The Spark Awards celebrate and recognize outstanding individuals and organizations from across the Western New York arts community for their dedication, talent, and impact on the arts and cultural sector. This year’s presentation will be streamed for free on our YouTube page on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm.

Click here to learn more about the Spark Awards.

Michael Quinniey was as an employee of WKBW-TV for over 25 years. He joined the station in of 1987 after working with AM Buffalo and commercial production and the Engineering Technician. Prior to that Michael worked in local radio news at WGR and WBFO as a sports reporter.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Michael attended Northeastern University where he completed an introductory program in civil engineering and he double majored in Business Administration and Broadcast Management at Missouri College. In June of 2017 he graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Management CEL (Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership).

Michael worked as a technical engineer/producer and has done freelance work with the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres as well as with ESPN, MSG, and the Fox Network. Serving as a union steward for 17 years Michael was the chief union steward for NABET/CWA local #25 for 12 years and negotiated four contracts for a staff of over 110 members while serving on the local broadcasting executive board and serving as financial officer on the broadcasting federal credit union board.

In 1998 Michael co-founded the Western New York Minority Media Professionals Inc a non-profit organization committed to educating / mentoring and informing the public through the use of multi-media. Michael served as co-creator and executive producer for 3 TV programs, a business show called the Western New York Magazine (now called UPFRONT TV) and 2 student produced entertainment programs called Late Nite Noise and OFFICIAL HEAT that aired on WKBW-TV for 10 years.

On January 1st, 2008, he developed a high school youth media program which hosts and mentors 50-100 high school kids every Friday called Eagle E.Y.E.S. (Experienced, Youth, Expressing, Skills).

Michael is the restoration chair of the Historic Sattler “Broadway” Theatre, built in 1914 located at 512 Broadway near Mortimer. He has been instrumental in founding Upfront Business Magazine, The Queen City Black Film Festival, and The Great Day in Jazz Buffalo Event.

Learn more about Michael!

Who and/or what inspired you to work in the arts?
Ron Baskin, one of the first African Americans to work at WKBW Radio, WBLK AND WABC NYC. Bob Coles (not the architect) First African American to work at Ch. 7. Bill Ransom, former GM at Ch.7 and John Di Sciullo who taught me how to create and produce TV programs.

What motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing?
My motivation is to keep inspiring our young people to make positive change.

If you didn’t work in this industry, what would you be doing? What other career do you think you would have and why?
If I had to work in another profession it would be in youth sports, that way I could continue to work with young people.

What hobbies or likes do you have outside of your work?
I’m a huge jazz music fan, I collect old 78’s from the 1900’s, and I also collect stamps.

What is one thing people don’t know about you and/or your work?
I love reading about history. The work I do for my organization is really my form of ministry.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or share appreciation for?
I would like to thank my parents (they never had a chance to attend any higher levels of education), they grew up in the 1930’s depression.. They taught me the lessons of appreciating what you have, while still striving for excellence.