- DON SWAIM WINS PEARL S. BUCK NATIONAL FICTION AWARD, 4/11/11. Swaim, long-time WCBS staffer and founder of the WCBS Appreciation Site, won the top prize for his short story, "Dearest Friend, Annie," which focuses on the relationship between Walt Whitman and Anne Gilchrist. Buck, author of The Good Earth, was a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. Pearl S. Buck International.
- Todd Glickman, WCBS Meterologist, 4/2/11. Todd has posted a gallery of Newsradio 88 photos, dating to the 1980s -- including several shots of and from the WCBS traffic copter. View HERE.
- Robert Vaughn, retired anchor, WCBS, 3/29/11. THOSE WERE THE DAYS. Vaughn's memoir about his early days at WCBS. Read HERE.
- Tim Scheld, News Director, WCBS, 3/23/11: RICH ADCOCK 1952-2011.
I just got word from the brother of Rich Adcock that Rich passed away last Saturday. Rich had just turned 59. For those who don't know, Rich was a long time Newsroom Assistant at WCBS who retired in late 2008 after 33 years of service to WCBS Newsradio. Rich had health issues on and off the past few years and died of heart failure, according to his brother David.
Bob Gibson [former WCBS anchor] writes: That was, indeed, sad news about the loss of Rich Adcock. While I've not seen him since leaving the station nearly a dozen years ago, I have, undoubtedly like all of you, such fond memories of this man who day after day after day worked effortlessly to keep everybody on top of traffic and transit delays thanks to having perhaps the keenest ears in the business! Fifty-nine is not much longevity in this day and age but my gut tells me that Rich managed to cram a lot into his time in this crazy world. He was a man dedicated to his work and a man of determination, getting to work most days by means of the transit system. There has long been a humorous story involving Rich and in the few times I've told it I've ALWAYS made it a point to say that it was not his fault and had he known what happened he no doubt would have been upset, to put it mildly. There was an afternoon early-on when Ben and Pat were on the air and there was some just-breaking traffic story that Rich had typed up and brought into the studio. The way the story goes Pat and Ben were in the midst of reading a spot and when they came out of it, Pat was prepared to read what he was handed except there was a problem... the paper did not have a word on it. It seems the DA on duty that day before Rich had started to change the typewriter ribbon but never finished and Rich, quite unknowingly, was left with a "defective unit." The problem was corrected in rapid order. That was a long time ago, in the mid 70s, but for all the days that everything clicked and Rich Adcock was on the case, NewsRadio88 and its legion of listeners were better for it!
- Richard Gutierrez 3/21/11.
Hello Don. It would be wrong of me not to acknowledge your piece on the legendary Art Hannes. [Art Hannes Letter Surfaces From the North Pole -- WCBS Memories Page 2006] I was doing an internet search on the 1975 movie, The Night That Panicked America, of which Mr. Hannes played the role of a CBS announcer. That's when I stumbled upon "From Olean to the top." I trained with Mr. Hannes at the KiiS Broadcasting Workshop in Hollywood, back in 1980. I was extremely lucky to have studied under him. While others at the workshop had grand visions of becoming music "DJ's," I was greatly fascinated by Mr. Hannes' delivery of the news and the power of his voice. He was an outstanding and dedicated teacher, who shared his vast knowledge of the broadcast industry, of which, I was very grateful. He was truly one of America's great broadcasters......... THANK YOU FOR REMEMBERING ART! P. S. Here's the link to the movie: http://www.awesomestories.com/assets/the-night-that-panicked-america *** Your WCBS All News88 site is fantastic!!!! *** Kindest regards, Richard Gutierrez
- Harvey Hauptman 3/7/11. I believe many, if not all, of you [WCBS staffers] worked with John Armstrong at WCBS and/or CBS. Sad to say, John died late last month. Below is his obituary which was just published in The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ) earlier this week.
John Ayres Armstrong Jr., 72, of Bethesda, Md., formerly of Plainfield, N.J., died on Feb. 25, 2011, following a series of strokes. Born in Bound Brook, N.J., Mr. Armstrong graduated from Plainfield High School in 1956. He served in the U. S. Army from 1957 to 1959 and graduated from Rutgers University in 1963. Mr. Armstrong started his career in New Brunswick, N.J., at WCTC Radio, then moved to WCBS Newsradio. He was a writer and producer for the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and CBS Sunday Morning in New York and Washington, D.C. From 1980 to 1991, Mr. Armstrong worked for ABC News in Washington as a producer and deputy bureau chief. He was a loving husband and father and will be greatly missed. Mr. Armstrong is survived by his wife of 51 years, the former Donna Norman, of Bethesda, Md. ; daughter, Lynn Fuchs and her husband, Mark, of Ridgely, Md. ; son, Thomas, of Chevy Chase, Md., and sister, Lisanne Armstrong James and her husband, David, of Kennebunkport, Maine. He was predeceased by his sister, Magge Armstrong Boehm. In his memory, consider a contribution to montgomeryhospice.org.
FRED BARBIERI 1924-2011
Dwight Taylor & Fred Barbieri [right] in a typical pose at Newsradio 88
- Barry Siegfried 2/28/11. I am sorry to report that Rica Rinzler [former WCBS staffer] informed me that Fred Barbieri [former Technical Supervisor, WCBS-AM] passed away this morning. Viewing Wed. 4-8. Stickle-Soltezsz Funeral Home, 187 La Rue Road, Newfoundland, New Jersey, 07435. 973-697-6700 (you might want to double check the hours). Funeral Thurs. 9:30 at St. Thomas the Apostle in Oak Ridge. Nancy Barbieri's address is: RR #4 Box, 280 Pecan Lane, Oak Ridge, New Jersey, 07438.
NOTE FROM DON SWAIM: The always congenial Fred Barbieri led the WCBS technical staff at a time when the Newsradio 88 operation had no fewer than forty technicians, a massive task to coordinate a rowdy crew with a stringent union contract. Fred handled the challenge with aplomb. By the time Fred retired the station had three technicians.
- Joyce Fahan 2/24/11. Thought you'd like to hear that Bill [Bill Fahan, former WCBS anchor] underwent open heart surgery on the 22nd. After cauterization, the doctor says the aortic valve was about closed. No stents, no bypasses, so hopefully recovery is a little faster since they only did two smaller incisions instead of cracking the ribs. He's doing pretty good now, walked the first time today, still weak, and cranky, but I guess I would be too. Hard for him to be a patient when he's been so private. :) Should be home, maybe later this weekend, maybe Mon.
- William Brown (New York City) 2/9/11.
It was very heartening to hear the old 1010 WINS sounders once more (the ones heard at: 00,: 20 and: 40, I seem to recall, originally came from a production music library, as I heard a far more complete section of that very piece at the end of a public affairs show on one of the local independent TV stations in NYC - probably WOR-TV - in the late 1970's or early '80's) ; it was a shame John Landers didn't have the "New York wants to know, and we know it..." sounder that was heard at: 40 in the late 1970's, but I guess one can't have everything. I was curious as to whether you or he would know who was the voiceover for those sounders (as well as the sounder heard prior to the bottom-of-the-hour tone at: 30). These had more grit than what is used today, I.M. H.O. Incidentally, as to why Steve Karmen's "News-Is" jingles referred to WCBS as "All-News 88," this was because at that time WINS branded itself as "1010 WINS News Radio" (irrespective of the space WINS inserted inbetween "News" and "Radio"). And of course, the talent that worked at both all-news stations, such as Ralph Howard, Paul Murnane, Wayne Cabot, Brigitte Quinn, Bob Gibson, Lou Adler, Allen Shaw, and Palmer Payne (if any other names come to mind, feel free to bring them up).
- BRIGHT SUN EXTINGUISHED: ODE TO NORMAN MAILER. Long time WCBS staffer Don Swaim's novella was just published as an ebook by Amazon.com. In the post-apocalyptic past, a young Kansas man and his beautiful accomplice set out on a dangerous mission across a deadly zone of destruction to assassinate Norman Mailer. Both satirical and literary, Bright Sun Extinguished is an original pastiche of dark fantasy and horror. Download the ebook and the free software to read it on Macs, PCs, iPads, Kindles, or any digital device from amazon.com. $5.99
- ALL-NEWS RADIO IS THRIVING. "What's driving the growing strength of all-news radio is, of all things, Arbitron's Portable People Meter for tracking listening. With the rollout of the PPM across major markets, media buyers are afforded a far more accurate picture of what people listen to, when they listen and how often, all to the benefit of all-news stations." By Mike Stern at Media Life.
- Elizabeth Hainstock (former WNBC Radio, WINS) 1/29/11. Very impressive collection of images and history. I fall under the "ex-competitor and generally ex-colleague" categories. I missed the December luncheon but sent a piece of NEWS88 memorabilia to Bob Leeder to share. As one who struggles daily with how to receive information for an informed citizen, looking back is both delightful and painful. Amazing site. Thank you for creating this.
- LIZ DRIBBEN 1937-2011. Liz was a writer and producer for CBS News, Radio, and a friend of Newsradio88.
- WCBS-FM & 1010-WINS JINGLES POSTED 1/10/11. Again, courtesy of John Landers. Go to the WCBS Audio Page.
- STEVE KARMEN NEWSRADIO 88 JINGLES & MORE 12/24/10. In the 1970s, legendary ad man and composer (I Love New York) Karmen created a package of "News-Is" jingles for WCBS. Here's the complete set with all instrumentals and vocals. We're indebted to radio buff John Landers of Brooklyn for sharing this super archive. LISTEN. In addition, John has given us a collection of Newsradio 88 sounders for traffic, business, and bulletins from the '70s, as well as various CBS network production pieces. Hear an unintentionally hilarious station evacuation notice (never used) voiced by Jim Donnelly. LISTEN. For more rare audio go to the WCBS Audio Page.
- DON SWAIM 12/22/10. Photos, guest list, Jerry Barmash's report on the luncheon, and a special edition of "Great Moments in WCBS Radio History" have been posted here.
- JOHN CAMERON SWAYZE SAYS SO LONG . A well-known name in broadcasting, Swayze, after twenty-two years, has left Newsradio 88 for "a new adventure." Story by Jerry Barmash at FishbowlNY.
- MERVIN BLOCK (TELEVISION NEWSWRITING WORKSHOP) 12/6/10. Several people on my mailing list have asked me when the new edition of my "Writing Broadcast News" would be published. Well, it has now been released. The book's full title: "Writing Broadcast News Shorter, Sharper, Stronger: A Professional Handbook, 3rd Edition."
The publisher: CQ Press, a division of Sage Publications.
- JOE RAO (METEOROLOGIST NEWS 12 WESTCHESTER) 12/6/10
Great Website! Great Memories! Just one correction... for your newest aircheck highlighting a February 1975 snowstorm, the date on your Appreciation Page should be changed to read February 12, 1975. Gordon Barnes speaks of the similarity of the weather map to the "Lindsay Storm" of February 9, 1969, which is where the confusion of dates likely occurs. However, this particular storm (which I personally remember very well) took place on February 12, 1975 -- which was a holiday in of itself -- because in those days, Lincoln's Birthday was a "stand-alone" holiday, not as it is now; having been merged with Washington's Birthday into what we call "Presidents' Day." If you listen you will hear more than a few references to this 1975 snowstorm occurring " ... on the holiday." This was the also most debilitating snowfall in the Tri-State area since February 19, 1972. With Kindest Regards, Joe Rao
- MA PERKINS SIGNS OFF. A presage of radio's news and information era, CBS cancels the mainstays of its radio network in November 1960. By Larry Harnisch in the Los Angeles Times.
- JUDY WOMACK (WCBS ALUM) 11/13/10.
I got a call last night from a meteorologist I worked with in Syracuse, NY. He told me Paul Jeffers died a year ago. I'm shocked. So sorry I lost touch with Paul. We worked together at WINS and later at a TV station in Syracuse. In fact, he recommended me for a job reporting at WNYS-TV. Later, I moved on to WDIV in Detroit. But whenever I was in town Paul would take me to Neary's Pub for drinks and lamb chops. Imagine a conservative and a liberal getting along--novel, huh? You may recall, I was Charles Osgood's trainee in 1970. He voiced a couple Osgood File pieces I wrote. I was ecstatic! Ed Bradley, Steve Porter, Lou Adler, Dave Marash, Irene Cornell, and Jessica Savitch were a few of the folks "around the compound" in the '70s. I can't remember the news director's last name--it was Lou something [Adler]. He hired me as a newswriter, working with Marc Kusnitz, Dave Atherton, Ted Feury, Allegra Branson. I remember Phil Cecchini as always helpful in the booth. I worked at WNYW-TV until 2004. I now live in Durham, NC. I had a radio show and was doing PR at a local university. For extra cash, telecommuted, wrote for a syndicated show based in the city. You know what life's like for freelancers. Warm regards and give my best to crazy Ed Rickards and a hello to Palmer Payne. Judy Womack
- DON SWAIM 11/8/10. Independent filmmaker Alexander Roman is working on a documentary about Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, the Ripley novels). His demos include a montage -- showing Matt Damon and Jude Law -- of questions I put to Highsmith in an interview at CBS some years ago. Go to: YouTube. To hear my actual broadcast(s) with Highsmith: listen. And for the raw, unedited interview: listen
- MARGIE LATZKO 10/26/10. My husband, Walter Latzko, was a writer for Jack Sterling [see Sterling site] for ten years, and his feature "It Happened This Day, I Think" was his. Also, as I listened to the tenth anniversary party for Jack, I knew that Hank Miles had written many of the jokes as well as the musical parody. He was very good at it. My husband passed away September 10th, but I have his scripts and the show rundown schedules. Sincerely, Marjorie Latzko. email
- ROGER A. HENDLER (listener) 10/12/10. I love your web site. Thank you. It is a terrific station and has had wonderful news persons. The DJ who played the last record on WCBS Radio prior to going all news was Jim Gearhart. He is now the morning host on WKXW, NJ 101.5. Many years ago Jim Donnelly was a DJ on WJMJ Radio in Phila.
- BEVERLY POPPELL (former WCBS staffer) 10/6/10.
Don, you and I worked together at "88" in the late '70s... I periodically check your website to see what new things have turned up about what I call the Halcyon Days of New York Radio. I'm never disappointed. Checking today, the 10th anniversary of Art Athens' death, I enjoyed browsing the audio cuts of Jack Sterling, etc. You've done a wonderful job pulling all this together. My voice is long out of radio but Radio and the wonderful people I enjoyed working with (and some of the creeps, too, let's be honest) will forever remain in my memory and my heart. For 18 years, I've been working as a NYC government attorney -- on unfair labor practice cases -- and am about to wind that career down so I can get back to my first loves, which are talking and writing. I also volunteer a huge amount of time to animal causes, specifically animal disaster response. Hope all is going well for you... and I look forward to running into you on a street corner or maybe even a radio reunion some time. Until then, keep up the good work on this website... and be of good cheer!
- DIANE SAWYER: WHEN WORDS FAIL HER. Former CBSer Mervin Block runs his own television newswriting workshop, and keeps a close watch on the many editorial misdemeanors commited in the name of broadcast news. The sloppy grammar and other jounalistic errors of ABC's Diane Sawyer have fallen under the scrutiny of Merv's critical eye. [Any errors in this paragraph?]
- NEWSRADIO 88's ABSOLETE WORST COMMERCIALS. Over time, I've been asked if I had airchecks of the Tom Carvel and Gramercy Park Clothes commercials during the early, needy, days of Newsradio 88. I found two of 'em. They're back-to-back in a 1977 aircheck of mine (which I let run to hear news about an incredible coldwave of the year). Listen. Laugh. Weep. CBS? Tiffany? LISTEN. [runs 4:29]
- Barry O'Brien... I LOVE YOUR CBS NEWSRADIO PAGE. 8/14/10. The jingle packages are great! Most of my adult life has been within listening area of KNX or KCBS-AM and now I find myself in Portland, Oregon with NO CBS NewsRadio station--not even an affiliate with CBS News on the hour! I'll be returning to no. Calif. in a few months and can't wait to hear KCBS-AM again. I'm probably much older than you (71) but wonder if you have ever heard a jingle package for "Radiant Radio"? It was used by RKO-General's KHJ in LA and I did hear it on KFRC in SF when that signal was picked up in LA on occasion. It had great orchestral weather music. This format was prior to Boss Radio format. Not sure if WOR ever used it. Barry O'Brien, Portland, Oregon former employers: KABC-TV, KHJ-TV, KNBC-TV, KRON-TV, KTVU (Cox), KGO-TV.
- MIKE OR MIC? Ben Zimmer in The New York Times Sunday Magazine addresses the burning issue of how the word "microphone" should be abbreviated. Hint: inevitably, broadcasters opt for "mic."
- Don Swaim 7/19/10. I received some 200 photos taken at the "CBS Board" luncheon on June 19, 2010. I sifted through all of them one-by-one and came up with twenty that I thought would be a decent sampling. Many thanks to Bob Leeder for the hard work he's put in setting up and managing these popular events. To go to the gallery click HERE
- Ted David. Per Rita Sands, sorry to report that former WCBS traffic reporter and chopper pilot Tom Salat passed away suddenly on June 15, 2010, from a heart attack. Tom was 61.
- HIMAN BROWN DIES -- ONE OF LAST LINKS TO GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO. Brown, 99, who created "Inner Sanctum" and Grand Central Station," also produced "CBS Radio Mystery Theater," which sometimes broadcast out of WCBS Radio's Studio D [but which was never heard on Newsradio 88]. New York Times obit here. Washington Post tribute here.
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR H. PAUL JEFFERS
Between twenty-five and thirty people gathered under gray skies and blustery winds on April 17, 2010, to pay final respects to H. Paul Jeffers, whose ashes rested on a stand near a family plot at Morris Cemetery in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. The Reverend Dr. Cynthia Krommes of St. Johns Lutheran Church officiated. There were two speakers: Sid Goldstein, Paul's executor, and Don Swaim, who worked with Paul when he was News Director of WCBS. The following items were buried with his ashes: his deerstalker hat, Baker Street Irregulars necktie, birthstone ring, and bracelet with his initials given to him by his mother. After the service, a luncheon was held at Paul's Phoenixville boyhood home, which is still in the family.
- Don Swaim. 3/15/10. The article below was passed along by Bill Diehl. It's a piece in TV-Radio Mirror, November 1958 about Hal Simms who, while not a meterologist, broadcast a daily five-minute weather show on WCBS in addition to his CBS staff announcing duties. Hal was 83 when he died in 2002. To hear Hal reading the news on WCBS on the morning of Nov. 6, 1958, click HERE
- JOE DURSO, JR's REPORT TO CONSUMERS. On 2/28/10, Robert T. Resnick sent us an interesting aircheck dating to the late 70s. It's a consumer report by the late Joe Durso, Jr., who later headed the CBS Radio Stations News Service. What's interesting is that Joe's subject is those amazing, new-fangled [and expensive!] video tape recorders, so quaint now. Anchor on this aircheck is Ralph Howard. LISTEN.
- Don Swaim. 2/6/10. The recent death of J.D. Salinger reminds us that the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye attended the famous P.S. 6 grade school on Manhattan's Upper East Side, as did such CBSers as Bob Gibson, Wes Vernon, and Lou Freizer. For my audio entry on Salinger, go to: Book Beat: The Podcast.
- WCBS-AM NEW YORK MARKET'S TOP BILLING STATION. 1/15/10. Matthew Flamm in Crain's New York writes, "Industry insiders credited WCBS Newsradio 880's win to high ratings for broadcasts of Yankee games -- especially of the World Series -- and a busy news cycle."
For details go to: Crain's.
- ALLEGRA BRANSON [former WCBS newswriter]. From Bob Gibson [former WCBS anchor] 1/10/10: People have asked me from time to time what I hear from or about Allegra and I'd tell them that I've not heard from her or spoken to her in many years. I did remember to ask Palmer Payne about her recently and he got back to me late this afternoon and okayed my passing this along to you for posting on the site, if you so desire. The way Palmer explained it to me the problem is dementia. Here's his note...
[12/21/09] I got more info from Allegra's sister, Annie, who visited her recently. It is not a pleasant picture. Allegra recognized Annie as someone she had known for a long time but NOT as her own sister. They tried to put her in a daycare place but she was insistent on coming home ASAP. There is not much more that can be said about the situation.
- WCBS PRIMARY ELECTION COVERAGE 1974. 1/4/10. Former anchor Bob Gibson unearthed this 1974 memo from WCBS Assistant News Director Bill Lynch. What's interesting is the degree of coverage the station gave to an otherwise lackluster primary -- yet the names of the reporters covering is amazing, not to mention the logistics. This is a PDF. Go to: 1974 primary.
- H. PAUL JEFFERS 1934-2009. From Sid Goldstein. 12/4/09 [a Jeffers friend]: "I regret to inform you that Paul died tonight [Dec. 4, 2009] in Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He had been hospitalized just the day before, when his condition at his rehab facility was deemed to be unstable. He was undergoing tests when his blood pressure dropped, they returned him to his room, his breathing weakened, and he quietly expired. The cause is tentatively being called heart failure.His longtime friend and colleague Ed Rickards was there at the end. He was 75. Arrangements are pending. Under discussion is a family service in his home town of Phoenixville, PA., followed at some later date by a memorial service in New York. Ideas for the memorial service will be welcomed. Sorry for the news." [UPDATE: The family advises the following: Cremation. Paul's ashes will be sent home to Phoenixville, PA., and a memorial service will be held there in the spring. Sid]
From Don Swaim: H. Paul Jeffers, a Fulbright scholar and graduate of Temple University, worked at ABC and WINS Radio before joining WCBS-AM as a part-time writer. He became News Director from 1983 to 1985. While he was a true-blooded conservative, with a full-length portrait of the convicted Iran-Contra felon Oliver North on his Manhattan apartment wall, he never allowed his politics to interfere in his journalism. In addition to his news expertise, Paul was a prolific author and active member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a Sherlock Holmes fan club. One of his early novels was a mystery with a gay detective, Portrait in Murder and Gay Colors. When he lost his CBS job he beat the management by posting his own resignation letter. Late in life and unemployed, he petitioned his friends and acquaintances to chip in so he could continue work on a book in progress. He promised them a party and a share of the royalties, if any. A list of the amazing number of books he published can be found here. He told me he almost married once, but he died as a single man, although his close friend, Ed Rickards [well-known local broadcast news figure], was reportedly at his side at the end./
CBS "BOARD," TEANECK, NJ, 12/5/09
Standing center: Steve Porter, Charles Osgood -- first Newsradio 88 anchors. click to enlarge
Harrison, Osgood (click to enlarge)
- ERNIE McDANIEL (Former head of Technical Services, WCBS) DIES. McDaniel, who was eighty, died at St. Vincent's Hospital, New York, on September 17, 2009. He supervised more than forty technicians during the early years of Newsradio 88 before making the gutsy decision to leave management and become a camerman at WCBS-TV. Ernie said later that he had no regrets in changing from a suit to jeans.
From Barbara McDaniel: Many of you are aware of this news but some are not--my husband, Ernie, passed away on Thursday, September 17th after two weeks in the hospital recovering from a broken hip. Thank you for the support and kind words expressed - it certainly has helped. I can be reached at: email@example.com and (212) 475-8651. At some future date, Ernie's e-mail and phone will probably be discontinued. I wish you all the best, Barbara
- J.J.R. Ramey (Former newswriter, WCBS) 8/29/09. Hello Don: Back in the 1980's, you interviewed me on BOOK BEAT about my western novel, West of Paradise Run, while we both worked at WCBS NewsRadio 880. I wanted to let you know that I am getting a reprint of the novel through the Authors Guild.
- Tony Gatto (Former Desk Assistant, Writer, Producer, Managing Editor, Asst. News Director, WCBS) 8/21/09. Too many memories to even try to start writing them down. I tell people that I grew-up in the WCBS Newsroom. The people at WCBS played as important a role in my life as my family and closest friends.
- Tim Scheld (Director of News and Programming, WCBS Newsradio 880) 8/18/09. Don, Glad to see you putting the Book Beat material on line and love the fact that you keep the WCBS appreciation site so up to date with memories and photos. It's important to me to make sure that everyone who works here is aware of, and respects the legacy of this radio station and all who contributed to its prominence. We're very proud of where we came from. As difficult as the media climate is out there these days we are encouraged by the fact that radio listening is up nationally and news listening in this market continues to be popular. WCBS and WINS are the top two newsradio stations in America. Over the past few months, WCBS has enjoyed its best news ratings in decades. Thanks for keeping the entire community in contact. All the best. Tim
- Don Swaim 8/16/09. My CBS Book Beat website has been substantially expanded to include new material, updates, and links related to books and authors. Go to: Book Beat: The Podcast.
- ENGLISH SPOKEN HERE 7/30/09. ABC News Emmy-award winning newsman Ed Silverman, in The Riverside Press, attends the June 13, 2009, CBS "Board" luncheon and revels in "proper grammar, correct syntax, clear enunciation of colorful and understandable vocabulary."
- THE MAN WHO WASN'T CRONKITE 7/27/09. For some of you, his name may be vaguely familiar. For most of you, it probably will mean nothing unless you heard his three daily network hourlies on Newsradio88. Yet he was TV's first anchorman and was once the face of CBS News. By Bob Greene, CNN contributor.
- REMEMBERING WALTER CRONKITE 7/20/09. The late CBS anchor's top assistant for twenty years, Marlene Adler, denies Cronkite planned to marry Carley Simon's sister, Joanna. Adler takes on all questions, silly and serious, about Cronkite in this Q&A in The Washington Post.
- Milton Kamen (Gramercy Park Clothes, NYC) 7/18/09. I shocked your [WCBS] sales department in c. 1970 by saying I would buy 4 spots per hour from midnight to 6am, seven nights a week. That was considered wasteland but I knew NYC was truly the city that never slept and I wanted to capture the all night audience that no one knew existed. It worked. And the commercials for my company, Gramercy Park Clothes, became a conversation piece. I paid $5 each for 60 seconds and it was found money for the station. I wrote the copy, read the spots, and had my 15 minutes of fame. My only regret---I refused the nomination for a Clio; I can't remember why. I get a kick out of some postings that remember my commercials from 30 years ago.
Although I cannot find pictures nor a tape, I did find some copy--this was the first spot we ran:
THE PRESIDENT!....... of Gramercy Park Clothes says: 16 advertising men and one mother-in-law have been trying to write commercials for Gramercy Park Clothes. Commercials that will make you stop dead in your tracks, leave your wife, your home, and run like crazy downtown still in your underwear to buy a suit. The president called a meeting and said: stop the baloney. Just tell everyone that Gramercy Park sells great looking suits--good quality, perfect fit and the price is right. After 78 years of manufacturing men's clothing for fine stores, Gramercy Park will sell direct to you. Come to the factory building at 64 West 23rd Street--go through the big iron gate--ask for Bella-the-fella, or Rosie-with-the-cigar. You'll look great in your new suit and you'll save a bundle. Credit cards OK. Gramercy Park Clothes. Open to 7 and on Sunday 10 to 4. Gramercy Park Clothes 64 West 23rd Street--that's 64 West 23rd Street, New York.Part of the fun was that your competing station [WINS] didn't want to run the spot because I used the phrase "still in your underwear." What a difference 35 years can make. Regards and good wishes, Milt Kamen
- Don Blair (former WCBS anchor-reporter & author of Splashdown: NASA and the Navy) 6/24/09. "The archives you (and others?) have put together are priceless... especially for a nostalgia nut like myself... but aren't we all? We know what it was like and what it is today and we are thankful to have been in it when it still had a touch of quality and integrity." For MORE and for two of Blair's exclusive Apollo 11 photos -- including one of Neil Armstrong plucking the ukelele click HERE
- Jim McCarthy (former WCBS, Mutual Washington reporter) 6/23/09. Hello Don: Well, once again the hands of fate took over and screwed me out of a great luncheon reunion. Not that too many of the crew even remember me. I have been under MD's care for a while now, and had to take a stress test on Friday, the day before the reunion. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the medication and it stopped my heart. As a result, I am now wearing a pace maker and defibrilator. My son, Tim, says "You're going to the next one (reunion), and I'm driving to make sure you get there". Keep fingers and toes crossed for December. Love to all, and keep up the great work on the web site. PS: Are any of the "originals" still around to be especially invited? You know, the Joe Dembo's, Friedman's, Reeves, Joyce's, etc. I used to talk with Jerry Nachman all the time a few years ago, and we had manys the good laugh. I still miss his humor. Oh well, take care... Jim.
- CBS "BOARD" MEETS JUNE 13, 2009. Close to fifty CBSers, colleagues, ex-competitors, friends, broadcast aficionados, and radio historians gathered in Teaneck, NJ. Details and photos to come. Guest list here.
- SAN FRANCISCO'S KCBS CELEBRATES 100 YEARS ON THE AIR. Newsradio 88's sister station began as an experimental station in San Jose, California, with a regularly scheduled broadcast on June 11, 1909. KCBS returned to San Jose on the anniversary with morning anchor Stan Bunger and midday anchor Rebecca Corral broadcasting the news from the same spot where the first broadcast originated: the corner of First and San Fernando. Here's a wonderful site dedicated to the station's founder. Go to: Charles Herrold.
- Joe Cioffi (TV meterologist and listener) 5/23/09. Don, What a terrific site! As a teenager I remember it all... the jingles... the voices... Jim Donnelly, Robert Vaughn, and of course you. I dreamt the same dreams as you did but mine took me a different route. Love it all and thank you. Joe Cioffi
- Michael Kahn (former WCBS newswriter) 5/22/09. My daughter Sonia, 14, started a Facebook fan page for Wayne Cabot [WCBS anchor]. It is a way to show her appreciation after he let her tag along last month for "Take Your Child to Work Day." Every 8th grader in Fairfax County, Va., had to follow someone, and a weekly about electric co-ops is too dull. Could you put something on your site mentioning the Wayne Cabot fan page and asking everyone who is on Facebook to become a fan? Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php? #/pages/Wayne-Cabot/89104183128? ref=s Also, typing "Wayne Cabot" in the search box will get you there. We're up to 76 fans but we can do better!
- FORMER NEWSRADIO 88 "CONSULTANT" SUSPENDED FOR ON-AIR SLURS Jay Severin, a far right-wing talk show host on Boston's WTKK-FM, described Mexicans as primitives, leeches, and spreaders of VD; former Vice-President Gore as "Al Whore"; and Senator Edward Kennedy as "a fat piece of lying garbage." Severin, who once delivered commentaries on WCBS Radio from a "Republican" perspective, falsely claimed he won a Pulitzer Prize and a master's degree from Boston University. For details go to The Boston Globe.
- Steve Okonski... grew up in New York City in the 1970s with dreams of becoming a news or weather announcer. While that didn't happen, Steve remains a fan of Newsradio 88 and has sent us a recording of Pat Parson and Ben Farnsworth bantering on the air during a heat wave on July 21, 1977. To listen to the audio click HERE. [runs 1:09]
- KNX AND KFWB TAKE DIVERGENT PATHS. Former competitors, these Los Angeles all-news stations -- sister stations to WCBS -- are staking out different identities. By Steve Carney in the Los Angeles Times.>
- Thomas Turner, Framingham, MA, 3/4/09. I just came across your site while surfing the Internet. You have done a great job with detailing the history of your station. Found the audio segments quite enjoyable, but am having trouble with some of them. What media player(s) do you use for them? I currently have Windows Media 11, RealPlayer, and QuickTime in my computer at home. I've been able to hear some using Windows Media at work, but not at home. When I was going to college at Emerson in Boston, I worked part-time at WNAC Radio and TV. At that time, they were affiliated with CBS on the TV side and later switched to ABC. WNAC Radio was the flagship station for the Yankee Network, which supplied news and programming to various stations in the New England area, I was there from 1959 to 1961. WEEI Radio was the primary CBS Net outlet at that time; now it's WBZ. Keep up the good work!!
[reply] Don Swaim. I converted all the audio on the site into mp3 files, so any audio player that can play mp3s, such as QuickTime or iTunes, should work. Some of the files are quite long, so it's possible some computers with less than adequate memory might have problems. [The larger the file the longer it takes to open.] The files aren't made for RealPlayer -- and Windows Media is fussy about playing some non-Microsoft created files.
- Palmer Payne (former WCBS anchor) 3/1/09. Re: MURROW PHOTO [below]. Note the venetian blinds in the background. This is the news studio at 485 Madison Ave. The newsroom, less than half the size of News88, is on the other side of the window with the blinds. The general rule in the "old" days was that the newscaster should read all of the wire copy, transcripts from correspondents, etc. and then turn away from all of that and write his five minute newscast from memory and submit it to the editor on duty. He would often stroll into the studio a few minutes before air time and the corrected copy would be brought in to him. They tell the story that once Robert Trout waited for his copy but it was not delivered. He went on the air, waving his arms frantically in hope someone in the newsroom would get the idea (the blinds were open that day), managing to deliver a flawless newscast totally from memory.
- WRITE YOUR OWN! Here's a website where you can add your own captions to photos of people, famous or not. See what they've done with Edward R. Murrow! Go to PUNDIT KITCHEN.
ANOTHER KANDER & EBBS JINGLE MYSTERY?
- Mark S. Leff, Ohio University, 2/26/09. Hi from an OU broadcast news faculty member teaching this year in Beijing. I used to listen to WCBS when I worked in NYC in the mid-70s, first at TVN and then at NBC News. At NIS, I remember working election night 1976, going home early in the morning and riding the elevator with some glum-looking radio executives, and waking up in the afternoon to hear Pat Parson and Ben Farnsworth reading my obituary (NBC's decision to shut down NIS because it wasn't making money).
- "OBAMA INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS." So says Jeff Ballabon, newly named Senior Vice President of Communications for CBS News, of the President of the United States. Ballabon maintains that Democrats are "inherently bad" while Republicans are "fundamentally good." Did CBS hire a right-wing nut? More from Ira Forman on The Huffington Post.
- Bob Gibson (former WCBS anchor) 1/19/09. Bob Vaughn sent me this photo and I thought you'd enjoy seeing it and realizing, as I did, the flood of memories it generates. Bob's guess is this was snapped in 1986... Best wishes to one and all!
Vaughn (left), Jim Donnelly (right)
- MARK Di GIORGIO (WCBS listener, W. Hartford, CT) 1/7/09. I am a 51 year-old man and absolutely LOVE your WCBS Appreciation Web site. I have listened to News 88 since I was in high school, and at the time I lived in a small town named Torrington in the Northwest hills of Connecticut. I could could barely get the News 88 signal. In many ways, I feel like Wayne Cabot's twin. MORE...