on March 3, 2013 - 12:29 AM
, updated March 3, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Greg Bauch is sort of the fifth Beatle for WGR’s Schopp and the Bulldog Show. Well, maybe the third, after Mike Schopp and Chris “The Bulldog” Parker.
Bauch produces the afternoon sports talk show, which is often a behind-the-scenes role that involves screening phone calls, booking occasional guests and consulting with the hosts about the day’s topics.
Bauch also gets drawn into on-air discussions with Schopp and Parker, often to provide some comic relief.
“I jump on the air a lot and goof around,” Bauch said Friday at WGR’s studios in Amherst. “I’m in charge of making sure the show doesn’t stay too serious. I almost attempt to take it off the rails once in awhile.”
Bauch is the creator of the Greg Buck comedy segments, involving a fictitious old-time sports announcer. He also anchors sportscasts throughout the afternoon.
In addition to radio work, Bauch has gained a following of his own by branching out into standup comedy and novel writing. He has been doing standup for nine years, primarily in Buffalo-area clubs, and recently was an opening act for Mike Birbiglia at Helium Comedy Club downtown.
“My brother and I always used to watch A&E’s ‘Evening at the Improv’ growing up,” Bauch said. “That’s the only standup comedy that was on television and our mom and dad would let us stay up late to watch it. I fell in love with comedy, always wanted to do it. I talked about it enough where my wife finally pushed me to take a class, at Comix Cafe before it closed.
“Comedy is really just a hobby; sometimes I’ll get paid to do it, which is nice, but I just love the process.”
Writing is another love of the 36-year-old Bauch. His weekly recaps of the TV show “The Bachelor” are a popular feature on WGR’s website. And last summer, Bauch self-published his first novel, a comic tale called “Frank Dates,” about a Buffalo guy’s misadventures in the minefield known as dating.
“I’m always writing … it’s always been a habit of mine. My mom was a writer. I just grew up in a house where I was hearing a typewriter. …
“She wrote a book, a novel that was ahead of its time about corruption in the Catholic Church. My mom was a full-time registered nurse. … She raised seven kids and she wrote a novel. So I guess my mom was my inspiration for a lot of stuff.”
His novel “just kind of fell together. It took about a year and a half to write.”
The book has sold around 400 copies, Bauch said. “I think that’s pretty good, since I just promote it myself – though I have a radio station that helps.”
How does he muster the will to turn off Twitter and other online distractions in order to crank out pages of a novel?
“It’s very hard,” he said. “But I write on an old computer that doesn’t connect to the Internet. I would recommend that for anybody that’s trying to write something, pull the Internet plug out.”
Bauch has more than 5,300 followers on Twitter, a medium he does enjoy when he allows himself back online.
“Twitter has made watching the Bills and Sabres so much fun,” he said. “It’s like a party. You get the instant gratification if you tweet something funny or interesting.”
His favorite feature of Twitter is the 140-character limit.
“I think the key to writing is editing. Too many words usually kills something, and picking the exact right word is kind of a passion of mine. I love finding the right word in a conversation. And sometimes it’s even nonsense, but the right word fits.
“And that 140-character limit causes everyone to have to really check their work. I love Twitter for that – I think it helps writing in general.”
Bauch studied broadcasting at SUNY Buffalo State. In his sophomore year, while working at the college radio station, Bauch got a foot in the door at WGR thanks to a fellow student named Mike Maniscalco, who then worked at WGR. Bauch learned the business by working overnight shifts with the late John Otto, a Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Famer, on what was then called WGR News Radio 55.
“The John Otto show was really, really neat, because of who John was. I hit it off with John. I worked with him for five years, and he worked right up until he passed away.
“So I did overnights for a long time and just kind of learned radio, which is nice. People don’t really have the opportunity to do that any more because radio has kind of run into this automation thing, where most overnights are kind of automated.
“I had the luxury of kind of getting good at radio overnight.”
Bauch enjoys his job, he says, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain some moments of high stress. He said that technology hiccups can drive him a little crazy.
“Sue O’Neil works at Star [102.5 FM] next door and she comes in here a lot to see what I’m screaming about. I like to yell a lot, I find that it helps, so I’m always yelling.”
And then there is the Buffalo sports scene, which Bauch finds can bring him down.
“Mondays are tough; you come in after a Bills loss and there’s a lot of negativity. And I don’t like negativity. And I’m able to just watch a Bills game, be upset and then let it go.
“I understand what we do here is we are the voice of the fan, I guess. And a lot of those fans are unhappy and they need a voice to complain about it. Negativity can be a stress, definitely.
“But when it’s good it can be awesome. Like that run in ’99 by the Sabres. When the Bills start 5-1, this is like THE place to be, it’s kind of like a big party.”
If a Bills or Sabres losing streak gets him down, Bauch can always come back to “The Bachelor” for some mindless fun. Bauch said he started emailing a friend back and forth with quotes from the TV show a couple of years ago. Then he started writing recaps of the program on his personal blog.
“And then I put it on our station website, at wgr550.com. And Andy Roth, our boss at the time, said, ‘You can’t put this on the website.’ But it got hits, so he’s like, ‘Well now you’ve got to do it every week.’
“So then it turned into a job. The show’s terrible. It used to take itself very seriously and that was the fun in recapping. It took itself seriously, but it’s about a guy that dates 25 women, so right there I have license to do whatever I want with the show.
“Because even if you believe in true love, even if you think it’s very sincere, there’s a man dating 25 women on television. The gloves are off, I think at that point.
“It’s gotten to a point actually where I love recapping the show. … As terrible as that sounds. Saying that out loud is very sad.”