The Foote Files: Happy 50th Birthday WCBS Newsradio 880

(CBS11) – This iconic radio station in New York has been celebrating 50 years of all-news for New York and the Tristate area.

In 1967, CBS Chairman William S. Paley was concerned about the station’s low ratings under a different format. His goal was to provide something that was relevant, increase ratings, not easily duplicated by competitors and one that the company was already a success with doing it elsewhere.

The answer? News.

Mr. Paley envisioned WCBS to be the New York Times for radio news, one that was done not only in good taste but could charge premium advertising rates. He picked Joseph Dembo to get things moving. Dembo hired anchors such as Charles Osgood, Lou Adler, Steve Porter, Jim Harriot, Robert Vaughn (no relation to the late actor), Ed Bradley, Steve Flanders and Pat Summerall. Dembo was a long time CBS Radio executive both on air and on the management side, including anchoring the CBS Radio Network’s “News On The Hour.”

On August 28, 1967, the new format debuted, but on WCBS-FM 101.1 because earlier that day a small plane crashed into WCBS-AM’s tower and destroyed it.

The 880 frequency is what is known as a Class A AM under FCC definitions, meaning that it is one of the strongest AM power authorizations under federal law: 50,000 watts. In addition, unlike its competitor (and sister station today), 1010 WINS, which is 50,000 watts but with a directional signal going east from its towers in New Jersey, WCBS is 50,000 watts non directional 24/7 which reaches greater coverage. Driving in northeast Alabama a few years ago, I introduced my older son to the wonders of clear channel AM radio and we heard WCBS loud and clear one night!

A person could write an entire book on the station.

Today, the station’s weekday lineup of anchors is (all times Eastern):

*Wayne Cabot & Paul Murnane: 5-10am
*Pat Farnack: 10-3pm
*Steve Scott & Michael Wallace: 3-6:30pm
*CBS Evening News: 6:30pm (audio simulcast from the CBS Television Network)

WCBS 880 also provides traffic and weather together on the “8’s” with Tom Kaminski in Chopper 880 and staff Meteorologist Craig Allen.

Enjoy this WCBS aircheck from 2004 and 2007… with Scott Pelley anchoring a CBS Radio “News On The Hour”!!

More from Ken Foote
Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE