In radio's continuing battle of the morning teams, WASH-FM is sending in a Washington warhorse, and beginning tomorrow at 5 a.m. Baker and Burd will be back on the air.

The popular duo of Jeff Baker and David Burd hasn't been heard since June 1986, when Burd was fired from WCLY-FM (now called WPGC) and Baker briefly stayed on, breaking up the team.

"It worked out nicely for us," WTOP-WASH General Manager Michael Douglass said. "Our acquiring WASH coincided with their wanting to return to radio. It was not difficult at all to get them back together."

Both Burd and Douglass see the team as filling a hole in the morning market. "If you don't like Duran Duran," Burd said, "where are you going to go? If you're a woman 25 to 49, what are you going to listen to? If you're a 35-year-old man, what are you going to listen to?"

There's a choice, Douglass said, of going "up in age" to WMAL-AM's Harden and Weaver, or down in age appeal to WAVA-FM's "Morning Zoo" or WWDC-FM's Greaseman.

Neither Burd nor Douglass thinks any one station will suffer in ratings with the return of Baker and Burd. "When we split with WPGC," Burd said, "our audience went all over the dial." Added Douglass, "We expect the listeners that followed them at WPGC will return" to hear them on WASH.

Burd described the team's act as "politics, impersonations, political humor everyone can understand. It's a theater of the mind. We keep the illusion that these people {politicians, celebrities} are coming by the station for a visit. We offer personality, information, and we don't insult the audience. In fact, we let the audience in on the jokes. We're not vulgar. It's easy to do a vulgar show. What's hard is to be funny and topical without being vulgar."

Douglass said the team's style will work at the adult-contemporary station. "We hired them because we think what they do fits in with our programming concept. We're going to put them on the air and let them do what they do best. What so often happens is that a station hires someone because they like their act, then they start tinkering with that act and ruin what they hired in the first place," which is what happened to the team at WCLY, according to Burd and Douglass.

Burd said yesterday that WASH met several of the team's conditions -- creative control, allowance for outside interests and a shift that ends at 9 a.m. Burd is an advertising manager with Dialcom, a British-owned telecommunications firm, and intends to keep that job.

He also said that when the show is over at 9, he'll be done for the day at WASH. "I don't want to be standing out at a Roy Rogers handing out balloons with the station's logo on them," he said. Baker has been acting and writing and has done some free-lance advertising work.

Douglass said Baker and Burd will be in full control of their show's content. "As long as they satisfy the required formatics {periodically announcing the time, weather and the station's call letters} we encourage them to do what they do best."

WASH had initially talked with another defunct morning team, Jim Elliott and Scott Woodside, according to a station employe who asked not to be named, but they wanted "at least" $100,000 each, which was "too much, at least to start with."

Baker and Burd will receive salaries of about $70,000 annually and have signed a three-year contract, according to the WASH employe.

They will replace WASH morning deejay John Bodner, who will move to a midday shift. All next week they will broadcast from Joe and Mo's restaurant, where they will be inviting listeners to join them for breakfast.

Douglass said he expects the team to boost ratings at WASH. "Based on our research and their track record, it should work. We're looking for slow, steady growth -- no meteors or skyrockets. We all know what happens to skyrockets."