The truth is: WCBS-FM seems to be as strong today as it was when it first began broadcasting Oldies. Sure, now the format is "Classic Hits" but that's just a marketing position, not a format change. What was once "Oldies but Goodies" are now "Classic Hits." Call it what you want but don't call it irrelevant. 40 years is a big milestone. Thursday of this week New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg came by the studios to proclaim July 7, 2012 "101.1 CBS-FM Day."
In a business where station formats come and go quicker than Kim Kardashian's boyfriends, maintaining a format vision for as long as WCBS-FM has done is applaudable. Growing up in Northeast New Jersey I listened often to "CBS-FM" and always loved the format and the deejays. Some of the business' giants have worked on the air like Cousin Brucie, Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison, Chuck Leonard, Joe McCoy, Dick Heatherton, Steve O'Brien, Bob Shannon, and so many others.
In my opinion as a listener and professional broadcaster, it's one of the best sounding stations I've ever heard. But, I'm not the only fan who feels this way. "I am just amazed by the extreme level of passion that listeners of all ages have for WCBS-FM. It truly represents the sound of New York,” says Jim Ryan, Program Director for WCBS-FM.
An Oldies Pioneer
WCBS-FM began on July 7, 1972 and joined a handful of stations around the country that were playing Oldies full-time, 24/7. The first song over its airwaves was "Runaround Sue" by Dion and the Belmonts. Here are a few more highlights:
- Harry Harrison joined the station in 1980 and was placed in his familiar morning drive slot.
- Cousin Bruce Morrow returns to the microphone to host the Saturday Night Sock Hop in 1982.
- Ron Lundy was added to the air staff in 1984 to follow Harrison.
- Also in 1984, WCBS-FM holds its first Radio Greats Weekend featuring legendary New York disc jockeys.
- In 1987, Dion returned to the stage to perform for WCBS-FM’s 15th Anniversary.
- Dan Ingram returns to the New York airwaves in 1991 to do weekends on WCBS-FM.
- In 1994, Mayor Giuliani proclaimed the corner of 52nd Street and Avenue of the Americas WCBS-FM Drive.
- In 1996 Dan Daniel arrives at WCBS-FM.
- WCBS-FM celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1997 by hosting two sold out nights at Radio City Music Hall.
- WCBS-FM has received multiple Marconi Awards including Oldies Station of the Year in 2010.
To celebrate the station's 40th anniversary, WCBS-FM has lined up a pretty incredible weekend of programming that begins today (7/6/12).