From the Baltimore Sun
Ehrlichs will host WBAL Radio show
Saturday program of events affecting the state
By Nick Madigan
March 15, 2007
Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his wife, Kendel, will host their
own two-hour show Saturdays on Baltimore's WBAL-AM 1090, starting March
The hiring of the former first couple is a coup for WBAL, which muscled
aside competing interest in the Ehrlichs from two other stations,
WCBM-AM 680 and WHFS-FM 105.7. As governor, Ehrlich was a frequent
guest on WBAL, where he sometimes broke news.
"Bob has always appeared on our station," Jeff Beauchamp, vice
president and station manager of WBAL Radio, said yesterday. "He's had
good rapport with the callers and our listeners. He enjoys it."
The station sees Ehrlich as a good draw. "Here's a guy who, despite his
loss in the last election, left office with a 63 percent approval
rating," Beauchamp said.
Their show will run at 9 a.m. Saturdays, according to a WBAL
announcement, which said the Ehrlichs wold "bring their perspective to
the stories, events and issues impacting Marylanders," and that they
"promise to let you hear from, and talk to, some of the biggest names
on today's political scene."
Bob Elliott's four-hour Saturday show is being moved to 5 a.m. to
accommodate the Ehrlichs.
The news that Ehrlich - a Republican who was defeated last fall in his
bid for a second term as governor - had signed with a competing station
came as a surprise yesterday to Bob Pettit, WCBM's general manager.
"Shoot. That dog," Pettit exclaimed when told of the deal. "I really
thought we were going to be working with him."
Pettit, program director Sean Casey and WCBM host Tom Marr each spoke
with Ehrlich in recent weeks about his joining the station as a co-host
once a week on Marr's show and as a substitute host during Marr's
absences, Pettit said. The former governor and his wife were guest
hosts for Marr's three-hour morning show on Jan. 24.
Pettit said WCBM probably had lost in the bidding for the Ehrlichs
because it was not able to offer them a slot on weekends, as all the
station's weekend programming is "brokered," a term for paid
programming over which the station has no control. (Ehrlich joined a
law firm last month, which could mean his weekdays are spoken for. He
did not return a call yesterday for comment.)
Another possible reason, Pettit said, is that WCBM "is a little more
right-wing" than WBAL.
Ehrlich "always expressed a fear of getting too close to us, the way
some people feel about Fox News," said Pettit, whose station broadcasts
shows by such conservative hosts as Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and
Similar voices pervade the airwaves at WBAL, where Limbaugh once
reigned and where hosts such as Chip Franklin and Ron Smith have often
had Ehrlich as a guest. The 50,000-watt station, which is owned by the
Hearst Corp., reaches much of Maryland.
The Ehrlichs' new contract specifies that their services as talk-show
hosts are exclusive to WBAL. However, Beauchamp said, they would be
permitted to comment informally on breaking news events if another
radio or television station "puts a mike in front of them."
The station announced also that former state Sen. Clarence Mitchell IV,
a regular co-host on Franklin's show, will get a three-hour slot
weeknights at 9 p.m., while Sun sports columnist Peter Schmuck, who
hosts his own show on Saturdays, will also have a Sunday show before
Orioles' games starting in April. Beauchamp said also that Sun
columnist Dan Rodricks, who has been co-hosting with Chip Franklin on
Tuesdays and Thursdays, had declined an offer for his own show; his
last day on the air is today.
Copyright © 2007, The Baltimore Sun