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WBAL radio's new lineup: More news, no replacement for Ron Smith

WBAL radio will launch its new post-Ron-Smith lineup Monday, and it will feature more news and less daytime talk, according to Dave Hill, program director for WBAL and FM sister station 98 Rock.

"Maryland's Morning News" will now run for five hours from 5 to 10 a.m., while the station's afternoon newscast anchored by Mary Beth Marsden will start at 2 and end at 6 p.m. It had been starting at 3 p.m.

The only daytime talk show will be hosted by Clarence Mitchell IV, known to WBAL audience as C4, who will now start his four-hour program at 10 a.m.

The station will offer an expanded 15 minute newscast at noon, and Mitchell will then continue to 2 p.m.

Smith, who hosted talk shows on WBAL for 26 years, died this month of pancreatic cancer. His show ran from 9 a.m. to noon.

"We are going to lean heavier on our news department," Hill said in a telephone interview Friday. "Obviously, losing Ron is a big hit for us. If you lose someone of that calibre, you have to re-think life a little bit."

Mitchell will continue his Saturday morning show for a few more weeks, but he will move to a Monday through Friday schedule given the expanded weekday load.

Saying that Smith was the kind of figure it is impossible to replace, Hill added, "Sometimes you choose change, and sometimes change chooses you. And in this case, change chose us. We felt our strongest suit has always been the news department, and leaning on it is the way to go."

I think it's a solid move by management, and does play to the station's stregth in news. If WBAL does find and/or develops a talk show host on weekends and weeknights, it can always carve out a spot for him or her. But with the Ravens and the Orioles and its news operations, I am not sure that needs to be a priority.





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