CBS’s NYC station switches website design, gets new URL

CBS’s owned station in New York City, WCBS, switched its website Feb. 23, 2022 to a look that mimics its parent network’s news site, moves it under the primary CBSNews.com domain and appears to drop most references to “CBS 2.”

Users entering the publicly advertised domain CBSNewYork.com found themselves on a page with a black background and similar layout and typography to the network level CBS News division site that was first introduced in 2018.

Instead of the full width background video player of the CBS News Streaming Network national feed, however, WCBS’s page features a NYC photo with the player below it in, on desktop, a fixed with layout. 

Looking more closely, users will also note that the station’s homepage now has a URL with a directory path containing CBSNews.com, more specifically at cbsnews.com/newyork. 

Starting in 2010, entering the publicly advertised domains for CBS owned stations, including CBSNewYork.com, redirected users to a subdomain under the CBSLocal.com domain (for example, newyork.cbslocal.com). Each station had its own distinct subdomain which, in turn, hosted separate websites for each that all followed the same general look and feel.

The CBSLocal.com domain was also used to host the sites for radio stations the network owned at the time but has since sold off to Entercom.

Another change introduced Feb. 23 is that the site banners now feature a “CBS News New York” logotype set in the TT Norms fontthe network and news division use.

There’s no “2” logo to be found in the primary header. Even the browser favicon is now the CBS eye instead of an iteration of the station logo, though the open graph image, which is what most social media and other sites use in link previews and posts, still feature the WCBS 2 and WLNY 10/55 logos.

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“As we continue to unify CBS News and Stations, we are providing clarity to our customers in the spaces they engage us. Aligning our local New York website with our CBS News New York streaming channel is part of that unification. You will see us doing the same thing with our other local websites in the near future,” a CBS spokesperson said in an email to NewscastStudio.

CBS has standardized its website and social media naming conventions under the “CBS (City or region name)” format for about a decade and recently rebranded its local CBSN streaming networks as “CBS News (City or region name)” as opposed to the old “CBSN (City or region name)” names.

The original CBSN, which is a national streaming feed, was renamed to simply CBS News in most uses, though it’s also known as the CBS News Streaming Network to differentiate between it and news division itself. In short, the CBSN brand is no longer actively used.

It’s not immediately clear if CBS owned stations are migrating to the “CBS News (City or region name)” template as overall branding, including possibly on local newscasts, but it does appear that is the new favored title for station sites at least.

The CBS rep did not respond to questions about the future of its stations’ on air branding.

Most CBS owned stations brand on air as “CBS (Channel number)” and “CBS (Channel number) News,” for their newscasts, though there are exceptions such as WBZ in Boston, KDKA in Pittsburgh, WCCO in the Twin Cities and WJZ in Baltimore, which all tend to use their call letters instead due to local familiarity with them.

WWJ in Detroit is also moving forward with plans to launch a full fledged local news department later in 2022.

A quick test shows that CBSNewsNewYork.com (as opposed to the current CBSNewYork.com) is controlled by the network and redirects to the same redesigned page should the station group decided to start including “News” in its website URLs.

In other markets, some domains are not yet configured that way and do not appear to be controlled by CBS, such as CBSNewsChicago.com that redirects to a parked page full of ads.

WCBS’s social media account handles have not been changed to the new format. At least some of the social media handles, such as @CBSNewsNewYork, are registered but do not appeared to be linked to CBS.

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