Owner of Firstwebcam.com and RealContrast.net, Jeffrey Hoffman is a 1966 graduate of Nichols School in Buffalo, New York. He received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1970, and Masters credits in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1972. He has lectured at Buffalo State College and was an accredited freelance sports photographer for the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, and Buffalo Braves.
Working for over 30 years in his family’s printing business, he published Buffalo’s first four-color, sports magazine, Buffalo Fan between 1975 and 1977. In 1975, Hoffman gained respect nationally, when he dressed then Buffalo Bills superstar, O.J. Simpson in a three piece suit for one of his magazine’s covers. Both the Chicago Tribune and later, Hertz Rent-A-Car bought use of the photo, and it is generally regarded as the first attempt to show professional athletes that as multi-millionaires, they needed to start dressing for success.
In 1979, with the Braves leaving Buffalo and moving to Boston and San Diego, Hoffman decided to add to the magazine’s appeal and scope. And so, Buffalo Fan became Bflo…western New York’s first city magazine. With a wider variety of topics and a popular annual Best and Worst issue, Bflo saw it’s subscriptions rise to over forty thousand. For this and his continuing efforts to stay creative, Hoffman received the Pittsburgh Press Club’s 1980 Golden Quill Award.
In 1983, with owner Bob Rich, Jr.’s support, Hoffman brought Buffalo Bison baseball back to radio and did color and some play-by-play with good friend Pete Weber, now the longtime voice of the Nashville Predators in the NHL. In 1986, Hoffman returned to western New York from Tampa, Florida to become Sports Director at WWKB Radio. Doing both morning and afternoon drive time reports, Hoffman was also KB’s first evening sports talk host from 6pm to 7pm during the week.
But perhaps least known about him is that in 1981, Hoffman created, wrote, and then sold to American Airlines the very first in-flight video ever to air on commercial flights. The video, about Deer Valley, Utah…the last great ski resort built in the United States, was shown for over two years on all of American’s wide body flights in the U.S., Hawaii and Europe and was viewed by millions of intrigued passengers.
In 2001, after retirement in south Florida for nearly a decade, Hoffman returned to Buffalo, his birthplace, to study and, then, develop truly “live” webcam applications. His first location at Main and Seneca streets was provided by longtime advertiser and supporter Saperston Financial, where the two cams originated.
In the now twenty-one years since their inception, Hoffman’s live webcam sites have gone from nothing to over 4.5 million page views per year…This site, FirstWebcam.com, is the portal for all this web development and new technology, pointing these millions of visitors to cam sites in Aspen, Colorado, Rochester and Buffalo, New York and Boca Raton, Florida. For that, and other reasons, in 2005 Hoffman received a coveted BETA (Buffalo Emerging Technology Award) in the New Media category, going up against such powerhouses as WKBW TV (ABC) and WNED TV (Public Broadcasting).
In 2016, after adding a second live webcam on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo’s primary walking and shopping district, yearly visitors to Buffalowebcam, alone passed the two million mark. In 2019, Hoffman’s four live webcam sites totaled over 4.3 million page views and were helped in Buffalo with a new, totally unique view of the Peace Bridge, when Firstwebcam.com moved it’s office of 17 years from Elmwood Avenue to 960 Busti by the Niagara River and Black Rock Channel.
In 2021, primarily for health reasons, Hoffman moved back to south Florida, his previous home in the nineties. In December of 2021, the total of all websites passed 60 million pages views in their now 20 year history. Finally in June of 2022, Hoffman added a new HD cam on Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton from the offices of Palm Breeze – Air and Sea Charters.
For Jeffrey Hoffman, slowing down at age 74 is clearly not an option. You can follow him on Twitter @RealJeffHoffman or Instagram at @realjeffhoffman.