Matt Fleury, Hartford (former WCBS Albany stringer, anchor) 8/9/07
I have just spent an hour or more enjoying your WCBS all-news 88 appreciation site. What a great website. I especially enjoyed the audio section, where I found that classic News 88 jingle that I remember. I don't know how long that jingle held down the clock, but it was still there in the late 80's, when I was privileged to be a stringer for the station in Albany.
While I was born in NYC, we moved to the Berkshires well before I entered the newsradio demo. So it wasn't until I got into radio in such glamorous markets as Pittsfield MA and Albany in the 1980's that I was really exposed to WCBS on a regular basis. I was a real pipsqueak when I ended up covering the NY statehouse in 1986 or so. Somehow I ended up covering the capitol for News 88, and I began to realize what radio was all about. I remember filing reports with guys like David Levin in tape op's, who essentially taught me to write over the phone. Boy did I have a lot to learn. Rich Lamb would critique my stuff. I would tune in the scratchy signal and sit in my car in Albany to listen to Rita Sands, Tom Franklin, Jim Donnelly, Art Athens, Irene Cornell, etc. and just soak it in. What an education it was. When I'd occasionally hear myself, I was on top of the world. Just being associated with that jingle, those voices...I couldn't believe it.
I made some terrible mistakes on WCBS. I was given the chance to fill-in on the anchor desk a few times, but I had never used a computer before (we were lucky to have Selectrics where I was working!) and it was such a mess getting the show prepared that I was just awful. I remember feeling my dream slip away, and then coming down to audition years later, when I had finally learned to be a pretty decent anchor. But the then-ND (Lou Gieserman maybe?) was going in the 'informal' direction, and I had styled myself after the legends (but certainly not matched them). But hey, how many people can say they did live reads for Fovama Oriental Rugs and Keep it in your Sneaker in between reports on the US chasing down Manny Noriega in Panama on WCBS?
I'm long since out of the business, and I don't find WCBS to be the station I remember. But some of the greats are still there, and it's still worth listening for them, so I do once in a while.
Sorry for the long and probably self indulgent bit of memory here, but your website really brought me back. Thanks for doing it.
Good health and good news