by Terry Heslink
February 17, 1997
Pete Hubbell Begins His Fourth Decade Behind The Mike
It was 30 years ago that Hubbell made his WJTN debut on the local sports scene with a Jamestown High School playoff basketball game broadcast.
Since then, Hubbell has probably done more than 1,000 broadcasts, ranging from baseball, basketball, football, and golf en route to becoming one of the best known sports broadcasters in Western New York.
Hubbell's career at WJTN started out in unusual fashion.
WJTN General Manager Carl Willems contacted Hubbell about covering the Section 6 Class AAA opening round basketball game between Jamestown and North Tonawanda at Buffalo State. Hubbell wasn't supposed to begin his new duties as WJTN sports director until March 6, 1967, but when the call by Willems came to him in Batavia, where he was working at a radio station, he was more than eager to get started a few days early.
So, Hubbell went to Buffalo State to do the broadcast for the first time with Bob Finley of Jamestown, who was his partner for nearly 20 years.
Then on March 6, Hubbell officially took over as the sports director at WJTN replacing Dave Hunter.
For the last 10 years, Skip Pierce has been Hubbell's broadcasting partner.
"It has been a privilege sharing the mike with Pete and we certainly have had a lot of fun," Pierce said. "Pete made it very easy for me to get into sports broadcasting. I had never done this before and I am sure he was wondering how someone new would do with him on the broadcasts."
Jim Roselle, who is celebrating his 43rd year with WJTN, had some comments about Hubbell.
"I thought it was unique to have the son of the man I admired, Ralph Hubbell, come to work with us," he said. "Pete has been a real pleasure to work with and we have a lot in common in sports and we shared lots of opinions, especially about golf."
Roselle added, "I remember when I was doing those interviews between innings at the Babe Ruth World Series and how the people would be listening to their radios and comment about the tremendous job that Pete and Skip were doing on the broadcasts."
Terry Frank, now a member of the WJTN news staff, started at the station in sports and shared the microphone with Hubbell through the years.
"I remember how Pete and Bob Finley would give Steve Prevesk and myself encouragement when we were running the TV audio department for the JCC games," Frank recalled. "Pete was always willing to give advice and I really appreciated it as I wanted to get into this business."
Frank added, "Pete's knowledge of sports is incredible and his delivery is very smooth. I never heard him have a bad broadcast. It was a joy when I came back home from being downstate to have him ask me to appear on Sports Talk."
Hubbell was born in Buffalo on March 22, 1936, and sports was in his blood because of his father, Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Ralph Hubbell being so involved in the Buffalo sports scene.
Hubbell attended Bennett High School and graduated as a four-year varsity letterman in both basketball and baseball. He was the captain of the championship basketball team and was a Yale Cup First Team All-Star with a 14-point average.
His baseball team placed second to Riverside and lost the championship by a heart-breaking 9-8 score with Pete on third base when the last out was recorded.
He also played baseball in the MUNY League.
He later received a grant-in-aid from Colgate University, where he averaged 10 points on the junior varsity. He averaged around eight points his sophomore and junior seasons, but saw his career end because of a knee injury prior to his senior season.
Hubbell didn't work at the Colgate campus radio station, but the English and history major had broadcasting in the back of his mind after graduating.
Shortly after landing his first radio job at WESB in Bradford, PA, Hubbell was involved in a serious car accident that put him out of commission for a while. After recovering, Hubbell contacted family friend Si Goldman and took a job at Salamanca's WGGO, where he roomed with Hunter. Hunter replaced Max Robinson as sports director at WJTN and later Hubbell replaced Hunter.
Hubbell moved on to WBJA in Batavia as the sports director before landing the job at WJTN.
"I heard this was a nice area and I had been over here a couple of times to visit, but I knew very little about Chautauqua County," stated Hubbell.
Hubbell was also the public address announcer for the Buffalo Bills at the War Memorial Stadium from 1960 through 1972.
Among the awards that Hubbell cherishes is the Stan Barron Award he was presented with in December by Western New York High School Sports editor Dick Gallagher for his coverage of high school sports. It meant a lot to Hubbell to receive that award because it was in honor of a man who was a long-time friend of the Hubbell family.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.