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Anniversaries

WCBS-FM Celebrating 40th with Reunion Weekend

It’s a weekend four decades in the making. WCBS-FM, the venerable Oldies turned Classic Hits station, is marking a milestone, after launching the vintage Top 40 tunes on July 7, 1972. To commemorate the occasion, the station is welcoming back, or playing vintage clips of, CBS-FM’s most popular DJs.

The call letters were created in the 1940s. In those nascent days of radio, WCBS-FM was simply a simulcast for the WCBS-AM’s programming.

Finally in 1966, CBS-FM started its own format. The Easy Listening, “Young Sound” was born. A year later, a plane crash into the transmitter, forced WCBS-AM to debut its all-news format on the FM tower.

In 1969, WCBS-FM, still seeking an identity, opted for a freeform rock genre, molded in the WOR-FM and WNEW-FM style.

But it was until 1972 that CBS-FM had its niche in New York–Oldies.

Bill Brown, longtime midday jock, and late night DJ Don K. Reed were CBS-FM “originals” from the freeform days.

The station wasn’t just the greatest oldies or greatest hits of the last 40 years. It showcased some of greatest jocks in history. Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy, Harry Harrison, “Triple D” Dandy Dan Daniel, Bob Shannon, Dan Taylor, and “Broadway” Bill Lee are just a select few that could be inducted into the CBS-FM “Hall of Fame.”

Ironically, as the audience got “older,” the music got younger. In the last several years, the original feel has been slightly altered to focus on the 1970s and 1980s, while putting the 1950s “Oldies” into “semi-retirement.”

The weekend lineup after the jump.

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WFAN Sets Special Lineup to Mark Tomorrow’s 25th Anniversary

newyork.cbslocal.com

The term “sports radio” made its way into New Yorkers’ consciousness with the arrival of WFAN. Other stations already had sports talk segments and play-by-play of sporting events, but WFAN was the first to make it an around-the-clock proposition.

FishbowlNY has been offering a week-long series in preparation for the ‘FAN’s big day. That day is tomorrow! WFAN turns 25, and to commemorate the occasion, the station is welcoming back former hosts for a day to remember.

The special programming lineup is listed after the jump.

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Sexism Struggles for WFAN’s First Voice, Suzyn Waldman: They Were ‘Terrible to Me’

America’s first, all-sports radio station–WFAN–had its first, full-blown workout on July 1, 1987 at the stroke of 3 p.m., and at 1050 on the AM dial. Not so incidental is the fact that Suzyn Waldman was the first talent to grace its airwaves.

“I was sitting in my place in the studio, and you could see into the control room, which was all glass.” Waldman recalls. “And the people from WHN were standing there … holding hands, and people were crying. I was very aware that when my voice hit the airwaves, WHN would cease to exist.”

She provided updates that inaugural afternoon for Jim Lampley‘s show.

For the next 14 years, she was heard constantly at the ballpark or in-studio, as host (two years in midday with Jody McDonald) or reporter.

But beneath the surface, right from the beginning, it was not the greatest time of her career. The primary reason was sexism.

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Schmoozing S-P-O-R-T-S for 25 Years, Steve Somers and WFAN Celebrate Milestone

A quarter-century ago radio execs took a chance on a new format–all-sports. Even more of an unknown was how Steve Somers would handle it?

The original WFAN sound took on more of a national flavor than heard on 660 today. The majority of the update anchors and hosts did not have any, or limited, New York experience, and many ultimately fell by the wayside.

And then there’s Somers.  He neither grew up nor worked in New York, and yet from his first shift on WFAN he was a quinnesstial New Yorker.

“That is the most flattering thing everybody can say to me,” Somers says.  ”When I was growing up out there [in San Francisco], people thought I was still from New York.”

There’s no mistaking that style. Somers sounds like your older Jewish uncle. He sounded old 25 years ago, and played up his Jewishness, making him a perfect fit for the Big Apple’s melting pot.

“New Yorkers more than anywhere, and more than anybody, can tolerate and accept diversity like no other people anywhere,” Somers says. “It’s the makeup of New York.”

Somers, unlike other hosts, will discuss any sport with callers or guests.

“I do shtick and I have fun,” Somers tells FishbowlNY. “I think I’m obviously the more creative one, or the more inventive one at the station. Everybody else is pretty much courting to talk show formula.”

He says that counter-balance has been one reason for his remarkable longevity.

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The Chernoff Chronicles: Celebrating 25 Years of WFAN

The nation’s first all-sports radio station is about to celebrate 25 years, and FishbowlNY is joining in the accolades.

Beginning today, we start a special, week-long series commemorating WFAN’s silver milestone July 1.

There are interviews with two charter members of the station, the first person on the air, and the signature voice a quarter-century later.

But we begin with a look back through the eyes of operations manager Mark Chernoff, who joined WFAN in 1993.

WHN owned the frequency at 1050 when Emmis suits, led by Jeff Smulyan, decided country music had run its course.

Smulyan, sales manager Joel Hollander, and others flipped the battle-tested country format in 1987 to sports. It was a mixed blessing, as WFAN was an untouched canvas on the radio easel.

“Its earliest incarnation was very different from what the ‘FAN eventually became,” Chernoff says.

Specifically, the programs were national in flavor, with many short-form features interspered within the shows. Original programming also consisted of 4 sports updates per hour, as opposed to today’s “20-20″ version. The Mets and WFAN have been perfect together since the station’s inception.

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SNY to Unveil Mets All-Time Team at 92nd Street Y

Celebrating a half-century of golden memories, the Mets are about to name their All-Time Team. SNY, the TV home of the Mets, will honor the ballclub’s 50th anniversary with a gala at the 92nd Street Y. The Sunday, June 17th event, although sold out, is being shown on SNY, Thursdsay, June 21st at 7 p.m.

A blue ribbon panel unveils the cream of the crop in Mets history at each position.  While the list hasn’t been revealed, we can get a hint by expected attendees Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry.

The Mets All-Time Team selection panel includes Mets play-by-play announcers Gary Cohen and Howie Rose, columnists Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post, John Harper of the New York Daily News, and Marty Noble of MLB.com and a senior member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

And in another milestone accolade, SNY tomorrow will take part in the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony. SNY president Steve Raab rings the bell with former Met players and network personalities Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, and Edgardo Alfonzo.

Fitness Magazine Marks 20 Years with Free-For-All Celebration

Fitness is celebrating two decades on the newsstand in style! The New York-based wellness magazine is launching its first-ever free-for-all May 1, teaming with several gyms nationwide. Loyal readers will get a one-day, free workout at any of these facilities including: Bally Total Fitness, Crunch, Gold’s Gym, New York Sports Clubs, 24 Hour Fitness, and select YMCA locations.

Along with free access to gyms across the country, Fitness is also hosting five V.I.P. workout events with celebrity trainers Jackie Warner, Harley Pasternak, Billy Blanks, Jim Karas and Beto Perez.  The trainers will be teaching exclusive classes for Fitness readers who respond to calls to action via Facebook and Twitter.

“We’re so excited to be turning 20! To thank our amazing readers for their continued support and commitment to fitness—their own as well as the magazine—over the last two decades, we couldn’t think of a better way than to offer them a free day at the gym and a chance to workout with some of the best trainers in the business,” says Fitness editor-in-chief, Betty Wong.

There are more details about participating gyms and how to download a free pass on the Fitness website.

Former 1010 WINS News Director Stan Brooks Recalls Secret Plan for All-News on This Format’s 47th Anniversary

Stan Brooks in 1985/YouTube

If there were a Mount Rushmore symbolizing the best radio reporters in New York City history, Stan Brooks would have to be on that monument!

Legendary isn’t a strong enough word for Brooks.

Not just a New York institution, Brooks is a 1010 WINS All-News original. He is celebrating his 50th year at WINS, having been hired as news director for the Top 40 format on Labor Day 1962.  A month later, Westinghouse bought WINS. FishbowlNY will have more memories from Brooks later this year to mark the golden occasion.  But 47 years ago today, WINS made the move to All-News, with Brooks leading the charge.

He recalls when Westinghouse acquired WINS, the station was the number-one rocker in New York, with an on-air staff that featured Murray the K., Stan Z. Burns, and Jack Lacy.

“But when Westinghouse bought [WINS] they’d never had a station in New York,” Brooks remembers. “And they had a big news operation around the world.

“The headquarters of Westinghouse Broadcasting was in New York, and I guess the executives didn’t feel good about it,” Brooks says. “They kept adding news to the station. Ultimately, it was incompatible. You couldn’t have lots of news and teeny-boppers listening.”

By late 1964, Westinghouse made the decision to add news around the clock: WINS would become the nation’s first All-News station. The timing was perfect for the flip. WINS was no longer a top-rated station, now trailing powerhouses WABC and WMCA.

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