WINS (1010 kHz), known on-air as "10-10 Wins", is a radio station in New York City, owned by CBS Radio. WINS's studios are in the combined CBS Radio facility in the Hudson Square area of Manhattan, and transmitting towers in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
WINS is the oldest all-news radio station in the United States, broadcasting in that format continuously since 1965.
The station began broadcasting first during 1924 on 950 kHz as WGBS, named after and broadcasting from its owner, Gimbels department store. It moved to 860 kHz sometime around 1927, to 600 around 1930, settling on 1180 around 1931. The station was bought by William Randolph Hearst in 1932, and it adopted its present callsign (named after Hearst's International News Service) the same year, effective January 15.
WINS relocated from the Hotel Lincoln to the WINS Building, 114 East 58th Street, June 19, 1932.
It changed its frequency from 1180 to 1000 on March 29, 1941 as part of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement and then eventually to 1010 on October 30, 1943. The Cincinnati-based Crosley Broadcasting Corporation announced its purchase of the station from Hearst in 1945, though it would be over a year before Crosley would take control of WINS, in July 1946.
Rock and roll
Crosley sold the station to J. Elroy McCaw's Gotham Broadcasting Corporation in 1953, and soon after WINS became one of the first stations in the United States to play rock and roll music. Alan Freed was WINS earliest famous personality as disc jockey. Freed was followed years later by Murray "the K" Kaufman. Sports broadcaster Les Keiter, a latter-day member of the first generation of legends in that field, served as sports director for a period in the 1950s. Keiter is perhaps best remembered for his recreations of San Francisco (formerly New York) Giants baseball games, which WINS carried in 1958 to keep disconnected Giants fans in touch with their team, who moved west along with the Brooklyn Dodgers the previous year.
By the early 1960s, WINS faced stiff competition for the rock-and-roll audience from three other stations, WMCA, WMGM, and WABC. The competition continued after WINS was purchased by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1962. By 1963, WMCA upstaged them all and became the top-rated top 40 station in the New York area (only to be eclipsed two years later by WABC, whose 50,000-watt, clear-channel signal was 10 times stronger than WMCA's). WINS consequently saw a decline of ratings between 1963 and 1965, normally trailing WMCA and WABC by some distance. By this time, WMGM had already defected to a beautiful music format under its previous call letters, WHN, in February 1962.
"All News. All The Time."
On April 19, 1965, after weeks of speculation, WINS changed its format radically. It became the third radio station in the United States to attempt all-news programming, going with the new format around the clock. WINS immediately established a template for its format with an easily identifiable, distinctive Teletypesound effect playing in the background (Most other all-news stations later dropped this, but WINS continues to use it to this day despite Teletype machines themselves becoming obsolete by the mid-1980s), and with slogans such as "All news, all the time"; "The newswatch never stops"; "Listen two, three, four times a day"; and "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world". The latter tagline was a reference to WINS's format clock, which resets every twenty minutes.
In 1995 Westinghouse Electric purchased CBS, a move which made WINS a sister station to its long-time rival WCBS (880 AM). Early on, there had been speculation that either station would drop the all-news format, but these notions were squelched rather quickly. In fact, the performance differences in both stations supplement their continued overlap. WINS's ratings numbers are better within New York City, while WCBS's listener strength is greater in the suburbs, owing primarily to its much stronger signal. From a programming standpoint, WINS's harder approach is offset by WCBS' lighter, more conversational style, especially in peak morning and afternoon drive periods. Since the Westinghouse-CBS merger, both stations have continued to perform well in both ratings and advertising revenue.
Despite being owned by CBS, WINS was affiliated with, ironically, ABC News Radio until January 1, 2015, when their distributor, Westwood One, dropped ABC News Radio in favor for an in-house, CNN-powered service, "Westwood One News". WINS did not clear the network newscasts, but did air vocal reports and sound bites.
The Top of the Hour ID words at the begging was, during 1010 WINS' 50th anniversary in 2015: "Celebrating 50 Years, of All News, All The Time. This is 1010 WINS. You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world."
WINS's switch to all-news was initially derided as a poor programming choice. Tijuana, Mexico-based border blasterXETRA had been programming an English-language all-news format, as was Chicago station WNUS and, previously WAVA-FM in the Washington, D.C. area. Locally, WABC-FM (now WPLJ) aired a news format for several weeks during the 1962–63 New York City newspaper strike. None of the other attempts was a major success, and as a result many in the radio industry predicted a quick demise for WINS. However, Westinghouse Broadcasting supported the format and WINS eventually prospered with it. Westinghouse made similar format changes at two other stations: KYW in Philadelphia, in September 1965; and KFWB in Los Angeles, in March 1968. Together, WINS, KFWB and KYW served as the prototype all-news stations, and all three succeeded in attracting both listeners and advertising revenue over the years.
CBS was the first broadcaster to make an attempt to mimic Westinghouse's all-news formula. Locally in New York, WINS' success as an all-news station spurred CBS to make a similar transformation with WCBS in August 1967, though that station did not go full-time with all-news until 1970. After completing the conversion of WCBS to all-news, five of CBS' other owned-and-operated AM stations also adopted the format. With this move, CBS-owned WCAU in Philadelphia and KNX in Los Angeles competed directly against KYW and KFWB, respectively, with varying results. In 1975, NBC Radio tried an all-news approach themselves with its News and Information Service network, but it was shut down in 1977 after only two years in operation. In the mid-1970s Westinghouse's second Chicago station, WIND, carried the format part-time while competing against CBS-owned, all-news WBBM. WIND was not successful, and Westinghouse tried again after selling WIND in 1985 and acquiring WMAQ from NBC in 1988, converting WMAQ (now WSCR) into a full-time news outlet with mixed results. And in the summer of 2011, New York would have a third all-news station, and its first one on the FM dial, in WEMP FM News 101.9; in the wake of meager ratings, the format abruptly flipped back to the alternative rock format that had been on the frequency three years prior; later in 2012, Merlin Media, LLC sold the frequency to CBS Radio, which turned it into an FM simulcast of WFAN, making it a sister station to WINS as well as WCBS (AM).
Today, the New York outlets co-exist with the format as CBS-owned sister stations. As of 2016, CBS Radio operates 9 of the largest all-news stations in the country—WINS, WCBS, WBBM, KNX, KYW, KCBS in San Francisco, WBZ in Boston, WWJ in Detroit, and KRLD in Dallas.