Why Doesn't WCBS-FM 101.1 Actually Play Oldies Anymore?

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    Backwater station in a backwater market. It used to get advertisers because of the Paul Sidney personality cult. Now he’s dead, there’s serious competition and WLNG is not as fortunate.

    As for CBS-FM dropping 1960s music? The audience has gotten heavily 50+ and that’s not attractive to advertisers. CBS Radio can start by modernizing the playlist. Tightening up the format wouldn’t hurt too.

    And if you think that’s unrealistic, the Beautiful Music format was in the same situation 30 years ago.


    I’m 26 and I like 50s/60s oldies and 70s/80s/90s soft rock about the same as I like CHR. I’m sure there are a lot more young’uns like me who would listen to oldies.


    Backwater station in a backwater market. It used to get advertisers because of the Paul Sidney personality cult. Now he’s dead, there’s serious competition and WLNG is not as fortunate.

    But Paul Sidney got the best ratings while the market had its separate Hamptons book and the station way outbilled all other stations at the East End. People listened because the market is essentially a small market with a need for lost dog reports, swap shop and other such stuff.


    Backwater station in a backwater market. It used to get advertisers because of the Paul Sidney personality cult. Now he’s dead, there’s serious competition and WLNG is not as fortunate.

    Just so we are clear I was NEVER comparing WLNG to WCBS-FM. Two different stations owned by two different owners in two VERY different media markets. Hell I’d take a tweaked CBS-FM,which I still love listening to, over it sharing the same fate as its sister station in Boston. I just appreciate being able to get to get the old music even if its out of a backwater market.

    Plus what competition? The only station I can think of that has a similar format was out of Eastern Connecticut and flipped awhile ago. Unless you’re talking about the internet which I thought was competition to all of terrestrial radio


    Half of you guys are crazy! WLNG does a tremendous job around the clock. And as indicated CBS FM is ranked #3 25-54, THE demo that advertisers want. There’s not more to discuss here. CBS FM should stay the way it is, with the 60’s still being played. Anything else, will cause a ratings slide.


    For those of you have followed this thread, CBS-FM is slowly phasing out the 60’s music completely by the next few months to make way for adding 90’s to the format. I found this article from the Daily Freeman back in 2011 about “Fox Oldies” coming to the Hudson Valley. This is what it says:

    Oldies radio returns to Hudson Valley


    Think Beatles and Elvis. Think Four Tops and Shirelles. Think Chicago and Beach Boys.

    In fact, think “Good Times and Great Oldies.”

    That’s what you’ll find on the Hudson Valley’s newest spot on the radio dial.

    Fox Oldies 98.9 FM is the place to hear all those songs that make you feel good and remember way back when.

    You might even find yourself smiling and grooving to a memory wrapped around a forgotten song.

    On Feb. 26, WGNY, owned by Hawkeye Communications, launched the latest musical format, targeting those between the ages of 35 and 64.

    More specifically, it’s for all you Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), who remember when John, Paul, George and Ringo first played to screaming crowds at Shea Stadium in 1965.

    Or for those who witnessed the fashion turnover from bobby socks and poodle skirts to winklepickers and mini-skirts .

    Or even for those who bopped to the hugely popular Motown sound founded by the legendary Berry Gordy Jr. out of Detroit, Mich.

    Whatever your musical taste, if you like oldies, you’re bound to hear the “greatest hits of all times” when you tune in, says Fox 98.9 FM’s website http://www.foxradio.net.

    “It’s a real oldies station,” said morning host Van Ritshie, one of the Hudson Valley’s most recognizable and beloved broadcasters.

    “And we’ve put the show business back into radio with real radio personalities. We’re not card readers. We talk to our audience,” he said.

    Besides Ritshie, the lineup of on-air talent includes Bob (O)ldies each weekday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Buffalo Bob Corsino from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Joe Manglass from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

    Station officials said they count themselves lucky to have attracted talent like Ritshie, who had left the area to pursue other ventures in Florida.

    “In May of 2009, I got a call by the pool,” Ritshie said. “They asked me, ‘How would you like to come back home?'”

    Ritshie, who’s been in the broadcasting field for 40 years, jumped at the opportunity to return to local radio.

    “I look forward to going to work every day, and at my age (66), that means a lot to me,” he said in his booming, baritone-bass voice.

    Another extraordinary thing about the station is that it’s owned by actress Kristina Klebe, a former Maxim magazine cover girl.

    She is the first female radio owner in the Hudson Valley, according to station officials.

    Klebe has starred in such movies as the Rob Zombie remake of “Halloween” in 2007; “The Accidental Husband” in 2008; and “Apocolypse of the Dead” in 2009.

    She’s also appeared in such TV series as “Law & Order,” “CSI,” “Criminal Minds” and “Rescue Me.”

    Her father, Joerg Klebe, operates Sunrise Broadcasting Corp., which manages Fox Oldies 98.9 FM.

    “My family has always been in radio, so I grew up with radio,” Klebe said in a recent phone interview with the Freeman.

    “I’ve worked in radio, and I guess it’s one of those things when you grow up with it, you realize the value of it,” she said.

    “Being an actress is so fleeting, and I feel like the one thing I’ve learned from radio is it’s always there.”

    Even though Klebe is young, she said she’s part of that population that finds oldies appealing.

    “My first album that I ever owned was the Beatles’ ‘Help’ and ‘Yellow Submarine,'” she said.

    “My parents would always listen to oldies, so I did, too. When we got to the 90s, I didn’t even know who (the alternative American rock band) Nirvana was. I would like to make oldies cool for young people,” Klebe said.

    Ritshie doesn’t think that will be too much of a stretch these days.

    “One of the things that fascinates me is that you can go to any college campus and find a bunch of students singing acapella oldies,” he said. “What’s old is new again. It’s come full circle.”

    Still, radio station officials haven’t forgotten their base — the Baby Boomers.

    The core of the musical lineup is the decade of the 1960s, said Bob DeFelice, the market manager at Sunrise Broadcasting.

    “We also play some choice late 50s and a lot of 70s,” he said. “We are filling a hole that is in the market.”


    According to statistics provided by Sunrise, Baby Boomers in the Hudson Valley represent 40 percent of the adult population, translating to 270,400 people.

    Baby Boomers overall spent $5.1 billion a year and were responsible for more than half of all consumer purchases between the period of 2006 and 2008, said the U.S. Census Bureau.

    And they have access to more discretionary funds, political influence and financial power than any other group in the United States, notes the website http://www.boomersint.org.

    That’s one of the reasons station officials believe Fox Oldies will be a resounding success.

    They’re counting on advertisers to get on board to specifically target this affluent audience.

    “We are filling a hole that is in the market,” DeFelice said. “We reach that audience. They drive retail.”

    In addition to all the music and syndicated programs like Dick Bartley’s “The Classic Countdown” show, the station will feature locally produced news, regular community calendar announcements and take part in live, local promotions.

    Ritshie and the other on-air personalities will be a huge part of the local thrust.

    “The big difference, as I see it, is we are local,” Ritshie said.

    “That’s the magic word. We are local because we are here. There’s nothing local about satellite radio, and that is the saving grace of local radio.”

    DeFelice couldn’t agree more.

    “It’s relevant and that missing piece in today’s world is the ability to be connected locally. Local radio is so viable, and you can get plugged in,” he said.

    Fox Oldies 98.9 FM’s radio tower is situated in Esopus.

    Its signal can be heard primarily in Ulster and Dutchess counties as well as parts of Greene and Columbia counties.

    The studio is located in New Windsor.

    Sunrise Broadcasting owns and operates five radio stations–WDLC and WTSX, serving western Orange and Sullivan counties, Pike, Pa., and Sussex, NJ.

    It also owns WGNY-AM and WJGK-FM in Newburgh, serving Orange, southern Ulster, Dutchess and Sullivan counties.

    That article says it all. I wish that “Fox Oldies” has brought in many of the listening audience from the loss of old WCBS-FM almost 10 years ago when the station flipped to “Jack”. My guess is that the station is targeting people from 35 to 64. I hope WCBS-FM needs to go back to its roots and needs to target at 35 to 64, not 25 to 54. Or here’s my prediction. WMCA needs to have an oldies station to target 35 to 64, and it’s going to be on AM at 570. I hope that eventually, WBAI needs to get out of Pacifica and tell Salem to move the religious talk format to 99.5 FM and have a new ownership such as Connoiseur, Townsquare, Greater Media, etc. and bring the oldies back to WMCA and bring back the “Good Guys”. I really want to see oldies coming back to New York City just like they did back in the good old days when it was a Top 40 station and it was a competitor to WABC. I hope the 50’s and 60’s music would work on the new WMCA. I hope this is not going to happen anytime soon. We shall see.


    Half of you guys are crazy! WLNG does a tremendous job around the clock. And as indicated CBS FM is ranked #3 25-54, THE demo that advertisers want. There’s not more to discuss here. CBS FM should stay the way it is, with the 60′s still being played. Anything else, will cause a ratings slide.

    We’re talking about a full-market FM signal in market #1, not some local-yokel station in an isolated area.

    Don’t make changes to the format? Keep playing the same music as you did 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago? Don’t be surprised when the ad revenue declines dramatically and there’s no other choice but to change the format. Beautiful Music died because its audience aged out and public tastes changed. Oldies will suffer the same fate.

    And if you think I’m stupid, I don’t get into “Me Too” behavior, I don’t start pointless list threads, and I sure as hell don’t copy stories out of copyrighted websites/publications.


    The closest thing you’ll get to Oldies in NYC are the suburban AM stations: 1100 WHLI, 1250 WMTR, 1410 WHTG, 1500 WGHT — and via skywave at night, 740 CFZM from Toronto.


    C.E., the foremost authority on classic hits programming. You heard it here first.


    We’re talking about a full-market FM signal in market #1, not some local-yokel station in an isolated area.

    After looking up the word yokel I have come to a conclusion. You sir….are conceited.


    A month ago, KRTH in Los Angeles was number one in the local Nielsen Audio ratings for the first time in the station’s 42-year history. (It’s now #2.) To attract a younger audience, KRTH last year added more 1980s hits and a very few from the early ’90s. The focus is on 1970s-80s classic hits and only one or two songs an hour are from the ’60s.

    The CBS-FM playlist has very few songs that aren’t also being played on KRTH. (What is it with you New Yorkers and Scenes From An Italian Restaurant anyway? 🙂 ) The biggest difference between the two stations is that KRTH has several songs, such as September, Hotel California, Don’t Stop Believin’, Sweet Dreams and I Melt With You, that are played three times a dayevery day. At least CBS-FM isn’t so repetitious.


    As I speak now, Scott Shannon is playing Stand By Me by Ben E. King, from 1961!!! Are they starting to bring more 60s music back or something? I also heard I’m a Believer by the Monkees a couple days ago!!!


    Scott Shannon would have played Ben E. King on Z100 back in the day. King’s hit was re-released in 1986 and made the national top 10 thanks to the movie “Stand By Me”.

    “I’m a Believer”? Smash Mouth version fits, Monkees version does not.


    WCBS FM has added a few 60s music to its playlist, at least for the Top 500 Thanksgiving Weekend Countdown. I would like the station to play more of these and some 70s as well. The station also played a few 70s that I normally don’t hear on the station such as Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree by Tony Orlando or I go Crazy by Paul Davis. Maybe the station will play more songs like these after this weekend but has definitely played more 60s than in 2014. 1960s songs included are Stand By ME, People Got To Be Free, Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay, In The Year 2525, Time Of The Season, Born To Be Wild, Tears Of A Clown, Brown Eyed Girl, Just My Imagination, My Girl, Green River, To Sir With Love, Build Me Up Buttercup, Respect, Satisfaction, Sweet Caroline, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Good Vibrations, I’m A Believer, Cherry Cherry, Honky Tonk Women, Happy Together, Suspicious Minds, Sherry, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Love Her Madly, Proud Mary, Unchained Melody, I Can’t Get Next To You, California Girls, When A Man Loves A Woman, I Want You Back, Groovin’, I Get Around, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In, Someday We’ll Be Together, Mrs Robinson, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Bad Moon Rising, Reach Out I’ll Be There, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, Light My Fire, Down On The Corner, Band Of Gold, Good Lovin’, Help Me Rhonda, Sugar Sugar, Mony Mony, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, No Time, and a few others.


    That’s probably one of the most popular questions with regard to any “oldies” station in the country. There are a few interesting facts about the format. Such as, when the first Oldies stations began to appear, they generally began as a weekend special – as an experiment. In 1972, WBZ Boston, which had been a Top 40 station during the 1960s, aired its first “Grease Weekend”, featuring the music and deejays of the 1950s. They actually flew in some of the top jocks in Top 40 radio for that weekend to augment the WBZ staff: Dick Biondi from WLS Chicago, Wolfman Jack from (I think) XERB, and some others whom I can’t remember off the top of my head.

    Getting off track.

    The first oldies STATIONS were playing music that was basically 5-15 years old. When the OLDIES brand burnt out about 10 years ago, the average age of the music was 25-40 years old. Its safe to say that the original Oldies stations back in the 1970s and early 80s were square in the middle of the money demo. Today, that demo is mainly retired on Social Security. Fixed income listeners don’t buy what they don’t need. And that’s the answer. Radio can’t sell that format because advertisers won’t spend money where they won’t get a return on their investment.

    WCBS-FM probably won’t make an actual format change any time soon. occasional format tweaks are to be expected, along with a blurring of the music lines, as later music shares a lot more ‘sameness’ than earlier tunes. But a format change? What would they flip to? Everything including Country, Hip Hop and Classic Rock are covered.

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