Ed Walker, the deejay who re-created the big-band era every Sunday and brought humor to a week-night music show at WMAL-AM, left the station this week for the full-service nostalgia of WWRC-AM.
Walker, who announced Sunday that he would continue his Sunday morning trips down memory lane on WWRC, said yesterday, "The time seemed right to come over here. They made me a nice offer, and it is the kind of music I identify with."
Though Walker and WWRC management had been talking periodically about his working with the station since its new format debuted in September 1984, he said the immediate incentive for the move was that changes were planned and under way in the week-night schedule at WMAL.
Besides his Sunday show, Walker did a week-night show with John Lyon, who now will handle it alone from 7 to 10 p.m.
WMAL Vice President Fred Weinhaus said only that "some additional sports that will go on in the fall asked for some modifications in the schedule."
He also said WMAL, which has a number of show cohosts, would not be spliting any more teams. "That will be the only one cut back," said Weinhaus.
The juggling at WMAL includes moving sports host Ken Beatrice to 10 p.m. week nights. Starting June 8, Bill Mayhugh, the overnight institution on WMAL, will be taking Walker's Sunday slot at 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On WWRC Walker will host the 4 to 7 p.m. show on weekdays as well as hosting his nostalgia specialty show.
Walker started his "Play It Again" show on WMAL in July 1975 and built the second largest audience in the area on Sunday mornings. "I am hoping they will follow me," he said.
Ken Mellgren, operations manager and program director at WWRC, said Walker's music and style fit the WWRC mood. "His personality, his knowledge of the music, his image and the history he brings with it, fits in beautifully," said Mellgren.
Walker, a native of Forest, Ill., has lived in Washington since he was 4 years old. He graduated from the Maryland School for the Blind and American University. For 22 years he teamed with Willard Scott, now the "Today" show weatherman, as the "Joy Boys." They spent 17 of those years at the old WRC.