Edward R. Murrow died for our sins

Col 1


online history and archive
of this legendary radio station

Lou Adler * Jim Donnelly
Anchors Lou Adler (left) Jim Donnelly (right) 1978. Photo courtesy Martin Hardee.
click to enlarge


Some material, including audio, related to WCBS-FM and WINS-AM (which was absorbed by CBS) are included on this site.


FINAL TRIBUTES TO GREAT
CBS TECHNICIAN LEO BROWN

HERE



Next Board Meeting May 17, 2014

CBSers, colleagues, ex-competitors, friends, broadcast aficionados, and radio historians met in Teaneck, NJ, on Oct. 19, 2013

  • For the most recent photo page HERE
  • Photos from all recent luncheons HERE
  • WCBS Pictorial History HERE

  • ALLEGRA BRANSON 1939-2013
    Details HERE


    STAN BROOKS RIP


    Broadcast legend Stan Brooks, WINS, at the Oct. 19, 2013,
    CBS "Board" in Teaneck, NJ


    Veteran New York radio reporter Stan Brooks died Monday afternoon, December 23, 2013. He was 86 and reportedly had been diagnosed with cancer. Brooks had worked at WINS-AM for more than 50 years, most recently as senior correspondent. Prior to that, he was a reporter at Newsday.

    He joined WINS in 1962, first as a news reader, then as news director when the station changed to an all-news format. After several years of heading the news department, Brooks returned to his first love: reporting. Although he filed his last story on Nov. 21, he never officially retired. Brooks became part of the CBS family when the network acquired the Westinghouse stations, including WINS, once an arch-competitor.

    In December, Mayor Michael Bloomberg renamed the radio room at City Hall in Brooks' honor.

    New Yotk Times obituary HERE


    Former WCBS newswriter Atherton tackles Edgar Allen Poe


    JOE CONNOLLY
    One Hell of a (WCBS) Newsman
    Ann Nyberg (WTNH News 8, Connecticut): "If you listen to WCBS News Radio 880 as you're headed down the highway, you have probably heard Joe Connolly's small business reports, pearls of information that anyone can use in their daily lives." Nybeg's video interview with Connolly HERE


    - STEVE PORTER 1940-2013. Details HERE


    - LAYHMOND ROBINSON, JR. DEAD. FORMER WCBS NEWSWRITER

    Robinson, who was 88, died June 29, 2013, at his home in Queens. Before joining WCBS, Robinson was a reporter at The New York Times at a time when black reporters in major newsrooms were rare. In an obituary in The Times, Robinson is described as helping to inspire the next generation of black journalists. Robinson also worked at WABC-TV and in public relations for the National Urban League and govermental agencies as well. He was born on February 11, 1925, in Abbeville, Louisiana, served in the Navy, and graduated from Syracuse and Columbia Universities.

    WAYNE CABOT CELEBRATES 25
    YEARS AT NEWSRADIO 88


    Paul Murnane in background. Photo by Todd Glickman

    FOR WAYNE CABOT, THE LONGEVITY &
    THE DREAM ARE STILL ALIVE

    by Bob Gibson

    Voice of North Carolina Ltd.

    The upcoming star-spangled holiday traditionally conjures up thoughts of history, war and peace, and a fair amount of patriotism. Truth be told, this Fourth of July tale, coinciding with the 237th anniversary of America's independence, is a history story about one man! His name is Wayne Cabot and if his moniker fails to ring any bells perhaps you're not listening to the right radio station! Make no mistake about it, Wayne is a radio junkie in the truest sense of the phrase and this coming Thursday, whether he works or not...he will mark twenty-five years as an anchor at all-news WCBS in New York. Why mention that? WHY NOT?! The broadcasting business revolves around one constant: change! Most anchors, writers, account executives, program directors don't normally enjoy the luxury of long-term employment at one place. Wayne's longevity may not garner a flurry of headlines, but I feel he's more than worthy of a story because of what he's accomplished and yes, his lasting quality.... Continue reading HERE.



    NEWSRADIO 88 WINS THREE RTDNA
    2013 EDWARD R. MURROW AWARDS

    The image of Edward R. Murrow looks down proudly on celebrating Newsradio 88 staffers in their Hudson Street studios on June 12, 2013. WCBS won major awards for Overall Excellence, Best Newscast, and Continuing Coverage for its reporting of Superstorm Sandy. And CBS Radio News wins three more. Who says radio news is dead?

    EX-WCBS WRITER ED HOTALING DEAD
    Broke the Jimmy the Greek Story

    Ed Hotaling, died on June 3, 2013, on Staten Island. He was 75.

    Hotaling joined Newsradio 88 as a writer in 1967, later becoming Bureau Chief for CBS News in Beirut. As a reporter for WRC-TV in Washington, Hotaling reported on the curious racial musings of CBS sports commentator Jimmy The Greek Snyder, which led to Snyder's firing. Hotaling also discovered that black slaves had been recruited to build the White House and the U.S. Capitol building, which gave lie to some of the notions about American ideals.

    One of Hotaling's colleagues at WCBS was former producer JERRY LEVIN, who offers this memory:

    Ed Hotaling's name may not be the first one that comes to mind when remembering the many journalistic luminaries who worked a shift at Black Rock in the early days; but for those who really knew him it sure does.  He landed on my producing shift at about the same time that Ted Fuery, Jim Cusick and Dick Williams did. Ed's entry point was Tape Ops. All those guys were irrepressible, energetic, clever, hard to hold down (but who wanted to) experienced journalists, full of fun and great senses of humor, the sliest of which was probably Ed's. (Not to slight Dick Wiiliams who drew down the wrath of Ed Joyce one day when he wrote an intro to a Myra Waldo piece, "Now here is Myra Waldo with observations on Broccoli.") Read more HERE.


    HARVEY HAUPTMAN REMEMBERS
    PAT SUMMERALL

    The late great Giants place-kicker became WCBS Sports Director
    and celebrated play-by-play broadcaster


    PLUS -- a related postscript by Bob VanDerheyden


    Summerall-- not in Newsradio 88 jersey but his Giants 88 uniform.
    Read HERE


    But you have -- even though you may not have known it. His name was EDWARD DE GRAZIA who died on April 11, 2013 at the age of eighty-six. He fought for free speech against the reactionaries who--until de Grazia took them on--had censored our books and films.


    Ed de Grazia's victories over the agents of suppression were manifest, and among the literary figures he championed were Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, and publisher Barney Rosset. A champion of the First Amendment, de Grazia changed America's obscenity laws forever--we hope.

    Don Swaim interviewed de Grazia on the occasion of his massive account about the law of obscenity and the assault on genius, Girls Lean Back Everywhere.
  • Don's five-part broadcast WCBS with de Grazia can be heard here: listen
  • Here's Don's complete, unedited CBS interview with de Grazia at Ohio University's Wired for Books: listen (runs 43:55)

  • WCBS's UNLUCKY PHILLY SISTER STATION

    REST IN PEACE
    Renamed WPHT as a far right-wing talk station, it fails the Tiffany test, and is an embarrassment to the once-great CBS image.

    NEW YORK MAYOR ED KOCH
    1924-2013


    PICS FROM PAYNE
    Collection of 1970s newsroom photos from retired anchor Palmer Payne
    View HERE

    BEHIND EVERY GREAT BUILDING...
    IS A GREAT ARCHITECT -- AND -- CONCRETE!

    photo: Black Rock before Black Rock
    Don Swaim on the history of the elegant CBS Building
    Read HERE

    WHEN & WHY CBS WAS THE
    TIFFANY NETWORK
    Plus
    The Great CBS Ashtray Debate

    by Phil Cecchini, former CBS tech
    Read HERE


    WCBS-FM PAGE
    Dedicated to Newsradio 88's younger, musical sibling
    Go HERE

    LAST DAY AT BLACK ROCK

    bye bye

    In 2000, WCBS Newsradio 88 abandoned its historic (but cramped) newsroom on the sixteenth floor of Black Rock, the world-famous CBS Headquarters building at 51 W. 52 St., for fresh quarters at the CBS Broadcast Center [the station is now relocated to Hudson Street -- see below]. Anchor and archivist Wayne Cabot, assisted by reporter Rich Lamb, fashioned a super, nostalgic video of the last day at Black Rock -- posted here for the first time.

    Watch it HERE

    WCBS RADIO MOVES TO HUDSON SQUARE

    The CBS flagship station joined five other CBS O&Os (WCBS-FM, WINS, WFAN, WWFS, and WXRK), in relocating downtown to new facilities at 345 Hudson Street on Friday, December 1, 2011. The station's original home was at Steinway Hall, 113 W. 57th. In 1929, it moved to 485 Madison Avenue [description by Harvey Hauptman HERE] and remained there until the completion of the new CBS headquarters building [Black Rock] at 51 W. 52 St. in 1965. In August 1967, WCBS became Newsradio88, and operated from Black Rock until 2000 when it moved to the CBS Broadcast Center at 524 W. 52 St.

    Anchor Wayne Cabot Describes the New Home of WCBS

    I don't think any of us were keen about leaving the Broadcast Center with all of its history and all those legendary people walking the halls. But that melancholy evaporated the minute we walked through the glass doors and saw the elegance and class that went into every detail of our new newsroom. The studios and workstations let us create and air virtually anything from anywhere. We can even record sources from the air console as needed during breaking news.


    345 Hudson St.

    The newsroom design is intelligent, comfortable and full of redundancies should phone lines or systems fail. Tim Scheld, Rob Bertrand, Steve Swenson, Rob Sanchez, Barry Siegfried and some very smart people I'm just now meeting poured their hearts into this.

    The decor is a work of art. The newsroom wall facing the air studios features a floor-to-ceiling panorama of the Manhattan skyline taken from the Empire State Building by Martin Untrojb who, when he isn't playing an urban Ansel Adams, is newswriter by morning, Spanish voice-over king by afternoon.



    Cabot in new studio -- photo by co-anchor Steve Scott

    The opposite wall is wrapped with historical photos of newsrooms, newsmakers and news reporters past and present. These are heritage shots: a bank of teletype machines at Black Rock; a shiny old 88 mobile unit; our High Island tower that would get knocked down by a plane on August 26th, 1967 - the eve of our first day as Newsradio 88.

    A third wall has an image of Edward R. Murrow that, like the legend himself, is larger than life. The founding father of CBS News can be seen holding radio copy, tilted to reveal his timing calculations scrawled on the back.

    Inspired by a proud past, built for a promising future. The entire newsroom is walking a bit taller. --Wayne Cabot

    - To hear Wayne's on-the-air salute on the occasion of the move, with many famous WCBS voices: LISTEN

    For an account of the move to Hudson Square by FishBowlNY go HERE.


    EKKO Radio Verification Stamps were a craze for radio buffs in the 1920s -- and WCBS was part of it. Read about it HERE



    Glickman

    Compendium of Newsradio 88 memorabilia -- even junk -- along with photos, including the WCBS traffic 'copter, dating to the 1980s. Collected by long-time meterologist Todd Glickman. See all HERE


    click to enlarge this water view
    COLUMBIA ISLAND
    WCBS History

    WCBS (then called WABC) announces its 'Columbia Island' Transmitter Tower in Fortune Magazine, 1941. To read about it and see other photos click HERE

    click to enlarge this aerial view

    WCBS MEMENTO GALLERY

    A collection of WCBS souvenirs, program schedules, artifacts, pictures, posters, old ads, memorabilia, kitsch, and just plain junk.


    Mitch Lebe, budding announcer
    Joke! Joke!

    FORMER NEWSRADIO 88 PRODUCER JERRY LEVIN FINDS SOLACE IN OPERA AND FAITH


    Jerry Levin


    Opera News Sep. 1985
    click to read


    click to access

    Fidelio is Beethoven's only opera, the story of a faithful wife who rescues her husband from a political prison. "Fidelio is my story," said Jerry Levin, ex-WCBS, in 1985 shortly after his miraculous escape from Muslim extremist hostage-takers in Lebanon. Almost an opera story, Jerry's wife, Sis, crisscrossed the Mideast seeking her husband's release. The drama was made into a TV movie, Held Hostage, with Marlo Thomas as Sis and David Dukes as Jerry.

    Jerry says he treasures an article about him in the September 1985 issue of Opera News titled "To Freedom," in which Jerry compares Sis to Beethoven's Leonore and himself to Florestan.

    After graduating from Northwestern, Jerry joined WCBS as a producer in 1967, where his hyperkinetic newsroom style involved wielding a ruler like a riding crop.

    Following stints in Birmingham and Houston, he went to CNN, where he became chief of the cable channel's Beirut Bureau, leading to his capture by Hezbollah gunmen.

    In captivity and in isolation for eleven months, Jerry played opera games in his mind while experiencing a spiritual reawakening.

    Sis Levin's book, Beirut Diary, describes Jerry's captivity and her efforts to gain his freedom.

    Currently, Jerry lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where he and his wife are involved in educational efforts to achieve peace through non-violence. And Jerry has not lost his love for opera. (--DS)

    Jerry's email: jlevin0320@yahoo.com





    WCBS RADIO'S 'THIS IS NEW YORK' -- WITH BILL LEONARD: 1951

    Bill Leonard was hired by WCBS Radio in 1945 to host the popular daily show "This is New York," which remained on the air for seventeen years. After thirteen years as host, Bill moved to television, joining the "CBS Evening News" as a reporter.

    Following a variety of increasingly important positions with CBS News, including initiating "60 Minutes" and "CBS Sunday Morning," Bill was named President of CBS News in 1979. It was he who tapped Dan Rather as the successor to anchorman Walter Cronkite -- which is described in Bill's book In the Storm of the Eye.

    In a quirky coincidence, Bill Leonard was the stepfather of Chris Wallace, described as a journalist for the far-right Fox News Channel, the antithesis of CBS News. Bill Leonard died in 1994.

    On the left, Bill is depicted on the cover of a 1951 WCBS pamphlet, which lists more than 100 New York City restaurants featured on "This is New York." It's provided here in its entirety. [WOW, what prices!] Thanks to WCBS fan and broadcast memorabilia collector John Landers of Brooklyn. (--Don Swaim)


    _______________________________________

    KENNETH BANGHART: WCBS RADIO'S
    PREMIER ANCHORMAN OF THE 60s

    Same ad, different approaches, different venues, six months apart.
    click to enlarge
    Print ad from the July 24, 1962, issue of The New Yorker magazine. Note the great names of CBS journalism mentioned in the ad. Banghart left CBS in 1967.

    Print ad in the January 28, 1963, issue of Playbill for the opening night of "An Evening with Maurice Chevalier" at the Ziegfeld Theater, Manhattan.

    CBS ads courtesy John Landers


    CBS BROADCAST LEGEND JOE WERSHBA

    While Joe Wershba, who died in 2011 at the age of ninety, earned his reputation as a producer and reporter for Edward R. Murrow and later with 60 Minutes, he was also a News Director of WCBS Radio (before it became all-news). In the film Good Night and Good Luck, Wershba was portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr. More on Wershba's life and career at CBS News.

    Joe Wershba


    l-r: George Clooney as Fred Friendly, Robert
    Downey, Jr. asWershba, David Straithairn as Murrow
  • For an excellent ten-minute interview with Joe Wershba and his wife Shirley about the Edward R. Murrow days at CBS, check out the estimable NPR broadcast On the Media of May 20, 2011. It includes both the transcript and the complete audio. Go to: ON THE MEDIA

  • Note from Don Swaim: Joe Wershba, a dedicated book collector, was a casual friend of mine. While on a trip to Zurich, Switzerland, in 1983, Joe found a copy of Of Mice and Men. Knowing I admired the author, John Steinbeck, Joe mailed the book to me. It was in German! (Von Mausen und Menschen). At the time, I wasn't sure I wanted an inscription in the book, but, now, Joe's inscription means much more than the book.


  • A bank robber staged a heist in Brooklyn on August 22, 1972, to raise money for a sex-change operation for his "wife," another gay man. The stickup went bad, and the bandit, John Wojtowicz and an accomplice, were trapped by police inside the bank with seven hostages. The sensational robbery was the basis for the film Dog Day Afternoon with Al Pacino. WCBS Radio's David Levin phoned the bank during the standoff and got this exclusive interview with the robber. LISTEN [runs 3:27].



    THOSE WERE THE DAYS
    Long-time WCBS anchor Robert Vaughn remembers
    his first days at Newsradio 88


    Robert Vaughn, Jim Donnelly, morning drive, 1986

    Winner, New York's Best Radio Team Poll in 2012 at fishbowl.ny.


    STEVE KARMEN WCBS JINGLES

    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. For more rare audio go to the WCBS Audio Page.


    In 1993, WCBS launched its worst promotion campaign ever, something to do with slapping down competitor 1010-WINS with a flyswatter. Lost on listeners and the public alike, it did nothing to stop Newsradio 88's abysmal slide to its lowest ratings level since going all-news. click image to watch

    1980s NEWSRADIO88 TV SPOTS

    A WCBS staffer unearthed these short back-to-back TV commercials for Newsradio88 from the 1980s on YouTube. The first features Yankees manager Lou Piniella, the second actress Sally Struthers. Announcer's voice is Jim Donnelly. Runs thirty seconds. Click on image to play.




    Long suppressed by sinister forces at CBS and its accomplices within the federal government, this tell-all chronicle is posted in full on the Internet for the first time as a pdf file. Previously available only in a limited-print edition, it may now be read by all, despite the threat of physical violence and legal action by CBS.

    TO READ CLICK ON IMAGE LEFT OR HEADLINE ABOVE

    OLD TIMES AT WCBS

    WCBS Radio Newsroom, 52nd Street & Madison Avenue, ca 1962. L-R: Jerry Melamed, director; Jim Brooks, writer (later co-creator of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"; Harvey Hauptman, producer & head-writer; Ken Banghart, anchor; Sis Aurelius, assistant. More details at Hauptman Remembers.

    _______________________________________

    RITA SANDS' SCRAPBOOK(S)

    Former WCBS anchor Rita Sands gives us dozens of candid, behind the scenes Newsradio88 snapshots from her own collection dating back to the 70s and 80s. They're presented here in slideshow form:

    NEWSRADIO 88's 40th
    ANNIVERSARY BASH
    Old-timers and current staff members gathered throughout the day on August 28, 2007, at the WCBS radio studios at the CBS Broadcast Center to celebrate the station's 40th anniversary as Newsradio 88. Click HERE to see the pictures. WCBS has posted an official 40th anniversary site loaded with photos, audio, video, and a guest book. Go to Newsradio88 Anniversary.
    _______________________________________

    THREE BROADCAST LEGENDS

    Election night, New York, 11/7/06
    Rich Lamb, WCBS; Stan Brooks, WINS; Mitch Lebe, Bloomberg Radio (ex-WCBS)
    Combined broadcasting experience: 130 years (rough estimate)

    “MORE THAN JUST THE HEADLINES!”
    OH, REALLY?

    In the 1990s the Dallas Axcess Group jingle mill created musical packages for CBS Radio's O&Os. WCBS Radio's famous "More Than Just the Headlines" jingle was most likely ripped off from the Kander and Ebb Kiss of the Spider Woman score. If you doubt it, listen here. Or go to WCBS Audio Files

    _______________________________________

    WCBS' JOHN HENRY FAULK
    1950s WITCH HUNT VICTIM

    Long before Newsradio88, Texas humorist John Henry Faulk, later a fixture on TV's "Hee-Haw," was a star on WCBS Radio -- until he was blacklisted during the right-wing communist witchhunts of the 1950s. After his ordeal at WCBS, which he wrote about in his book Fear on Trial, Faulk recorded a delightful Christmas story for National Public Radio. Click on the headline above to read and hear it. Back in Texas, Faulk failed in a bid for elective office. He died in Austin on April 9, 1990. Hear Faulk discuss how WCBS Radio's former management caved in to the far right. Go to the AUDIO FILES PAGE.

    __________ __________


    ONE CLASSY JOINT

    click to enlarge

    The paper goods at CBS were part of the design unity created by Lou Dorfsman, Creative Director of Advertising and Design for more than forty years. Even the Black Rock cafeteria's (51/20 Club) coffee cups and sugar packets displayed the famous CBS typefont known as Didot, as well as the stationery and interoffice envelopes.

    Don Swaim's two-part mp3 interview with Lou Dorfsman HERE

    WCBS LOBBY
    click "88" image below to enlarge

    Longtime staffers will remember the huge decorated plywood "88" (another Lou Dorfsman creation) in the WCBS lobby on Black Rock's 16th floor. For a while there was a receptionist. Later, an in-house phone was installed next to the door, so visitors had to call someone to be allowed in. Because of demonstrations, sit-ins, and bomb threats WCBS became locked as tight as a drum. Each staff member was given a key, later a digital ID card, which served as a key.

    _________________________________________

    BOOK BEAT

    Famed author Norman Mailer appears on Ohio University's "Wired for Books," 1991, one of more than 700 unedited Don Swaim interviews with the greatest writers of the 70s, 80s 90s, and preserved by Ohio University, which organized and posted the archive on the Internet. In addition, all of the broadcast's actual two-minute features, some 3,000 of them, are available as mp3 files at Book Beat: The Podcast. The archive narrowly escaped extinction, but, thanks to Ohio University and Wired for Books, is reaching fans and scholars in a way the original broadcasts could not do. Cited by PC Magazine's "Best of the Internet" in November 2007.


    click image to hear Mailer interview


    _________________________________________

    THROUGH THESE PORTALS...

    Original Newsradio88 studios at 51 W. 52nd St.



    NEWS & INFO
    Memories of WCBS
    Personal Recollections
  • CBS Radio at 80
    American Heritage.com
  • WCBS Radio's EKKO
    Radio Verification Stamps
  • Book Beat:
    The Podcast
  • 1980s News88 TV Spot
    Quicktime Video
  • Rita Sands
    Photo Album One
  • Philly's WCAU: RIP
  • Pictorial “History”
    of WCBS
  • WCBS "Art" Gallery
    memorabilia
  • Behind Every Great Building...
    The CBS Ediface
  • Memories of WCBS
    Personal Recollections

















  • CBS LOGOS



    Pre-1967 WCBS logo
























































    site edited by Don Swaim
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    Special thanks to John Landers, Bob Gibson for their contributions


    VISIT SOME OF DON'S OTHER SITES BELOW


    WCBS Appreciation Site   Book Beat: The Podcast   Wired for Books   Radio Days   Aspinwall HS Class of 55   Ambrose Bierce Site   Bucks County Writers Workshop   Errata   Steinbeck in Bucks Co   Pennsylvania Sunsets   Growing Up in WW 2   Don's Houses: Where I've Been   Fighting the Hun in WW I   Official Stuart Cummings Ripley Site   Swaim Name in History   The Swaim in America   The Swimsuit Issue




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