CBS Network, O&Os and Affiliates

by Christen Westbury

CBS: The Beginning

CBS embarked on their humble journey in 1927 as United Independent Broadcasters, Inc. The name of the company went through several name changes over the course of 5 decades, but finally adopted their current name – CBS Corporations – in 1997 when it was bought by Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

CBS originally started as a radio entity that was founded by Arthur Judson, but was bought by and then propelled forward financially by William S. Paley. Paley put a heavy emphasis on the importance of a large audience and the inherent ties large audiences have with advertisers. With that said he created a plan to make CBS a lucrative enterprise, supported by advertising sales. He offered free programming to affiliates in exchange for the incorporation of sponsored shows within their programming schedule. This created an avenue for him to acquire money from advertisers to increase CBS’ revenue. Paley took over the company in 1928, and from that year on, the company grew at exponential rates. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, CBS set the foundation for future media successes and in 1940 they added to that foundation by acquiring Columbia records. This expanded their business while also setting a tone for innovation.

In addition to everything that CBS was doing internally, they also had external star power at the forefront of the radio medium. Audiences were able to hear notable stars such as Bing Crosby and Phil Harris, thus helping to draw in high listenership. Their library of stars coupled with their large audience, allowed for an easy transition to television in 1948. From the 1950’s through the 1980’s the television network had huge success with shows such as The Andy Griffith Show, All in the Family and M*A*S*H. The company has since then gone through a plethora of changes in ownership, acquisitions and leadership, however today they are still one of the largest and most lucrative multimedia corporations [1].

CBS: The Parent Company

National Amusements, located in Norwood, Massachusetts, is the Parent Company of CBS corporations and Viacom, owning a controlling percentage of about 80%. Sumner Redstone is the Chief Executive Officer/Owner and his daughter Shari E. Redstone, is the current president of National Amusements. In addition to Redstone being the controlling stockholder of CBS corporations and Viacom, he is also a partner in the business (Global Data 2012) Commercial [10]

The company National Amusements,  is primarily and most importantly one of the frontrunners in the motion picture industry; owning and operating over 950 movie screens worldwide. They operate theatres in six states within the U.S.; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island while also having theaters in Brazil, Argentina, Scotland and Whales. Overall they have made both a national and worldwide presence within the movie picture industry (GlobalData 2012).

The company however, is not a stranger to financial hardships. In recent years, they have acquired around $1.46 billion dollars in debt. Their economic downfalls have forced them to sell 30 movie theatres in Dallas to Rave Cinemas in 2009, almost $1 billion dollars in stock in that same year, 87% of Midway games, and their Russian movie chain in order to try and resolve their debt problems. The company is currently still a thriving entity as a result of their profitable subsidiaries, however they still have not fully fixed their debt woes (GlobalData 2012).

CBS: The Network


The CBS network brand is currently marked by the “eye” logo, and their slogan “Only Us”. The network is one of the Big 4 broadcasting networks that have been and continue to be the major contributors for social, cultural, and political ideologies for television consumers.  The network delivers 22 hours of programming a day for their television audience for the purpose of both entertainment and knowledge. CBS incorporates a variety of programming options throughout their daily schedules, including dramas, comedies, specials, news programs and children shows. Their goal is to have diversified programming aimed towards the many different demographic groups that make up the United States. Some of their major programming successes have included the pioneering reality show ‘Survivor’ Survivor’s Best Moments [11] and the notable news program ’60 minutes.’ [2}


Owned & Operated/Affiliates breakdown

CBS has a total of 16 owned and operated stations that are apart of the CBS television network. The stations include KCBS-Los Angeles, KPIX-San Francisco, KOVR-Sacramento, KCNC-Denver, WFOR-Miami, WBBM-Chicago, WJZ-Baltimore, WBZ-Boston, WWJ-Detroit, WCCO-Minneapolis, WCBS-New York, KYW-Philadephia, KDKA-Pittsburgh, and KTVT-Dallas. Additionally, the network has over 205 affiliates in 48 states.[3]


Affiliate News

April 2, 2012 – Earlier in the year CBS Television Stations closed the acquisition deal of the independent New York station,  WLNY-TV. CBS coupled together the newly acquired station with their flagship Television station –WCBS-TV– to maximize all resources and to increase success within that market. The purpose of this business move was to give CBS a “duopoly in the nations largest media market” in addition to providing more opportunities for the network. Betty Ellen Berlamino was named both vice president and the station manager of WLNY. [5]

July 17, 2012 – In the summer of this year CBS acquired three new affiliate stations through an affiliation agreement with Gray Television, Inc. The stations include WECP-Panama City, Fla, WSVF-Harrisonburg, VA, and WIYE-Parkersburg, W.VA. This deal allowed CBS to have a presence in new markets, thus strengthening their portfolio. [6]

Fall 2012 Programming

This season the CBS Television Network added a total of four new series and returned 19 to their programming schedule. The new series included the newest hit drama Elementary CBS Elementary Promo [12],  as well as Vegas, Made in Jersey, and the comedy series Partners. The new drama Elementary has won the 18-49 demographic for the 10 o’clock time slot for a consistent 10 weeks. Some of the returning series for this fall 2012 season include ‘Person of Interest’ which was the #1 new show and the #1 comedy the Big Bang theory. The most recent reports have shown that NBC and CBS are tied for first place for the key demographic group of 18-49 year olds, averaging a 2.6 rating. [7]

CBS: 2012 Top Stories

June 21,2012— In the month of June, CBS made an unparalleled move by creating the largest major market radio sports network in the nation with the development of the CBS sports radio network through a deal with Cumulus media. This deal requires Cumulus media to act as the exclusive distribution and sales partner. They are responsible for the affiliate agreements, ad sales and exclusive syndication. [8]


November 11, 2012 – CBS sports network obtained rights to the AFL. This is a two-year agreement that will include 19 games and two play off games. The programming will start March 23, 2012. [9]


When looking back at this passed year, it is evident that the CBS network has remained profitable and on top. They have continued to expand their business in radio and have also championed effective programming. The company began with humble beginnings in the 1920’s and from that moment moving forward, they have sufficiently trail blazed a path of what success and efficiency truly looks like. In order to remain a multimedia conglomerate a company must have their roots firmly planted in various medium and must be a Mecca of innovation. CBS the corporation, has done just  that, and have created a formula for remaining one of America’s greatest media companies.














Global Data. (2012). National amusements company profile. Hoover’s Inc. Retrieved from

Pictures (excluding CBS Logo)