WYST-AM shifts format, lays off on-air employees

January 05, 1991|By Henry Scarupa

AM radio station WYST dropped its oldies format yesterday and now is simulcasting the adult contemporary programming of its sister station, WYST-FM.

The changeover, which went into effect at 3 p.m., resulted in the layoff of five on-the-air personalities, including Phil Wood, who had conducted a sports talk show six days a week for the past two years. Mr. Wood had a revenue-sharing arrangement with the station and was not on the staff.

Bill Hooper, manager of both stations, said at least one of the laid-off broadcasters would be transferred outside the Baltimore area to another station owned by the Bethesda-based parent corporation, United Broadcasting.

Mr. Hooper said the change stemmed from poor ratings for the AM station (1010 on the dial) , which earned a 0.5 share in Arbitron's summer survey.

Fall ratings are due out next week.

"We tried the oldies style for two years," Mr. Hooper said. "It grew to a certain number and just stayed there. We felt we might have a better shot at a higher rating with a different product."

WYST-FM (92.3) had a 2.0 share in Arbitron's summer book. Its spring rating of 3.3 was its highest in five years.

Mr. Wood, an 18-year-veteran of radio, learned of the layoff yesterday morning.

He said his plans were incomplete but that he hoped to remain in the Baltimore area.

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