Two veteran Washington voices, Mac McGarry and Jerry Phillips, are bringing back their familiar formats of ballads and conversation to the local weekend lineups.
Ballads are the territory of McGarry, who will be on WWRC-AM (980) Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. starting Dec. 15.
McGarry, who started on the old WRC in 1950, has been off the air since August, when NBC sold the station to Greater Media.
What he has in mind for his pre-Felix Grant show follows the station's preference for the old standards -- he'll be playing some of the songs that made his afternoon drive show successful from 1960 to 1972.
"In the 1960s there was a separate track from rock 'n' roll -- Henry Mancini, Burt Bacharach and the form that Felix Grant brought to North America, the bossa nova," McGarry says. "We played the great vocalists, like Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett."
McGarry worked at WMAL on weekends from 1973 to 1979, and then had a talk show on WRC from 1979 until last August.
McGarry, who has been the host of "It's Academic" on NBC-owned WRC-TV for 23 years, likes the challenge of radio.
"You can't keep away from it," he says. "When you're on the air, nothing can bother you -- you develop a shield . . . In your own mind, you can be anyone you wish."
Phillips' specialty, on WOL-AM (1450) Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m., is music and talk. "The Jerry Phillips Community Sunday Show," as one WOL wit calls it, will emphasize Phillips' longstanding community ties.
Phillips, who works for the District government, hasn't had a regular show since he was fired from WHUR-FM two years ago.
The decline in community shows, particularly the type the late Petey Greene did so well, has alarmed Phillips.
"The community is not heard, the little people are not heard. When people can talk about what touches their life styles, that is very essential. Radio can provide that," he said.
A 20-year veteran of local radio, Phillips was host and producer of the morning show at WHUR for six years. In his career he received 80 community and media awards and twice Mayor Marion Barry proclaimed "a day" in his honor.