Managers at stations across the dial are making staff adjustments and fine-tuning their on-air sound to position themselves for the all-important winter Arbitron ratings survey, which began Thursday.

At classical WGMS-AM/FM (570/103.5), Program Director Paul Teare returned from vacation Wednesday and was fired that afternoon. In an unusual move, Teare, who had been at the Bethesda outlet for 18 years, was dismissed without severance pay. Teare, who had programmed WGMS since 1978, said Sunday that he believes his ouster was "financially motivated, particularly because there was no severance." However, WGMS General Manager Catherine Meloy said the firing was "definitely not financially motivated. WGMS finished its second best year in the history of the station," which was founded 44 years ago. Meloy said it would not be appropriate to comment on severance.

Station staffers said Meloy put Teare on "permanent probation" in late summer after unspecified job tasks had gone undone and a handful of employees, including several on-air voices, had lodged complaints about him while he was on vacation. Meloy acknowledged that Teare was on probation at the time of what she calls his "resignation," but declined to be specific. Meloy says she's reevaluting the program director position and has not decided on a replacement.

At news-sports-talk WTOP-AM (1500), Operations Manager Holland Cooke surprised staffers Thursday morning by announcing that he will leave to become a media consultant. Cooke, a former Rhode Island disc jockey whose leap to a responsible news position at the station 6 1/2 years ago amazed some staffers, lost his authority early last month to schedule news anchors and reporters. The task was handed over to news director Mike Rushlow after staffers complained to General Manager Michael Douglass about their schedules and the newsroom operation.

Cooke, who said his consultant duties will include showing news operations how to make more money, and others how to attract media coverage, said he's "been thinking about it {consulting} for a long time. I just turned 40 and thought I better do it now."

Although several station insiders believe that the decision to leave the station was not totally of his making, Cooke predicted that developments in his new consulting business will prove otherwise in the coming weeks. "This has been a pipe dream for the longest time," Cooke said.

Rushlow will temporarily add Cooke's duties to his own.

At urban contemporary WPGC-FM (95.5), General Manager Ben Hill said last week that he has hired former WAVA-FM (105.1) morning news anchor David Haines. Haines, who left the Arlington station 17 months ago, is currently at New York's ABC-owned WPLJ-FM and is scheduled to join WPGC on Jan. 21. Also, Steve Chaconas, news anchor at business-oriented WPGC-AM (1580), was promoted to program and news director. Hill expects to name a program director today for the FM side, replacing Dave Ferguson, who resigned suddenly in late November.

Hill has waited a long time to hear Haines say "Good, good morning, Washington" and announce that it is "burnt-toast and coffee time" on his airwaves. He tried to hire the Paul Harvey sound-alike several years ago but was thwarted by a "no compete" clause in Haines's WAVA contract. Haines reportedly earns $150,000 annually at the ratings-troubled New York station. Hill, who has a reputation of not overpaying performers, refused to say how much Haines will earn but said, "We are paying him what we had to in order to get him here."

Baker & Burd: 3 More Years at WASH Jeffrey Baker and David Burd, who together call themselves "the Charisma Twins," "Morning Love Gods" and "the Know It All Brothers" mornings at WASH-FM (97.1), have agreed to a three-year deal with the Chase Communications-owned adult contemporary station. Baker declined to say how much each would be paid annually, but said he and Burd will be paid equally and that the deal calls for 10 percent annual increases. At the end of the last contract, Baker and Burd, though not earning the same amount, were each paid close to six figures.

Wiseguy Burd summed up the deal: "It sure beats working for UPS. Besides, we don't look good in brown."

WWRC: Night Moves After losing its NBC Talknet contract to WPGC-AM, WWRC-AM (980) last night shelved the network's Bruce Williams and the first two of three hours of Neil Myers, replacing the chat shows with Sally Jessy Raphael from 7 to 10 p.m. and psychologist Joy Browne until midnight. NBC informed the station in November that the NBC affiliation will be moved to WPGC (1580) on Feb. 17. WPGC, a ratings-weak 50,000-watt daytimer, is scheduled to begin broadcasting overnights at 292 watts later this month. WWRC Operations Manager Tyler Cox said Friday that he decided to take the popular Williams off the air because "we have to get our programming lined up for the winter book {ratings survey}." Otherwise, he said, programming would have had to be interrupted mid-survey. Cox said WWRC will continue to broadcast Talknet from midnight to 5 a.m. through mid-February. And network commercials carried during the Williams show will continue to air on WWRC through the contract -- which prevents listeners from hearing Bruce Williams on any other station until next month.