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‘Tireless advocate’ Reed Powers will be deeply missed

May 8, 2014
By Daniel Swanson - , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

William "Reed" Powers passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74, surrounded by his family at his Westfield home.

In 1990, Powers began an hourlong radio show every Sunday morning, from the WDOE radio studio in Dunkirk, called Senior Report.

In 1995, Senior Report began airing on public access channel 5. Based in Mayville, the show has aired live every Saturday for one hour since its inception, and features interviews with notable local figures on topics facing senior citizens in the area. Reed had hosted more than 950 shows and was moving toward his 1,000th-show mark.

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William “Reed” Powers passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74, surrounded by his family at his Westfield home.

According to County Executive Vince Horrigan, Powers was a unique personality on local television.

"I was on his show several times," Horrigan said. "Reed was a tireless advocate for senior citizens. He had very strong opinions and pressed his guests very hard for their perspectives on issues - I always respected his passion and his ability to find the story behind the story."

Horrigan added that he and Powers held "vigorous" discussions about the county home on Senior Report.

"I always had to prepare well before going on the show," Horrigan said.

Chuck Kelsey, executive director/station manager for access channel 5, had worked with Reed since 1995.

According to Kelsey, most of the shows began with news that would be beneficial to seniors and continued to commentary and guest discussion.

"(Powers) didn't always talk about senior issues, but he tried to keep it focused on seniors," Kelsey said. "Unfortunately, he did not make it to his 1,000th show."

Kelsey also said that occasionally, when guests called last minute to cancel, Powers would have to scramble to find an available guest for the show.

"Sometimes he was making calls 15 minutes before the show began - he always managed to get someone every time," Kelsey said. "There were times when we would mic up a guest, out of frame, after the show had already begun."

Senior Report was broadcast to public access channels throughout Chaut-auqua County.

According to Kelsey, Powers turned the show over to John Hamels after his health rapidly declined.

Dr. Mary Ann Spanos, director of the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging, was often a guest on Senior Report.

"Reed was such a wonderful guy," she said. "He was such an advocate for seniors and very concerned with issues that face seniors."

Spanos said that although she and Powers did not always agree on issues, they had a relationship that facilitated positive, topic-driven conversations.

"He told me, 'You know how to handle me,'" Spanos said, noting that she always found a way to bring Powers back on topic. "I was really glad to be able to be on his show. He was a great advocate in the community and we're going to miss him."

Powers almost always ended his shows with his trademark, saying, "May all that is proud and true and noble abide with you."

Access Channel 5 is available to cable viewers in the Mayville, Westfield, Chautauqua, North Harmony, Sherman, Ripley and Portland areas.

For more information about Access Channel 5 or to view archived Senior Report videos, visit



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