Not “All News” – Yet
WCBS Tower Hit By Plane – 12 Hours Before Format Change
New York City was about to get a new “news” competitor – with more news than all other New York radio stations with the exception of one – WINS. The ad below talks about all the marvels of “Newsradio 88.” You notice it doesn’t say, “all news?” WCBS would have to wait a few years – as the CBS radio flagship still had to carry CBS radio programs, including the midday “Arthur Godfrey” show. Back in 1967 – most stations – music or otherwise, carried 5 minutes of news at the top and bottom of each hour.
To look at the ad, you’d think everything was in place on that Monday morning. 50,000 watt 880 had/has a great signal off a tower located in Long Island Sound. But – the morning of August 28, “Newsradio 88″ could only be heard on 101.1FM – WCBS-FM. Late afternoon the previous day – the tower was hit by a private plane – killing five. It was through a thunderstorm and the pilot wasn’t supposed to be flying that plane. One of the top stories of the morning – “five dead as plane hits WCBS radio tower.”
The same tower complex housed another 50,000 watt radio station – at 660 and WNBC. It too, was off the air. Both stations scrambled – 880 was back on later in the day on one of the WLIB (1190) towers and WNBC got a hand from WABC (77), using their smaller auxiliary tower. Limited power.
By Friday – both stations were back to their original location – City Island with a temporary tower at 200 feet tall. For the time being – WCBS operated with 10,000 watts and WNBC – at 5,000 watts.
As far as radio format changes – this one had to top them all. August, 1967: