Jackson Weaver, 72, a broadcaster whose good humor, quick wit and unfailing ability to show up in the morning led to a 32-year love affair with radio listeners in the Washington area, died of heart and kidney failure yesterday at Holy Cross Hospital. He had diabetes.

Weaver was half of Harden and Weaver, the legendary team of WMAL Radio broadcasters who were on the air from 6 to 10 a.m. For most of the time since beginning their collaboration in 1960, they were the top-rated "drive time" show, and they did it six days a week. {Appreciation on Page B1.}

A WMAL spokesman said Frank Harden would return to the air next week at the regular time with Tim Brant, a WMAL sportscaster.

Through a process they described as "dynamic inaction," Harden and Weaver kept listeners abreast of news, weather, traffic conditions, school closings and other matters of special import; eased the school and rush-hour strain with a little music; kidded their way through the commercials; and recorded the comings and goings of an improbable array of imaginary characters such as a nameless lady with a high-pitched voice, a United States senator and Boscoe Osgood, a special events reporter who never got to the right place to get his story.

The keys to their success, they said in interviews over the years, were reliability and sticking to jokes that were nice as well as funny.

An example of their low-key style was the time they let a fan on the air to say hello to her husband, who was driving to work.

"Good morning, Joseph," she said. Which prompted one of the duo to joke, "I bet it's the first time she's said good morning to him in years."

"We've been very careful not to step on toes," Weaver told The Washington Post in an interview on the occasion of Harden and Weaver's 20th anniversary. "We feel when people get up in the morning, it's rough enough. If you take a firm stand on anything, the first thing is you've alienated a whole bunch of people, and we're not in the alienation business. We're in the friend-making business."

Five years later, in another anniversary interview, Weaver said that Washington is "not a flash-in-the-pan town -- maybe it is for politicians."

"But for air people," he said, "the longer you are here, the more you are part of the woodwork, the more you are part of people's minds."

To make sure that they would be there, the pair sometimes slept at the station on snowy nights.

A short, rotund figure with a walrus mustache, Weaver did the accents for the imaginary characters on the program.

He also was the voice of Smokey Bear in the U.S. Forest Service's broadcast campaign to prevent forest fires.

Harden and Weaver raised more than $7 million for Children's Hospital through direct contributions and the annual Harden and Weaver Golf and Tennis Tournament.

WMAL estimated that the two had broadcast more than 1 million public service announcements about community and neighborhood happenings.

In 1978, their program got both accolades and a rebuke from the Federal Communications Commission.

The agency fined WMAL $5,000 because commercials on Harden and Weaver were running longer than was reflected in the station's broadcast logs, a violation of FCC rules.

The problem arose because the team did so much joking around during commercials that, in the words of FCC Commissioner Margita E. White, it was impossible to tell when the ads started and stopped and the rest of the show took over. Commissioner Abbott M. Washburn said the two should get an award "for making ads palatable."

Weaver, whose last broadcast was on Oct. 14 and who often said he never wanted to retire, was born in Buffalo. He began his career in broadcasting there and later worked in Erie, Pa., and Manitowoc, Wis.

In 1942, he moved to the Washington area and went to work for WMAL.

Until he teamed up with Frank Harden in 1960, Weaver appeared on television as well as radio.

He was an announcer on all kinds of news programs, including coverage of White House news conferences and presidential inaugurations. In the early 1950s, he was the announcer of a coast-to-coast radio program called "The Navy Hour."

Later, he appeared on an award-winning local show, "Shop by Television," and as half of the ABC Radio comedy team "Frank and Jackson."

He also appeared on television on "The Jimmy Dean Show," which was broadcast nationally.

Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Elsie Weaver of Silver Spring; three sons, Mark Weaver, an announcer at WMAL, of Olney, Scott Weaver of Deale, Md., and Eric Weaver of Silver Spring; and four grandchildren.