Beginning Tuesday, fans of Good Morning Maryland, the wake-up show on WMAR's Channel 2, won't have to interrupt their viewing of the program as they head off to work. They can turn on their car radio and keep listening.
A new partnership between WMAR and radio stations WCBM-AM 680 and WVIE-AM 1370 will mean not only a daily two-hour simulcast of Good Morning Maryland beginning at 4:55 a.m. on WVIE but weather reports and, as the occasion warrants, news stories shared among all three stations throughout the day.
"It helps us expand our Good Morning Maryland team and expose them potentially to more viewers and listeners," said Bill Hooper, general manager of WMAR, who was promoted to the position two weeks ago. "Both of those radio stations are news-talk and information-based, and their audiences are the kind of people who are going to be looking for that in television."
Hooper, the former sales director for the five CBS radio stations in the Baltimore market, said it was "pretty unique" for a television station to simulcast a program on a radio station owned by a different company. (WMAR is owned by the E. W. Scripps Co., while WCBM and WVIE are owned by M-10 Broadcasting, a division of Mangione Family Enterprises. All three stations are ABC affiliates.)
Hooper said that, for the time being at least, the simulcast of Good Morning Maryland will carry the same ads on the radio as it does on TV, which he said could become a selling point for advertisers wishing to reach a broader market. In addition, he said, the radio stations would have the option of tapping into any of WMAR's news shows at any time and broadcasting them to their listeners.
Bob Pettit, general manager of WCBM and WVIE, said the new partnership seemed to be a perfect fit.
"We were looking for a partnership with a TV company that was not already in the radio business," said Pettit. Contrary to the CBS and NBC affiliates in Baltimore - respectively, WJZ's Channel 13, and WBAL's Channel 11 - the ABC affiliate had no radio partner in town, he said.
Pettit said his two stations had agreed to promote WMAR's news stories and investigations.