Skip to main content

William O'Shaugnessy Remembers Frank Stanton

The following is a recollection by William O'Shaugnessy, president and editorial director of WVOX(AM):

When I read of [former CBS President] Frank Stanton's passing, my mind drifted to a New York afternoon long ago.

The venue was the fabled bar at the “21” Club.

Several network executives were discussing the reasons for the preeminence of CBS and giving close scrutiny and careful analysis to its reputation as “The Tiffany Network” of the day.

Wally Schwartz, the handsome president of ABC Television, was there.So too was Ed McLaughlin, who headed the ABC Radio Network and was Paul Harvey’s mentor.(This was well before he discovered Rush Limbaugh in Sacramento). And this being “21,” John Van Buren Sullivan, the classy major domo of WNEW of sainted memory, was also holding forth.

I think George Williams, who ran WABC in those days, also attended this high council.And Bill Grimes of CBS … plus a few suits from NBC.

After a few rounds someone attributed the real reason for the supremacy of CBS to the network’s CUFFLINKS!

“What the hell do cufflinks have to do with it?” said one barroom philosopher.

And then it was pointed out that NBC’s links were emblazoned with the peacock … ABC had the alphabet … and CBS had their fabled Eye in black onyz – mother of pearl - and gold.There was also wide agreement that the CBS cufflinks were “just a little smaller and more discreet” than the other networks … and thus “just a little classier.”

That was Frank Stanton.