All-News Radio pioneer Joseph Dembo died Monday at his home in New York City after suffering from cancer. He was 83.
Joe Dembo began a 28-year career at CBS in 1960 after eight years with NBC News as a writer, reporter and producer. Although his CBS career involved a range of positions overseeing foreign news gathering, producing television news broadcasts and managing the CBS Radio division, he was best known for his innovative leadership of WCBS-AM New York.
In 1967 Dembo was selected by CBS Chairman William Paley to turn the flagship station into an All-News operation – a novel idea at the time. Dembo assembled the team which expanded news broadcasting on WCBS until it was All-News around the clock. The format was gradually expanded to other major market CBS O&Os as well. Dembo headed the station until 1971, when he headed off to manage the CBS News bureau in Rome.
Dembo was both on-air and management for much of his career. He was made a network vice president in charge of CBS Radio in 1982. He left the company in 1988 to become a professor at Fordham University. He taught journalism ethics and classes about broadcast journalism history until retiring last year.
One of Joe Dembo’s three children is Robert Dembo, Executive Director at NBC News.