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This one's for Swingsteve!
Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks, of New York's all news radio station 1010 WINS, files a report from his desk at New York's City Hall, Monday, Oct. 3, 2005. Brooks, 78, was the news director at the station when they switched formats from Top 40 to all news 40 years ago. WINS-AM, celebrating its 40th anniversary as the nation's premier radio all-news station, asks its 2.5 million weekly listeners to give them 22 minutes. In return, as its exquisitely crafted slogan promises, "We'll give you the world."
Nation's No. 1 news radio station turns 40 By LARRY McSHANE Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - The only thing it adds up to is success.
WINS-AM, celebrating its 40th anniversary as the nation's premier radio all-news station, asks its 2.5 million weekly listeners to give them 22 minutes. In return, as its exquisitely crafted slogan promises, "We'll give you the world."
But the station does three segments per hour, each one the same length.
Do the math. What gives?
"We're still trying to figure out who came up with that," said Greg Janoff, WINS vice president and general manager. "Some ad person, probably, a copywriter who was smart enough to realize that 22 minutes was a great marketing hook."
Enough to hook millions of New Yorkers for the last four decades, to make WINS one of the nation's most profitable stations, to make "1010 WINS" a haven for news junkies a full 15 years before Ted Turner opened CNN.
"WINS is one of those great New York institutions _ like the Public Library or Central Park _ that New Yorkers probably take for granted," said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication "Inside Radio." "But it delivers, twenty-four seven."
It was 1965, during the Beatlemania era, when Westinghouse-owned WINS chucked rock and roll for round-the-clock news. The switch, a clandestine operation until the last minute, followed a study indicating a "talking newspaper" format might work in New York.
The 50,000-watt station became the country's first major all-news operation (a smaller Chicago station had launched earlier). Within months, a citywide blackout turned the spotlight on the fledgling station.
"One of the engineers managed to hook us up by phone to the station transmitter," recalled Stan Brooks, the first WINS news director and still one of its on-air reporters. "We were the only station that stayed on the air that night.
"It helped make us," Brooks said. "It gave us credibility."
In the years since, the station has covered New York from the Battery to the Bronx, from Carlo Gambino to John Gotti, through six administrations at City Hall and two terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
It wasn't until 1972 that the station developed it continuing concept: "You give us 22 minutes. We'll give you the world." Although perhaps the most recognizable pitch in all of radio, the source of catch-phrase is now unknown.
"I don't know," said Brooks. "It came into use after I left management."
The strict format is still in effect: news in 20-minute packages, with headlines to start; traffic and transit on the ones (1:01 a.m., 1:11 a.m., 1:21 a.m.); sports at 15 and 45 past the hour. Tune in at 4 p.m. or 4 a.m., the format virtually never varies.
No infomercials, no religious programming. A 1010 WINS sound bite even popped up in Martin Scorsese's mob classic "Goodfellas."
The on-air voices are as familiar to New Yorkers as the rattle of the subway. Morning co-host Judy DeAngelis started with WINS in 1988; she's worked alongside Lee Harris for 10 years.
"We've got some great voices that completely relate to and trust," said Janoff.
The station generates consistent ratings and revenues. In 2004, WINS was second in revenue nationally with $60.6 million, according to estimates by the BIA Financial Network, a media financial and advisory firm. In the most recent Arbitron ratings, the station was No. 2 in the vital morning drive time race _ trailing only shock jock Howard Stern.
The station's actual debut came on April 19, 1965, although WINS waited until Oct. 10 _ 10/10, right? _ to celebrate the event. A conflict with Columbus Day forced a one-day delay, so Tuesday night will be the anniversary bash. There, the station will honor ex-mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the top newsmaker of the last 40 years.
Looking into the future, Janoff still sees weather and transit on the ones, sports at 15 and 45 past the hours.
"I don't see why we wouldn't be doing that," said Janoff. "I hope the 22 minutes doesn't change."
Even if doesn't add up.
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(8 items total, 30 per page)