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News and Recollections 2009-2014
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

- DICK HELTON, 7/25/17. KNX, Los Angeles. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your website keeping track of the WCBS tradition. I check in occasionally, but perhaps not often enough. I've been around long enough (first day reporting at WBBM was February 10, 1969 under the guidance of Van Gordon Sauter) so I know, or have known of, many of the people on which you have reported over the years. Good memories of good times from the early days of all news to the present. Thanks again for your work.
Dick Helton
Morning Show Host and Senior Political Correspondent
KNX-CBS Radio, 1070 AM


Long-time newswriter, editor, and producer, Mary Ellen Porrazzo, after leaving WCBS, taught journalism at Hofstra University on Long Island. She died on February 10, 2017. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, she was 65. Mary Ellen was also a poet. Here are two of her poems:

Chaos, confusion

Blaring bands
Frozen smiles
In the heat

Mary Ellen's obituary can be found HERE

Long-time WCBS Connecticut stringer Fran Schneidau retires
click to enlarge


Marty, beloved long-time WCBS news producer, died in New Jersey on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. He rose from the ranks of the newspaper business to work afternoon drive for many years.

This undated photo shows Marty at the producer's desk in the pre-computer era, as evidenced by the so-called "Christmas Tree" on the right, which held wire copy of the currently working stories.

AN APPRECIATION by Bob Gibson plus Other Tributes

Obituary in The Asbury Park Press

New York Press Club Hall of Famer:

Irene, Steve

From Steve Scott, WCBS:

As president of the New York Press Club, I had the honor of inducting my WCBS Newsradio 880 colleague, Irene Cornell, into the New York Journalism Hall of Fame. It happened October 29, 2016, at the New York Press Club Foundation Conference on Journalism at New York University.

Irene has covered many of the biggest court trials of the past 50+ years...from OJ to Gotti [New York mob figure]. She told of how a Gotti goon once tried to intimidate her because "Mr. Gotti doesn't like what you're reporting." Irene never backed down, and got a "wink" from Gotti at the conclusion of his final trial.

With courtroom audio and video recording prohibited for much of her career, Irene has relied on only her words to tell her stories. Through her unparalleled writing and delivery, Irene has given New Yorkers a front row seat to more than a half century of riveting trials.

Irene Cornell is a New York treasure.

I also had the pleasure of presenting the New York Press Club's President's Award (posthumously) to our late Consulting Director, Peter O.E. Bekker [formerly of WCBS]. Peter's family has started the Peter O.E. Bekker Memorial Scholarship Fund through the New York Press Club Foundation. These scholarships will assist the next generation of journalists, for whom Peter cared so deeply.


From right to left: Bob Gibson, Mervin Block, Melissa Ludlum [widow of former News Director Mike Ludlum], Jerry Levin [former PM drive producer], Sis Levin. Oct. 17, 2016, New York City.

- PHIL SIRKIN, 8/23/16. Former News Director, WEEI, Boston. A memory popped into my head earlier this evening and made me think: "I wonder if Dick Spencer is still at 88, or if he's retired by now?" I did an online search, came across your site, and was devastated to learn of his illness and passing a few years ago.
Dick and I were colleagues at the old WEEI in Boston during the '70s. I can still remember how thrilled he was when he learned he'd been hired at WCBS - even though he was never the type to jump for joy, his excitement and pride was clear. He was still young, of course, but it was his life's dream to work at Newsradio 88. I remember his outstanding writing and editing skills, naturally, as well as his professionalism. There was no one else I would want writing or on the desk during a crisis. But what I remember more was his wry and subversive sense of humor. After one of the station's nattily-dressed salesmen strutted through the newsroom with an air of disdain, Dick would switch into self-assured mode and confidently stride across the room with a fake smile and firmly shake my hand: "Hi, Dick Spencer, Sales."

One night, he came to visit me at another station where I worked part-time as a producer (we made far below union scale at 'EEI and many of us had second and third jobs). The other station was #1 in the market, and its offices and studios had the fancy decor, equipment and accoutrements to match its ratings. The following morning when I showed up at the grey, shabby, rundown 'EEI newsroom to relieve him on the desk, he had taped hand-drawn pictures of plants and artwork above the folders and cart racks. His answer to my unspoken question: "I just wanted you to feel at home."

It sounds like he had a full and satisfying life before his accident and illness. I'm sorry we fell out of touch and I'm still shaken to learn of his passing, but I'm glad to know he spent almost his whole career where he wanted to be his entire life: working mornings at 88. (I had already heard about Mike Ludlum's passing and was saddened by it; he was my first news director and I remember him fondly. I appreciated being able to read the remembrances others had posted.) Thanks so much for providing your site as a resource and forum - even those of us who spent our careers 250 miles to the north remember many of the great people from WCBS.

Phil Sirkin
Writer/Editor, WEEI, 1974-1979
News Director, WEEI, 1989-1991

PS I saw a reference to the fact that Peggy Noonan mentioned Dick's work at 'EEI in her first book. When I read the book many years ago, I remember thinking how wonderful it was that she specifically included him; he deserved it. I wasn't overly surprised, though, since a lot of bonds were formed during those years - and everyone loved Dick. (And Peggy remembers those bonds. I ran into her at a WH correspondent's dinner while she was still working with Rather, many years after we'd last seen each other. She ran up to me, gave me a huge hug and dragged me into the CBS reception, introducing me as "a CBSer" even though I'd been at the competition for years.)

- ALEXANDRA BENNETT CANNADY, 7/11/16. Former WCBS staffer. I was a kid working at WCBS-AM in the late '80s and reading about the passing of Mike Ludlum left a knot in my throat. I vividly recall a conversation with him... (cue flashback sequence) :
Mike: Alexandra, you're never going to make it in this business.
Me: Bu, but Mike why? (I was devastated.)
Mike: You don't smoke and you don't drink coffee. Two things you need to do to survive in this line of work.
I was just a kid, a sales/research assistant and Mike was always there with words of wisdom, and to give me an opportunity to gain experience in production when one arose. I raise a toast to him. As well as Agnes Green and James McQuade. And seeing the photos of Art Athens and GiGi Birdas and Rona Landy -- WOW. Thank you for this site. Best, Alexandra


photo of Peter Bekker by Rita Sands

Rich Lamb [WCBS Reporter] asked me to let you know that our friend and colleague, Peter O. E. Bekker [WCBS writer-producer], died after a long battle with brain cancer. We will miss Peter's sharp wit -- remember his feature, "On Record?" -- and his refusal to suffer fools gladly. I'm told there will be a notice in the Times. He was 62. In recent years Peter had been the consulting director of the New York Press Club, putting us on the web, maintaining our site, and managing our very successful awards competition. Press Club president, Steve Scott, wrote an excellent tribute on the NYPC page. --Jane Tillman Irving

by Rich Lamb

Just after sunset on Lake Champlain, on an outdoor wooden deck in Vermont, surrounded by family and friends, Peter Otto Eric Bekker, Jr., aged 62, died peacefully at 8:50 PM on Friday, August 5, 2016, the culmination of a valiant three and a half year battle with brain cancer. Mr. Bekker was a central figure in the New York Press Club, where he held the title of Consulting Director. He was renowned for his innovations on the club's web site, including his digitalization of what had been a cumbersome method for the entry and judging of its journalism awards. Mr. Bekker's system worked to the great advantage of the Press Club, and was the object of imitation by other august organizations which honor journalistic achievements.

Mr. Bekker was an articulate defender of the first amendment, an author, a news writer and an editor whose sentences, both spoken and written, were justly famous for their clarity and ascerbic wit. Mr. Bekker wrote endless reams of newscopy for WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York City from 1975 to 1989. He also broadcast a feature of contemporary music criticism on WCBS titled Peter Bekker, On Record. He was the author of four books about music, on topics ranging from Gospel, to Jazz, to Country and the Baroque Period. Between his work as a writer and broadcaster at WCBS, and his tenure at the New York Press Club, he worked on an encyclopedia project at the Microsoft Corporation in Washington State.



An Appreciation

by Bob Gibson
Bill Fahan was the kind of man who never had a problem making himself heard. At least not in the nearly twenty years we knew one another at New York's WCBS NewsRadio88. As anchors at the all-news station we reported our share of tragic and happy stories and yet the former always seem to outweigh everything else. Bill, who was much loved and respected by his family away from home, sadly passed away early Thursday morning, June 23, at his Pearl River, New York, residence at 82.

Bill's daughter, Robin, told me that her dad had been in failing health for several months and really deteriorated last week. Without offering any specifics, Robin goes on to say that "we are thankful that this did not drag on and on and that her father is finally without pain and at peace."

More than one of my friends and Bill's former colleagues have accurately described him as a nice man and a talented man. He knew his craft and when and how to ask the pertinent and difficult questions in the midst of breaking stories when many of us didn't know what would happen next. Bill was also a fun-loving guy with a gift for gab who for quite some time attended our twice-a-year broadcasters' luncheons in New Jersey with his lovely wife, Joyce. Many of us had not seen him in a few years because as I was told by his wife, his arthritic knees made it very difficult to walk. I had paid the Fahans a visit now and then when I'd be in the metropolitan area and did so again last year when the above photo was snapped.

For those who are wondering and per Bill's wishes, there will be no funeral nor memorial service as he wanted his ashes scattered over some body of water. The water, incidentally, was a second passion because of his love for his boat which he kept docked not far from his Rockland County home. I never sailed with Bill but good friend Don Swaim, another WCBS alum, had, and reminded me that despite his affinity for getting out on the water, Bill could not swim. But as I understand it, he never shrank from the task to spend a nice day in a nice way with family and his friends on the Hudson.

As friendly and out-going as they come, Bill had a colorful 27-year career at WCBS following TV and radio assignments in middle America, including at KMSP Television, Channel 9 in Minneapolis, where he was the lead news anchor. Bill's was a smooth and rich, bass voice that commanded attention. A former colleague at CBS, Michael Kahn, many years ago in commenting for a New York Daily News story about his favorite radio station while growing up, listed a number of the then-anchors at WCBS in the 1970s and made it a point to say "That whenever the end of the world comes, he wants to hear it reported by Bill Fahan!" Indeed, he had that kind of authoritative voice.

Heartfelt condolences to Bill's beloved wife, Joyce, his daughter, Robin, son, Terry, and the other Fahans whom I've unintentionally overlooked!

- BOB KETCHERSID, 4/4/16. Former WCBS desk assistant.
I just happened to stumble across your fascinating WCBS Web page this afternoon. It brought back many memories. I was one of three Ohio State University students who took part in the first CBS Graduate Assistantship program in 1965. As part of the program, I spent six months working as a desk assistant at WCBS Radio in 1965. I worked alongside such folks as Steve Flanders, Lou Adler, Joe Dembo, and many others. I noticed that Harvey Hauptman had written about Pat Summerall. That brings back some memories. In 1965, Pat did a sports call-in show on WCBS. One of my assignments was to be his call screener. In those days, the seven second delay was obtained by threading the tape from one Ampex machine which recorded the audio and looping the tape over to a second Ampex for the playback.

I also had the opportunity to accompany Steve Flanders on many of his news assignments, including riding in a ticker tape parade for returning astronauts and opening day of year number two of the New York World's Fair. One of the best things Steve taught me was on those assignments that involved waiting, he said "find a telephone you can use" and find a seat so you can sit down. I went on to become news director at WSB Radio in Atlanta, and now own my own station in Athens, Tennessee.

- HOWARD LULOFF, 1/10/16. WCBS listener. I grew up in New Jersey in the 60s and early 70s before moving to Minnesota in 1972, and I remember hearing the station riding in the car with my parents. One phrase that comes to mind is "Here's The Weather Picture for New York City and vicinity." How long did the station use that phrase? The Weather Picture comes up in conversation when checking the weather on my phone for my girlfriend. You really put together a historical flashback to the early days and highlights of WCBS-AM. Thanks, Howard Luloff

- JIM B. MORRIS, 1/9/16. Former WCBS newswriter.
I just visited the WCBS appreciation site after a long absence. There were several deaths I did not know about, Allegra Branson among them. At work, we joked about sharing the same birthday (January 2), but I lost touch with Allegra a long time ago. All I knew, from your site, was that she was ill. I was unaware that she passed away in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Ironically, that's not far from where I lived and worked before joining News 88 in late 1975.

In the late 70's, Allegra took me to the Metropolitan Opera and got us backstage where I met singer James Morris (yes, same name), who was performing the lead in Don Giovianni. Meeting a famous person with "my" name was a kick. Allegra made it happen. By the way, just below the post about Allegra is a picture that says "circa" 1980. It is indeed that year. I still have that t-shirt (somewhere). I'm in the back row, on the right, my face partially obscured by M. David Levin's curly locks.

Your site is fantastic ‹ lost memories found. Best wishes from Atlanta (where I've been since 1990). Jim B. Morris
- STEVEN ELIAS, 12/14/15. Long-time WCBS listener.
I remember listening to Newsradio 88 on car trips to NY with my dad in the 70s and 80s. I remember listening to anchors like Bill Fahan, Pat Parson and Ben Farnsworth doing drive time. Did Craig Allen do weather back in the day? I grew up and live in Rhode Island where WCBS comes in very well. I also remember news reporters, Doug Spiro, Irene Cornell, and Fran Schneidau. I enjoyed the old classic WCBS news and traffic sounders from back in the day.

> I also remember the CBS all news radio stations in other major cities, using the the same sounder going into their headlines. One such outlet, WEEI Newsradio 59 in Boston did so in the 70s and 80s.

There was also another sounder that was used somewhere in the bottom of the hour (15 and 45) after local weather was given. It was a sequence of musical tones that was a computerized variation off of the headline sounder. I remember this tone being used in the mid 80s. I also remember going into a discount store in the late 80s, and hearing this same musical tone being used on the public address system in the store, as a lead-in to alert shoppers in the store to items that were on sale. At this point, not on the radio, but as the store's  in house recorded ads.

Do you have any air checks of other sounders or commercials that you can post? I really enjoy your tribute site to WCBS . I guess I'm a real WCBS buff from the 70s and 80s. Steve Elias

Mike, who was 78, died November 29, 2015, in New Jersey after a three-year illness that led to hospice care. More in this remembrance by BOB GIBSON and many others: HERE

From DON SWAIM: Mike was a consummate professional I was proud to call a friend. He never yelled, as some of our executives were inclined to do, worked well under pressure, was admired by the staff, and upheld the highest standards of integrity and ethics. Mike slightly preceded me at WCBS as the station launched its mammoth all-news operation: he was then morning-drive news producer and I was morning-drive news editor.

From ROBERT LEEDER: Mike Ludlum's death was sad, sad news. Mike and I went back more than 50 years together, and I always held him in high esteem. He was an extremely creative writer, a talented all around newsman, and an absolute pleasure to work with. Mike and I were dual anchors on an all news morning show called "Nothing But News" back in the early sixties, before WINS went all news. We often traveled together. Aboard a NJ Air National Guard flight to Texas, for example, we covered a troop deployment story. At each NAB convention in Las Vegas, Mike and I always set aside time for a lunch, and we used to laugh about how our offices were one floor apart in Black Rock and we never had time in New York; rather, we would have to travel more than 2500 miles to have lunch! I will always value the time Mike and I worked together. He was an uncommonly gifted broadcaster and a wonderful friend,


...gather for luncheon, Neptune, NJ, Oct. 22, 2015. Former Shadow Traffic reporter Ed Salvas,
retired producer Marty Duskin, ex-anchor Bob Gibson

Former WCBS anchor Bill Fahan, seated. Standing: retired anchor Bob Gibson,
Joyce Fahan. Pearl River, New York, May 17, 2015. NOTE: Bill died on June 23, 2016.
(photo courtesy Bob Gibson)


Prewitt, who was 68, died of cancer at his home in Manhattan on April 11, 2015. Before moving to Bloomberg Radio, Prewitt was the voice of business at Newsradio 88. He and Ray Hoffman, a current business reporter at WCBS, were colleagues at WERE in Cleveland before emigrating to New York.

  • Obituary at Bloomberg News
  • Bob Moon of Bloomberg anchors this audio
  • Ray Hoffman has this tribute

  • Agnes Green, former chief desk assistant and newsroom coordinator at WCBS,
    was a mainstay of the news operation for many years. And a good friend
    . --DS


    Miliano, who was 67, died of cancer at a hospice on January 12, 2015, in Florida, according to a posting on the CBS News Radio website. Lou's career at CBS began in 1989 until his retirement in 2007

    "I worked with Lou for many years, and the great thing about him as a newsman was his attention to ambient sound. He never did what we once called "stand-upers" without background audio, demonstrating, in the Edward R. Murrow tradition, an attention to the immediacy of time and place. In a business filled with prima donnas and egos, he was both independent and a nice guy." --Don Swaim

    sensational tribute by a long-time friend HERE

    with ex-WCBS staffer Michael Kahn

  • "Lou really did it all, and he surely did it his way. He was unique." --WCBS 880 reporter Rich Lamb

  • "He was fearless, creative and smart! It took me years to figure out that his hair was not his own! If there is nat sound in heaven - Lou will find it!" --Bernard Gershon, former WCBS assistant news director

  • "So incredibly talented. He changed the way a foreign correspondent sounded on the radio, and a generation followed." --Jeff Caplan, former WCBS anchor

  • "Lou was a gentleman through and through. He was amazing in his use of sound." --Roslyn Barreaux Brendzel, former WCBS newswriter

  • Lisa Fantino, ex-WCBS staffer, offers this excellent REMEMBRANCE

    Windswept correspondent

  • "He painted great word pictures and was one of the best at using audio and natural sound to bring listeners to the scene of breaking news." --Tim Scheld, WCBS 880 news director

    Lou and Tim Scheld covering the 1995 funeral of Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem

  • - BOB VOSBURGH, 2/24/15. Former part-time anchor. Mr. Book Beat! Hey Don! Wonderful to see some of the old gang! In a fit of occupational nostalgia, I was perusing Google and stumbled across this site. I wish I had known about it earlier, as I lived for 15 years in Fort Lee (not far from the "executive dining room" in Teaneck). I am happy to report (for anyone who remembers me) that I am alive and well, working as News Director at the Private Label Manufacturers Association here in Manhattan (LinkedIn profile). I commute four days a week from my home in Milford, CT. After my less-than-glamorous departure from Newsradio 88, I joined a small foodservice publication in Hackensack, NJ, then moved on to a national B2B trade pub, Supermarket News (at that time owned by Fairchild Publications of Women's Wear Daily fame), then left after 15 years there to assume my present position. Indeed, a far cry from covering state budgets, trials and fires, but no complaints. I eat well :). That's about it. I am glad to see you look great and am active with the others. Please tell Dave Levin, Bob Gibson, Marty Duskin (who I called "Skipper") and that pesky nighttime caller Lou Freizer (kidding) that I said hello! Perhaps one day I can sneak back out to Teaneck and join the Board. Regards &c., Bob


    Veteran meteorologist Todd Glickman launched his career at Newsradio88 on May 5, 1979, at 6:06 AM, and has been going strong ever since.

    Todd writes: "I did my first weathercast on WCBS 880, with Gary Maurer as the anchor. That was a lot of "8s" ago! Thanks to then News Director Lou Adler and GM Robert Hyland III who gave me the chance; and to my friend and colleague Craig Allen for letting me sit in the Weather Center "Big Chair" from time-to-time for over three decades."

    Here's Todd's first Newsradio88 office, the WCBS Weather Center at Black Rock:

    click to enlarge

    Todd's anniversary was celebrated on the air by Chief Meterologist Craig Allen and anchors Steve Scott and Brigitte Quinn: LISTEN

    Retired anchor Bob Gibson says: "I'd be remiss if I failed to take this opportunity to say that while I was unaware until now, I'm not surprised that Todd was offered the position of Chief Meteorologist only because over the years, regardless of what Mother Nature tossed at the metropolitan area, he has always been able to explain it in an easy to understand manner. At the same time, the station has been in the excellent hands of Craig Allen, and his three-decades-plus tenure is testament to that!"

    at the portable WCBS Weather Center, New York Marathon


    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

    Don Swaim (ye webmaster) and Bob Leeder (CBS Board host) spar at Oct. 25, 2014, CBS Board luncheon in Teaneck, NJ, HERE.

    - AL MEREDITH, RETIRED WCBS-FM NEWS DIRECTOR, DEAD AT 68. 7/15/14. Obit by David Hinckley, New York Daily News HERE.


    Ed Joyce was one of the news executives who helped to usher in the era of all-news at WCBS Radio. Later he became President of CBS News during a stormy tenure he shared with Van Gordon Sauter.

    Obit in The New York Times HERE

    - JOHN LANDERS, 7/14/14. The WCBS Appreciation Site thanks Brooklyn radio buff Landers for a batch of new contributions -- pictures, audio, ads and photos -- as well as a super photo-tour of the new CBS Radio headquarters on Hudson Street, Manhattan, where all of the network's NYC o&os are housed. HERE.


    Paul Murnane in background. Photo by Todd Glickman


    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.

    Dear Don, I have been a long time listener to WCBS. I remember when the station changed to all news in 1967 although as you know, it was a while before the station became a 24 hour news operation. As you point out on the tribute site, WCBS had its ups and downs as far as ratings. One example that stands out is the "news not noise" campaign in 1993. I could understand why it didn't work and how many of the listeners didn't get what that was about.

    New York is fortunate to have two stations devoted to providing news and information around the clock. Many markets don't have any as this is an expensive format to do right. While both stations are owned by the same company, they differ in their approaches to informing the public about what's going on both on a local and national basis. I think News Radio 880 is going back towards a more conversational approach which they maintained for years. This is good and results in a way that the anchors talk to people and not at them.

    Congratulations to Todd Glickman. He is a true survivor along with Wayne Cabot and Craig Allen. It's good to hear Brigitte Quinn back on the station. I always liked her work going back to the days when I heard her at WALK on Long Island. I hope WCBS will continue and be financially successful for many years. Sincerely, Larry Stoler (


    click to enlarge
    Crack newswriter M. David Levin supervises anchor Deborah Rodriguez in main anchor studio during Black Rock days. Note state of the art PC, boxy TV monitors, and audio cartridges.


    click to enlarge
    WCBS Newsroom photo, ca 1988-89, Originally posted on Facebook by Tony Gatto. According to Roslyn Barreaux Brendzel: "It was Battle of the Bulge Day. We made bangers and mash." L-R: Ed Ingles, Jeff Grambs, Ros Barreaux, Brigette Quinn, Tony Gatto, Art Athens, Pete Bianco. Jim Donnelly, Terry Raskyn, Bernard Gershon, Irina Lallemand, Rich Adcock (blind traffic reporter far right)

    - ALLEN BROWN, CBS, 3/10/14. I am the nephew of LEO BROWN [longtime Newsradio88 technician], I am writing sadly to inform you of his passing on Sat. March 1st in Florida after a short illness. Leo fell I'll suddenly about a week before he died.

    He had been out fishing that day and from reports, he had a pretty strenuous day. When he returned home to his condo at Wynnmore at Coconut Creek he complained his right arm hurt. That night while playing cards he lost the use of his right arm and his complexion changed. The ambulance was called at that point. His heart was apparently in atrial fibrillation. Although they could not find the cause they also were not able to control it which over a weeks time at the hospital he continued to deteriorate and eventually suffered renal failure. He died Sat. March 1st at 5:00 AM. Needless to say a tremendous shock and loss to his family, friends, and all the people he worked with and was close with over the many years of work at CBS.
    Peter Cane. RIP. I remember him well and fondly.

    Roslyn Barreaux Brendzel. I remember Leo very well and all his wonderful fish stories. RIP Leo.

    Steven Reed. Leo had such a wonderful spirit and was so passionate about life in general and fishing in particular. The fact that he could still do what he loved after all these years put a smile in my heart. I will never forgot the evening we spent together broadcasting live as fireworks exploded over the Statue of Liberty during the July 4th Bicentennial celebration., Rest In Peace Leo. You were a blessing to so many !!!

    Todd Glickman. A great technician, a great man. And did he love to fish! Glad he had so many good years to enjoy. He will be missed!

    Rich Lamb. The Great Fisherman is gone. Wonderful, talented, funny man. I only have memories of his laughing. He was a true professional and was a delight. RIP

    Charlie Kaye. Leo worked at the network after WCBS. He was a very kind and warm man and will be missed.

    Gary Maurer. oh no...this is terrible news. it was always an adventure to head out in the "mobile unit" with leo & listen to his fishing stories. tight lines, old friend.

    Tony Gatto. A great man. One of a kind. Sheepshead Bay remembers.

    Frank Raphael. My first day at WCBS I was assigned to work with Leo to put the Arthur Godfrey show on air. he was a gent from that first day until the last day I worked with him. Mobile unit or tape ops. He was always a pro.

    Allen Brown. Thanks so much, Don. I have enjoyed a 40 year career as a cameraman at CBS because of Leo. He was a great guy.

    Barry Siegfried. Leo Brown was one of the most incredibly talented field technicians with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working. In my younger years at WCBS he taught me more about how to get a remote broadcast on the air under duress than any other individual in the business. I have seen him do things and invent solutions to problems on the fly that I could only dream of being talented enough to do myself. When I was producing the NY Jets Football games for WCBS (a total of 8 years over 2 non-consecutive contracts), I was lucky enough to have Leo as my primary field technician. We spent more time with each other working together at these football games than I think either of us did with anyone else over our professional years. He was a wonderful mentor, friend and colleague and I will truly miss him.

    Gegg Forbach. I worked with Leo for my 8 years as a tech @ WCBS and he was always a great standup guy to be around. Anyone know how old he was?

    Allegra died Dec. 31, 2013, at a nursing home in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Born on January 2, 1934, she was two days shy of her eightieth birthday. A graveside service was held at the Sharon Gardens Cemetery, Valhalla, Westchester County, New York, on Sunday, January 5. She had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for several years. Allegra held a BA in Music and an MA in Library Science from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining WCBS, she worked at NBC Radio and the Vienna Bureau of United Press International. She was a past Treasurer and President of the Writers Guild of America East.

    Allegra Branson

    Frontiers Aflame!
    co-written by Allegra Branson
    Allegra's father was Henry Clay Branson, author of a number of crime novels published in the 1940s and 1950s, featuring detective John Bent, as well as the Civil War novel Salisbury Plain. Henry Clay Branson's correspondent with the crime writer Ross Macdonald has been archived by the University of California.
    Allegra co-wrote (with Eugenia Campbell Lester) Frontiers Aflame!, a novel based on true events in upstate New York during the Revolutionary War. Published by Heart of the Lakes Publishing in 1987.

    M. David Levin gave us this undated photo of WCBS staffers after a run in Central Park (ca 1980). Among the group (in no order) are Rob Sunde, Lou Adler, Mary Gay Taylor, Jim Morris, Jane Tillman Irving, Linda Siegfried, Bob Hyland, Gigi Birdas, Rona Landy. Let us know if you can identify the others. click to enlarge


    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's memory.

    New Yotk Times obituary HERE

    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
    by Bob Gibson

    photo courtesy Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia

    I'm sorry to tell you that [former Newsradio 88 anchor]Steve Porter has died in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at age 73. His widow, Robbie, says that Steve died this morning [9/27/13] in the hospital where he had undergone heart surgery Tuesday. Steve had mentioned to me on the phone recently that part of that procedure was to involve a valve replacement.

    The man who many of us knew and worked with enjoyed a long career in broadcast journalism that by my account took him through five states---Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina---and the District Of Columbia, where he was the NBC News White House Correspondent for ten years during the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Before transferring to Washington, Steve anchored and wrote NBC Radio hourly news broadcasts in New York and that's where we first met nearly forty years ago.

    Steve always had a wonderful sense of humor but when it came to his air work he was interested in getting the story and telling it in an easy-to-understand way. Our boss at the hourlies operation, Bob Kimmel, the Director of NBC Radio News, told me that he remembers Steve as an air talent who was always cool and calm and got on the air with a story, telling it well, and without leaving the listener in the dark. Kimmel says Steve was a very dependable man who could always be counted on.

    Before his move to NBC News, Steve's was the very first voice heard on WCBS NewsRadio88 in New York after that station switched to an all-news format on August 28, 1967. He worked the morning shift with fellow anchor Charles Osgood. Charles says that Steve Porter was a real pro who knew how to do his job and frequently made it look easy, even when it was not. Charles also remembers Steve as being a very kind man.

    Steve grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from the University of Miami where he worked at WINZ and WGBS. This award-winning journalist who was a licensed pilot and a man with a love for golf and community service, also worked for WFLA Radio in Tampa before taking a TV anchor job in San Antonio. From there he made his way to Philadelphia where Steve helped put all-news KYW NewsRadio on the air in 1965. He was not there long before New York beckoned and Steve moved on to broadcasting's largest market.

    In 1995, after retiring from NBC News and helping to inaugurate the Associated Press' all-news radio service, Steve bought an interest in WRNN Radio in Myrtle Beach which had been home for eighteen years. Besides hosting a very successful morning news and information program on that station, Steve also wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper. Steve loved news and he loved people. He enjoyed socializing with friends and sharing his stories and theirs.

    Steve Porter is survived by his wife, Robbie, and three children.

    NOTE from Don Swaim

    I was Steve's copy editor back in the early days. Yeah, back then we worked with hard copy. He typed in lower case and ignored punctuation, so his copy was a nightmare to read, much less edit. Finally, I gave up. I eyeballed it but never actually edited it. And when Steve went on the air his scripts were, indeed, perfect. --DS

    - NEWSRADIO88 SIGNS ON. WCBS-AM Newsradio88 debuts inauspiciously on its little-heard FM Station on August 28, 1967, because a small plane demolished the transmitter tower on High Island in a fatal crash, knocking the AM station off the air. Interestingly, the debut begins with a staff announcer reading the WCBS-FM sign-on, followed by the "Star Spangled Banner." Then, anchorman Steve Porter reads an account of the air crash. Pat Summerall delivers the sports, Gordon Barnes the weather. The rather ponderous presentation includes few if any commercials, and virtually no news audio. Charles Osgood takes over from Steve Porter at 6:00 A.M. The producer of the broadcast was Mike Ludlum, the editor was Al Wasser. Audio courtesy of Bill Tynan, Manager of On-Air Promotion, WCBS. 8/28/67 (46:29). WCBS Newsradio88, Part 1 8/28/67 (46:21). WCBS Newsradio88, Part 2

    Hey Don, Your WCBS NewsRadio 88 appreciation site has brought back a lot of memories. In the 14 months since I retired as a news writer from ABC News Radio I have time to just reflect on the years and now at my time at WCBS News Radio. It was my first job in radio, taking place between 1975-1977. I started as a desk assistant; then chief desk assistant and news-trainee, a much-sought position I was fortunate to get at the very beginning of a news career in radio. Clearly, it was an experience that was invaluable to my professional growth -- presenting an opportunity to sit with Lou Freizer in the morning or Marty Duskin in the afternoon to learn how to produce; to tag along on assignment with Steve Flanders at City Hall or yourself, to a fire in the east Bronx to learn how to report; to sit in-studio with Pat Parson and Ben Farnsworth to learn how to anchor; to sit down with Mel Granick or the late Liz Shanov to learn radio news writing. Years later, Liz would file stories from ABC News Radio.

    Your site has photos of great past colleagues like Mike Ludlum and Ralph Howard. I was sorry to learn of the passing of Rich Adcock and Dick Spencer who was my editor at WEEI NewsRadio 59. J. Raimey and I were colleagues at NBN. I see a photo Kevin Curran, who was at WHN during my time with Mutual Lifestyle Radio out of the same facility as well as Bill Diehl, my colleague at ABC Radio.

    I have to say there were some other, unanticipated perks for being part of the WCBS staff. Ed Ingles was responsible for my first opportunity to see a U. S. Open match at Forest Hills; Spencer Ross facilited my attendance at what was a new concept at the time: Team Tennis, Nassau Colosseum on Long Island. I play tennis several times a week, these days and have attended lots of U. S. Opens over the years. Thanks, Don for this is a great website. I will be a frequent visitor.

    After sending you that message, I realized I left out names of others who had had a strong influence on my career -- Lou Adler, Rob Sunde and John Wheeling for example -- as well as others who I hold fondly in my memories, like Alegra Branson and Mike Callahan; Palmer Payne and Harvey Hauptman.


    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?

    Dear Don, I'm checking out your appreciation site as I type this. It is fantastic. I have worked off and on in broadcasting since the late 80s. I remember when the plane crash happened and the new format for WCBS had to be carried on 101.1 FM. Looking at your site reminds me and so many others how much we took for granted; i.e., the excellent anchors, the way they delivered the news, weather, traffic, sports, etc. on this legendary radio station. If anyone would have told me in 1967 that both all news stations would be owned by the same company, I would have said they were crazy, but due to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, among other things that happened.

    Fortunately both stations differ in their approaches to what they cover and highlight. For example, it seems to me that 1010 WINS puts more emphasis on crime stories than is the case at WCBS. John Maher once described WINS as a "beer and potato chip" news station. Maybe he was right. A traffic reporter who will remain nameless, once told me that he found WINS to be the NY. Post of news radio and WCBS the equivalent of the Times or a high quality magazine. Although News radio88 is not the same as it once was, it still stands out in my opinion. Finally, I first heard Wayne Cabot when he jocked at WFIL. It was on New Years Day, 1985. He was great as a jock and outstanding at WCBS. He deserves all the credit in the world for lasting 25 years at one radio station. That doesn't happen often as you know especially the way radio is being run today. Again thank you for a tribute site to a station that deserves it. WCBS News Radio88.

    - 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. He was born on February 11, 1925, in Abbeville, Louisiana, served in the Navy, and graduated from Syracuse and Columbia Universities.


    Melissa Ludlum, Sis Levin, Jerry, Mike Ludlum, Julie Howard, Ralph Howard
    at the Thalia Restaurant, New York, June 30, 2013

    - DON SWAIM, 6/27/13. STEAMPUNK ELECTROBLASTER ROMANCE. And now for a word from our sponsor... I recently published an illustrated 11,000-word ebook, Steampunk Electroblaster Romance on It's a parody of the recent Steampunk genre. Miss Lovett, my high school art teacher in Pittsburgh, may not have been proud of my illustrations, but at least I did it. As an introductory price for CBS people and friends, it's 99-cents. Yes, 99-cents. Access it HERE. permits reviews and comments, which I welcome (in the hope they might be positive).

    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 that 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.

    - DON SWAIM, 5/20/13. CLASSIC STEPHEN VINCENT BENET RADIO SHOWS ONLINE. Benet who? A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote, not only supernatural stories, but about the Civil War. His best known works are John Brown's Body and "The Devil and Daniel Webster." He wrote militant anti-Nazi broadcasts in the 40s. Hard to find these anywhere else. Scroll to the bottom of my illustrated essay about Benet and Ambrose Bierce: FABULISTS BENET AND BIERCE.

    - HARVEY HAUPTMAN, 4/26/13. MEMORIES OF PAT SUMMERALL. With the exception of the obituary posted on the WCBS Appreciation site, nothing has been made of Pat Summerall's early days at WCBS Radio... Find out HERE


    Longtime NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall died Tuesday, April 16, 2013. He was 82.

    Summerall died in his hospital room at Zale Lipshy Hospital in Dallas where he was recovering from surgery for a broken hip. A Florida native, Summerall played football, basketball and baseball at the University of Arkansas before playing first base for the St. Louis Cardinals' Class C team. He then moved to the NFL in 1952 and went on to play for the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Cardinals and the New York Giants before retiring in 1961.

    Summerall started announcing games for WCBS radio in New York and joined CBS in 1962 as a part-time analyst. He was WCBS's morning man before the station went all news after which he became Sports Director. As a play-by-play announcer, he worked alongside veteran announcer Tom Brookshier before teaming up with John Madden for 21 seasons. Summerall and Madden became the most popular sports broadcast team in the country and their work during Super Bowl XVI in 1982 is still the highest-rated sports program ever. Summerall worked on a record 16 Super Bowls throughout his career.

    Known for his minimalist style, Summerall also called NBA games for CBS, and was the network's lead voice on golf and tennis events, including 27 Masters and 20 United States Tennis Opens. In 1994, he followed Madden to Fox when the network outbid CBS for NFL programming rights. He broadcast his last Super Bowl in 2002 and retired soon after. However, he called several early 2004 NFL season games for ESPN and also worked on the 2007 and 2008 Cotton Bowls for Fox.

    Off the field, Summerall struggled with alcoholism but remained sober after he spent five weeks at the Betty Ford Center in 1992. Two years later, he convinced baseball legend Mickey Mantle to do the same and 10 years after that, Summerall received a liver transplant. In recent years, he had also undergone cataract surgery in 2006 and hip replacement surgery in 2008.

    Harvey Hauptman's memories of Pat and a related anecdote by Bob VanDerheyden HERE


    Spencer, whose career at Newsradio 88 spanned more than forty years, died on January 11, 2013.
    From Tim Scheld, WCBS News Director, 1/22/13: Dick's passing was very sad for us here. He had a long history with the station and a great passion for his role in getting the news on the air here all those years. A number of us attended his Memorial Service last week in Ardsley, and we were touched by his son Steven's remarks about how much pride his dad had in working at WCBS. Dick's Mother Evelyn is still alive and she came up to us after the service and talked about how they all felt a kinship with WCBS. Irene Cornell, Wayne Cabot, and Harvey Nagler led a contingent of colleagues who attended. We were also touched by hearing stories of Dick's selflessness in his work (outside of his news career) as an Episcopal Deacon who comforted the sick, the aging, and the indigent. Everyone said he wrote terrific sermons. That didn't surprise any of us who knew him to be a great writer in his day. As you may know, Dick had a very difficult last few years. It began with a bad fall a couple of winters ago which led to numerous surgeries and issues. He was hobbled ever since and every year got more difficult for him, but he never lost his passion for a good story or great lead. I don't have much to add but here is the note I sent to the staff:
    From: Scheld, To: all Date: Friday, January 11, 2013. By now most of you have heard the sad news of the passing of Dick Spencer. Dick was one of the longest serving employees at WCBS Newsradio 880. I remember his great writing, and his passion for a good story. He was especially proud to work in this newsroom and told me so just two weeks ago when we were talking about his difficulties. He cared for the people here. He cared about how he did his job. He loved it when we all rallied to cover a big story and he was a part of it. That's how I will remember him. I spoke to his mother and expressed condolences on the part of his CBS family. I told her that we were remembering all of the big stories we all covered together. She said that there is still no word on what happened by they suspect it was his heart. For those who have asked where you can send condolences, the following address is Dick's Mom's home: Evelyn Spencer, 187 Stone Oaks Drive, Hartsdale, NY 10530
    by MICHAEL KAHN. Read it HERE

    From Wes Vernon, CBS-RSNS Washington Correspondent 1/8/13: It is with deep sorrow that I must report that our colleague Jim McCarthy passed away this afternoon at what is believed to be 77 years of age. I knew that Jim had been in ill health lately, but still had hoped he would hang on. Jim McCarthy was the Washington correspondent for WCBS-AM starting with its all-news operation in 1967. Prior to that, he had been an hourly news anchor at the Mutual Broadcasting System. In 1972, CRD initiated its PLNX (later CBS RSNS) Washington Bureau to serve the owned and operated 24-hour news operations. It was then that Jim became the bureau's chief and hired me as his assistant. He left CBS in 1980. Jim was a pleasure to work with in those years, always willing to give "the new kid on the block" some encouragement. He had a way of putting a pleasant spin on the minor day-to-day irritants in this business, saying "I only sweat the little things." After he left and went back to operate his own restaurant and bar in Wilkes Barre, Pa., we were in touch, mostly by phone from time to time. Later, when I was in his vicinity and even later when he started attending the Board Meetings in Teaneck, we had some robust laugh-filled conversations about "the old days." I was informed of his passing by his son Justin, who took over his father's business in recent years as his health declined.I will miss Jim--big time.. Wes Vernon

    Terrified National Guardsman wielding rifle confronted by anti-war demonstrators, Washington, DC, 1971. Newsradio 88's first Washington reporter Jim McCarthy, holding WCBS mic [far left]. For Jim's own Memories page click here. For Wes Vernon's history of WCBS's Washington Bureau go here.

    Via Bob Gibson comes this tribute to Jim from his former colleague, Dick Rosse:

    I have vivid memories of "Big Jim" from the Mutual days on those rare occasions when MBS would send me to D.C. for one reason or the other (Inaugurations, etc). You were struck immediately by Jim's ebullience, along with his great set of pipes and his irresistible urge to pontificate about all matters political, big or small. He was part of a team of legendary correspondents like Charles Bachelder, Richard Rendell and Cedric Foster, all of them great talents although somewhat unsung, toiling for the "Fourth Network." Jim was a true professional and a good friend for a few, insane years at the old Mootch.

    - CHARLES OSGOOD'S 80th BIRTHDAY -- JAN. 8, 2013. And he's still seeing us on the radio. Newsradio 88 anchors Michael Wallace and Pat Carrol spoke to Charles on the air. Listen HERE


    In his recent essay, retired CBS tech Phil Cecchini maintained that the ashtrays in the CBS headquarters building (Black Rock) were once color-coded by floor, the 16th floor's being blue. This position was immediately contradicted by former WCBS staffer Rica Rinzler, who says she saw red ashtrays. And by former producer-writer Peter O.E. Bekker, who writes the following:

    As a denizen of the 16th floor from 1975 until 1989, I'd like to testify that if there was an ashtray color code at 88 during that period, it was yellow. (Ipso facto photo attached).

    However, as you insightfully and colloquially point out on your excellent WCBS Appreciation Site, CBS was "one classy joint" (though some might argue, strongly, that the ambiance on 16 was more like the impact zone of a major earthquake). Still, 16 was just one floor of many. It's not out of the question that if there were color codes, they were seasonalized by the chic corporate stylists: yellow for spring and summer, blue for fall and winter -- or, to be outré, vice-versa. Either that or maybe the company caved during bitter, top secret, sidebar negotiations with the Guild and IBEW, conceding to each a top demand: yellow ashtrays in the newsroom, blue in the tech areas. The latter possibility might also explain Frank Stanton's eagerness to tote wood to IB's bonfire, as recollected by Phil.

    Speaking of which, the union negotiators must certainly have been formidable back in the day. Nothing short of the highest regard would have prompted the dapper Dr. Stanton to go rummaging around for wood in Blackrock's furnace room in those days before steam heat from Co Ed.

    Yr, obt. svt., peter o. e. bekker



    Mr. Cecchini responds: "I worked on the 16th floor from 1967 to 1974 when all was blue. Mr. Bekker was a Johnny come lately....Phil"


    James R. McQuade, of New York, NY and Spring Lake, NJ, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, at his home in Spring Lake, NJ after a brief illness.

    He is survived by his beloved wife, Constance Nugent McQuade; his aunt, Anne Maguire Fedigan; and his brother-in-law, Joseph C. Nugent. James was Vice President of CBS Radio and General Manager of WCBS News 88. He graduated from Fordham Preparatory School and Georgetown University. He served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He was a Board member of the former St. Vincent's Hospital & Medical Center, Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home both New York City, Boy's Hope and the St. Vincent's Fund Inc.

    He received an Honorary Degree from St. John's University. He was a member of the Spring Lake Bath & Tennis Club, the Spring Lake Golf Club and past president of the Green Gables Croquet Club. Also survived by his nieces, Constance O'Leary Keller, Heidi Bovers Johnston and Hope O'Leary Frenette; and nephews, William, Peter, Richard, Paul and Joseph Nugent O'Leary, Mark and Gregory Nugent and their families.

    Visitation will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 at O'Brien's Funeral Home, 2028 Hwy. 35, Wall. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 at St. Catharine's Church, Spring Lake. Burial will follow in St. Catharine's Cemetery, Sea Girt. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Meridian at Home Hospice, 1345 Campus Parkway, Suite A2, Neptune, NJ 07753-9930.

    Published in Asbury Park Press. October 6, 2012

    - BOB GIBSON (EX-ANCHOR), 10/9/12. WITH MARTY DUSKIN (RETIRED WCBS PRODUCER) I had the opportunity to have lunch with Marty Duskin [in Woodbridge, NJ] on Tuesday [Oct. 9], as he will be unable to attend the next group gathering on the 20th. It's the first time I've seen Marty in more than a year and since he lost his beloved wife, Bernice, in June. The man whom we always appreciated having "on the desk," is getting along but recognizes the obvious void in his life.

    Gibson (l) Duskin (r)

    "Weighing Anchors" has now been released. Subtitle: "When Network Newscasters Don't Know Write from Wrong." The book documents distortions, deceptions and delinquencies in many scripts.These are some of the headings in the table of contents:

    Brian Williams: Nightly Problems
    Diane Sawyer: When Words Fail Her
    Scott Pelley: Wearing Two Hats Can Cause Headaches
    Autopsy of an Anderson Cooper Script
    CNN: Blitzer Cries Wolf
    Networks Mangle and Strangle Language
    Health News That's Not Healthful
    "60" Keeps on Ticking, But Its Writing Takes a Licking
    ABC's Muir Seems to Think Using Tonight Works Muiracles
    ABC Anchor Tampers with Clock and Calendar
    Hard Look Finds Weak Script Fading to Blah
    Write This Way, Please
    Alas, Poor Couric

    The publisher of "Weighing Anchors" is Marion Street Press. 216 pages, paperback, $18.95.

    No release of a book would be complete without blurbs. To save time, here's just one:

    "When network news anchors murder the language--which they do night after night--thank goodness there's Merv Block to perform the autopsy. No one has a better ear or sharper pencil than Merv Block. He's a one-man quality control department for the broadcast news business. His wise and witty dissections of TV's highest-paid poobahs and their verbal blunders are both hilarious and appalling. After reading his collection of spot-on critiques, you'll never watch TV news the same way again." --Robert Feder, media critic, Time Out Chicago

    I'm Mervin Block, and I approved this message.



    In addition to his long-running food & wine pieces on WCBS, Andy Blue has been doing a radio show called "Blue Lifestyle" for Sirius/XM and a network of stations. That show went on the road last weeeknd to the Arizona Biltmore resort. I do freelance remote engineering for talk shows and sports teams that roll into Phoenix. (I've done two shows for WCBS commentator Peter Greenberg.) It was cool to be reunited with Andy more than a few years after my intern days.

    Curran (l), Blue (r)

    - WAYNE CABOT, WCBS ANCHOR, 8/28/12. Hi Donnie. I liberally "borrowed" images from your website for today's 45th anniversary video, which I rushed to get done this morning. When I can catch my breath I will ID the faces and credit the WCBS Site. I can't thank you enough for your excellent stewardship of our heritage. Happy anniversary, my friend. Go to: ANNIVERSARY


    I'm Mike McCann, WFAN weekend sports anchor and former WCBS-FM and WYNY deejay. As a native of the New York area and lifelong news junkie, I've been an avid listener of 880 since before the all-news days. And as one who knew from a very young age I wanted to be in the broadcast field (November marks the 38th anniversary of my first professional job at WLNA/WHUD in Peekskill), I fondly recall some of the print ads WCBS ran in its first newsradio years.

    One in particular came up in conversation at last December's company holiday party. I mentioned it to Wayne Cabot, the official 880 historian, but he did not recall it, but perhaps you do. It was a full-page back-of-section ad in the TIMES titled, "The 88 Faces of Newsradio 88," with a small picture of each of the on-air staffers (Ed Bradley was still a local reporter them), some writers, producers and, to hit that magic number, some radio network correspondents such as Dallas Townsend. Does this ring a bell? This anniversary day seemed like the ideal time to find out if you've seen -- or maybe even more fortunately, kept -- a copy of this.

    Thanks for all the good work you put in here to honor the still-active legacy of a still great station, the flagship of the last great radio company, which, between stints at WFAN, WCBS-FM and KMOX-KLOU, has been my on-air home for a total of 20 years. Best regards, Mike McCann WFAN and (my baseball photo site)

    - Tony More, 8/11/12. WCBS AXCESS JINGLE PACKAGE
    As a former New Yorker and WCBS-AM fan, your News 88 Appreciation Site web site is a great delight to me. On top of that, I have some broadcasting training in my background and had the good fortune to work as a TV production technician with the AFRTS outlet in Seoul, Korea. With this brief description of my background, I hope this helps you to understand the many ways I've been enjoying your News 88 Appreciation Site. I'm very grateful for it.

    However, what I'm mainly writing about is the "WCBS Jingle Package," as your web site calls it. The link for it is located on this PAGE and the direct link for the actual MP3 file is HERE.

    In my view, this particular package is the best the world has ever seen ... or heard, I mean. I enjoy it so much, I occasionally listen to the entire package as if it were a favorite music album/collection. And since using audio editing software is one of my hobbies, I endeavored to produce a copy that excludes the cut number introductions. I want to make it available in case you might have interest.

    [NOTE FROM DON: Mr. More's audio version of the WCBS AXCESS JINGLE PACKAGE is almost symphonic and actually stands alone as music. LISTEN. Runs 13.10]

    - Jerome J. Slote, Oneonta, NY. 8/5/12. Thanks for your great site. I'm wondering whether you've located any clips from WCBS-AM as a music station, circa 1965. My grandparents would listen around Godfrey Time. Peggy Lee, Roger Miller, and an "Eight-Eighty on Your Dial" jingle which I'd enjoy hearing again. Yes, I've enjoyed the Jack Sterling 1958 clips and anniversary show in the past. But if you're ever able to post that 1965 jingle, it'll align with my first memories as an 880 listener. I've had the pleasure of singing jazz with Brian Madden [former WCBS anchor] a time or two in Oneonta. He was pleased to chat with someone who remembered his radio work in the Watergate era.
    Jack Sterling Page HERE

    - Barry Siegfried, Technical Supervisor, WCBS Newsradio 880. 8/2/12. Ladies & Gentlemen... Many of you may have already heard by now that I am hanging up my engineering hat after a 40.5 year career in radio, the last 37 years of which have been devoted exclusively to WCBS 880, WCBS-FM and CBS Radio. My last day of work is currently scheduled to be on Friday, August 17.  There is obviously a bittersweet component to this. While I am excited to be on the cusp of crossing over into a new realm of existence that will likely not include getting up regularly at 2:00 AM, I will miss those very talented people with whom I have worked alongside over the past 37 years and for whom I have tremendous respect.

    - Ray Sills, Retired CBS tech. ARTIE VOLDSTAD. 5/29/12. Just got this from Bob Maickel:

    Sad news. May he rest in peace. 73 Bob: I am very sorry to have to tell you that Art [retired CBS tech] died on Friday the 25th, resulting from a massive stroke and bleeding from the brain. He had a very peaceful passing, with all of the family by his side. We will miss him. Mercedes Voldstad

    - Todd Glickman, WCBS Meterologist, 5/28/12. BRAVO, DON! And so much appreciation to YOU, for keeping the history alive. Warm wishes from the Portable Weather Center (in suburban Boston), where the 8's are alive this "PM drive" with the sounds of weather: -)

    - Ed Silverman, former news director, WABC-TV, former news correspondent, ABC News, 5/21/12.

    Another super luncheon... If the attendance keeps growing at the "Board" meetings we may have to relocate to the Meadowlands... Just a comment on the thought that the name of the group be "changed" somehow. As a latecomer, I am delighted to meet under the WCBS flag... a luncheon founded by and for vets of the EYE and an integral part of the APPRECIATION concept.

    Ed's memoir, Brief Encounters With the Famous, The Near Famous & The Not So Famous, can be purchased as an ebook HERE.



    Passionate radio memorabilia collector J. David Goldin, one-time Newsradio 88 tech, is credited with solving the theft of some 1000 historical radio recordings from the National Archives. The story in The Washington Post

    Ohio U's Alden Library published a profile of Don Swaim and "Book Beat" in its quarterly publication Gatherings. To read the article click HERE

    - Jerry Levin, former WCBS Producer, 4/5/12.

    Little known fact: In 1962 Lou [Freizer] and I were one of six finalists for the at the time prestigious CBS fellowship. That's where I first encountered him. He won. In 1966, when I shifted from Exec. Prod. of "Talk Radio" on the programming side to News in order to produce "Up to the Minute." I was brought over to replace Mike Ludlum, the current producer who was about to embark on his CBS fellowship. (Other fellowship winners: Av Westin and Bernard Eisman.) I can't remember if Lou was an editor or a producer. So there we all were. Mike returned from his fellowship in time to be in on the ground floor of the Newsradio launch. As I remember the formatting was carried out by a triumvirate of Ed Joyce, Dick Reeves, and Marvin Friedman on the News side, and others from Sales and Programming, Operations and Technical. Bob Hoskins (I think) was Sales Mgr. Jim McQuade was Program Director. I don't remember who the Technical Director was. (I don't think it was Larry Solow sic?) All were superintended by Joe Dembo. Over Joe was the President of CBS radio, Clark George, who had been General Manager of WBBM-TV when I was Assistant Public Affairs Director in 1961, 62.

    - Rudy Ruderman, journalist, 4/3/12.

    First, I, Rudy Ruderman (talk about voices from the past!), must say "thank you, and congratulations for your web site. It's a beautiful production... and I appreciate the opportunity to revive memories of old colleagues and competitors." Second, can anyone please remind me who the Channel 2 reporter was in December '58 and early '59? I was one of only 3 radio news people regularly on the street beat then (Gabe Pressman and Danny Meenan were the others)... and when the newspaper strike hit I was the outside man for the spanking new WNEW operation. To my shame, I can't remember the name of the great Ch 2 guy who let me share his space for an interview with Mayor Wagner. We appeared on the 11pm TV show, and I asked Wagner if he'd emulate Mayor LaGuardia and read the comics on the air if the strike lasted thru Sunday. It did, and he didn't. Strange, but every couple years his name pops into my mind.... but then I block it again! Sure hope you can find someone who remembers. Thanks in advance, and once again, that's a real cool website you have.

    - Lou Freizer, retired WCBS Producer, 2/26/12. Don: Hello from Brussels. Some where on your page it was said we moved from 485 Madison to Black Rock. You and I both remember we moved from 485 to 49 East 52nd THEN to Black Rock. Regards, Lou Freizer (always a news editor)

    Jerry Levin [afternoon drive], left, Mike Ludlum [morning drive], right

    click to enlarge
    Mike Ludlum and his wife Melissa and Jerry Levin and his wife Sis met at Keen's Steakhouse in New York on December 7, 2011. Mike and Jerry were the first Newsradio 88 producers when the all-news operation began in August 1967, even as management came and went. [I worked for both of them, and each is a superb journalist --Don Swaim] NOTE: in the photo Jerry is standing with Melissa, Mike with Sis. [See below for more about Jerry Levin]

    - Bob Maickel, 10/31/11. PAUL DUCOISET.

    It is with deep regret that I advise of (K2VBS) Paul Ducoiset's passing. On October 5th, Paul had open heart surgery at Mt. Sinai hospital in NY City. The 5 hour operation was successful, but problems developed during recovery and Paul went into a coma. He passed yesterday with all family members at his hospital bedside. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. Paul and I started working at WCBS Newsradio 880 as techs on the same day in 1967. We have been the best of friends for 44 years and my wife and I are God Parents to his daughter Rita. He was a regular member of our 2 meter CBS Retirees Net and served as Net Control when I traveled on vacation. Sadly, Bob Maickel W2BOB
    NOTE: the numbers above represent ham radio calls
    Barry Siegfried, Technical Supervisor, WCBS Newsradio 88, 11/1/11. I worked alongside Paul Ducroiset at WCBS Newsradio 880 for 22 years, from 1975 - 1997. He was a great radio technician, a kind person and a good friend to me. I gained more knowledge from him about how to be a good maintenance technician than I could have ever learned from anyone else in that shop. He had a wonderful disposition, was always a patient man, and was very kind to me during our professional time together. I will never forget him.

    - Don Swaim 10/29/11. Exclusive! THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE -- CBS EDITION. Adults only

    click to read

    - John MacKenzie 10/21/11. WORKING AT WCBS IN THE 1950s.

    In 1952, after gradation from the New England Conservatory of Music, I arrived in NYC looking for a job. Student string quartets were not in great demand. While walking down Madison Avenue I passed CBS. A visit to the employment office put me in touch with Jim Flood. Jim told me about the "executive training program" i. e. the mailroom. In those days starting in the mailroom was an acceptable entrance strategy without the stigma it probably carries today. I was given a large brown cardboard box, loaded with letters, memos and scripts including those for Arthur Godfrey and Jackie Gleason -- all of which were read in a men's room booth before delivery. It was an education. Still vivid in my memory was the correspondence between Edward R. Murrow and Frank Stanton (CBS president) concerning the best way to handle newscast content about Senator Joseph McCarthy -- who was busy accusing nearly every one in the media of being a communist. (Oh God, where were Xerox machines when you needed one!) In my spare time I'd visit studio control booths to see what went into the production of live radio shows such as "The FBI In Peace and War." I loved those sound effects guys ­ firing blank pistols, running up and down staircases, breaking glass panels, etc. While off duty I often holed up in a studio, most of which had marvelous pianos, e.g. Becksteins and Steinways. During one of my "solo" recitals I met Oliver Daniel who was in charge of CBS music matters. A lovely guy he managed to get some of my compositions (recordings) aired on a NYC radio station. I forget the name of the station, which went out of business shortly after playing my music. One of the primary jobs you have when you're in the mailroom is to get out of the mailroom. After about six months I landed a spot in Network Operations run by Jim Sermons, Harry Glazier, Art Peck and Marty Dickstein. I had the night shift and it was pretty quiet, unless I had to dive for the teletype machine to send an urgent message to the CBS network: which, in those days, was about 75 stations. That; s enough for now. Anyone interested in the Trails and Tribulations of a young man's career at CBS can reach me at

    - NORMAN CORWIN, AMERICAN RADIO 'POET LAUREATE,' DIES AT 101. Corwin, who wrote, produced and directed scores of award-winning radio dramas for CBS in the 1930s and 1940s, died Oct. 18, 2011, at his Los Angeles home.

    - Bernie Wagenblast, Traffic Reporter, 10/4/11. Don, Thanks for putting this together! It's been awhile since I last visited and I enjoyed listening to some of the new material you placed online. Some of it brought back some fond memories and other parts of it were interesting because they happened before I remember listening to the radio. I may be on WINS today, but I grew up loving WCBS. I look forward to future additions to the site.

    - William Brown, New York City, fan & Listener, 10/2/11. CBS STAFF ANNOUNCER BILL MARTIN DIES.

    William George (Bill) Martin, a former staff announcer for CBS TV and radio (and the WCBS-TV/AM/FM cluster) in New York for three decades, died on June 19 at age 90. Obituaries can be found at manhassetpress/obits and Born on March 8, 1921, Martin was a graduate of NYU. A veteran of World War II, he was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge while saving his platoon, and was later awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery. After the war, he became an announcer at a radio station in Springfield, MA, and by the late 1950's had joined the CBS announcing staff. In his early years with the network, he appeared on-camera doing weather updates on Channel 2's early morning newscasts, and on the radio announced everywhere from Lowell Thomas' and Walter Cronkite's radio broadcasts, to live remotes of the orchestras of such bandleaders as Kai Winding (of "More" fame), Bobby Hackett (the legendary trumpeter who played on the early mood albums of Jackie Gleason), Count Basie, and "Mr. New Year's Eve" himself, Guy Lombardo.

    Bill Martin

    For much of the 1970's, Martin was part of the rotational core who anchored hourly news updates on WCBS-FM, and it was his voice heard on WCBS Newsradio 88 intoning before the top of the hour, "Set your time to WCBS. Four tones will follow. The final, loudest one marks the exact time." (When another CBS staff announcer, Alan Berns, recorded a newer version of that notice in the '80's, the first part of the last sentence was modified to "The fourth and final tone...")

    On TV, Martin handled both network and local announcing duties, on WCBS-TV doing everything from the intros of weekend newscasts and bumpers for "The Late Show" (in rotation with such other network voices as Don Robertson, Dave Campbell and Pat Connell), and on the network filling in from time to time on "The CBS Late Movie" handling live bumpers whenever that show's regular announcer, Norm Stevens, was off; it was Martin who was on duty at the CBS network announcing booth on the night of Nov. 17, 1978 when the now-infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special" had its one and only airing.

    Contemporaneous to within the last half of his CBS career, Martin also volunteered his time narrating audio books for the Xavier Society for the Blind, which he did for nearly three decades. He was also a member of the American Legion and a chaplain in the Knights of Columbus. A resident of Manhasset, NY from 1959 until 2010 when he moved to Delray Beach, FL, Martin is survived by his wife, Leona; three children; two grandchildren; and his sister, Joan.

    - Hugh Christopher Henry, 10/1/11. Don, I hope someday you can locate and feature the original "WCBS New York, 8-80 on your dial" jingle package from the mid-1960s. It remains a personal favorite of mine, and a fond memory from the pre-all news days of WCBS. A great site. Keep up the good work. Hugh

    - Don Swaim, 10/1/11. MAJOR AUDIO PAGE UPDATE.

    The WCBS Radio Appreciation Site's Audio Page has been completely revamped. Over time, scores and scores of historic and pertinent audio files related to WCBS were posted in chronological sequence, resulting in a wealth of material but an exercise in confusion. One had to scroll internably to find anything. Now, this huge archive has been reorganized into five distinct sections: (1) Jingles, Alerts, Sounders (2) CBS Radio-WCBS History (3) Airchecks (4) People (5) Bloopers & Oddities. WCBS Radio's own audio archive is often inaccessible, unavailable, or non-existent. Listeners and fans have reached into their personal files and airchecks to supply this terrific archive. The page been expanded to include audio related to WCBS-FM and to WINS (former arch-competitor, now part of the CBS family). Go to: WCBS Audio Page

    - Devon Wickens, Las Vegas, 9/27/11.

    I grew up in the 60's, 70's and beyond with Newsradio 88. It was the first thing we all heard in the morning and the last thing at night (or sometimes during the night) - as my parents always had every radio in the house tuned to it. I grew up knowing that Newsradio 88 was the definitive source for news. I could and still listen to it as others do with music. It inspired to me to work in radio - which I did for over twenty years. I did a daily talk show on WREF 860 in Fairfield CT - and also worked in corporate radio at IBM (15 years of a corporate talk radio series in the company). We now live in Las Vegas, NV - and we still listen to 88 online. When I hear the old bumpers - when I hear the old sound.... it really brings a tear to the eye and a comforting feeling. I had the opportunity to briefly work in TV news here in Las Vegas - and would point everyone to this site to hear just how news is done right. There is no other like Newsradio 88. My only regret is not having applied for a job there in my 20's. Oh well. Anyway - thanks for the memories. You will always be the standard of excellence in news. Best, Devon Wickens

    - Don Swaim, 9/13/11. Brooklyn radio buff John Landers has sent us three super early WCBS-FM jingle packages. They're on the WCBS Audio page. Listen HERE.


    - John Landers (Brooklyn listener), 1010 WINS MUSIC SURVEY, 7/30/11.

    Growing up in the tri-state area in the 60s and 70s, a Saturday ritual for myself and many other kids was to head down to our local record shops (yes at one time there were stores that sold records) and pick up the weekly WABC Musicradio song survey. My trek in Brooklyn was to Mel's Record Rack at The Junction which was where Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues intersected... More [with full two-page WINS Record Survey from 1965] HERE


    - Martin Brooks. Site Error. 7/24/11. "WCBS Radio's David Levin phoned the bank during the standoff and got this exclusive interview with the robber. LISTEN [runs 3:27]." It wasn't exclusive, because the bank robber called WNEW-FM and spoke with Scott Muni on the air for an extensive period of time.
    Martin Brooks
    New York Intermedia Authority
    112-20 72nd Dr. Suite C31
    Forest Hills, NY 11375

    - Jerry Levin, former WCBS producer, 7/18/11. [subject of a profile on the main page of the WCBS Appreciation Site]: If it's not against the rules, please add my e-mail address -- -- to the story. Would enjoy hearing from anyone who might want to be back in touch. Attached is a memento that was given to me on my last day at Newsradio 88... plus the only mainstream column done on my adventure [as a hostage of Muslim extremists] that I also treasure, done as only Dick Williams [former WCBS newswriter] could have done it...and did [at the Atlanta Constitution].

    Levin's last day at WCBS -- click to enlarge

    Dick Williams, former Newsradio 88 newswriter, on Levin, 1985 -- click to read

    - John Mackenzie, former WCBS director (when WCBS had directors), 7/11/11. In 1952 I was in the CBS mailroom at 485 Madison in NYC. Joe Sharpe, supervisor. It was sort of a survival training ground -- with an implicit challenge to get out and move on as soon as you could. I recall delivering mail to Arthur Godfrey, Edward R. Murrow and Frank Stanton (CBS president). I'd lock myself in a john stall and read everything. There were a lot of executive memos in those days about Senator Joseph McCarthy whom Ed Murrow had blasted. (Go Ed!) Give the Senator equal time for a response? Yes? No? I forgot what happened. Later I moved up to Network Operations (NOD) with Harry Glazier, Art Peck and Marty Dickstein. Great guys and a good crew! From there I got a job as a WCBS director. I never actually directed anything or anybody, but made sure all the commercials were done. Shows I worked on were Galen Drake and John Henry Faulk. Later I got Music 'Till Dawn with Bob Hall sponsored by American Airlines. Bob was a great guy with a great voice who died as a young man. I wish AA would bring that show back. Enough news, already!

    485 Madison Ave., former CBS headquarters building


    - Larry McCoy, former Executive Editor, CBS News, Radio, 6/28/11. Hi, I admire your productivity. You win a fiction award and you write scholarly pieces. I've just read the engaging Bierce-Mencken article and plan to pick up something by Bierce the next time I go to the Oceanside Library. Some people are obviously much better managers of time. And more serious. Sunstone Press has just published a collection of my humorous essays on aging. I'm touching base, hoping to drum up a little interest in the book, Did I Really Change My Underwear Every Day? The first book I wrote was a memoir about my days in news and radio, but I couldn't find a publisher. As a former desk assistant at CBS News said, "Larry, everyone writes a memoir. " I wish she had told me that earlier. Best regards, Larry. Go to:

    - Bill Diehl, ex-ABC, 6/22/11. Bill and Jeffrey Together Again!

    My good friend, movie and theater critic Jeffrey Lyons [former WCBS entertainment critic] was at a Barnes and Noble on New York's upper west side last night [June 21, 2011] for a talk and book signing. His new book, with a foreward by CBS News Correspondent Charles Osgood is called Stories My Father Told Me: Notes from "The Lyons Den." Jeffrey's father was Leonard Lyons who wrote for the New York Post during the Golden Age of New York City nightlife. 12,439 columns.

    Diehl (l), Lrons (r)

    It's a delightful book, a great tribute to his father. Jeffrey doesn't just reprint his dad's old columns... he turns them into witty stories, from Hemingway to Marilyn Monroe. Ed Kosner in a Wall Street Journal review of the book says Leonard Lyons wrote before gossip was 'gawkerfied.' Lyons' column, six days a week, ran from 1934 until 1974. He was the un-Winchell, who wrote without the help of PR flacks, making his lunchtime and late-night rounds of Gotham's restaurants and nightclubs, jotting down exclusive items from the stars. Kudos to Jeffrey for bring "The Lyons Den" to life again, with behind-the-scenes glimpses of this long ago era.

    - Bob Welch, anchor, WSTJ, St. Johnsbury, VT , 5/24/11. I bumped into your website and have at the same time stumbled upon a true time tunnel.. all those sounder elements.. thematic beds.. old news segments... More HERE.

    - Don Gould, former WCBS sports anchor, 5/20/11. Don, Sometimes it seems like an eon ago when I traipsed through the Black Rock halls. But I knew I was part of something special in my two turns at WCBS. I appreciate all the work you've done to fill up the web site with all those wonderful, nostalgic pictures. And it was also a pleasure to work with such a professional on those rare occasions when our shifts would match. Regards, Don

    - DOG DAY AFTERNOON. 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 robber, John Wojtowicz and an accomplice, were trapped by police inside the bank with seven hostages. The sensational incident 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].

    By David Levin: It was a long day's morning, Tuesday, August 22, 1972. I'd been on the early morning shift, writing the 6a and 8a drive time hours, then switching to tape ops in Studio F. The WCBS offices then were on the 16th floor of Black Rock, 51 W. 52 St. The late Ted Feury was the producer and he insisted that I work an extra hour's overtime, which isn't that objectionable, since I was there already. But then, while I was packing up,  he asked for another hour and then, though I really howled, he asked for a third hour's overtime. That's when the call came in on the police ticker, which has been superseded by the computer. Studio F was the size of a small bathroom and was packed with gear from which emanated virtually all the sound heard on Newsradio 88, as the station then promoted itself. All the telephone interviews, reporters' reports, weather reports and so forth were either taped or relayed live from F. So I fished out the phone book and called the bank branch. The woman who answered the phone confirmed that a holdup was in progress. I asked her to ask the robber if he'd talk to me. She did and he did.

    - CBS BROADCAST LEGEND JOE WERSHBA DIES AT 90 -- 5/16/11. While Joe Wershba 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. as
    Wershba, 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.
  • ______________________________

    - Don Swaim, editor, WCBS Appreciation Site, 5/5/11. His definitive account of the relationship between journalistic luminaries Ambrose Bierce and his intellectual heir, H.L. Mencken, fills the entire spring 2011 issue of Menckeniana, an online quarterly dedicated to H. L. Mencken. The magazine is available by subscription at Menckeniana. However, an illustrated version has been posted on the Ambrose Bierce Site. Go to Ambrose & Henry.

    - METEROLOGIST CRAIG ALLEN MARKS 30 YEARS OF FORECASTS ON WCBS-AM. 4/27/11. "Allen admits that over the last three decades, not every forecast was precise but, 'I was honest about it.'" By Jerry Barmash at FishbowlNY

    - William Brown, New York City, 4/21/11.

    I continue to learn a great deal from your excellent website, but there's something that's been bothering me for some time that you may know, and it has to do with one of the vast array of CBS staff announcers who were heard on the WCBS TV and radio cluster over the years. I remember one voice, before Alan Berns assumed such a duty in the '80's, who did the pre-TOH notice of "Set your time to WCBS. Four tones will follow. The final, loudest one marks the exact time," back in the 1970's. This voice I remember is heard on this clip: YouTube. Thanks to here, the New York Broadcasting History Board and listening to old-time radio airchecks (plus staying up, way back when, listening to 10-minute slides-only news updates on Channel 2 in-between Late Shows), I've been able to identify by name the voices of such individuals as Bob Hite, Harry Kramer, Mr. Berns, Hal Simms, Pat Connell, Dave Campbell, Norm Stevens, Lee Jordan, Art Hannes, George Bryan, Gaylord Avery, Roger Forster, Bill Gilliand, Wally King, Warren Moran and Don Robertson; this voice on the above clip is one where I can't place the name to the voice - could it possibly be Bill Martin, and if not, then whom? He was as ubiquitous as the others I've mentioned, in terms of prominence on local and network. I would appreciate any help on this question. Thanks in advance,


    The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has been recognizing top achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Today, the organization announced its 2011 recipients in radio and TV in regions throughout the country. In the large market radio division, WCBS-AM won four times, including for Overall Excellence. Newsradio 880 also was victorious for Audio News Series (Chasing the Next High) with reporter Irene Cornell, and Use of Sound by reporter Sean Adams. "Given the level of competition in the region, we are thrilled with this honor," Tim Scheld, WCBS-AM news director, tells FishbowlNY. Scheld singles out another WCBS award winner, Best Audio Newscast (September 17th 7 a. m.) from the morning after the New York City tornado hit, as dozen of staffers gathered information in and out of the newsroom. "That's a nice honor. I'm thrilled for our crew, plus being part of the CBS family, the Murrows mean something special here," Scheld says.

    - Bob VanDerheyden, former CBS staffer, 4/13/11.

    Don: Can't tell you how much I enjoy your Newsradio88 appreciation site. Wonderful memories... Was at WCBS 1st when we were at 485 Madison... in the old Columbia Records Bldg, then produced the Jack Sterling Show... the first broadcast out of Black Rock.
    Traffic guy when Newsradio88 went all news under Joe Dembo.
    Assembled traffic reports for Ken Banghart.
    Later on PD of WCBS-FM.
    VP Programming FM stations.
    GM, WEEI-FM, Boston... among other stuff.
    I'm the only guy I know who was fired TWICE and QUIT once from CBS. Very best wishes and keep up the good work. -- Bob VanDerheyden C.O.O., Bold Gold Media Group, Scranton, PA. Email:

    - DON SWAIM WINS PEARL S. BUCK NATIONAL FICTION AWARD, 4/11/11. Swaim, long-time WCBS staffer and founder of the WCBS Appreciation Site, won the top prize for his short story, "Dearest Friend, Annie," which focuses on the relationship between Walt Whitman and Anne Gilchrist. Buck, author of The Good Earth, was a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. Pearl S. Buck International.

    - Todd Glickman, WCBS Meterologist, 4/2/11. Todd has posted a gallery of Newsradio 88 photos, dating to the 1980s -- including several shots of and from the WCBS traffic copter. View HERE.

    - Robert Vaughn, retired anchor, WCBS, 3/29/11. THOSE WERE THE DAYS. Vaughn's memoir about his early days at WCBS. Read HERE.

    - Tim Scheld, News Director, WCBS, 3/23/11: RICH ADCOCK 1952-2011.

    I just got word from the brother of Rich Adcock that Rich passed away last Saturday. Rich had just turned 59. For those who don't know, Rich was a long time Newsroom Assistant at WCBS who retired in late 2008 after 33 years of service to WCBS Newsradio. Rich had health issues on and off the past few years and died of heart failure, according to his brother David.
    Rich was a fixture at WCBS for decades. He worked the newsroom phones before many of us ever even considered this business. He manned the traffic desk before Tom Kaminski learned how to drive. Rich knew the NYC subway system better than the MTA. He commuted to Black Rock and then the Broadcast Center from Queens every day by bus despite being blind. When he couldn't come in, he monitored scanners from home.
    He was a marvel. He loved WCBS and it's people. He loved radio and it's ability to connect. Rich hated leaving in 2008 but knew he couldn't keep up. After he left, and for the past few years Rich had a tough time. He was in and out of the hospital and then assisted living. Never once did I hear him complain.
    I have passed on condolences from WCBS and will send flowers. There is a wake Thursday [March 24, 2011] 2-4p and 7-9p: O'Reilly Funeral Home Inc. (718) 528-6969, 137-40 Brookville Boulevard, Rosedale, NY, 11422.
    Bob Gibson [former WCBS anchor] writes: That was, indeed, sad news about the loss of Rich Adcock. While I've not seen him since leaving the station nearly a dozen years ago, I have, undoubtedly like all of you, such fond memories of this man who day after day after day worked effortlessly to keep everybody on top of traffic and transit delays thanks to having perhaps the keenest ears in the business! Fifty-nine is not much longevity in this day and age but my gut tells me that Rich managed to cram a lot into his time in this crazy world. He was a man dedicated to his work and a man of determination, getting to work most days by means of the transit system. There has long been a humorous story involving Rich and in the few times I've told it I've ALWAYS made it a point to say that it was not his fault and had he known what happened he no doubt would have been upset, to put it mildly. There was an afternoon early-on when Ben and Pat were on the air and there was some just-breaking traffic story that Rich had typed up and brought into the studio. The way the story goes Pat and Ben were in the midst of reading a spot and when they came out of it, Pat was prepared to read what he was handed except there was a problem... the paper did not have a word on it. It seems the DA on duty that day before Rich had started to change the typewriter ribbon but never finished and Rich, quite unknowingly,  was left with a "defective unit." The problem was corrected in rapid order. That was a long time ago, in the mid 70s, but for all the days that everything clicked and Rich Adcock was on the case, NewsRadio88 and its legion of listeners were better for it!

    - Richard Gutierrez 3/21/11.

    Hello Don. It would be wrong of me not to acknowledge your piece on the legendary Art Hannes. [Art Hannes Letter Surfaces From the North Pole -- WCBS Memories Page 2006] I was doing an internet search on the 1975 movie, The Night That Panicked America, of which Mr. Hannes played the role of a CBS announcer. That's when I stumbled upon "From Olean to the top." I trained with Mr. Hannes at the KiiS Broadcasting Workshop in Hollywood, back in 1980. I was extremely lucky to have studied under him. While others at the workshop had grand visions of becoming music "DJ's," I was greatly fascinated by Mr. Hannes' delivery of the news and the power of his voice. He was an outstanding and dedicated teacher, who shared his vast knowledge of the broadcast industry, of which, I was very grateful. He was truly one of America's great broadcasters......... THANK YOU FOR REMEMBERING ART! P. S. Here's the link to the movie: *** Your WCBS All News88 site is fantastic!!!! *** Kindest regards, Richard Gutierrez

    - Harvey Hauptman 3/7/11. I believe many, if not all, of you [WCBS staffers] worked with John Armstrong at WCBS and/or CBS. Sad to say, John died late last month. Below is his obituary which was just published in The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ) earlier this week.

    John Ayres Armstrong Jr., 72, of Bethesda, Md., formerly of Plainfield, N.J., died on Feb. 25, 2011, following a series of strokes. Born in Bound Brook, N.J., Mr. Armstrong graduated from Plainfield High School in 1956. He served in the U. S. Army from 1957 to 1959 and graduated from Rutgers University in 1963. Mr. Armstrong started his career in New Brunswick, N.J., at WCTC Radio, then moved to WCBS Newsradio. He was a writer and producer for the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and CBS Sunday Morning in New York and Washington, D.C. From 1980 to 1991, Mr. Armstrong worked for ABC News in Washington as a producer and deputy bureau chief. He was a loving husband and father and will be greatly missed. Mr. Armstrong is survived by his wife of 51 years, the former Donna Norman, of Bethesda, Md. ; daughter, Lynn Fuchs and her husband, Mark, of Ridgely, Md. ; son, Thomas, of Chevy Chase, Md., and sister, Lisanne Armstrong James and her husband, David, of Kennebunkport, Maine. He was predeceased by his sister, Magge Armstrong Boehm. In his memory, consider a contribution to

    FRED BARBIERI 1924-2011

    Dwight Taylor & Fred Barbieri [right] in a typical pose at Newsradio 88

    - Barry Siegfried 2/28/11. I am sorry to report that Rica Rinzler [former WCBS staffer] informed me that Fred Barbieri [former Technical Supervisor, WCBS-AM] passed away this morning. Viewing Wed. 4-8. Stickle-Soltezsz Funeral Home, 187 La Rue Road, Newfoundland, New Jersey, 07435. 973-697-6700 (you might want to double check the hours). Funeral Thurs. 9:30 at St. Thomas the Apostle in Oak Ridge. Nancy Barbieri's address is: RR #4 Box, 280 Pecan Lane, Oak Ridge, New Jersey, 07438.

    NOTE FROM DON SWAIM: The always congenial Fred Barbieri led the WCBS technical staff at a time when the Newsradio 88 operation had no fewer than forty technicians, a massive task to coordinate a rowdy crew with a stringent union contract. Fred handled the challenge with aplomb. By the time Fred retired the station had three technicians.

    - Joyce Fahan 2/24/11. Thought you'd like to hear that Bill [Bill Fahan, former WCBS anchor] underwent open heart surgery on the 22nd. After cauterization, the doctor says the aortic valve was about closed. No stents, no bypasses, so hopefully recovery is a little faster since they only did two smaller incisions instead of cracking the ribs. He's doing pretty good now, walked the first time today, still weak, and cranky, but I guess I would be too. Hard for him to be a patient when he's been so private. :) Should be home, maybe later this weekend, maybe Mon.

    - William Brown (New York City) 2/9/11.

    It was very heartening to hear the old 1010 WINS sounders once more (the ones heard at: 00,: 20 and: 40, I seem to recall, originally came from a production music library, as I heard a far more complete section of that very piece at the end of a public affairs show on one of the local independent TV stations in NYC - probably WOR-TV - in the late 1970's or early '80's) ; it was a shame John Landers didn't have the "New York wants to know, and we know it..." sounder that was heard at: 40 in the late 1970's, but I guess one can't have everything. I was curious as to whether you or he would know who was the voiceover for those sounders (as well as the sounder heard prior to the bottom-of-the-hour tone at: 30). These had more grit than what is used today, I.M. H.O. Incidentally, as to why Steve Karmen's "News-Is" jingles referred to WCBS as "All-News 88," this was because at that time WINS branded itself as "1010 WINS News Radio" (irrespective of the space WINS inserted inbetween "News" and "Radio"). And of course, the talent that worked at both all-news stations, such as Ralph Howard, Paul Murnane, Wayne Cabot, Brigitte Quinn, Bob Gibson, Lou Adler, Allen Shaw, and Palmer Payne (if any other names come to mind, feel free to bring them up).

    - BRIGHT SUN EXTINGUISHED: ODE TO NORMAN MAILER. Long time WCBS staffer Don Swaim's novella was just published as an ebook by In the post-apocalyptic past, a young Kansas man and his beautiful accomplice set out on a dangerous mission across a deadly zone of destruction to assassinate Norman Mailer. Both satirical and literary, Bright Sun Extinguished is an original pastiche of dark fantasy and horror. Download the ebook and the free software to read it on Macs, PCs, iPads, Kindles, or any digital device from $5.99

    - ALL-NEWS RADIO IS THRIVING. "What's driving the growing strength of all-news radio is, of all things, Arbitron's Portable People Meter for tracking listening. With the rollout of the PPM across major markets, media buyers are afforded a far more accurate picture of what people listen to, when they listen and how often, all to the benefit of all-news stations." By Mike Stern at Media Life.

    - Elizabeth Hainstock (former WNBC Radio, WINS) 1/29/11. Very impressive collection of images and history. I fall under the "ex-competitor and generally ex-colleague" categories. I missed the December luncheon but sent a piece of NEWS88 memorabilia to Bob Leeder to share. As one who struggles daily with how to receive information for an informed citizen, looking back is both delightful and painful. Amazing site. Thank you for creating this.

    - LIZ DRIBBEN 1937-2011. Liz was a writer and producer for CBS News, Radio, and a friend of Newsradio88.

    - WCBS-FM & 1010-WINS JINGLES POSTED 1/10/11. Again, courtesy of John Landers. Go to the WCBS Audio Page.

    - STEVE KARMEN NEWSRADIO 88 JINGLES & MORE 12/24/10. 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. In addition, John has given us a collection of Newsradio 88 sounders for traffic, business, and bulletins from the '70s, as well as various CBS network production pieces. Hear an unintentionally hilarious station evacuation notice (never used) voiced by Jim Donnelly. LISTEN. For more rare audio go to the WCBS Audio Page.

    - DON SWAIM 12/22/10. Photos, guest list, Jerry Barmash's report on the luncheon, and a special edition of "Great Moments in WCBS Radio History" have been posted here.

    - JOHN CAMERON SWAYZE SAYS SO LONG . A well-known name in broadcasting, Swayze, after twenty-two years, has left Newsradio 88 for "a new adventure." Story by Jerry Barmash at FishbowlNY.

    - MERVIN BLOCK (TELEVISION NEWSWRITING WORKSHOP) 12/6/10. Several people on my mailing list have asked me when the new edition of my "Writing Broadcast News" would be published. Well, it has now been released. The book's full title: "Writing Broadcast News Shorter, Sharper, Stronger: A Professional Handbook, 3rd Edition." The publisher: CQ Press, a division of Sage Publications.


    Great Website! Great Memories! Just one correction... for your newest aircheck highlighting a February 1975 snowstorm, the date on your Appreciation Page should be changed to read February 12, 1975. Gordon Barnes speaks of the similarity of the weather map to the "Lindsay Storm" of February 9, 1969, which is where the confusion of dates likely occurs. However, this particular storm (which I personally remember very well) took place on February 12, 1975 -- which was a holiday in of itself -- because in those days, Lincoln's Birthday was a "stand-alone" holiday, not as it is now; having been merged with Washington's Birthday into what we call "Presidents' Day." If you listen you will hear more than a few references to this 1975 snowstorm occurring " ... on the holiday." This was the also most debilitating snowfall in the Tri-State area since February 19, 1972. With Kindest Regards, Joe Rao

    - MA PERKINS SIGNS OFF. A presage of radio's news and information era, CBS cancels the mainstays of its radio network in November 1960. By Larry Harnisch in the Los Angeles Times.

    - JUDY WOMACK (WCBS ALUM) 11/13/10.

    I got a call last night from a meteorologist I worked with in Syracuse, NY. He told me Paul Jeffers died a year ago. I'm shocked. So sorry I lost touch with Paul. We worked together at WINS and later at a TV station in Syracuse. In fact, he recommended me for a job reporting at WNYS-TV. Later, I moved on to WDIV in Detroit. But whenever I was in town Paul would take me to Neary's Pub for drinks and lamb chops. Imagine a conservative and a liberal getting along--novel, huh? You may recall, I was Charles Osgood's trainee in 1970. He voiced a couple Osgood File pieces I wrote. I was ecstatic! Ed Bradley, Steve Porter, Lou Adler, Dave Marash, Irene Cornell, and Jessica Savitch were a few of the folks "around the compound" in the '70s. I can't remember the news director's last name--it was Lou something [Adler]. He hired me as a newswriter, working with Marc Kusnitz, Dave Atherton, Ted Feury, Allegra Branson. I remember Phil Cecchini as always helpful in the booth. I worked at WNYW-TV until 2004. I now live in Durham, NC. I had a radio show and was doing PR at a local university. For extra cash, telecommuted, wrote for a syndicated show based in the city. You know what life's like for freelancers. Warm regards and give my best to crazy Ed Rickards and a hello to Palmer Payne. Judy Womack

    - DON SWAIM 11/8/10. Independent filmmaker Alexander Roman is working on a documentary about Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train, the Ripley novels). His demos include a montage -- showing Matt Damon and Jude Law -- of questions I put to Highsmith in an interview at CBS some years ago. Go to: YouTube. To hear my actual broadcast(s) with Highsmith: listen. And for the raw, unedited interview: listen

    - MARGIE LATZKO 10/26/10.

    My husband, Walter Latzko, was a writer for Jack Sterling [see Sterling site] for ten years, and his feature "It Happened This Day, I Think" was his. Also, as I listened to the tenth anniversary party for Jack, I knew that Hank Miles had written many of the jokes as well as the musical parody. He was very good at it. My husband passed away September 10th, but I have his scripts and the show rundown schedules. Sincerely, Marjorie Latzko. email

    - ROGER A. HENDLER (listener) 10/12/10. I love your web site. Thank you. It is a terrific station and has had wonderful news persons. The DJ who played the last record on WCBS Radio prior to going all news was Jim Gearhart. He is now the morning host on WKXW, NJ 101.5. Many years ago Jim Donnelly was a DJ on WJMJ Radio in Phila.

    - BEVERLY POPPELL (former WCBS staffer) 10/6/10.

    Don, you and I worked together at "88" in the late '70s... I periodically check your website to see what new things have turned up about what I call the Halcyon Days of New York Radio. I'm never disappointed. Checking today, the 10th anniversary of Art Athens' death, I enjoyed browsing the audio cuts of Jack Sterling, etc. You've done a wonderful job pulling all this together. My voice is long out of radio but Radio and the wonderful people I enjoyed working with (and some of the creeps, too, let's be honest) will forever remain in my memory and my heart. For 18 years, I've been working as a NYC government attorney -- on unfair labor practice cases -- and am about to wind that career down so I can get back to my first loves, which are talking and writing. I also volunteer a huge amount of time to animal causes, specifically animal disaster response. Hope all is going well for you... and I look forward to running into you on a street corner or maybe even a radio reunion some time. Until then, keep up the good work on this website... and be of good cheer!

    - DIANE SAWYER: WHEN WORDS FAIL HER. Former CBSer Mervin Block runs his own television newswriting workshop, and keeps a close watch on the many editorial misdemeanors commited in the name of broadcast news. The sloppy grammar and other jounalistic errors of ABC's Diane Sawyer have fallen under the scrutiny of Merv's critical eye. [Any errors in this paragraph?]

    - NEWSRADIO 88's ABSOLETE WORST COMMERCIALS. Over time, I've been asked if I had airchecks of the Tom Carvel and Gramercy Park Clothes commercials during the early, needy, days of Newsradio 88. I found two of 'em. They're back-to-back in a 1977 aircheck of mine (which I let run to hear news about an incredible coldwave of the year). Listen. Laugh. Weep. CBS? Tiffany? LISTEN. [runs 4:29]

    - Barry O'Brien... I LOVE YOUR CBS NEWSRADIO PAGE. 8/14/10. The jingle packages are great! Most of my adult life has been within listening area of KNX or KCBS-AM and now I find myself in Portland, Oregon with NO CBS NewsRadio station--not even an affiliate with CBS News on the hour! I'll be returning to no. Calif. in a few months and can't wait to hear KCBS-AM again. I'm probably much older than you (71) but wonder if you have ever heard a jingle package for "Radiant Radio"? It was used by RKO-General's KHJ in LA and I did hear it on KFRC in SF when that signal was picked up in LA on occasion. It had great orchestral weather music. This format was prior to Boss Radio format. Not sure if WOR ever used it. Barry O'Brien, Portland, Oregon former employers: KABC-TV, KHJ-TV, KNBC-TV, KRON-TV, KTVU (Cox), KGO-TV.

    - MIKE OR MIC? Ben Zimmer in The New York Times Sunday Magazine addresses the burning issue of how the word "microphone" should be abbreviated. Hint: inevitably, broadcasters opt for "mic."

    Ed Ingles

    - Wayne Cabot (WCBS afternoon anchor) 7/13/10. Today, [retired WCBS Sports Director] Ed Ingles and his students from Hofstra University stopped by the station. With the news of [former Yankees owner] George Steinbrenner's death I pulled Ed into a studio and got his recollections. I offer it for your site. Listen HERE [runs 4:48]

    - Don Swaim 7/19/10. I received some 200 photos taken at the "CBS Board" luncheon on June 19, 2010. I sifted through all of them one-by-one and came up with twenty that I thought would be a decent sampling. Many thanks to Bob Leeder for the hard work he's put in setting up and managing these popular events. To go to the gallery click HERE

    - Ted David. Per Rita Sands, sorry to report that former WCBS traffic reporter and chopper pilot Tom Salat passed away suddenly on June 15, 2010, from a heart attack. Tom was 61.

    - HIMAN BROWN DIES -- ONE OF LAST LINKS TO GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO. Brown, 99, who created "Inner Sanctum" and Grand Central Station," also produced "CBS Radio Mystery Theater," which sometimes broadcast out of WCBS Radio's Studio D [but which was never heard on Newsradio 88]. New York Times obit here. Washington Post tribute here.


    Between twenty-five and thirty people gathered under gray skies and blustery winds on April 17, 2010, to pay final respects to H. Paul Jeffers, whose ashes rested on a stand near a family plot at Morris Cemetery in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. The Reverend Dr. Cynthia Krommes of St. Johns Lutheran Church officiated. There were two speakers: Sid Goldstein, Paul's executor, and Don Swaim, who worked with Paul when he was News Director of WCBS. The following items were buried with his ashes: his deerstalker hat, Baker Street Irregulars necktie, birthstone ring, and bracelet with his initials given to him by his mother. After the service, a luncheon was held at Paul's Phoenixville boyhood home, which is still in the family.

    Paul died in New York on December 4, 2009, of heart failure. A prolific author, he previously worked at WINS, ABC, and WCBS [the box in the stand above contains his ashes].

    Jeffers as Sherlock Holmes

    Joe in 1967 on the eve of Newsradio 88's launch

    - ALL-NEWS RADIO PIONEER JOE DEMBO DEAD 3/15/10. Dembo, who died of cancer at the age of eighty-three, spent twenty-eight years at CBS in a variety of important news positions, including that of Vice President, CBS News, Radio. Joe joined WCBS in 1960, and became an executive producer and later its news director. In 1967, Joe was named vice president and general manager in charge of turning the CBS radio flagship into an all-news operation. See article in Broadcasting Magazine. He left Newsradio 88 in 1971 to head the CBS News Bureau in Rome. Joe retired from CBS in 1988 to join the journalism faculty at Fordham University. Official CBS obituary: HERE

    - Don Swaim. 3/15/10. The article below was passed along by Bill Diehl. It's a piece in TV-Radio Mirror, November 1958 about Hal Simms who, while not a meterologist, broadcast a daily five-minute weather show on WCBS in addition to his CBS staff announcing duties. Hal was 83 when he died in 2002. To hear Hal reading the news on WCBS on the morning of Nov. 6, 1958, click HERE

    click to enlarge

    - JOE DURSO, JR's REPORT TO CONSUMERS. On 2/28/10, Robert T. Resnick sent us an interesting aircheck dating to the late 70s. It's a consumer report by the late Joe Durso, Jr., who later headed the CBS Radio Stations News Service. What's interesting is that Joe's subject is those amazing, new-fangled [and expensive!] video tape recorders, so quaint now. Anchor on this aircheck is Ralph Howard. LISTEN.

    - Don Swaim. 2/6/10. The recent death of J.D. Salinger reminds us that the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye attended the famous P.S. 6 grade school on Manhattan's Upper East Side, as did such CBSers as Bob Gibson, Wes Vernon, and Lou Freizer. For my audio entry on Salinger, go to: Book Beat: The Podcast.

    - WCBS-AM NEW YORK MARKET'S TOP BILLING STATION. 1/15/10. Matthew Flamm in Crain's New York writes, "Industry insiders credited WCBS Newsradio 880's win to high ratings for broadcasts of Yankee games -- especially of the World Series -- and a busy news cycle." For details go to: Crain's.

    - ALLEGRA BRANSON [former WCBS newswriter]. From Bob Gibson [former WCBS anchor] 1/10/10: People have asked me from time to time what I hear from or about Allegra and I'd tell them that I've not heard from her or spoken to her in many years. I did remember to ask Palmer Payne about her recently and he got back to me late this afternoon and okayed my passing this along to you for posting on the site, if you so desire. The way Palmer explained it to me the problem is dementia. Here's his note...

    [12/21/09] I got more info from Allegra's sister, Annie, who visited her recently. It is not a pleasant picture. Allegra recognized Annie as someone she had known for a long time but NOT as her own sister. They tried to put her in a daycare place but she was insistent on coming home ASAP. There is not much more that can be said about the situation.

    - WCBS PRIMARY ELECTION COVERAGE 1974. 1/4/10. Former anchor Bob Gibson unearthed this 1974 memo from WCBS Assistant News Director Bill Lynch. What's interesting is the degree of coverage the station gave to an otherwise lackluster primary -- yet the names of the reporters covering is amazing, not to mention the logistics. This is a PDF. Go to: 1974 primary.

    - H. PAUL JEFFERS 1934-2009. From Sid Goldstein. 12/4/09 [a Jeffers friend]: "I regret to inform you that Paul died tonight [Dec. 4, 2009] in Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He had been hospitalized just the day before, when his condition at his rehab facility was deemed to be unstable. He was undergoing tests when his blood pressure dropped, they returned him to his room, his breathing weakened, and he quietly expired. The cause is tentatively being called heart failure.His longtime friend and colleague Ed Rickards was there at the end. He was 75. Arrangements are pending. Under discussion is a family service in his home town of Phoenixville, PA., followed at some later date by a memorial service in New York. Ideas for the memorial service will be welcomed. Sorry for the news." [UPDATE: The family advises the following: Cremation. Paul's ashes will be sent home to Phoenixville, PA., and a memorial service will be held there in the spring. Sid]

    From Don Swaim: H. Paul Jeffers, a Fulbright scholar and graduate of Temple University, worked at ABC and WINS Radio before joining WCBS-AM as a part-time writer. He became News Director from 1983 to 1985. While he was a true-blooded conservative, with a full-length portrait of the convicted Iran-Contra felon Oliver North on his Manhattan apartment wall, he never allowed his politics to interfere in his journalism. In addition to his news expertise, Paul was a prolific author and active member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a Sherlock Holmes fan club. One of his early novels was a mystery with a gay detective, Portrait in Murder and Gay Colors. When he lost his CBS job he beat the management by posting his own resignation letter. Late in life and unemployed, he petitioned his friends and acquaintances to chip in so he could continue work on a book in progress. He promised them a party and a share of the royalties, if any. A list of the amazing number of books he published can be found here. He told me he almost married once, but he died as a single man, although his close friend, Ed Rickards [well-known local broadcast news figure], was reportedly at his side at the end./

    CBS "BOARD," TEANECK, NJ, 12/5/09

    Standing center: Steve Porter, Charles Osgood -- first Newsradio 88 anchors. click to enlarge

    By Bob Gibson (former WCBS anchor) 11/14/09

    Harrison, Osgood (click to enlarge)
    Charles Osgood of CBS News and Harry Harrison, who enjoyed a colorful 44-year New York career at WMCA, WABC, and CBS/FM, were among a half dozen veteran broadcasters given the red carpet treatment at the induction ceremony that the NYS Broadcasters Association held November 12, 2009... For details and more photos click HERE.


    - Jim McCarthy (former WCBS Washington Reporter) 9/26/09. I've been in more hospitals than Ben Casey (gawd, am I that old?) and Dr.Kildare (wow! that's even older) combined as they poke and prod. But that means I'm still here...if not all there. I'm keeping up on things via your site and enjoying some of the other remembrances. I even catch 88 on my radio at night up here in the boondocks [Wilkes-Barre, PA]. It ain't the same. Knowing your love of history, vis-a-vis WCBS "Golden Days," I thought you'd be interested in these pictures that I ran across while cleaning out the attic. Photos and commentary: HERE

    - ERNIE McDANIEL (Former head of Technical Services, WCBS) DIES. McDaniel, who was eighty, died at St. Vincent's Hospital, New York, on September 17, 2009. He supervised more than forty technicians during the early years of Newsradio 88 before making the gutsy decision to leave management and become a camerman at WCBS-TV. Ernie said later that he had no regrets in changing from a suit to jeans.

    From Barbara McDaniel: Many of you are aware of this news but some are not--my husband, Ernie, passed away on Thursday, September 17th after two weeks in the hospital recovering from a broken hip. Thank you for the support and kind words expressed - it certainly has helped. I can be reached at: and (212) 475-8651. At some future date, Ernie's e-mail and phone will probably be discontinued. I wish you all the best, Barbara

    - J.J.R. Ramey (Former newswriter, WCBS) 8/29/09. Hello Don: Back in the 1980's, you interviewed me on BOOK BEAT about my western novel, West of Paradise Run, while we both worked at WCBS NewsRadio 880. I wanted to let you know that I am getting a reprint of the novel through the Authors Guild.

    - Tony Gatto (Former Desk Assistant, Writer, Producer, Managing Editor, Asst. News Director, WCBS) 8/21/09. Too many memories to even try to start writing them down. I tell people that I grew-up in the WCBS Newsroom. The people at WCBS played as important a role in my life as my family and closest friends.

    - Tim Scheld (Director of News and Programming, WCBS Newsradio 880) 8/18/09. Don, Glad to see you putting the Book Beat material on line and love the fact that you keep the WCBS appreciation site so up to date with memories and photos. It's important to me to make sure that everyone who works here is aware of, and respects the legacy of this radio station and all who contributed to its prominence. We're very proud of where we came from. As difficult as the media climate is out there these days we are encouraged by the fact that radio listening is up nationally and news listening in this market continues to be popular. WCBS and WINS are the top two newsradio stations in America. Over the past few months, WCBS has enjoyed its best news ratings in decades. Thanks for keeping the entire community in contact. All the best. Tim

    - FORGOTTEN CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT. David Schoenbrun [1915-1988] was part of the "second wave" of Edward R. Murrow's boys during World War Two. Despite a distinugished career at CBS and the author of half a dozen books, Schoenbrun is little remembered, ending his career at WNEW and WPIX-TV in New York. He details his battles with what was then the bureaucracy of CBS and why he had to leave. But, "There's no bitterness in me..." To listen to Don Swaim's thirty-minute interview with Schoenbrun click here.

    - Don Swaim 8/16/09. My CBS Book Beat website has been substantially expanded to include new material, updates, and links related to books and authors. Go to: Book Beat: The Podcast.

    - DAN RATHER: PAYING A HIGH PRICE TO CLEAR HIS NAME. As he sues CBS for breach of contract, the former news anchor says, "Their strategy is to string it out, wear me out, suck the will from me, and make it so painful in the pocketbook that I want to give up." By Matea Gold in the Los Angeles Times. [UPDATE: Rather lost his suit.]


    - ENGLISH SPOKEN HERE 7/30/09. ABC News Emmy-award winning newsman Ed Silverman, in The Riverside Press, attends the June 13, 2009, CBS "Board" luncheon and revels in "proper grammar, correct syntax, clear enunciation of colorful and understandable vocabulary."

    - THE MAN WHO WASN'T CRONKITE 7/27/09. For some of you, his name may be vaguely familiar. For most of you, it probably will mean nothing unless you heard his three daily network hourlies on Newsradio88. Yet he was TV's first anchorman and was once the face of CBS News. By Bob Greene, CNN contributor.

    - REMEMBERING WALTER CRONKITE 7/20/09. The late CBS anchor's top assistant for twenty years, Marlene Adler, denies Cronkite planned to marry Carley Simon's sister, Joanna. Adler takes on all questions, silly and serious, about Cronkite in this Q&A in The Washington Post.

    - Milton Kamen (Gramercy Park Clothes, NYC) 7/18/09. I shocked your [WCBS] sales department in c. 1970 by saying I would buy 4 spots per hour from midnight to 6am, seven nights a week. That was considered wasteland but I knew NYC was truly the city that never slept and I wanted to capture the all night audience that no one knew existed. It worked. And the commercials for my company, Gramercy Park Clothes, became a conversation piece. I paid $5 each for 60 seconds and it was found money for the station. I wrote the copy, read the spots, and had my 15 minutes of fame. My only regret---I refused the nomination for a Clio; I can't remember why. I get a kick out of some postings that remember my commercials from 30 years ago. Although I cannot find pictures nor a tape, I did find some copy--this was the first spot we ran:

    THE PRESIDENT!....... of Gramercy Park Clothes says: 16 advertising men and one mother-in-law have been trying to write commercials for Gramercy Park Clothes. Commercials that will make you stop dead in your tracks, leave your wife, your home, and run like crazy downtown still in your underwear to buy a suit. The president called a meeting and said: stop the baloney. Just tell everyone that Gramercy Park sells great looking suits--good quality, perfect fit and the price is right. After 78 years of manufacturing men's clothing for fine stores, Gramercy Park will sell direct to you. Come to the factory building at 64 West 23rd Street--go through the big iron gate--ask for Bella-the-fella, or Rosie-with-the-cigar. You'll look great in your new suit and you'll save a bundle. Credit cards OK. Gramercy Park Clothes. Open to 7 and on Sunday 10 to 4. Gramercy Park Clothes 64 West 23rd Street--that's 64 West 23rd Street, New York.
    Part of the fun was that your competing station [WINS] didn't want to run the spot because I used the phrase "still in your underwear." What a difference 35 years can make. Regards and good wishes, Milt Kamen


    - THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN THROAT DIES AT 99. CBS announcer Kenneth Roberts, who died in New York on June 19, 2009, began his broadcast career at a small station in New Jersey in the 1920s. In 1931, Roberts beat out 40 other applicants for a full-time position as an announcer on CBS's New York flagship, WABC, the call letters before they were changed to WCBS. A retrospective by T. Rees Shapiro in The Washington Post.

    - Don Blair (former WCBS anchor-reporter & author of Splashdown: NASA and the Navy) 6/24/09. "The archives you (and others?) have put together are priceless... especially for a nostalgia nut like myself... but aren't we all? We know what it was like and what it is today and we are thankful to have been in it when it still had a touch of quality and integrity." For MORE and for two of Blair's exclusive Apollo 11 photos -- including one of Neil Armstrong plucking the ukelele click HERE

    - Jim McCarthy (former WCBS, Mutual Washington reporter) 6/23/09. Hello Don: Well, once again the hands of fate took over and screwed me out of a great luncheon reunion. Not that too many of the crew even remember me. I have been under MD's care for a while now, and had to take a stress test on Friday, the day before the reunion. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the medication and it stopped my heart. As a result, I am now wearing a pace maker and defibrilator. My son, Tim, says "You're going to the next one (reunion), and I'm driving to make sure you get there". Keep fingers and toes crossed for December. Love to all, and keep up the great work on the web site. PS: Are any of the "originals" still around to be especially invited? You know, the Joe Dembo's, Friedman's, Reeves, Joyce's, etc. I used to talk with Jerry Nachman all the time a few years ago, and we had manys the good laugh. I still miss his humor. Oh well, take care... Jim.

    - WCBS 880 STAFFERS, PAST AND PRESENT, REUNITE. Article by Jerry Barmash about the CBS "Board" meeting on June 13, 2009, Teaneck New Jersey. "In between the bites of veal parmigiana, many business cards were passed around, proving the art of reconnecting was alive and well." Go to NY Media Examiner.


    - CBS "BOARD" MEETS JUNE 13, 2009. Close to fifty CBSers, colleagues, ex-competitors, friends, broadcast aficionados, and radio historians gathered in Teaneck, NJ. Details and photos to come. Guest list here.

    - SAN FRANCISCO'S KCBS CELEBRATES 100 YEARS ON THE AIR. Newsradio 88's sister station began as an experimental station in San Jose, California, with a regularly scheduled broadcast on June 11, 1909. KCBS returned to San Jose on the anniversary with morning anchor Stan Bunger and midday anchor Rebecca Corral broadcasting the news from the same spot where the first broadcast originated: the corner of First and San Fernando. Here's a wonderful site dedicated to the station's founder. Go to: Charles Herrold.

    - Joe Cioffi (TV meterologist and listener) 5/23/09. Don, What a terrific site! As a teenager I remember it all... the jingles... the voices... Jim Donnelly, Robert Vaughn, and of course you. I dreamt the same dreams as you did but mine took me a different route. Love it all and thank you. Joe Cioffi

    - Michael Kahn (former WCBS newswriter) 5/22/09. My daughter Sonia, 14, started a Facebook fan page for Wayne Cabot [WCBS anchor]. It is a way to show her appreciation after he let her tag along last month for "Take Your Child to Work Day." Every 8th grader in Fairfax County, Va., had to follow someone, and a weekly about electric co-ops is too dull. Could you put something on your site mentioning the Wayne Cabot fan page and asking everyone who is on Facebook to become a fan? Here is the link: #/pages/Wayne-Cabot/89104183128? ref=s Also, typing "Wayne Cabot" in the search box will get you there. We're up to 76 fans but we can do better!

    - FORMER NEWSRADIO 88 "CONSULTANT" SUSPENDED FOR ON-AIR SLURS Jay Severin, a far right-wing talk show host on Boston's WTKK-FM, described Mexicans as primitives, leeches, and spreaders of VD; former Vice-President Gore as "Al Whore"; and Senator Edward Kennedy as "a fat piece of lying garbage." Severin, who once delivered commentaries on WCBS Radio from a "Republican" perspective, falsely claimed he won a Pulitzer Prize and a master's degree from Boston University. For details go to The Boston Globe.

    - Steve Okonski... grew up in New York City in the 1970s with dreams of becoming a news or weather announcer. While that didn't happen, Steve remains a fan of Newsradio 88 and has sent us a recording of Pat Parson and Ben Farnsworth bantering on the air during a heat wave on July 21, 1977. To listen to the audio click HERE. [runs 1:09]

    - KNX AND KFWB TAKE DIVERGENT PATHS. Former competitors, these Los Angeles all-news stations -- sister stations to WCBS -- are staking out different identities. By Steve Carney in the Los Angeles Times.


    Jay's college grad pic

    - Jay Schuster (former WCBS desk assistant) 3/16/09. From August 1969 to January 1970, I was a desk assistant, who during afternoon drive wrote the mass transit reports and produced the Lou Timalot helicopter traffic reports. Dick Reeves (great guy) hired me. Working at WCBS was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I had just graduated from Temple University with a degree in communications and never thought my first job would be at a place like that. MORE...

    - EX-CBSer GIL GROSS REPLACES LATE PAUL HARVEY. Gross, a former WCBS afternoon anchor, currently broadcasts on KGO-AM in San Francisco. He'll take over the duties on Harvey's morning show. For details go to radio-online. To read a 2001 interview with Gross, who once did a talk show on WWDB, Philadelphia, go to Philly Talk Radio.

    Gil Gross

    - Thomas Turner, Framingham, MA, 3/4/09. I just came across your site while surfing the Internet. You have done a great job with detailing the history of your station. Found the audio segments quite enjoyable, but am having trouble with some of them. What media player(s) do you use for them? I currently have Windows Media 11, RealPlayer, and QuickTime in my computer at home. I've been able to hear some using Windows Media at work, but not at home. When I was going to college at Emerson in Boston, I worked part-time at WNAC Radio and TV. At that time, they were affiliated with CBS on the TV side and later switched to ABC. WNAC Radio was the flagship station for the Yankee Network, which supplied news and programming to various stations in the New England area, I was there from 1959 to 1961. WEEI Radio was the primary CBS Net outlet at that time; now it's WBZ. Keep up the good work!!

    [reply] Don Swaim. I converted all the audio on the site into mp3 files, so any audio player that can play mp3s, such as QuickTime or iTunes, should work. Some of the files are quite long, so it's possible some computers with less than adequate memory might have problems. [The larger the file the longer it takes to open.] The files aren't made for RealPlayer -- and Windows Media is fussy about playing some non-Microsoft created files.

    - Palmer Payne (former WCBS anchor) 3/1/09. Re: MURROW PHOTO [below]. Note the venetian blinds in the background. This is the news studio at 485 Madison Ave. The newsroom, less than half the size of News88, is on the other side of the window with the blinds. The general rule in the "old" days was that the newscaster should read all of the wire copy, transcripts from correspondents, etc. and then turn away from all of that and write his five minute newscast from memory and submit it to the editor on duty. He would often stroll into the studio a few minutes before air time and the corrected copy would be brought in to him. They tell the story that once Robert Trout waited for his copy but it was not delivered. He went on the air, waving his arms frantically in hope someone in the newsroom would get the idea (the blinds were open that day), managing to deliver a flawless newscast totally from memory.

    - WRITE YOUR OWN! Here's a website where you can add your own captions to photos of people, famous or not. See what they've done with Edward R. Murrow! Go to PUNDIT KITCHEN.


    - Mark S. Leff, Ohio University, 2/26/09. Hi from an OU broadcast news faculty member teaching this year in Beijing. I used to listen to WCBS when I worked in NYC in the mid-70s, first at TVN and then at NBC News. At NIS, I remember working election night 1976, going home early in the morning and riding the elevator with some glum-looking radio executives, and waking up in the afternoon to hear Pat Parson and Ben Farnsworth reading my obituary (NBC's decision to shut down NIS because it wasn't making money).

    Here's a bit of Ohio music trivia you may enjoy or even remember -- something I discovered when researching a bunch of OU bicentennial history minutes I did for WOUB-TV. First, listen to Alma Mater Ohio (unless you know it by heart). Now listen to this song that OU alumnus Samuel Zarnokay (Sammy Kaye) wrote for his Sunday radio show December 15th, 1941: Remember Pearl Harbor. I ran it by a music prof who said it's probably more than coincidence...

    Mark Leff, Assistant Professor
    E. W. Scripps School of Journalism
    Ohio University, Athens, OH
    2008-2009 Fulbright Lecturer School of TV and Journalism, Beijing

    - "OBAMA INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS." So says Jeff Ballabon, newly named Senior Vice President of Communications for CBS News, of the President of the United States. Ballabon maintains that Democrats are "inherently bad" while Republicans are "fundamentally good." Did CBS hire a right-wing nut? More from Ira Forman on The Huffington Post.

    Ed Hotaling

    - FORMER WCBS NEWSWRITER ED HOTALING... caused quite a stir when he learned (and reported) that both the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House were built with slave labor. Ed, who became Mideast Bureau Chief for CBS News, is the author of four books and currently lives in Washington. Ed's website HERE

    - Bob Gibson (former WCBS anchor) 1/19/09. Bob Vaughn sent me this photo and I thought you'd enjoy seeing it and realizing, as I did, the flood of memories it generates. Bob's guess is this was snapped in 1986... Best wishes to one and all!

    Vaughn (left), Jim Donnelly (right)

    - MARK Di GIORGIO (WCBS listener, W. Hartford, CT) 1/7/09. 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. MORE...

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