What are your memories of the old WSEE building?

If you drove north on Peach Street in the past week as you pass the tracks and approach West 12th Street you encounter two perhaps out of context sights: the construction of new townhouses in the middle of downtown on your right, and a pile of rubble that was once the home of Erie’s CBS affiliate WSEE.

Now the loss of the Channel 35 building is anti-climatic since the news and sales staffs left there almost three years ago now to merge with the WICU team. However, a lot of fine people made their living at 1220 Peach Street, and many can recall special times in the facility.

For me it was a place to meet friends on our way out to one of our media meetups we had Sunday nights/Monday mornings at the Plymouth. It was the stomping grounds of Al Benedict, Steve Scully, the Sugars, Lisa Zompa, Carol Pella, Dave Price, Tim Earl, and Ray Petlin, of Don Rowe, Bob Bohen and Bob Hoffman. It was jobs, creativity, friendships, and community service.

What was the old WSEE building to you?

12 Responses to What are your memories of the old WSEE building?

  1. Tom Lavery says:

    So much great talent was in that building over the years. A big statement they made was when they hired Don Shriver from Jet TV. I remember the night it was announced on WSEE, Carol Pella did a live report in front of the Jet TV building while Don was on Jet doing the news. It was definitely a statement in the days when competition still mattered among the Erie TV stations.

  2. spoon says:

    To me growing up, WSEE always seemed like the big time news station. My dad worked close by so whenever we’d go to his office I always looked to the TV building in awe.

    Next time I go to Erie it will be really odd for me not to see it, kinda like driving by the Mellon Arena right now.

  3. JimGriffey says:

    Yeah, it was big news when WSEE hired both Don Shriver AND Joey Stevens. The thing is, IIRC, it didn’t translate into the huge ratings bonanza that WSEE management had hoped for…did it?

  4. Tom Lavery says:

    The Jet brand was too big to overcome for WSEE. Still, it made things interesting on the local TV dial for a while & it was worth taking a chance. Now it’s just two companies with five stations (including the CW with their WSEE live 10pm newscast that is recorded for WSEE itself at 11pm.)

  5. Sylvester says:

    Biggest mistake Bob Hoffman ever made was breaking the bank to hire Don Shriver and Joey Stevens away from WJET. The ratings never materialized, budgets were cut, equipment purchases were postponed (S-VHS anyone?) and in the end the rumored $125,000/yr salary of Mr Shriver and $100,00 for Mr Stevens broke the bank and ultimately led the station to be snatched up by the Lilly boys…and we all know how that ended up, don’t we?

    A terrible, terrible shame what the Lilly’s did to WSEE – they can’t afford decent equipment at the combined 12/35 but they can afford the $21,855 demolition permit!? Sad

  6. Food for Thought says:

    A quick check of the Erie County tax records shows that the old WSEE building @ 1220 Peach Street was most recently assessed at $459,800 with the land at $58,700 and the building at $401,100. If I’m not mistaken, by tearing down the building the annual tax bill will go from approximately $16,000/year to $2,000/year for a savings of $14,000/year. That’s a pretty good payback return on that one-time $21,855 “demolition permit” cost.

    And do tell exactly what sort of ‘decent’ equipment they currently need at 12/35, anyhow, whose cost would total approx $20,000 and that they don’t already have which would bring comparable value to the bottom line P&L ? Be specific now, and justify your proposal.

    It’s all too easy to sit back and take cheap shots at the Lilly family, but it’s a lot harder to make payroll every month and run a business on an ongoing basis which provides a good paycheck to local folks working there. I listened to Kim Young’s WQLN-FM interview with Brian, by the way, and I was quite impressed by what I heard. He sounded like a sharp and sincere businessman who has “skin in the game” and a good handle on the realities of today’s media marketplace which is more than I can say about a couple of his detractors.

  7. Mark says:

    If paying Shriver and Stevens a combined $225,000 was the breaking point, then there were bigger problems at the station that were beyond fixing.

  8. BobbCobb says:

    Goodbye and good riddance to the WSEE building. It was nothing more than a rat’s nest with a fresh coat of paint outside…although there were some excellent dark corners with which to make out with some of the hottie reporters that went through the doors. Oh the joy of being a hotshot photog :-)

  9. My first TV job in 1980-1981… then made the jump to KRON-TV in San Francisco. Can’t believe the building is gone…..

  10. Edward G Zellefrow says:

    I was employed at WSEE-TV as Chief Engineer in January 1954. My memories of the studio building is that it was built by John Dorn, and known originally as the “Dorn Auditorium” where various public events were held. Myself, along with Assist. Chief Engineer James J. Penna and various other engineering staff, constructed and put the station on the air on April 15,1954 as WSEE-TV, Channel 35 – an affiliate of the CBS Television Network. Original General Managers of the television station were Charles Denny, followed by Donald Boyce, and then myself, Edward G Zellefrow. During my tenure at the station, I oversaw the hiring of such people as; the late Al Benedict, the late Carol Pella, Donald Rowe, the late Jeanne Carnes, McDonald Whitley…and others, fondly remembered. That building, as WSEE-TV was my life.

  11. Rich Quinlan says:

    I remember Carol’s many I TEAM reports. One in particular is when then-DA Rusty Cunningham donned a disguise consisting of a Jean Jacket, wig & Red Bandana and went outside of the old Good Cooks Tavern at 18th & Wallace and bought drug from several individuals all while Carol taped the transactions. To me, the outfit Cunningham had on was patently obvious. Imagine what those people thought when they discovered that they sold drugs to the DA himself! Oh, that was funny! Had to be mid to late ’80’s.

  12. funnybunny1981 says:

    RIP Carol Pella :(

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