Thomas McLaughlin (WCBS listener) 10/10/05
I grew up on Long Island in the 1970s and 1980s. I had started listening to WCBS whenever I was in the car with my parents driving around on the weekends. My father liked to listen to the news, and 88 was the station of choice. Even though I was all of maybe 10 or 11 at the time, I got hooked pretty quickly. I listened more to the network Monday Night Football coverage back then, but I began to spend my time listening whenever I could. What I remember then isn't so much the content or the news and presentation, but the sounds. The voices came to life, the reporters and anchors all having the most unique of presentations. Memories are a bit fuzzy at times, but the more I look around on the Internet regarding radio in New York of that time, the more I begin to piece together.
WINS back then sounded a bit...mechanical to me. But WCBS was definitely human, with a style all its own. It was slick, but in a good way---presentation was polished, and everything from the jingle packages that were in use at the time to the anchors to the various reporters made things sound completely professional. Since I listened more in the evenings as I got a little older (I would from time to time listen in the mornings on my way to school), what I remember more are the evening anchors, like Bill Fahan and what I remember to be a pretty deep voice, or John Wydra who sounded more relaxed. I recall a lot of the reporters, like Jane Tillman Irving, whose voice I just adored, Irene Cornell, Walt Wheeler, and so on. And it wasn't only the news, sports, weather and traffic, the features, the news, the jingles and the imaging, it's also the commercials that used to air on the station that I recall with great fondness (there are moments where I can't get the N.B.O. jingle out of my head even now). Things like this, my own memories of my own pop-culture, are things I've been looking back on in recent years with great fondness, because of the professionalism and smoothness that WCBS represented to a Long Island kid who dreamed one day of being "one of you".
WCBS, in its way, gave me the broadcasting bug. I actually wanted to work in TV sports, but after growing up, leaving Long Island behind for Arizona and going after a broadcast journalism degree in college, I found that I liked radio. I liked being the voice, and therein the person, who people listened to for information. While I only did news briefly in radio in college, and briefly again as a DJ ripping and reading from the wire later in my radio career, it was WCBS that I wanted to emulate when I was a professional in radio broadcasting. From polished board work to polished voice work, I wanted the work I did to be as good as if I was at WCBS-New York myself. I think I succeeded.
Even though I've currently left radio behind, I do have a great sense of nostalgia of the good ol' days, of both WCBS and New York radio in general. Thank you, Mr. Swaim, for documenting the history of the station you helped shape on such an informative website. And thanks for creating a page with links to the various sound bites. I hope there'll be tons more to come, to keep my memories of WCBS and its staff alive in my memory (and on my computer, and even my iPod). Lastly, to the Newsradio 88 vets, thanks for doing your job so well. It's what inspired me in my career, and what I remember very fondly from being younger. Your listeners salute you.