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Albert A. Annunziata (loyal WCBS listener since the 1960s) 12/11/05

I found this wonderful site on Google, as I was trying to find the WCBS Newsradio 88 website to enter a contest I heard this morning on the air from one of your advertisers! I couldn't resist writing. I figure it's either this or practicing my violin, and well, it is less painful to type this fan letter on the computer! I am a long-time listener of WCBS Newsradio 88. Like George Washington, I grew up in Mount Vernon, New York (Westchester County, not Virginia). I guess I "came of age" in terms of radio awareness in the late 60s --early 70s.

Lou Adler and Jim Donnelly were the voices I woke up to each and every morning, before commuting to Fordham and, later, to NYU. My inclination towards WCBS radio was a natural outgrowth of my preference for WCBS television news: Edward R. Murrow (who by the time I was aware of TV news was making terrific documentaries by then...believe it or not I do remember the original broadcast of "Harvest of Shame". Also Douglas Edwards, Eric Sevareid, and of course Walter Cronkite on the national scene; Harry Arrau (also a professor of journalism at Fordham University), Jim Jensen, Ralph Penza, and Dave Marish to name but a few over the course of the years.

But it is always the RADIO voices that come back to me, more than the images on the television screen! WCBS had interesting features and commentaries from William Wood, professor of Journalism for Columbia University to Dr. Stephen Andrew Davis, who happily is still "Speaking of Health". You had reporters with terrific voices from exotic locales, like Gabby Tabunar from Manila, Philippines, Winston Burdett from Rome Italy, Wes Vernon from Washington DC, Ike Pappas (also CBS TV) from the Pentagon and Cestine Leezon from Albany!

As a kid, I used to cup my hands and talk into them, doing a fairly good impersonation of the unique (and somewhat mysterious) voice of Winston Burdett broadcasting from Rome! (I had a lot of time on my hands, I guess)

Is Jane Tillman Irving still writing the news? She used to broadcast, if I recall correctly. I always wondered if she was any relation to the local Channel 11 news anchor John Tillman (who co-hosted with Kevin McCarthy) of the 1960s. Had the pleasure of meeting Fran Schneideau a few years back. Nice person. Great coverage of Westchester-Fairfield area. Also met Dave Ross, who has a terrific voice and sense of humor to match, whose insightful commentaries I like very much! He seems to follow the old adage from Mark Twain, something about "..if you want to tell people the truth about things, you better make 'em laugh..." Come to think of it, I haven't heard him recently...I hope he still broadcasts on the CBS Radio Network!

After listening for so long, you'd think I'd be "jaded" but NO! I feel very passionate about "MY" radio station and from time to time go through anguish at what I hear...or think I hear.

I don't remember when commercials or infomercials crept their way into news broadcasters' on-air time, but --to cite but one example--I must admit I am somewhat saddened to hear a fellow Fordham Rose Hill graduate like Charles Osgood hawking everything from oleomargarine spreads to wave radios to exercise equipment! Gee, he and his wife must own and use at least one of every thing he advertises for! I hear he has a chalet in France and maybe someday, when he retires, he will be sipping Bordeaux and looking out over the sunset over his vineyards and think that, well, doing those commercials was definitely worth it!!!

Now I hear one of the "heart throbs" of my youth, Mary Alice Williams ( I had a thing for her in my younger days, even though she originally was on another network TV station!) doing "news broadcasts" on health but they are ALWAYS out of the SAME medical center in NYC...they are more like infomercials, but she signs off always as WCBS Newsradio 88.

Forgive a little kvetching! I am most happy to see comments on this site from others I "grew up" with over the years: Bob Gibson, Don Swaim, Harvey Hauptman, Palmer Payne (a most distinctive voice, if I recall... I'd recognize it anywhere!), Bob Vaughn and Walt Wheeler. May never meet you guys but you were all TERRIFIC! Now, Wayne Cabot, Harley Carnes, Cameron Swayze, Irene Cornell (God Bless her!) and others are doing YEOMAN service on your station, in the BEST WCBS tradition! (also like Bob Lape, who sounds forever youthful and enthusiastic! ...but I regret to say that I am one of those bland individuals who "eats to live" as opposed to "lives to eat" !!!!)

Thank God for "familiar voices" old friends! As long as I have breath in these lungs, a beating heart and one or preferably two functioning ears, I will keep on listening! Viva WCBS newsradio 88!

With every Good Wish to the entire WCBS family out there for this Christmas/ Chanukah/ Kwanzaa and any other season out there of cultures far and wide that promote Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards EVERYBODY!!! (now back to my my teacher going to be pissed I didn't practice!!!)

Albert A. Annunziata
Westchester County, New York
Fordham Class of '75

PS: No doubt more names from my WCBS past will come to mind...I hope you don't mind if I write again sometime.

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