed that, if elected, Dave would hire me as Village Attorney. [The more conservative folk in town considered me anti-development and, therefore, unworthy.] Dave sent a post card (inserted below) to every village and town resident characterizing the rumor as “dirty politics,” and exclaiming in bold print and ALL CAPS: “NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!!!”
By the way, although I haven’t seen Dave in person since I moved back to the City of Buffalo in 2015, we have remained cordial in our personal interactions.
If you are at all interested in pursuing this or related topics, please contact me at 716-436-2646 or AJGiacalone@twc.com.
Arthur J. Giacalone