Click any thumbnail for a larger image.
The "Young Sound" Syndication Service
Broadcasting: July 31, 1967
An article describing the original "The Young Sound" service, which was 180 hours a month of instrumental versions of rock songs. It was quite lame, but typical of FM at the time with the exception of WOR-FM. When WOR-FM promoted that it was going rock in June of 1966, I thought it was also going to be a soft rock instrumentals station because at the time, it was difficult to imagine real rock on a commercial FM station.
FM Guide: November, 1967
These are a series of early promotions for WCBS-FM's Young Sound format
The "Young Sound" Gets A Voice
Billboard: Dec 9, 1967
An article describing the evolving CBS-FM.
Let Me Entertain You
CBS-FM wasn't always a oldies station. They tried various permutations of free-form and progressive rock before finding the format that would last them for years. Here's another example of one of their earliest promotions, which you'll have to admit is a bit freaky, but who exactly were they trying to appeal to?
WCBS-FM Is Into It
Another psychedelic ad approach. It would be interesting to know whether this was produced by an ad agency.
End of "The Young Sound"
FM Guide: December 1969
One of many format change announcements. Everyone was still trying to find their way in this new world of FM.
The Lewis & Clark Expedition
FM Guide: April 1970
I had forgotten about this one. If you wanted listeners to believe that CBS-FM was not part of a large corporation, this ad worked quite well. On the other hand, it looked sorta like something your friends doodled in high school. Did they really work an eight hour on-air shift together or was it two four-hour shifts?
1970 CBS-FM Jocks
FM Guide: May, 1970
A nice article featuring the CBS-FM jocks. CBS-FM of that era was a fairly light station compared with WNEW-FM and WABC-FM/WPLJ. You can see this in their musical choices, which is exactly what I remember CBS-FM playing at this time. It was geared for listeners who weren't into AM radio anymore, but weren't into the heavier sounds of the progressive stations either. CBS-FM liked horn bands, so they played a lot of Gary Puckett, Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears.
The WCBS-FM Rock Jocks: Bobby Wayne
A photo of Bob "the Wizard" Wayne from contributor Kimbal Brandner.
AIRCHECK: Rocky G, Bill Brown, Steve Clark (Restored & Scoped) (26:29)
Contributed by Rob Frankel
It's hard to believe that this aircheck is from 40 years ago. It features DJs Rocky G, Bill Brown and Steve Clark from the semi-progressive days of CBS-FM. It didn't sound free-form, but it did sound low key. And the playlist was a strange mix of just about every genre of rock music.
Rob Frankel relates that Rocky G (Groce) was a former WWRL jock who was doing fill-in work at CBS-FM on that particular night.
Featured in this aircheck are many vintage Coca-Cola commercials sung by the big artists of the day. In fact, there aren't too many spots aside from Coke. It's not a big wonder that the format didn't last all that long, but if it did, we never would have wound up with an oldies station.
Contributed by Myles Putman
circa August 1970
This is a rare promotion contributed by Myles Putman. Of course, it was easy for WCBS-FM to play "more music" because in 1970, they still probably didn't have very many spots.
AIRCHECK: Gus Gossert (Restored & Scoped) (32:51)
Contributed by Rob Frankel
Thanks to Rob Frankel, we have this fine aircheck of Gus Gossert doing the CBS-FM pre-oldies thing, which was a combination of pop, light rock and some R&B. The first segment features a very low-key interview with Jose Feliciano.
While, as usual, we had to scope the music, this aircheck also features some interesting jingles, news and spots. Judging by the news, we think this aircheck is from either October 6th or 7th.
AIRCHECK: Bobby Wayne (Restored & Scoped)(13:10)
Contributed by Rob Frankel
July 12, 1971
This is an aircheck from radio pro and historian, Rob Frankel. Rob restored the aircheck using his production magic, but we had to scope it again so as not to violate copyright law and to make it easier to listen to.
This stereo aircheck from the CBS-FM progessive days, complete with formatics and jingles, features DJ Bobby "Wizard" Wayne. Note the diversity of the music which combined music that you might hear on AM along with select album tracks, not completely unlike what you might hear on CBS-FM today, but with more non-single album tracks: Bob Dylan, The Carpenters, Al Kooper, the Grateful Dead, Carol King, James Taylor, the Rolling Stones, Donovan, Carly Simon, the Beatles, Joe Cocker, the Doors, etc.
One other surprise for me was the promotion for the DJs appearing later that night: Ed Williams and Rosko (Bill Mercer). I didn't even remember Rosko ever working for CBS-FM and Ed Williams had previously appeared on WLIB. That's quite a diverse and interesting group of nighttime jocks. Note: Rob Frankel has since advised me that the Rosko show was a syndicated show produced from Rosko's then home in France.
Link to aircheck
Bob Cole tries to turn-around CBS-FM Group
Broadcasting - Aug. 23, 1971
An article detailing how Bob Cole has been promoted to VP of CBS' FM radio group and is mandated to make the stations profitable.
The WCBS-FM Rock Jocks
circa late 1971-early 1972
A great photo of the CBS-FM jocks from contributor Kimbal Brandner.
AIRCHECK: Bobby "the Wizard" Wayne [stereo-scoped] (48:48)
Contributed by Michael Weiss
December 13, 1972
This aircheck is from about six months after CBS-FM moved from a quasi-progressive rock format to an oldies format. Lots of oldies that we never hear anymore but weren't actually all that old back then.Pt.1(30:02) Pt.2(18:46)
AIRCHECK: John Zacherley on Halloween [stereo-scoped] (89:38)
Contributed by Ken Tullipano
Oct 31, 1987
Once again, Ken Tullipano strikes gold!
This is a great aircheck of John Zacherley returning to CBS-FM when it was still a true oldies station to play a bunch of crazy tracks for Halloween and it sounds great. Check out the spot for the lengendary Downstairs Records in part 1 and a spot for all the old CBS-FM jocks in part 2.
(And scroll down to find where Zach does it again 20 years later and still sounds as great.)
AIRCHECK: Norm N. Night Says "Goodbye"
Feb 20th, 1988
Contributed by Myles Putman
Here's a short aircheck from the end of Norm N. Night's last show on WCBS-FM.
AIRCHECK: Radio Greats Weekend: Alan Freed Tribute [scoped-stereo]
circa June 1989
Contributed by Ken Tullipano
Joe McCoy hosts a tribute to Alan Freed. Based on some spots in the show (which we removed), we believe this is from June of 1989. It may have been repeated in 1991. There are excerpts from his WINS and WABC-AM shows as well as from a few recordings that he made, including a novelty record that anticipates what Dickie Goodman would do just a few years later. There's also a phone interview with his daughter Alana.
While Freed and rock 'n roll music in general was highly controversial in the 1950s, Freed himself was very low-key, spoke in conversational tones on the air (unlike the screamers and speed-talkers of the time) and dressed in conservative suits. He also looked far older than he was.
Freed was brought down by the payola scandal. Many historians believe that he became the scapegoat for the scandal largely because he promoted R&B music more than other DJs of the time, even though politicians of the era hated rock music in general and tried to stop it. (In 1957, Freed's ABC-TV show was cancelled after Frankie Lyman danced with a white girl and ABC affiliates in the south objected.) While they failed, their efforts led to the invention of the playlist and the end of disc jockey freedom until free-form radio stations brought it back some years later. It also resulted in radio stations of the day largely abandoning the patriarchs of rock, like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and others. It would take the Beatles to get them heard again.
Dick Clark, who had ownership of far more recording and music publishing companies than Freed, who was small-time in comparison, was smart enough to dump his holdings before testifying before Congress. It should be noted that payola was not illegal before Congress made it so in 1960 (as long as you reported the income on your taxes, which Freed was accused of not doing).
It's hard to believe that Freed was only 43 when he died from uremia (or a broken heart, depending upon what you believe). It's also hard to believe that it was a year into Beatlemania and only 18 months after his death that WOR-FM joined the airwaves. In retrospect, they seem like completely different eras. Had Freed lived, I believe he could have resurrected his career, if not on the air, then producing and promoting shows, especially when appreciating doo-wop music became a fad again with the emergence of oldies shows and Sha-Na-Na in the late 1960s.
AIRCHECK: Radio Greats Reunion Weekend: Murray the K
Back when CBS-FM was more than just a "play the hit oldies" station, they had special weekends dedicated to the radio greats of the past. One of the great things about these broadcasts is that they included jocks who had never appeared on CBS-FM and sometimes even included air personalities who competed with them.
This is an excerpt from the 1991 broadcast featuring some rarely heard airchecks of Murray from his WINS days as well as interviews with his son Peter and several performers, including Ronnie Spector, who talks about the attention to detail that Murray put into his live shows. Murray always had a reputation of being hard to work with, but maybe he was really the Steve Jobs of radio: he knew exactly what he wanted and his genius made him a bit arrogant.
There's also a bit where Murray does a pulp fiction comic book intro to Ernie K Doe's "Mother In Law". Murray repeated this bit many times, even on free-form WOR-FM, but it demonstrates how much trouble he would go to just to make his show a little different.
The segment does have one error: near the end, it's said that Murray moved to WOR-FM in 1965. His first WOR-FM show was on October 8, 1966. For more about Murray, check out the WINS, WOR-FM and General Radio History pages. We also have WNEW-FM's tribute to Murray on the WNEW-FM page (scroll down to February of 1982).
AIRCHECK: Radio Greats Weekend: Dan Ingram [stereo-scoped]
June 8, 1991
Contributed by Rich Barbato
Here are segments from Dan Ingram's show from the Radio Greats Reunion Weekend of June, 1991. Whether you think Ingram's jokes were lame or very funny, there is no doubt that he adds a tremendous amount of personality and fun to the show.
A large portion of the aircheck is dedicated to the "hit" songs of 1960 and most are quite awful. Even Ingram calls 1960 the "year of the dog in music". It wasn't that good music wasn't released in 1960, but it didn't make the top of the pop charts. They would have been better off taking a curated approach rather than a charts approach and/or they should have selected songs from the R&B charts.
Note: The audio quality is inconsistent. If you hit a bad patch, wait it out - it gets better. But it's also instructive: when the signal is bright and clean, it has far more impact and it's a far better listen. Demonstrates once again why AM radio can't play music.
AIRCHECK: Back from JACK Format Flip [scoped]
July 12, 2007
On June 3, 2005 WCBS-FM flipped from an Oldies format to JACK. JACK was a snarky format that was marketed as a more personalized approach with music chosen by a DJ named "Jack", rather than a corporation. The playlist was wider than most typical radio stations, but it was also far more current. One of the tag lines for the format was "Playing What We Want". The format was largely a jukebox or iPod playlist interspersed with snarky tag lines voiced by Howard Cogan.
Because CBS-FM was such a heritage station, the format didn't go over well in NYC. Even Mayor Bloomberg decried the format change. And the ratings never matched what CBS-FM had achieved.
Just two years later, on July 6, 2007, WCBS-FM, under the aegis of new CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason, announced a return to the former CBS-FM with a start date of July 12th. In reality, CBS-FM didn't quite return to an oldies format, but to a 'greatest hits' format and in the intervening years has stopped playing all 50's and most 60's music. While CBS-FM now achieves pretty good overall ratings, its audience is primarily elderly and it's just a matter of time before the format is going to have to change again.
This aircheck is of the flip back from JACK to Greatest Hits CBS-FM. It's a pretty good montage of CBS-FM over the years along with a lot of formatics and jingles. If CBS-FM was as creative as this every day, it would be a much better radio station.
AIRCHECK: John Zacherley on Halloween [scoped]
Oct 31, 2007
This is a great scoped aircheck of John Zacherley sitting in on Halloween at CBS-FM in 2007. Zach was 89 when this was recorded and it's amazing how strong and vibrant he sounds. You can tell that he doesn't know a lot of the music and he relies upon his old shtick, but he's still very impressive. Note also how he doesn't accept the role of a guest who's supposed to be quiet most of the time - he really takes over the show.
AIRCHECK: Pat St. John announces his retirement from WCBS-FM
March 29, 2015
Pat St. John, who's been on New York radio since the 1970s, has announced that he's leaving CBS-FM, where he's been holding down the Sunday 11-3pm airshift, in order to spend more time with his west-coast based family.
Originally from Detroit, Pat joined WPLJ in 1973, held a regular shift from 1974 and stayed until about 1987. From 1988 to 1993, he did 10am-2pm at WNEW-FM after Dave Herman moved to drive-time and he held other shifts on the station through 1998. He also spent time as Program Director. He has also frequently appeared on CBS-FM from at least 2003 and is heard on several different shows on Sirius/XM. His Sirius/XM shows will continue.
Pat is still a big fan of rock and roll and has terrific insights into the artists and music. He's known for being informative on the air and for playing that rare but great track that you didn't know existed.
WCBS-FM 101.1 Schedules
These schedules are sourced from newspapers, FM Guide (which was usually a few months behind changes), Radio Guide, Richard Neer's book on FM radio, personal recollections of myself and DJs and various postings on the web, especially those of Vince Santarelli. Corrections welcomed. In some cases, the same dates are posted twice due to conflicting information from different sources. This one shows the schedule from 1967 to 1981 as CBS-FM evolved from various flavors of AOR to Oldies.