MARK Di GIORGIO (WCBS listener, W. Hartford, CT) 1/7/09
Dear Don: 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. When my friends were listening to rock on the radio, the news junkie in me would get up every morning with the incomparable late Jim Donnelly and Lou Adler (afterwards with Robert Vaughn), hanging onto every word and trying to envision what the two men looked like down in the Big Apple. I'd record their shows and practice and practice to see if I could even remotely ever sound like them. And my afternoon wouldn't be complete without the wonderful duo of Ben Farnsworth and Pat Parson. Plus the CBS News anchors on the hour .. through the years... the truly melodic Rita Sands, Steve Young, Mitchell Krauss, Gil Gross, Frank Settipani, David Jackson. (P. S. please consider adding some audio of Rita Sands, who was always one of my favorites. I realize you have her photos posted, but I'd love to hear her beautiful voice again!)
I vividly remember a piece that the late Steve Young once did on CBS News on the hour. It was the last segment, and to this day I can still recite it verbatim: "It was neither fish nor mammal, but a creature known as a plesiosaurus, (slight pause) thought to be extinct for more than a hundred million years. (pause) That's the verdict of a Japanese authority on ancient flora and fauna (slight pause) after viewing pictures of the huge (emphasis provided) beast, whose decomposed body was netted off New Zealand only last April (slight pause) by a Japanese trawler. This is Steve Young, CBS News." I practiced that single segment for weeks, inserting my name for Steve Young's at the close!! It's amazing that I can remember that 30 years later, as I recall the first day I heard it in my bedroom, and taping it on my new Panosonic tape recorder, hoping no one would open the bedroom door and come in, thereby ruining the sound.
When I stumbled on your site just yesterday, I had a field day listening to the old "News is" jingles of the early 1980s. I must have replayed the 1982 spot with Jim Donnelly and Robert Vaughn at least 10 times. Boy, those days were absolutely first-rate and showed the class with which News 88 delivered stories to people throughout the tri-state region.
I'm only sorry that I wasn't a listener when you were an anchor, because I have listened to all of your clips on the Web site and you would have been my idol along with Sands, Donnelly, Adler, Parson and Farnsworth .. and of course the irreplacable Charles Osgood, whose 1977 "Newsbreak" piece on the execution of Gary Gillmore in Provo, Utah, still resonates in my head, as it dramatically ended with a recitation of exactly what he had for dinner immediately prior to his appointment with the firing squad.
Fast forward and I worked at WPOP-AM 1410 in Hartford when it switched to all-news in 1979-1980, yet kept the incongruous station call letters. I remember covering stories, feeling so important in the 1978 light-green Chevy Vega I drove around Hartford emblazoned with "WPOP ALL NEWS, ALL THE TIME" on its doors. WPOP had a cart of the WCBS "News is" jingle, and I would stay after my producer shift to read news copy after I played that cart... what a great, great studio feeling.
Unfortunately, I copped out, as I had to support myself in the real world, so I made the leap to corporate public relations and throughout the past 20 years have made that my living, winning 20 writing awards but always beginning my day in the car listening to WCBS all the way up here in Hartford, where the signal isn't all that strong but better than it was in the Northwest hills and in New London, Conn., where I went to college and got hooked on Charles Osgood's "Newsbreak" at 20 minutes before the hour every morning. I was director of p. r. for a financial services companies in Hartford and Springfield, Mass., and would tune in all the way on I-91 North every day, not caring the least that I was passing on the lcrystal-clear local 50,000 watt news/talk station because NOTHING, NOTHING can compare with WCBS News 88 -- weak signal, hiss, and all. I knew that after listening to WCBS, I would be well-prepared to enter the office building knowing exactly what was going on in the world.
But now that the recession has cost me my job, I sometimes wonder "what if"... what would have happened if an 18 year-old high school student from northwestern Connecticut had been brave enough to walk through the doors on W. 52nd and applied for a summer intern job!! Would I have had the talent (learning fside-by-side rom the best pros in the business) to ever lead to something? I'm glad Wayne Cabot did exactly that, because he is an absolute joy to listen to (I know, you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition.) Thanks for reading, and please know the tremendous impact WCBS has had on me and I'm sure others -- even on the fringes of your listening area up here in the Hartford area, and at nighttime, I'm sure, up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
Thank you and everyone at WCBS who, in a day when news careers can be counted in milliseconds, your names have stayed with me for a lifetime. Thank you for the Web site's trip down memory lane... giving a 51 year-old guy the opportunity to reminisce. I love WCBS Newsradio 88 and always will... especially that split-second timing that only a news junkie can appreciate as well as those early '80s jingles which were absolutely the best.
I trust you are having a wonderful retirement, and now that I have your Web site on my favorites, I'll check back often for more... please, again, consider adding some audio of Rita Sands. Is she retired now?
Again, Don, all the best. Regards, Mark Di Giorgio West Hartford. Conn.