WGRX, switching formats, fires DJs


Rock and roll is here to stay. Unless you're in the habit of listening to WGRX-FM (100.7), where its days are definitely numbered.

Reacting to persistently low ratings that have left it one of the least-heard stations on Baltimore's FM dial, management at the modern rock station has fired its program director and its six disc jockeys in preparation for a major format change.

General Manager Roy Deutschman said he is not ready to announce the format, but confirmed it would be announced soon, and would have nothing to do with rock.

"When you've got only a 1.1 [ratings] share, you've got to look and say, 'Maybe we should change something,' " said Mr. Deutschman, who joined the station in November.

Each ratings share translates to approximately 3,600 listeners in an average quarter-hour.

WGRX's owner, Shamrock Communications, recently changed the programming on its Milwaukee station to light jazz. Mr. Deutschman acknowledged that could also happen here. Country music is another possibility, although that would force WGRX to square-off against local media giant WPOC-FM (93.1).

"We've also looked at FM talk and classical," the general manager said. "We've really done our homework as far as what direction we're going to go."

The station's on-air talent, including the morning team of Marshall and Maxwell, were told Tuesday they no longer had jobs at the station.

Since then, WGRX technicians have kept the music playing with no interruptions from DJs.

"Right now, we're providing the most of what people listen to stations for, and that's a lot of rock," said Mr. Deutschman.

WGRX, with broadcast headquarters in Westminster, has been playing rock since 1984, primarily classic rock. Last year, however, station managers opted for youth-oriented rock, promoting itself as the station for Generation X listeners.

Mr. Deutschman isn't sure where that strategy went wrong, but suspects the main culprit is a saturated market WGRX was simply never able to crack.

"There certainly is, to my mind, a lot of this type of music being played in this market," he said, "with 98 Rock, WHFS, The Colt [WOCT-FM], WRNR, DC-101. I think that created a little bit too much rock competition."

Pub Date: 4/27/96

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