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Paonessa Draws the Big Names on His Show


The inimitable Sal Paonessa.

Local broadcasting legend Sal Paonessa showed he remains relevant last week despite his advanced age (he's almost 51, I believe he told me recently) with an online Niagara Broadcast Network program that featured both state Sen. George Maziarz and Mayor Paul Dyster, interviewed in the wake of the settlement between the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Maziarz, unhappy that the settlement money would be handed over to city officials, is a frequent guest on the Paonessa show and  appeared live. Dyster, who has not appeared on the program in more than three years, deigned  to be interviewed on tape prior to the actual broadcast.

Paonessa’s co-host, Niagara Street Business Association President Jim Szwedo, was so highly critical of Dyster, who Szwedo charged had nothing to do with the settlement, that his tongue seemed to be dripping with venom.

“He’s going to take credit for something he had nothing to do with,” Szwedo said prior to the playing of the Dyster tape. “As far as I’m concerned, the show’s over.”

With the switchboard lit up from incoming calls by passionate Niagara Street residents, Dyster launched into his spiel about what a great day it was for Niagara Falls.

“I’m walking on air,” Dyster said.

The mayor then went into his usual diatribe of lavish praise for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He then said that, by appearing to do nothing about the situation, he was actually employing a brilliant strategy.

“For us to have gone crazy and set our hair on fire wouldn’t have helped us,” Dyster said. “It was difficult for me, but I kept saying the same thing over and over again.”

When Paonessa asked him whether it was true that the city would be left with very little money after bills were paid and obligations met, Dyster did the shuck and jive and said it was very complicated. Aside from what is owed to the school district, the NTCC, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, a lot would go toward paying off debt service on the Main Street courthouse, he said.

Whatever you think of them, George Maziarz and Paul Dyster are the two most important politicians on the Niagara Falls scene. And in the wake of the most significant news event to occur in the city since Nik Wallenda walked a high wire across the falls, both of them headed straight for the Sal Paonessa show.

Meantime, should you happen to miss his internet show, you can still hear the velvet voice of Paonessa all summer long, on endless commercials, heard on the loud speakers at One Niagara in downtown Niagara Falls, advertising every single thing they have from Chinese Food to a Made in America Store.

Inside or out, in fair weather or foul, people from around the world heading to or away from the falls are treated to Paonessa's mellifluous and multifariously rasping, roaring and dulcet voice, every 10 minutes, 24 hours per day, seven days a week, on the inside and outside mega-speakers, as he describes One Niagara as "the biggest attraction outside of the falls, itself."

Yes, there is no doubt about it, Paonessa, wherever he goes, makes some of the loudest noises, outside of the roar of the falls, itself.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

JUN 18, 2013