Don O'Brien -- the morning drive time personality for dance-oriented Top 40 station WERQ-FM (92 Q) and one of the area's most identifiable broadcast names and voices -- was fired yesterday.
Mr. O'Brien, 36, had been with the station formerly known as WYST-FM since 1990 and was one-half of the infamous Brian (Wilson) and O'Brien morning team on WBSB-FM (B-104) in the mid- and late 1980s.
"I guess they figured I wasn't young enough or hip enough," said Mr. O'Brien, who added that he was warned in a memo from the management of the station two weeks ago to "get your act together or get another job."
Bill Hooper, 92Q's general manager, declined to discuss the reason for Mr. O'Brien's dismissal, other than to say the station was going to go in an unspecified new direction in the morning and that "Don wasn't going to work."
Mr. O'Brien's slot will be filled temporarily by midday announcer Barry McKay. Mr. O'Brien's sidekick, Wendy Corey, will continue at the station, he said.
WERQ, which changed formats from up-tempo adult contemporary to the more youth-oriented dance Top 40 in August, leapt from a 0.9 to a 3.3 share in the most recent Arbitron ratings, good for 11th in the market.
Mr. O'Brien said he would continue to work as a weekend weather anchor at WMAR-TV (Channel 2) but said he was unsure whether he would pursue another job in local radio.