The Buffalo Broadcasters Association on Sunday announced the passing of George Thomas Apfel, a longtime broadcaster well known across western New York State and in Las Vegas radio circles.
According to a post from the Buffalo Broadcasters Association (BBA): “It is with great sadness we report that George Thomas Apfel has passed away following a brief hospital stay. George was a BBA Board member and a great broadcasting history buff.”
The association wrote that Apfel began his 50-year radio career in Las Vegas as an announcer — using the air name George Thomas — in the early 1970s and eventually became program director of KLAV-AM.
“Apfel produced and co-hosted a weekly jazz show with bassist Monk Montgomery, interviewing jazz legends. Apfel became music director, production director, and program director at KLUC-FM and KMZQ-FM. In addition to on-air work, he was a studio engineer and carpenter building custom studio furniture and entire radio stations,” the association wrote.
According to Apfel’s LinkedIn page he was a “50-year veteran of commercial broadcasting with the first 25 years behind the microphone as a program host and program director.”
Apfel, who was born in Buffalo, N.Y., spent the second half of his career designing, building and maintaining computer automation systems, according to his LinkedIn page. He also installed, maintained and configured high-power commercial AM and FM transmitting facilities.
In the mid-1990s, Apfel became chief engineer and directed the consolidation of five separate stations to one facility, working for Regent Communications and then for Jacor. In addition, Apfel worked as IT manager and engineer for the CBS Radio cluster in Las Vegas for 13 years, according to BBA.
Apfel returned to Buffalo to become chief engineer for Entercom’s Buffalo and Rochester stations in 2010. He later became IT manager at CBS Radio in Houston in 2015 and remained there for several years. Apfel had recently retired from full time radio work and went to work for Buffalo’s ReUse Action as IT and engineering specialist, according to BBA.
He recently authored his first book of broadcast history “Images of America: Las Vegas Radio and Television,” according to the group.
The Nevada Broadcasters Association also acknowledged Apfel’s passing: “It’s a sad day in the broadcasting industry. George Thomas Apfel was iconic in the Las Vegas radio circuit. He was considered one of the most respected engineers and a renowned Nevada broadcasting historian. He will be sorely missed.”
Apfel was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2003 for his contributions to the radio broadcast industry.