Program Director Brian Thomas Responds to CBS-FM Criticism

We reported earlier this week that a former WCBS-FM music director was critical of the differences between the Oldies station then and its Classic Hits version today.

FishbowlNY reached out to CBS-FM program director Brian Thomas for a comment on that article.

Thomas says the original headline should have been called “Different Era-Different Styles of DJs.”

“Comparing jocks of different era is like comparing Arnold Palmer to Tiger Woods,” Thomas says.

Richard Lorenzo said earlier in the week that CBS-FM lacks style today.

“The ones [jocks] then weren’t necessarily more intelligent, but they were more enjoyable because they were into the craft more deeply,” Lorenzo said.

CBS-FM today has the likes of Broadway Bill Lee, Bob Shannon, and Ron Parker. Decades earlier, you would hear Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, and “Cousin” Brucie on a regular basis.

Regardless of the jocks, a constant at CBS-FM, Thomas says, has been its success.

“The original CBS-FM original talent was successful and today’s airstaff is top 5 in all dayparts,” Thomas says. “Dan Taylor has been number two in morning drive the last two trends, which would make him one of the highest rated morning shows ever on CBS-FM.”

Overall, the station is consistently number two in the monthly Arbitron ratings.

“We now know in the world of PPM that listeners lose interest quickly,” Thomas admits. “Back in the day, because of the ratings methodology and different competitive landscape, the DJs could be more self-indulgent.”

Lorenzo understood that the station was forced to get younger in their playlist, foregoing the 1950s (and the majority from the 1960s in regular rotation). Thomas concurs.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the previous regimes for making CBS-FM such a huge brand in NY,” Thomas says.