- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Talk-radio station WMAL (630 AM) fired evening host Victoria Jones last week and gave her time slot back to station veteran Chris Core, just days after Mr. Core's ill-fated move to WMAL's morning show.
The ABC-owned station said it wanted to appease Mr. Core's listeners, who complained when his long-running afternoon show was dropped and he was moved to mornings.
"The response was overwhelming," said Willie Waffle, WMAL's promotions and marketing director. He said the station was flooded with e-mails and telephone calls urging the station to return Mr. Core to afternoons, but he declined to say how many messages it received.
Last night, Mr. Core began airing weeknights from 6 to 9 p.m., the slot previously occupied by Ms. Jones.
The scheduling shuffle began last month, when WMAL announced it would air the full three-hour, nationally syndicated "Sean Hannity Show" weekday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m., adding the previously pre-empted third hour.
To add Mr. Hannity's third hour, WMAL dropped Mr. Core's afternoon show which had aired in various forms for 25 years and shifted Ms. Jones' show from 7 to 10 p.m. to 6 to 9 p.m.
Mr. Core then moved to WMAL's morning show, which is co-hosted by Tim Brant and Andy Parks.
He co-hosted only one broadcast with Mr. Brant and Mr. Parks. Listeners who heard that Feb. 25 show described it as a disaster.
"You had three people competing for the microphone. And when they took a call from a listener, you had four voices on the air, and you couldn't tell who was who," one listener said.
Ms. Jones, who had been with WMAL for two years, lasted two weeks in the 6 to 9 p.m. slot.
Mr. Core said he is "relieved" to have his own show again, but he regrets Ms. Jones was fired. "It wasn't my call," he said.
Mr. Waffle would not comment on Ms. Jones' firing.
A person close to Ms. Jones said she arrived at the station Thursday to do her broadcast, but was called into the operation manager's office and fired.
"Victoria was stunned," the source said. The person said Ms. Jones felt she had been treated unprofessionally.
WMAL once ruled Washington's airwaves with legendary morning duo Frank Harden and Jackson Weaver, but its ratings have slipped in recent years.
Its annual revenues declined from $17 million in 2000 to $14 million in 2001, according to estimates by BIA Financial Network Inc., a Chantilly media-research group.
Media buyers said advertisers won't pay much attention to WMAL's schedule shuffle unless ratings continue to fall.
"Advertisers pay attention to the public, and the station responded quickly to the public's demand that Chris Core be returned to the afternoon schedule," said Charli King, associate media director for Arnold Communications Inc., a McLean advertising agency.

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