Local talk show host enjoys triumph, endures tragedy

September 30—Life sometimes has its share of ups and downs.

Last week, Tom Darro, host of the talk show “Viewpoint” on WEBR AM 1440, had one of the greatest moments of his career when he was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

This week, Darro is mourning the loss of his dear sister, Katherine Argy, who died Monday at age 84.

Anyone who heard Darro on the radio Wednesday, talking about what his sister meant to him and the profound impact her loss had on him could easily understand why he ranks among the best in Western New York.

His words were moving and heartfelt. I don’t know how he got away with it. I’m not sure, if I had been in a similar situation, I could have done the same.

But Tom is a real pro and it shows.

I had planned to write something about Darro’s accomplishment this week. He was officially inducted into the Buffalo Broadcaster Hall of Fame last Friday. It is an honor he has sought for years.

There was a time, a long time ago now, when I thought about leading a local charge to convince the nominating committee to put Tom in the Hall of Fame.

I always thought he really deserved it.

For the record, I have known Tom for years and consider him a friend and those of us who work at the Niagara Gazette recognize him as a true friend and supporter of all newspapers, not just this one.

Beyond that, however, as a casual listener, I find Tom to be good at what he does, and he does a lot of it.

His keen sense of historical events and facts helps to mark the times, not only as it relates to Niagara Falls and Niagara County, but as it relates to other areas of life as well – important things like music, movies and television and, of course, the great game of baseball.

Through his show, Darro has been a constant source of information, helping Falls residents learn more about the services that are available to them, important meetings they should consider attending, and other business matters. public importance.

“Viewpoint” continues to recognize December 12 as a national holiday, setting aside a full show to play Frank Sinatra songs in honor of his birthday each year.

Speaking of birthdays.

I marvel at Tom’s uncanny ability to know so many important personal dates, birthdays and anniversaries included.

My birthday is September 21 and receiving Tom’s best wishes on air is something I always appreciate.

As Tom often reminds listeners, “Viewpoint” has the distinction of being the nation’s first “two-way” telephone talk show. Since the show began on WJJL in 1956, it has had its ups and downs under a variety of personalities and hosts.

Tom’s version represents, I believe, one of the last real community gathering places in Niagara Falls and Niagara County. In an age of fractured media tastes, cluttered with so many options for people’s viewing and listening pleasure, Tom Darro is still focused on things that matter to many people, namely local issues and local journalists. .

Over the years Tom has done an outstanding job of navigating all the personalities and politics in this area, which I can say from experience is no easy task.

Democrats come to “Viewpoint” just like Republicans.

This is often the case where a Democrat who hates a Republican is followed that week by the Republican who hates the Democrat.

In a hyper-partisan era, it can be difficult to balance the whims of both sides.

Tom somehow manages to keep talking to all of them, giving them a platform and a place to express their various points of view.

There are also, of course, Tom’s regular listeners and callers.

I personally know some of them. Others that I have never met.

We are all part of a network of people who care about the falls and the surrounding communities and love to hear what others have to say about what is happening.

I don’t always agree with them and I’m sure a lot of them don’t agree with me.

This is the point, or “point of view” so to speak.

Like a community newspaper, having a local radio show where local people can talk about local issues provides a unique sense of belonging.

Niagara Falls is lucky to have such a program on its airwaves and for all his years of hard work, Tom deserves credit for finally being recognized as one of the best among his broadcasting peers.

Sadly, less than a week after earning his Hall of Fame endorsement, Tom now faces the sadness of personal loss.

In her obituary, Tom’s sister Katherine is described as someone who “centred her life around her beloved family and friends who she will miss dearly”.

Hearing Tom talk about her this week, it was clear that, to him, “I miss her very much” is an understatement.

There is not much anyone can say or do at times like these, so on behalf of the staff and management of the Niagara Gazette, I will do what so many guests, listeners and Tom’s callers have already done so and I wish him and his family heartfelt condolences and all the best for the future.

Javier E. Swan