NBC-owned WKYS-FM (93.9) and Metropolitan's WASH-FM (97.1) Thursday joined Metroplex-owned WCXR-FM (105.9) and sister-station WCPT-AM (730) in the for-sale category. Metroplex partners announced earlier this month that they would look at offers beginning at $20 million for classic rock WCXR and satellite-fed soul oldies WCPT.

Although NBC officials refused to reveal an asking price, observers estimate the value of urban contemporary WKYS at $45 million to $50 million. Recently, NBC had indicated it would try to keep its stations and its radio news network, but last week's change of heart -- which also included selling Chicago powerhouse WMAQ-AM and San Francisco Giants' flagship KNBR-AM -- is "for a variety of strategic reasons," NBC Radio President Randy Bongarten said yesterday.

In a letter sent to all NBC radio employes, Bongarten said the network also plans "to pursue a station acquisition program while we position our radio stations to operate as competitively as possible." NBC will develop a "buy some, sell some" program while "reconfiguring our station portfolio." Bongarten said NBC's radio news network is still seen "as viable and attractive."

One NBC insider summed up the letter: "It says we're staying in the radio business."

Yesterday, Bongarten said the announcement was "the result of a relatively long and detailed planning process, which began when GE bought RCA {which owns NBC} a year and a half ago."

Metropolitan, formed last fall following a leveraged buyout of nine radio stations and the Texas State Network by Metromedia management, will sell WIP-AM, once a Philadelphia mainstay, as well as WASH in order to "strengthen its financial situation," according to WASH-FM General Manager Tom Durney.

"WIP is a struggling AM, but WASH can command big bucks," said Durney, who estimated the price tag for "Easy 97" at $25 million to $30 million and guessed that Metropolitan has received 14 or 15 offers already.

Warming Up for the Fall

Ratings are what make radio go around. And around. And around. And last week, some station managers faced with low ratings sent pink slips around. John Dowling got one from WPGC-AM/FM (1580/95.5). Sandy Weaver got one from WRQX-FM (107.3). Even popular WRC-TV sportscaster George Michael got one for his morning part-time gig at Q-107, which is apparently in the process of some sort of renovation.

WPGC-AM/FM's format, an urban-contemporary hybrid, is still under construction. Dowling's trademark chatty, folksy manner had recently been transformed into a high-energy, low-profile personality who read one-line remarks between songs.

"John is one of the neatest guys in D.C.," said WPGC's General Manager Ben Hill, but "when formats get changed, there are usually some personnel changes."

El Paso jock Dave Ferguson will replace Dowling next week. Also new at the simulcast twins is Al De Angelo from WKSS-FM in Hartford, Conn., in a new 6 to 10 p.m. shift, pushing Linda Kelly to 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Over at Q-107, thrift is apparently the game plan. Insiders speculate that Weaver, an eight-year veteran and the station's most senior jock, was let go because she was earning $60,000 for her midday show, nearly double what Capital Cities Broadcasting, the station's new owners, wants to pay. Belt tightening at both Q-107 and sister station WMAL-AM (630) has changed the way both stations conduct business. One Q-107 insider said the last year "has been like riding a roller coaster through hell."

George Michael's $30,000-a-year part-time job went down the tubes on Wednesday when, as he put it, "We quit on each other." Q-107 spokesman Vivienne Vaughan described Michael's departure as a "management decision. We don't want to run sports commentary; we just want to report scores."

"It's bad for my reputation for me to be on that station," said Michael, who complained there had been so many personnel changes at the station in the past year he barely knew whom he was dealing with.

Chances are good, however, Michael will be back on the radio soon. "A lot of my friends are at WAVA-FM {105.1}," he said.

More Folk, Less Jazz

The ax also fell at WAMU-FM (88.5), on jazz expert Rusty Hassan. The station is pursuing a format of news/talk, bluegrass and other traditional music.

"We're bowing out after 17 years, 11 months and two weeks," Hassan told his "Jazz Sunday" audience. "Our 18th anniversary would have been in July. We won't be here for that, or for the 19th or 20th anniversaries."

Hassan told The Post that the public broadcasting station pulled the plug on the weekly four-hour jazz show because "they figure the station is known for news/talk, public radio, bluegrass and folk-type music, and jazz didn't fit in. I feel very strongly that my show belongs here on 88.5, {but} I know I can get a show on any other station in town."

Around the Dial

WAMU-FM talk veteran Fred Fiske has announced his retirement after a decade with the station. Fiske, 67, went off the air this spring to care for his ailing wife but is expected to return later this summer for a finale ... John Sebastian moves from Phoenix to WBMW-FM (106.7) as program director next week. Sebastian has programmed rockers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Boston.