WRC-AM wasn't the only station to go through an ownership and format change last weekend. WGAY-AM (1050), WGAY-FM's (99.5) simulcast partner and AM sister station, was turned over to Hagerstown businessman Gary Portmess for $950,000.
Portmess, who also owns and operates WHAG-AM news/talk in Hagerstown and its sister station, Top 40 WQCM-FM, started his new 1,000-watt daytimer with a less expensive news/talk format than the one used at WRC, and changed the call letters to WNTR-AM (1050), short for Washington News Talk Radio. He would like to pick up listeners where WRC left off -- just call 588-0111.
But with only 1,000 watts, there may be a technical problem. Portmess hopes WNTR will be "heard from Columbia to Arlington/Alexandria and Annapolis to Gaithersburg."
Designed to do just that, "Metro Morning" signs on at 6 with host Ed Enderle, Leonard Roberts as news director and morning anchor, Andy Pollin on sports, and rush-hour reports by Metro Traffic Control. A 90-second morning health feature with former WRC medical adviser Dr. Gabe Mirkin and his hour-long afternoon show beginning at 5 might also lure local listeners.
Starting at 9 a.m., Enderle hosts a talk show featuring area newsmakers and authors. ABC Talk Radio (800 423-TALK) with Owen Spann has the airwaves from 10 until noon, followed by psychologist Dr. Susan Forward until 2.
Michael Jackson -- the syndicated talk show host, not the singer -- is heard until 4. Mike Lennon, formerly of WRC, hosts an hourlong general-interest show at 4, followed by Mirkin at 5. While the sunlight lasts, psychologist Dr. Tony Grant will be heard from 6 to 7 p.m.
In December and January, the station will sign off at 6 p.m., according to Federal Communications Commission timetables for daytime operations. During the summer months, when days are longer, the station will remain on the air as late as 10:30.
On Saturday mornings Enderle will do the show alone until 9, when another former WRC talker, financial adviser Wayne Nelson, takes over for the next two hours. At 11 Lennon begins his two-hour morning home repair show. ABC Talk radio follows with child psychologist Dr. Lawrence Balter. At 3 Bob Fitzsimmons airs a general-interest show, and medical doctor Dean Edell is heard from 4 to sign-off.
On Sunday mornings beginning at 8, "Awake, Alive and Jewish," with Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan and Michael Hoffman, presents an hour of education, humor, interviews with Jewish newsmakers and ethnic music, including Jewish rock. "We like to think we're the Trumbull and Core of Jewish radio -- news, information, and we have contests and giveaway tickets," says Hoffman.
The Max Reznick Show follows at 9 with two additional hours of Jewish news, information, music and "The Yiddish Word of the Week." ABC Talk picks up at 11, garden hints from Ralph Snodsmith until noon, veterinarian Malcom Kramm until 1, Al Ubell with household hints until 2, nutritionist Dr. Robert Atkins until 4 and financial adviser Bill Bresnan until sign-off.
Columnist Lester Kinsolving will do three-minute commentaries on political, social and media topics weekday mornings and afternoons. John Wesley Brett, who helped start the Maryland News Network two months ago, will be assistant news director and afternoon anchor. Sandy Zimmet, who has worked at WINX-AM (1600) and most recently at WFMD in Frederick, will do street reporting. Zimmet will also continue working on the assignment desk at Channel 4. Kurt Jackson, morning-drive anchor for WOL-AM (1450), will cover District of Columbia and Prince George's County government and community news. Virginia Kramer, formerly a talk-show producer at WRC-AM, will perform the same duties at WNTR.
Portmess hopes to add Navy football and is looking for a gardening expert to round out the new schedule.