Themes from ‘Other’

“West 57th” Theme

This hip and slick news magazine was started in 1985 as the 60 Minutes for a younger generation. It was named after the address of the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. The show was fast paced and visually flashy but had essentially the same format as 60 Minutes. The program had no main anchor; the correspondents (like Meredith Vieira and Steve Kroft) would introduce their own stories. Despite its popularity and profitability, West 57th faced a lot of internal criticism. Dan Rather was afraid it took away resources from the CBS Evening News and Don Hewitt saw it as a younger rival to 60 Minutes. The program was cancelled in 1989.

Edd Kalehoff – West 57th

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“CBS News Nightwatch” 1982 – 1988 Theme

CBS News Nightwatch was an overnight newscast. It debuted in October of 1982 and was replaced with Up to the Minute in 1992. For most of its existence, Charlie Rose anchored the program. During his tenure, the program developed from being mostly a straightforward newscast to essentially a two-hour interview show. This theme was composed by Score Productions’ Walt Levinsky, who also did other themes for CBS at the time such as the CBS Evening News, NFL Football and College Basketball coverage. It was replaced in 1988 by a theme from Edd Kalehoff.

Score Productions – CBS News Nightwatch theme

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“Sunday Morning” 1979 – 1998 Theme

CBS News Sunday Morning is the tv version of a Sunday morning newspaper magazine. The focus is not on hard news, but feature stories. Being a successful morning program, CBS executives attempted in the early ’80s to transfer the Sunday morning format, including the theme music, to weekdays with anchors Charles Kuralt and Diane Sawyer. The theme music is a vinyl recording of Don Smithers playing Gottfried Reiche’s Abblasen on an eight-foot baroque trumpet. In 1998 they decided to replace this version with a clearer version of the same music, played by Doc Severinsen on a piccolo trumpet.

Gottfried Reiche – Abblasen

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“CBS Radio News” 1969 – 2001 Sounder

For many years, this was the sounder used to introduce the hourly news update from CBS News. It was composed by Eric Siday and his company Identitones. Siday was a spectacularly successful pioneer in creating electronic sound logos. An early and famous example is the Maxwell House percolating coffee pot. It formed a contrast to the countless supposedly catchy but quickly tiring jingles that were on the air at the time. An added benefit: they were cheaper to produce because they didn’t require live musicians and residuals did not have to be paid to singers.

Identitones – CBS Radio News sounder
Identitones – CBS Radio sports sounder

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“60 Minutes”

In 1968 broadcast pioneer (and longtime executive producer) Don Hewitt, created a new kind of television program — the news magazine. It was supposed to do feature reporting that was informative and hard hitting. After a less than successful start, the program caught on in the 1970s and has been on top of the yearly Nielsens a total of five times. All the other networks were quick to enter this lucrative business and especially during the ’80s and ’90s, it seemed entire network schedules were filled up with news magazines. In 1999, to expand on the success of this show, CBS created 60 Minutes II, which aired on a weeknight. Since the first episode, 60 Minutes has used the ticking sound of a stopwatch as its open and commercial break bumper.

Ticking stopwatch (60 Minutes)

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