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1010 WINS Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Switch To All News

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Fifty years ago Sunday, an iconic news radio station was born.

To commemorate 1010 WINS' anniversary, the Empire State Building was lit in blue, white and gold Sunday night.

1010 WINS anniversary -- Empire State Building
The Empire State Building lit up in blue, white and gold for the 50th Anniversary of 1010 WINS' switch to 'All news. All the time." (Photo credit: Henry Kaden) The Empire State Building image ® is a registered trademark of ESRT Empire State Building, L.L.C. and is used with permission

According to pioneering former General Manager Joel Chaseman, 1010 WINS' switch to an all-news format came after Westinghouse Broadcasting expressed concerns in 1964 with the New York radio station it had purchased two years earlier.

"The essence of it was they bought the wrong station, and they were desperate," Chaseman said.

Chaseman said Westinghouse didn't like owning a rock 'n' roll station, especially not the No. 3 rock 'n' roll station in town.

So Westinghouse decided to launch New York's first all-news station.

MORE: 1010 WINS 50th Anniversary Coverage

The rehearsals, however, were not encouraging.

"We had the most boring, droning, monotonous broadcasts you could imagine," Chaseman recalled.

But on April 19, 1965, Chaseman presented the new format to the world, and 1010 WINS became the nation's first successful all-news radio station.

1010 WINS Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Switch To All News

Stan Brooks was the news director when the station made the switch, and he was the driving force behind the format change.

Late in 1964, he was called in by his boss, Chaseman, and entrusted with the then-secret format change.

Stan Brooks DL Black Border
Stan Brooks, 1010 WINS from August 2012 New York Daily News Article( Photo by Craig Warga/New York Daily News)

"'And you can't mention it to anybody else. It's got to be a secret. Otherwise, CBS or NBC could jump in ahead of us,'" Brooks, who died in 2013, recalled being told.

He panicked a little when the soon-to-be-fired program director of the music format started getting suspicious.

Listen To The Original Announcement Of 1010 WINS' All News Format

"I ran into my office, called downstairs, and I said, 'Hey, he wants to know where I'm going. What do I tell him?'" Brooks said.

His bosses told Brooks to get out of the building and hit the road. And he traveled the country, hiring newscasters from out of town and swearing them to secrecy as well.


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