Frank Harden and Jackson Weaver, perhaps buoyed by WMAL-AM's (630) impressive and sizable news and information staff and a massive on-air promotion of their show throughout the day, increased their share of the morning audience 12 years and older to continue their long reign as most-listened-to program in town, according to the spring Arbitron ratings survey. The team claimed a 7.9 share, up from winter's 7.4, where Harden and Weaver shared the top-spot limelight with the ever-popular Donnie Simpson of urban contemporary WKYS-FM (93.9). Simpson, however, fell hard this time to a 5.5 share and a seventh-place ranking.
"It's consistency. Along with coming off of their 30th anniversary in the spring," surmises WMAL Program Director Michael Neff of the morning show's success.
Not to mention that "there's also substance there to back it up. Frank and Jack do the show better and better all the time. They are like a great thoroughbred, they are great for the long distance," Neff said.
Jim London and Mary Ball, heard on WMZQ-AM/FM (1390/98.7), put the country station in the No. 2 morning spot with a 6.4 share, off slightly from winter's 6.8. News, sports and talk formatted WTOP-AM (1500) enjoyed a small increase in audience, moving to a 6.3 from 5.9, while Top 40 WAVA-FM (105.1) weighed in with a 5.9 share, rebounding from winter's much-whined-about 4.7 share. WPGC-FM's (95.5) Robin Breeden and Dave Ferguson were right behind with a 5.8 share, up from 5.7. Easy listening WGAY-FM (99.5), which was No. 1 throughout the day with a 7.1 share, was sixth in the morning race with a 5.6 share, up strongly from 4.7.
While dry-witted Dennis Owens at classical WGMS-FM (103.5) leaped to a startling 3.0 from a 1.7 share in winter, Paul Harris at classic rock WCXR-FM (105.9) joined WKYS's Simpson in the big drop category, down to 3.5 from a 5.1 share. Harris appears to be developing a pattern of large winter and summer gains, and large spring and fall drops. Possibly WCXR's true audience is somewhere in the middle.
WWDC-FM (101.1) rock jock and storyteller Doug "Greaseman" Tracht inched back from a much talked-about winter drop to 2.9, while New York-based Howard Stern, heard on WJFK-FM (106.7), jumped to 3.4 from 2.8. Adult-oriented talker Stern, who is also heard on Philadelphia's WYSP-FM and is now near the top of that city's ratings race, has been a slow starter in the 20 months that he's been simulcast here but may now be catching on. In the 25- to 54-year-old demographic, he was 11th with a 3.8 share, up from 3.3, and No. 3 with a 5.4 share among men in that age group behind WMZQ and WTOP.
When asked about a possible Beatles reunion, a Beatles member once said that it isn't possible to reheat a souffle. That's not so at adult contemporary WASH-FM (97.1). The reunited morning team of Jeff Baker and David Burd has inched toward the top of the Arbitron ratings pile in 2 1/2 years there after having been separated by Burd's firing at WPGC in June of 1986, following a three-year run at that station. The duo, who each morning repeatedly (and perhaps jokingly) remind listeners that they are "the morning love gods," were eighth with a 4.5 share in the 12-plus age group. But in the targeted audience of listeners 25 to 54, they had their best-ever performance, up to 6.2 from 5.4 for No. 3.
Meanwhile, the show's news anchor, Carol Thayer, 46, will leave her morning post at the end of the week after nearly four years there to manage her lunch catering-delivery business. "Sandwich Lady," which she opened in Rockville five years ago, has grown into a 20-employee operation that demands a larger chunk of her time. Highly dramatic traffic reporter Carl "Sparky" Pritchard will move into the news spot, leaving, one hopes, the sensationalism at the stoplight.
Staff Changes at WNTR
Six weeks after first rejecting Tom Krimsier's resignation as general manager of talk-formatted WNTR-AM (1050), former presidential candidate Pat Robertson has accepted the notice and named "Battle Line" co-host Pat Korten station and operations manager. Korten, who was Edwin Meese's spokesman while Meese was U.S. attorney general, also will continue to be heard on the topical weeknight show. Krimsier, who joined the station less than a year ago, was homesick and wanted to rejoin his family in New Orleans, according to Program Director Michael Del Giorno. Meanwhile, Del Giorno, 26, now recovered from a heart attack suffered in April while on a business trip at Disney World, has been promoted to vice president, programming, for Robertson's Broadcast Equities Inc., CBN Radio Networks. He will be in charge of programming the conservative WNTR talk network stations in Oklahoma City and Charlotte, N.C., and the more than 100 stations associated with Robertson's recent acquisition, the Florida Radio Network.