After Two Years, CBS News Radio Returns To WTOP

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In a major shift after decades of providing Washingtonians hourly news reports and bulletins from CBS, WTOP on Jan. 1, 2018 made a big programming change.


The Hubbard Radio all-News giant opted to provide listeners content from ABC News Radio.

Two years later, WTOP has reversed course.

CBS News Radio is back as the top-of-the-hour provider.

The decision, from a business perspective, is a simple swap, as ABC News Radio and CBS News Radio are both distributed by Skyview Networks.

WTOP’s swap came as CBS News Radio shifted its distribution, inventory management and sales to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Skyview from the Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One, effective at the start of 2018 across the U.S. East Coast. At the time, Washington Post veteran media reporter Paul Farhi reported that he was told by an unnamed WTOP executive that the switch to ABC News Radio “was a business decision—ie., ABC took fewer ad slots than CBS, giving WTOP more time to sell its own ads.”

Responding to a Tweet from a WTOP listener, the station said, “We appreciate all the great work that CBS has done for us, but management felt that ABC was a better choice at this point for content for our listeners.”

Now, it appears station management had a change of heart, restoring a relationship that began in 1929.

CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe took to Twitter on the afternoon of Dec. 31 to express his joy over WTOP’s return to his network’s news reports.

“As of this hour, @WTOP — the most essential radio station in Washington and one of the most powerful in the USA — is once again a @CBSNewsRadio affiliate. Just in time for Campaign 2020. We at @CBSNews are thrilled to be serving the station once again.”

CBS News Radio VP/GM Craig Swagler added, “We’re delighted to again partner with WTOP-FM. More than ever, news that impacts the world originates in Washington, D.C. As America gears up for Campaign 2020, CBS News is proud to once again offer its original reporting to WTOP listeners in the nation’s capital.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. I always had hoped they would simulcast 103.5 and 1500 at least from 6-9 am and 4-7 pm. when I lived in Calvert County MD. there was often “ducting” on 103.5 where you would receive distant signals instead of WTOP-FM.

  2. No disrespect meant to ABC Radio News, but CBS Radio News is the gold standard, going back to Edward R. Murrow’s “This is London” reports from the Blitz in the early days of WWII.

    I always thought the switch to ABC Radio News was wrong for three reasons: accuracy, professionalism, and tradition. WTOP had been linked to CBS News for decades.

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