Seneca Gaming executive agrees to ‘free rent’ deals with local broadcasters

Sources tell The Chronicle that Seneca Gaming executive David Sheridan has informally agreed to allow two locally owned broadcasters — WBBZ Channel 5 and WEBR 1440 AM — to broadcast their daily programing from the lobby of the Seneca Niagara Hotel and Casino, with no rent or lease payments.

Seneca Gaming executives believe that the broadcast content will promote the venue as a ‘central place’ in the regional consiousness, thereby promoting the venue to the demographic that follows local television and radio content: longtime residents who skew older and are often retired.

That’s a key market for the gaming corporation.

A source familiar with Sheridan’s considerations says that the same offer is available to other local broadcasters. “If Kiss 98.5 or WBEN wants to broadcast from a kiosk in the lobby, we’d be willing to split the cost of the kiosk,” he said.

Phil Arno, the owner of WBBZ since 2014, did not renew his lease agreement with the Eastern Hills Mall this summer, where the station has been housed since he purchased WNGS, the then Springville-based station.

“Sheridan wants WEBR to bring Sandy Beach out of retirement for the afternoon time slot. For the casino, the 3pm to 6pm hours, Monday through Friday, are ideal for the retiree demo,” the source adds.

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