Past and Present WCBS-AM Talent Swap Memories

Dozens of former WCBS Radio staffers renewed acquaintances at their biannual CBS Board luncheon in Teaneck, New Jersey.

The gatherings started simply enough in 1993 when six WCBS-AM staffers did lunch. In time, organizers (now run by Bob Leeder, a former CBS Radio executive) asked for, and received, the inclusion of station alum.

While primarily CBS on-air and behind-the-scenes folks make up the lunch, the guest list has grown to include other media personalities.

At one table you could find Bob Lape, the veteran food critic on WCBS (and WABC-TV), Stephani Shelton, a former CBS Radio anchor (and TV reporter), and Jane Tillman Irving, a longtime WCBS reporter, and now newswriter at the station. Also in attendance was Mitch Lebe (above), who anchored throughout the 1990s at WCBS. Lebe, into his second half-century in the business, is currently doing newscasts on WOR and WABC.

Some current “CBSers” were also in attendance. Todd Glickman, a meteorologist at 880 for more than 30 years, joined the get together. The legendary Charles Osgood was there too. Osgood, of course, known for his weekly CBS Sunday Morning program, got his start with the network as WCBS got its start in all news (1967).

And Wayne Cabot (below) is another mainstay of the group. Cabot has been the afternoon anchor at WCBS since 1999.

There has seemingly been a revolving door in the afternoons. In nearly 12 years of doing p.m. drive, Cabot has been partnered with (at least) 9 people. Offering up some stability, though, Steve Scott, brought onboard 4 years ago, is Cabot’s longest on-air co-anchor.

For Cabot, his relationship with WCBS began when he was a high school student.   

“My dad was a teacher and a Vice-Principal in Maplewood [New Jersey], and Norm MacDonald had his Weather Center there. …I sat there and watched him do his broadcast with Pat [Parson] and Ben [Farnsworth],” Cabot recalled to FishbowlNY. “It was the coolest thing.”

But for Cabot, the radio bug had already bitten.

“I wanted to be a weatherman. I still want to be a weatherman,” Cabot joked. “My goal is to get through this radio nonsense and do the weather because you get to be wrong and they still pay you. I love it.”

Cabot did know at an early age that his career would be behind the mic.

“At about 12, 13 years old, I was one of those really weird kids…who listened to news radio. All my friends listened to 99X [and] Scott Muni on 102.7 [WNEW-FM],” Cabot admits. “Something about Newsradio 88 caught my ear.” 

He listened incessantly. Ultimately, he was permitted to sit in with Parson and Farnsworth.

“It would be really cool to do this some day,” Cabot reflected. “It’s one of those dreams fulfilled.”

The dream may have been fulfilled, but not immediately. He was a per diem staffer at WINS (rivals at the time) when some shifts became available at CBS.

He got a call from the associate news director (Bernard Gershon) asking him to make an audition tape.

“My big chance to work for a station I’ve always wanted to work at—I totally blew it,” Cabot remembers. “A month later he called up and said, ‘You want to try again.’…I guess I did ok the second time because he hired me.”