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WYPR moves Kast, Hall, rethinks ‘Maryland Morning’ slot

Tom Hall will move to "Midday" and Sheilah Kast will create a to-be-named half-hour daily slot after "Morning Edition" under scheduling shifts that WYPR 88.1 FM announced Thursday.

Kast's show will air 9:30 to 10 a.m. weekdays on the public-radio station. Though station management refers to Kast's venture as "a new long-format program," they were hesitant to say that "Maryland Morning" had been canceled. The new show may bear the same brand that's attached to the hourlong public-affairs program Hall has been hosting at 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, according to Andy Bienstock, the station's vice president and program director.

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"We haven't decided on the name yet." he said of Kast's new show, noting that it could be titled "Maryland Morning."

The changes are to take effect Sept. 19.

The new show will include the in-depth interviews and reporting on current events that Kast is known for, he said.

The moves come nearly a year after another shakeup at the station. When Sun columnist Dan Rodricks left "Midday" and launched his "Roughly Speaking" podcast on baltimoresun.com, Kast left her hosting gig with "Maryland Morning" and took over the noon call-in talk show. "Midday" was downsized from two hours to one. Hall, who had been arts editor at "Maryland Morning," took over that show.

"It's been about 10 months or so since we had the current lineup, and we just decided that Tom is better at hosting the call-in show, and Sheilah does a great job with long-form interviews, so we decided to switch them," Bienstock said.

"The two formats are the right matches for each host … and this puts them in the best position to shine."

The station's recent change in programming has nothing to do with ratings, Bienstock said.

From August 2015 to August 2016, the 10 a.m.-to-3-p.m. daypart -- which includes "Midday" -- maintained a rank of No. 14 in the market, showing growth from a 1.9 share to a 2.6 share, according to a Nielsen report.

The 6-to-10 a.m. daypart -- which includes the "Maryland Morning" hour -- rose from No. 15 to No. 12 in the market, growing from a 2.2 share to a 3.4 share.

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