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News and Recollections 2009-2010
News and Recollections 2008
News and Recollections 2007
News and Recollections 2006
News and Recollections 2005

News, recollections, and comments from Newsradio88 staffers, ex-staffers, listeners, fans. To contribute please email: Don Swaim

- MITCHELL KRAUSS (FORMER CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT) 12/31/08. Don, I enjoyed the last lunch session. Having retired some 10 years ago I do not have to bear the brunt of the depressing situation at CBS on a daily basis. But I have not lost hope for radio as the number of sets purchased continues to impress and with satellite radio, short wave and the BBC's vigorous outreach efforts there is still a lot of serious stuff out there. Maybe what we need is an alumni radio station to recreate what was once so inspiring to all of us. After all we have at least three wars going on at once, an economic catastrophe in process, a warming planet despite the snow and a multitude of crime and crisis stories to report. Maybe we should adopt the call letters WDOOM. Anyhow, Happy New Year to you and yours and keep listening! Mitchell

- ROSLYN BARREAUX (FORMER WCBS NEWSWRITER) 12/28/08. Hi Don: Just to keep the group up to date. I received a proposal of marriage from the new man in my life on the first night of Hanukkah. Henry Brendzel and I will be married April 5th. Please pass this around.

- HAL SIMMS READS THE NEWS. Eight-thirty AM, Nov. 6, 1958. CBS staff announcer Hal Simms reads the news during WCBS Radio's AM drive "Jack Sterling Show." It was still in the hey-day of the staff announcer when voice was all -- and Hal had the voice. (3:40) Go to: Hal Simms

- WHY IS THIS MAN PRAYING? Mel Karmazin, former WCBS account executive and now CEO of Sirius XM, is faced with huge challenges in making satellite radio profitable. Go to Satellite Radio Still Reaches for Payday by Tim Arango in The New York Times.

ex-WCBSer Mel Karmazin

- James V. Roy, 12/24/08. Hello, I was wondering if you knew the addresses of the studios and or offices of Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts program in the '50s. I know that the actual show was recorded/broadcast from the stage of CBS Studio 50 (the Ed Sullivan Theater) but where were the auditions held? I've read one account that it was on the 14th floor of 501 Madison Ave. Could it have been at 485 Madison? Thanks, and have a great holiday season. James V. Roy,
[reply] Harvey Hauptman [former WCBS anchor), 12/24/08. I didn't join CBS until 1960, so I really don't know what was going on in the '50s. CBS Headquarters Building was at 485 Madison Avenue, but I never spent much time there and never saw any studios. All of our [WCBS] radio broadcasts came out of a building around the corner on East 52nd Street. I believe the address was 49 E. 52nd. Godfrey had a large studio on the mezzanine level (between the first and second floors), but I think it was used for only his radio broadcasts. He had an office on one of the upper floors. There were at least two huge studios, each two stories high, in that building that were big enough to hold symphony orchestras and audiences. I suppose they could have been used for Godfrey's auditions. I vaguely remember a CBS facility address at 505 Madison, but I was never in that building and don't know anything about it.
- Robert Paine, Richland, WA, 12/17/08. Do you know anyone who might be able to answer some questions about WCBS/CBS coverage of the JFK assassination? Thanks very much. [anyone?]

- Pete Delaney, 12/18/08. Hi Don, just discovered your great site. Here's a page for Jean Shepherd's WCBS commentaries: WCBS Radio Commentaries. I'm sure Jim Clavin who made the Shepherd site would let you use them. Excelsior! Here's a picture of 1977 (?) Shep in the WCBS studio from a 1999 article [in the New York Daily News].


[Dec. 10, 2008] We weren't invited, of course, and there's no reason why we should have been. But Charles Osgood was there, of course, and the people who cover the media. To be fair, the soiree was held in the "austere" 35th floor surroundings of Black Rock. TVNEWSER tells us all about it.

Osgood and others celebrate at Black Rock

- Kevin Curran (former WCBS intern), Phoenix, 12/09/08 internship at News 88 in the fall of 1981 put me on an interesting path. At the time, the station had one intern who was expected to work 40 hours/week for no pay. I was selected from a dozen applicants. I think my big advantage was attending the Fordham class Lou Freizer taught in the meeting room on the 16th floor. MORE...

- Don Swaim 12/8/08. The faux "CBS Board" held its annual luncheon in Teaneck, NJ, on Dec. 6, 2008. Some fifty past or present CBSers, guests, friends, colleagues, even a few competitors, gathered to share memories of when radio was. Thanks to Bob Leeder for hosting. Ray Hoffman and Mel Granick sent photos, posted HERE. To see who attended read the GUEST LIST. And the satirical "CBS Pictorial History" presented at the luncheon can be read online HERE.

- CBS RADIO AXES 700 JOBS. If this keeps up CBS really will be a memory. Rest as comfortably as you can, Mr. Paley.

- Barry Decker (listener) 12/01/08. I grew up listening to this station as a kid in the Bronx. My earliest recollection is listening thru the night around '75 or 76 as Hurricane Belle went thru the area. I was hooked ever since. MORE...

- Paul Ducroiset, former Engineering Supervisor, WCBS AM-FM, 11/24/08. Thank you Don for sending me the info about Rita Sands' second photo book on the WCBS Newsradio Appreciation site. I thought you would be interested in an article I wrote for the Jim Hawkins WABC Radio site concerning my recollection of the [WCBS] tower crash at High Island the afternoon before the start of Newsradio 88 [August 27, 1967]. It is available on the web at crash.

- Don Swaim 11/23/08. Former anchor Rita Sands has sent me another batch of snapshots, which I've posted as Photo Album Two on the WCBS Newsradio88 Appreciation Site. They're behind the scenes photos taken in the early 1980s. No computers, no digital editing equipment in those days, although there were plenty of cigarettes. Candid shots of many newsroom stalwarts, whose names may be unfamiliar, but who were a major part of the product.


- Don Swaim 11/12/08. Dave Delage is partially right about the Tony Brunton feed, only the newsperson in Studio F was the late Mark Monsky, not Ted Feurey. Here is the actual recording of Brunton reporting on the sensational murder trial of the late 1960s in which Alice Crimmins was accused of killing her children. Click here. [Thanks to David Saviet of CBS for salvaging the audio.]

- Dave Delage (former WCBS technician) 11/11/08. The death of Tony Brunton [below] ends the career of a guy who truly "told it like it is." My immediate reaction on seeing his name was the "flies" incident. Confirming Bob Vaughn's account, it was Ted Feurey in Studio F (I was the tech) who took the noon lunch break phone call from Tony and, after a very long argument, killed the "flies laying their eggs about the still warm faces". He was quoting direct testimony from the trial (pro), but at lunch (con). Ted won. Another line that didn't make air from the same trial: He also described the mother as (again quoting direct testimony) "a one woman welcome wagon." It was always an adventure taking his calls. Not to mention great fun working with Ted.

- Chris Hadley 11/11/08. Hi, I just wanted to say that I found your web site several months ago and it is incredible. Even though I don't live in New York, I appreciate radio, especially news on the radio (I live outside New Orleans and WWL-AM 870 has been with the CBS network since day one) and I have so many memories of listening to CBS News and various features like "The Osgood File", etc.) What I wanted to ask you about was if you had a series of jingles with the "CBS Radio" signature, like the one that has been used for the top-of-the-hour newscasts on the main network. They used to be on a web site but they're gone, as was every newscast and jingle that was on it. There was even a vocal sing of the "CBS Radio" jingle that I found online a few years ago, but I have no idea where I can find it now. If you know anyone who may have those jingles, please let me know, because I would certainly love to hear them again. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

- Mike Ludlum (former WCBS News Director) 11/10/08. Here's a photo of WCBS News Directors and Assistant News Directors, 1970s. L-R: Ted Feurey (deceased), Bill Lynch, Mike Ludlum, Rob Sunde (deceased), Lou Adler.

suitable for framing

- Robert Leeder (CBS Board Chairman) 11/3/08. The next luncheon meeting of "The CBS Board" will be Saturday, December 6, 2008! DETAILS...

By Randy Alfred in Wired. Space adventurer BUCK ROGERS debuted on CBS Radio on Nov. 7, 1932: "The 15-minute serial ran Monday through Thursday evenings, from Nov. 7, 1932, to May 22, 1936, on CBS. It was revived as a thrice-weekly, 15-minute series on the Mutual Broadcasting System from April 5 to July 31, 1939, and then as a half-hour Saturday show on Mutual from May 18 to July 27, 1940. The show had its final radio incarnation Sept. 30, 1946, to March 28, 1947, as 15-minute episodes weekdays on Mutual."

More Buck Rogers stuff from Wired HERE

- CBS DESIGN CHIEF LOU DORFSMAN DIES AT 90. From interior decoration to stationery to advertisments, Dorfsman created the elegant designs that personified CBS. To hear Don Swaim's interview with Dorfsman in mp3 click here.

Lou Dorfsman

- REMEMBERING A FORGOTTEN NEWSMAN. CBS's Don Hollenbeck: An Honest Reporter in the Age of McCarthyism (Columbia University Press 2008) by Loren Ghiglione. Ghiglione has also collected the best of Hollenbeck's broadcasts in Radio's Revolution: Don Hollenbeck's CBS Views the Press (University of Nebraska Press 2008). Tormented by right-wing enemies, Hollenbeck commited suicide in 1954.

Don Hollenbeck

- Bob Gibson (former WCBS anchor) 10/2/08. Never knew Mervin Block [see below] personally, but I SURE can appreciate his criticism of just some of what he hears and sees on the air. I'm surprised that there was no reference to the phrase that came into the language a few years ago, and which I hate and have never used..... Example in a missing persons story: "Joe Schmuck has gone missing!" Who in God's name was responsible for creating that? Thanks for including that post from Mervin on your site... Regards, Bob -30-

- TEST YOUR WRITING SKILLS AGAINST THE NETWORKS'. My friend and former CBS colleague Mervin Block, veteran newswriter with Newsradio88 and Cronkite, challenges you to answer what's wrong with the twenty-one sentences Merv has compiled from the network TV news broadcasts. If you can't get from nine to sixteen right, then English remediation is called for.

- Robert Schunk (listener) Providence, RI. 9/24/08. Having been a steady listener of WCBS since 1973 (except for my years as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), I really enjoy your WCBS Newsradio88 Appreciation Site. Some of my favorite memories of WCBS include the great old commercials from the 1970's and 1980's (of which I've noticed you've included a few of Tom Carvel's classics), including those for Grammercy Park Clothes ("64 West 23rd Street, in New York"), Adler Shoes ("Wherever you go in Adler Shoes, you are not alone. Old Man Adler stands behind every pair of Adler Shoes! "), Scull's Angels, Gold's Horseradish (this one still plays occasionally), Westbury Music Fair (long since "busted out" by Gambino family financial wiz Nino Gaggi) and many others. I was wondering if you could include a selection of these old ads (realizing that this may involve copyright complications) on your site, or advise me as to how I might create such a compilation myself. Regards, and the very best of luck and of life to you!

- Bob Vaughn (former WCBS anchor) 9/18/08. So sorry to hear from BG Hooter that Tony Brunton has joined a too-long list of News-88 people no longer with us. I remember Tony reporting when the bodies of Alice Crimmins' children were found. Ted (or someone) in tape ops told him it was a little much to describe the flies around the faces of the dead kids. Tony reminds me of Mike Callahan. I believe they were brothers in law.** Mike could have days of deep depression, probably because of his stint as a chopper pilot in Vietnam. But he had a sense of humor, too. When a certain news director described the overnight crew as "weak links," Mike found a 3-foot length of heavy chain which he plopped on his desk every night and ordered, "Get to work, weak links." **Anyone know where Michael is these days? He was a principled and decent fella. Regards. Bob Vaughn

- VETERAN CBS REPORTER DEAD. Connecticut Post. 9/18/08. Bridgeport.

Tony Brunton, who started his radio career in 1956 at WICC here before going to WCBS NewsRadio 88 in New York, died Sunday of a heart attack in Long Island. He was 76. Brunton, who served as news director at WICC, went to WCBS in New York in 1964, according to statement Wednesday from CBS.
"He helped develop the all-news format that transformed the broadcasting industry and was eventually copied in major markets across the country.
He covered much of the turmoil of the decade both locally and nationally," CBS stated.
Several of his major stories included the subway strike of 1965, the 1968 blackout, the Newark, N.J., riots in the summer of 1967 and the Memphis, Tenn., and Atlanta riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, the company reported.
In 1968 he was named executive editor of hard news broadcasts, and director of special events in 1978, a post he held for 21 years, CBS said. During that time, Brunton oversaw the coverage of the assassination attempts on Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan, the Challenger space shuttle accident and the funeral of Princess Diana.
CBS called him "a terrific reporter who knew how to get the story."

- Fred Mattingly (former WCBS staffer) 9/15/08. I spent about 4 years at WCBS Newsradio 88 from 1971 until 1974 right out of college first as an on-air promotional writer, then as manager of community affairs and producer of Access and sometimes Let's Find Out. During that time I had the opportunity to work and meet some of the real true role models in broadcasting for me that I could ever meet, Lou Adler, Charles Osgood, Jerry Nachman, Jim Donnelly, the list goes on and on. But when I came upon your website (that I truly enjoyed ) I notice that there was little or no mention of the wonderful African American broadcasters that have contributed to the success of WCBS over the years including Ed Bradley, Don Alexander, Jane Tillman Irving at the very beginning and folks I don't even know after that, not a picture or mention. The real truth of the matter is that WCBS gave us in the early 70's the opportunity to be a part of the great and growing world of journalism at its highest level. I will always be thankful to Joe Durso, and Ted Fuerey, and Dave Nelson and other folks in management. Any success I managed to achieve since can directly be attributed to those early years at WCBS Newsradio 88. Best to everyone. Frederick Mattingly

- David Saviet, CBS, 9/15/08.

Tony Brunton [former WCBS reporter and former CBS News, Radio, executive] died today [9/14/08] about 6 p.m. Had been fighting some medical problems for about a month, we're told. Think the plan is for a quick cremation and then a service, perhaps, later. Sue is in the hospital at the moment with a back problem. Her address is 4 Pearson Court, Bay Shore, New York 11706.

- THE SAD FATE OF AM RADIO, 9/6/08. Once, there existed great radio stations: WJR, Detroit; WBZ, Boston, WHAS, Louisville; WOR, New York; WABC, New York, WCAU (now WPHT ), Philadelphia... The list is endless. These historic stations are now repositories for the voices of right-wing fanatics who spew invective against immigrants, certain presidential candidates, and the "main stream media," like CBS. A pitiful way for these stations to expunge their place in radio history. Michael Calderone writes "Can Conservative Talk Radio Stop Obama?" in, August 31, 2008.

- Jack Mack, Tampa Bay, Florida, 8/9/08. Don, These pages are great -- even for us non-insider listeners. While I agree with the observation that Wayne Cabot is probably among the best of current WCBS communicators, I recall Gil Gross back in the last 70s during middays. His clever, smirky (not snarky) approach so differed from the staid norm of the day. I particularly enjoyed his newsmaker interviews, which also added an entertaining and informative layer to the midday block. I think he was underappreciated; his subsequent talk shows, I must admit, were rather boring, I must say. Too bad WCBS was unable to hire him back into news; he could make a difference there. I'm a former Feather Sound (Clearwater, Fla.) inhabitant and my daughter still lives in our former home there. I didn't realize there were WCBS alumni in our midst until reading the obit note on Bill Gilliand, a voice in the backdrop our most of our youthful TV watching. (I think he did identify himself briefly in some instances, back when staff announcers were actually valued). I'm glad I can at least listen to WCBS via webstream these days; here in Tampa Bay, on the air news radio is non existent (except that right-wing hate speech that tries to disguise itself as news). During my listening days in north Jersey, I often tried to picture Brigitte Quinn, the morning voice along with Jim Donnelly, then Jeff Caplan (I think). And when she took to TV, that image was verified. Whatever happened to her?

- Randy Holhut, East Dummerston, Vermont, 7/12/08. Don, Just stumbled across your site, and I have to say it's fantastic. I'm a newspaperman now, but I was in radio news back in the early 1980s, and WCBS in that era was the standard I aimed for. Anyway, I noticed you were looking for help regarding a CBS Radio Network promo ad regarding Middle East War coverage. I'm thinking its from the 1967 Israeli war. Two tipoffs - the "WCBS/88 New York" tag on the bottom, which meant it came before Newsradio 88's debut a couple of months later. And the personnel listed in the ad were all in fine form in 1967. I seem to recall a passage from "The Murrow Boys" talking about Richard C. Hottlett, Winston Burdett and Charles Collingwood doing a special report when the war started, ad-libbing and totally blowing away the competition -- a tribute to the deep knowledge and skill these guys had, skill that wasn't always appreciated by the brass hats at the time. I read that list of correspondents and anchors in that ad, and think how far CBS Radio has drifted since then. Thank you again for a fine collection of memories.

- Bob Vaughn, former WCBS anchor, 6/19/08. This is a real treasure trove. I am not sure we knew it as we did it but by God we were damned good!! There is too much to mention...loved the W. Cabot piece....(can someone send this to Wayne? A friend who was at WINS in-the-day says Cabot is the best communicator on WCBS). Loved the Rita Sands pix...and was amazed by the Davie Atherton Poe item. Who knew? The guy was a hell of an actor pretending to be a way-laid-back-don't-give-a-crap-let's do it the easy way writer. (Can someone send this to Dave?) Photo of Sis Aurelius....did you know her? She ran our research dept. early on...of course that was cut....(was damned near cut myself in the Neil Derrough era)....guess Sis is long gone....along with so many of our people. You have done a hell of a job with this, Don. Thanks, Bob Vaughn

- Don Swaim 6/8/08. CBSers and friends gathered in Teaneck for a reunion on June 7, 2008. A lot of video and still shots were taken -- and they're now posted on the CBS Board page. Minor personal note. Occasionally, folks who land on this website email me to demand I do something about: Jack-FM Radio (which is effectively hooking up an iPod and broadcasting it on Shuffle); restoring Cousin Brucie to CBS-FM; somehow making Newsradio 88 listenable; denouncing Katie Couric as a left-wing rat fink; and informing Leslie Moonves personally that he's destroyed the future of broadcasting. Trust me when I say I have no influence over the staff and management of what is currently called CBS (nor did I at any time). This site's unauthorized and unsanctioned by CBS, which has little idea it even exists. Trust me that Maureen Dowd at The New York Times has more influence, as well she should.

- VAN GORDON SAUTER. Many will remember his turbulent, controversial, career as President of CBS News (and many other posts with CBS). Later, Van was also President of Fox News, a position now held by Roger Ailes. Coincidentally, I was a classmate of both Sauter and Ailes at Ohio University in Athens (preceding former WCBS anchor Bob Gibson and NBC's Matt Lauer). I ran across a recent but undated interview with Van on YouTube in which he talks about his college days. Amusing. Click on image to play.

- Scott Fisher (former WCBS intern) 5/28/08. I was 18 in 1973, when Lou Adler hired me as an assistant to himself and Mike Ludlum while I was home for the summer from Ithaca College. It was about my third day... maybe June 8, and I raced out at the end of the day to catch a train back to my hometown of Greenwich, CT. The train engineer had a little too much that day, missed a signal and crashed into another train stopped at Mt. Vernon. I was unhurt, though one person was killed, 40 plus were hospitalized, and 104 were injured. MORE...

Dave Delage, WCBS, 1967
- Dave Delage (former WCBS technician) 5/13/08. I joined Newsradio 88 as a studio and maintenance technician in its second week on the air (on FM, that's another story) when I returned from my honeymoon with my first wife. Previous experience included Chief Engineer at WGSM, Huntington. I was prompted to tell this story by J. David Goldin, another tech and friend at the time, with whom I reconnected just last year after four decades apart. He is both a significant character in the story and has no memory of it. He has challenged me to tell it and see who's right. Other characters include Ralph E. Green, Director of Operations, Jack Cavanaugh, Reporter, Abba Eban, Israel's Foreign Minister at the time, and Mark Rudd, student dissident at Columbia University. MORE...

- Mary Gilliand D'Angelo (daughter of CBS announcer Bill Gilliand) 6/1/08. Dear Mr. Gibson, If you were to ask me Dad was better than Alan Burns, but I am his daughter and I should be partial. The funny part is when dad would go on vacation he would ask another announcer to do his job instead of Mr. Burns because he was so good, and Mr. Burns wouldn't ask dad either for the same reason. They both were the most professional gentlemen in the business. Thank you for the article on my father, he was a wonderful man, father, and grandfather. Sincerely Mary Gilliand D'Angelo

- Bob Gibson (former WCBS anchor) 5/13/08. Retired CBS staff announcer Bill Gilliand has passed away in the Tampa area of Florida. I never met him but I had one very enjoyable phone chat with him about 35 years ago, which led to a job, ultimately, at WCBS NewsRadio88. I learned of Bill's passing from Robert Vaughn who lived near him on the west coast of Florida. Here's what Bob had to say about his former colleague....

One of the nicest and in my opinion one of the best CBS staff announcers has died. Bill Gilliand was 79 and lived here at Feather Sound. Not many of the staff guys are left. Bill announced many major shows, including 60 Mins and CBS Morning News and for a time was news director of WCBS FM. Here's the kind of guy he was: He had just retired, sold a home in Connecticut and bought a house here, when his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She begged to "go home," so he sold here & moved her back to Connecticut until she passed away, then moved back to St.Pete. I saw Bill a few times at Broadcast Pioneers luncheons and took him flying once. He arrived fully equipped with several airline-type bottles of guess...keep his nerves on an even keel. Bill was from Memphis and he and CBS staff anncr Alan Burns both worked there before CBS. Alan was the best anncr. in the biz in my opinion, followed closely by Bill.

- RELIVING THE LEGACY OF EDWARD R. MURROW, 4/26/08. On the occasion of Murrow's 100th anniversary, CBS News has posted a tribute to the legendary broadcaster with photos and videos. Very nice. Click HERE.

- WCBS SISTER STATION IN CHICAGO CELEBRATES 40 YEARS IN ALL-NEWS, 4/19/08. The venerable WBBM-AM, 85 years in the business, switched to news in 1968. The station has assembled an excellent historical retrospective, with memories by Sherman Kaplan, John Cody, Craig Dellimore, and more. Much audio, video, and a photo gallery. Click HERE.

- FORMER NEWSRADIO 88 ANCHOR WILL SPENS DIES IN CAR CRASH. 4/11/08. His death occurred March 31, 2008. The broadcaster had a troubled life, and was said to have been homeless at one point. Click above for a compilation of material about -- and by -- Will Spens.

- Robert Leeder (CBS Board Chairman) 4/9/08. Colleagues! The next luncheon meeting of "The CBS Board" will be Saturday, June 7, 2008! MORE...

- MORE LAYOFFS AT CBS, 4/2/08. What used to be CBS, a company only using the name, is obviously a business in disaray, a victim of changing times and mismanagement. A sad commentary on a historic broadcast entity.

- Joseph Gallant, listener, 3/25/08. I am writing because three things in the vintage ad reprinted on your website about CBS News's radio coverage of the Middle East War may lead me to believe the ad was from the 1967 Six-Day War and not the 1973 Yom Kippur War. MORE...

- THE PLACE TO BE 3/18/08. Long-time CBS News Correspondent Roger Mudd looks back at the glory years at CBS in his new memoir, The Place to Be, which also profiles some sixty journalists -- on and off-air -- with whom he worked at the network, including rival Dan Rather. It's published by PublicAffairs. For a review by David M. Kinchen click here.

- John Mathieu, former reporter, WCBS, 1/15/08. Was somehow remembering Art Athens and wound up on a WCBS website. I didn't know you were, perhaps, in the area. I think [your] Writers Workshop is in Doylestown. I grew up in Bucks County, worked at WCBS for 10 years and was fascinated to read the web accounts of the station. Thanks for the wonderful memories of a number of folks I worked with including you. I live just outside of Stockton NJ. I think one of the best Art Athens lines I can remember is his story about the garbage barge that left New York for a landfill, where I don't recall, but it was out to sea for a long time. Art's final words, a play on the old NAACP ad ...a mind is a terrible thing to waste, was retooled by Art as "waste is a terrible thing to mind." ... John Mathieu

News and Recollections 2009-2010
News and Recollections 2008
News and Recollections 2007
News and Recollections 2006
News and Recollections 2005