Edward R. Murrow died for our sins
online history and archive
of this legendary radio station
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.
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:
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 talk station it fails the Tiffany test.
NEW YORK MAYOR ED KOCH
PICS FROM PAYNE
| WCBS COLLEAGUES LOST: Details HERE|
Dick Spencer, veteran WCBS writer-producer. Michael Kahn's Tribute HERE
Jim McCarthy, First Newsradio 88 Washington Bureau Chief.
Jim's own WCBS Memories page HERE
Collection of 1970s newsroom photos from retired anchor Palmer Payne
Next 'Board' June 1, 2013
Charles Osgood/Don Swaim at CBS Board
CBSers, colleagues, ex-competitors, friends, broadcast aficionados, and radio historians met in Teaneck, NJ, on Oct. 20, 2012.
For the complete page with photos, guest list, and more click HERE
Photos from all recent luncheons HERE
WCBS Pictorial History HERE
WHEN & WHY CBS WAS THE TIFFANY NETWORK
The Great CBS Ashtray Debate
by Phil Cecchini, former CBS tech
Dedicated to Newsradio 88's younger, musical sibling
ON NEWSRADIO 88 GALLERY PAGE
HISTORIC CBS AUDIO & MORE
LAST DAY AT BLACK ROCK|
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.
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.
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
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
FORMER NEWSRADIO 88 PRODUCER JERRY LEVIN FINDS SOLACE IN OPERA AND FAITH
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.
Sis Levin's book, Beirut Diary, describes Jerry's captivity and her efforts to gain his freedom.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
click to read
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. (--DS)
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.
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
| |Joe Wershba
l-r: George Clooney as Fred Friendly, Robert Downey, Jr. as
Wershba, David Straithairn as Murrow
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].
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:
THREE BROADCAST LEGENDS
NEWSRADIO 88's 40th
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.
Election night, New York, 11/7/06
Rich Lamb, WCBS; Stan Brooks, WINS; Mitch Lebe, Bloomberg Radio (ex-WCBS)
Combined broadcasting experience: 110 years (rough estimate)
“MORE THAN JUST THE HEADLINES!”
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
Don Swaim's two-part mp3 interview with Lou Dorfsman HERE
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.
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.
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.
Philly's WCAU: RIP
WCBS "Art" Gallery
Behind Every Great Building...
The CBS Ediface
Pre-1967 WCBS logo
site edited by Don Swaim
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
Aspinwall HS Class of 55
Ambrose Bierce Site
Bucks County Writers Workshop
Steinbeck in Bucks Co
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