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Holy Crap, CBS FM!

On edit: How evil is infinity?
Evil! 2 votes
Particularly evi! 0 votes
Really really evil! 2 votes
Concentrated evil! 0 votes
Luke can't sense any good in them, they're so evil! 4 votes

Edgy DC
Jun 04 2005 06:00 PM

...has dropped their oldies format!

Jun 04 2005 06:06 PM

WOW..that's a stunner, not that I listend to it but regular Radio is changing by the day.

Jun 04 2005 06:10 PM

Like any other industry, the media has to change; it's certainly a curious move from a nostalgia standpoint, but ultimately, the almighty dollar points a different direction these days than it did even a few years ago. I left radio seven years ago, and I'm sure I wouldn't even recognize the inside of my old place of employment now.

Edgy DC
Jun 04 2005 07:27 PM

The thing is that radio isn't changing organically. They're changing almost exclusively through the actions of two or three players, in a way that was largely illegal a short time ago.

Jun 04 2005 08:39 PM

CBS-FM's demos were way high, so a change like this was inevitable. I question the timing of the whole thing, though. Infinity has two other FM stations--WNEW, which has flipped from format to format over the last four years or so, and WXRK, which is going to lose Howard Stern at the end of this year. Either station could have benefitted from a format change. And CBS-FM supposedly was still a money-making station, and had a loyal audience. A shocking move for sure.

Jun 04 2005 09:06 PM

OMG - I remember CBS being played in the preemie nursery at Lenox Hill Hospital the first time that I held my daughter.

RIP to a great station.

Swan Swan H
Jun 05 2005 05:59 AM

K-Rock has changed formats. They are playing a lot more 'classic' rock and pulled their current playlist much more to the mainstream.

Not as drastic as CBS-FM, but fairly major, for them.

Edgy DC
Jun 05 2005 10:16 AM

I didn't post this as a polling option, but the correct answer is: "Not as evil as Clear Channel, but they just got a little closer yesterday.

Nine to five
And five to nine
Ain't gonna take it
It's our time
We want the world
And we want it now
We're gonna take it anyhow

We want the airwaves!
We want the airwaves!
We want the airwaves, baby!
If rock is gonna stay alive!

Oh, yeah, well, all right!
Let's rock tonite!
All night!

Where's your guts
And will to survive?
And don't you wanna
Keep rock n' roll music alive?
Mr. Programmer
I got my hammer
and I'm gonna
Smash my
Smash my

We want the airwaves!
We want the airwaves!
We want the airwaves, baby!
If rock is gonna stay alive!

Jun 05 2005 11:10 AM

The first Ramones post ... kinda gets me all misty eyed.

I haven't warmed up to the idea of satelite radio, but I can see it coming. When
I wanna hear 50's I wanna hear 50's. When I wanna hear metal, I wanna hear metal.
There is no NYC based radio station worth the time of day anymore. I haven't listened
to the Fordam University station in awhile, but that's prolly still good when they're
playing genres I like.

I've posted this before, this is our local station up here and it's really good. And,
it's available on the internet.

Jun 05 2005 12:22 PM

i'm sick of the "expanded playlist" tsunami sweeping over the radio waves in new york lately. krock and wplj both did it fairly recently, and i simply cannot say it has been for the better for either station, from a listning-to standpoint.

at first, i thought "expanded playlist, well, that'll be good. i'll get to hear all of the good songs that were popular 5-10 years ago or so that they've basicall;y stopped playing."

boy was i wrong! half of what they play is basically the same stuff as always. the other half is, like, the hottest tunes from 1981, and almost thing in between.

imo, 25 years is a rather long time to try to spread a playlist over. would it have been so hard ot limit it to the past 10-15 years, and have a somewhat coherent playlist?

ditto for k-rock.


i know they expanded the playlists to fight satellite radio and ipods, but all they're really doing is forcing me ever more digital.

Edgy DC
Jun 05 2005 12:34 PM

>>reactionary post<<<

I'm sure satellite radio will come to mean radio to many of us sooner rather than later. But it's a privelige to tune into cable and satelite transimissions and we shouldn't forget the free magic public (and so regulated) place the airwaves once were and could have remained.

I'd rather explore satellite radio as a wonderful opportunity I can get, if the money's right, in addition to broadcast radio, in the same way I'd rather avail myself of private school if they have a special program that particularly meets my (theoretical) kids' needs, not because some idiots were allowed to take over the public schools and ruin them.

>>/reactionary post<<<

Jun 05 2005 01:19 PM

i never listened to cbs-fm i always thought of it as an "old people" station. maybe i'll check out the new format.

Willets Point
Jun 05 2005 05:34 PM

Holy Shit! Where's Cousin Brucie going to go now?

SI Metman
Jun 06 2005 12:57 AM

I'm up in the air about these recent format changes. I'm not an oldies fan and might actually stop on CBS 101.1 now if they have a song I like on, but I probably won't stay on the dial.

Earth Radio is trying to compete with Satellite Radio, and it's losing horribly. I hope to make the switch to XM by the end of the year, and I bet there are plenty more who would do the same.

Edgy DC
Jun 06 2005 05:13 AM

None of htis has to do what you're a fan of. I live in DC, so I certainly don't listen to CBS.

But the process that killed a New York institution, ranked eighth, that (at least last time I checked) always did their own programming in house (and what commercial outlet can say that now?) dramatically effects what you do like and will have access to.

This new format appears to be aimed squarely at me.

Jun 06 2005 12:45 PM

I worked in radio for 4 years, and quite frankly, the change does not surprise me at all. My bet is some struggling station will likely adopt the oldies format.

I'm sure Cousin Brucie will turn up somewhere. Nice guy, btw...cut me an awesome promo.

Jun 06 2005 12:52 PM

Big ad in today's Newsday for B-103, boldly proclaiming them as THE ONLY OLDIES STATION IN NEW YORK.

Formats change; it happens. It happened to five of the seven stations in our radio group in just over two years that I worked there.

Edgy DC
Jun 06 2005 01:08 PM

Look at the big picture. The issue is not the format change. That's just the vanguard of something greater. The real issues are

(1) the loss of local autonomy (CBS historically did their programming in-house, (featuring legendary programming director Joe McCoy), rather than some computer in Houston or Studio City.

(2) a few coporations monopolizing the airwaves, a condition which had been illegal up until a relatively short time ago, and has all sorts of ramifications regarding cultural homogenization and even public safety.

People who never went near the station or their format should be steaming mad.

Jun 06 2005 01:28 PM

I've got XM and as much as I'm not a fan of paying to listen to the radio I am a fan of countless non-commercial radio stations in every genre I can possibly imagine, being able to listen to every MLB game from anywhere I am in the country and of course I also love the Nascar channel. I think free radio is really fighting a losing battle against satellite radio and we're going to see more and more format changes as radio stations try to throw any number of formats against the wall in the hopes that something sticks and attracts listeners. But now that I've gone to satellite radio I rarely listen to AM or FM radio except when I need a local traffic report, which I can actually get on XM and Sirius as well too.

Benjamin Grimm
Jun 06 2005 01:40 PM

I'm more surprised by the manner in which the format change was brought about than by the format change itself.

I used to be a regular listener to CBS-FM when I lived in New York: Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Bob (101) Shannon, Cousin Brucie, etc. But I always figured that oldies radio had two possible futures: it would either die out or be replaced by a new generation of oldies. When the 50's and 60's became too remote for any but the oldest listeners, oldies would be redefined as songs from the 80's and 90's. Remember, CBS became an oldies station in 1972, before Bad Bad Leroy Brown was released. So I thought that in 2020, CBS-FM would be playing oldies from the 1990's.

I wonder why the change was done in such an ambush format. I read that just that morning Mickey Dolenz (the morning DJ) was doing a promotional appearance. A day later I checked their web site,, and it didn't reflect the change at all. I checked again just now, and this is what they have:


Dear CBS/ FM listener,

Tuning in to 101.1 FM today, you probably noticed that things sound a little different.

WCBS has changed addresses. Instead of being at 101.1 on FM, the heritage WCBS you know and love now lives here online at Click on the "listen here" banner below to hear the Greatest Hits of the 60's and 70's streamed with all the great music and fun you have come to expect over the past three decades on your radio.

We are very excited about WCBS FM online, and our goal is to have many of the-on air personalities you have enjoyed and loved over the years stream their shows live. We will continue to incorporate many the features and special theme weekends you have come to expect from this great station.

Stay tuned because in the future, WCBS's High Definition (HD radio) broadcast signal will also make it possible to listen to your favorite music and personalities in crystal clear digital sound on your HD Radio. More information on that coming very soon.

101.1 FM is now JACK-FM, and we hope that since you loved WCBS as 60's and 70's, that you will give JACK-FM a try too.

Be sure to let us know what you think of WCBS Online. Thank you for your years of listening to WCBS on the FM band, and now let everyone know that CBS-FM moves into the future by going worldwide. The Greatest Hits of all Time lives on here at!


Chad Brown
Vice President / General Manager
WCBS Online @
101.1 JACK-FM

Jun 06 2005 01:45 PM

When my daughter was a wee lass all she would listen to was oldies so CBS-FM ended up with the honored #1 slot on the car radio FM dial. After she drifted first to teenpop and then to a pretty interesting eclectic mix of stuff, CBS managed to keep that slot. After a weekend of driving around and hearing the "Jack" format it is the station most in danger of losing a coveted button on the car radio. For the record, #2 is WNYC, #3 is WFMU, #4 is WXRK, #5 is WFUV and #6 is --- I can't remember.

Willets Point
Jun 06 2005 01:53 PM

Actually, the definition of Oldies is a funny thing. The last time I remember listening to WCBS they played a Spinners song from 1972, which means that the song was brand-spanking new when WCBS became an Oldies station. I wonder what they played in 1972 since the entire history of rock and roll was a youthful 16 years old at the time, there wasn't anything really that old.

Edgy DC
Jun 06 2005 01:56 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jul 12 2007 01:35 PM

They conceived of the format as primarily a doo-wop preservation society, which largely explains why the two staples at the top of their "Top 500" were always "In the Still of the Night" and "Earth Angel."

Jun 06 2005 02:01 PM

For all the CBS-FM listeners who know how to use the Web.

(Just kidding; "old person" joke.)

Like I said, the media is changing, and yes, it is monopolistic in a lot of ways, but that's you still have college and independent radio, and the rapid growth of satellite radio, and online stations, and podcasting, and all that jazz. We have to change the way we define "radio"... it's not the same definition as it was even ten years ago.

I think the weakness of "Jack" (and I haven't listened to it at all, nor do I plan to) is that it might be too eclectic. Part of the reason satellite works (besides the obvious no-commercials form7at) is that you can go all-sports, or all-blues, or all-doowop, or all-80's hair metal (if you're me). And if you want to change formats, you change the proverbial dial.

I can fire up my ZiPod, with almost 5000 songs, on random shuffle, and listen for hours; but I can also skip songs I don't feel like listening to at the time. Broadcast radio doesn't give me that luxury that even satellite would.

P.S. Always liked Mickey Dolenz; we share a birthday.

Edgy DC
Jun 06 2005 02:24 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jun 06 2005 07:22 PM

I guess it's my hysteria day.

I don't think we have to change the way we define radio, really. I think that's a trick. A local radio broadcast radio outlet shouldn't be trying to be a popular iPod playlist, but responding to and and serving local needs and local culture in a commercially competitive manner. WCBS had been honorably doing that for over thirty years.

As I said, this feeds public safety issues also. F'rinstance, when there is a local emergency, where do you get your information from when the local stations are streaming in programming from a nameless computer? At best, they'll all go to a single central emergency source. But a variety of sources of information -- independent staffs competing for information -- in addition to filtering and questioning news from the central source, serves a community best in an emergency. It serves a community best in a non-emergency.

Cultural issues abound. How does a locality maintain a distinctive culture when we're all getting fed cultural information from a computer in Peoria or India or somewhere? These are the reasons why the government held fast on those arcane rules, not to mention potential political control of an area by a media conglomerate. Three conglomerates controlling such a large share of the media is awful. It's culturally harmful and it makes us more vulnerable as a society -- in a simlar way Wal-Mart becoming the nation's largest music retailer and forcing Wal-Mart-sanitized versions of major releases by such artists as Nrivana was harmful, except far more insidiously.

Don K. Reid's Doo-Wop Shop isn't really the issue, except to state the cliche'd obviousness that Don K. Reid won't be there when they come for you. And they're a-comin'. You won't even know when they have you.



Jun 06 2005 02:26 PM

You'll still get local culture; it'll just have to be programmed, the way you get Brentwood Fire Department commercials on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.