|City of license||Baltimore, Maryland|
|Broadcast area||Baltimore, Maryland|
|Branding||1090 AM WBAL|
|Slogan||Maryland's News, Talk, Sports Station
The Only Station that Matters
|Repeaters||WIYY-HD4 (97.9-4 MHz)|
|First air date||1925|
|Callsign meaning||W BALtimore|
|Affiliations||CBS Radio Network
Yahoo! Sports Radio
|Sister stations||WBAL-TV, WIYY|
WBAL (1090 kHz AM) is a News radio/Talk/Sports radio station located in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Owned by the Hearst Corporation, WBAL broadcasts from a three-tower transmitting facility in Randallstown, Maryland. The station shares its studios and offices with sister stations WBAL-TV (channel 11) and WIYY (97.9 FM, formerly WBAL-FM) on Television Hill in Baltimore's Woodberry neighborhood.
As a 50,000-watt clear-channel station, WBAL is the most powerful station in Maryland. Its directional nighttime signal covers most of the eastern half of North America, and reaches as far as Nova Scotia and Bermuda. Its daytime signal easily covers most of the Washington metropolitan area, most of the Eastern Shore, and large portions of Delaware and Pennsylvania. WBAL employs the largest number of news staff of any radio station in the state. WBAL and WIYY are the only two radio stations still owned by Hearst.
WBAL began broadcasting after being dedicated on November 2, 1925, as a subsidiary of the Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Company, a predecessor of Constellation Energy. WBAL's initial broadcasting studio was located at the utility's offices on Lexington Street, and it operated as part of the Blue Network of the National Broadcasting Company. On January 12, 1935, with radio becoming more commercialized, there was little justification for public service company ownership of a radio station, and WBAL was sold to the Hearst-controlled American Radio News Corporation, who operated it alongside the Baltimore News-Post and Baltimore American (later merged as the Baltimore News-American).
In the 1930s, WBAL became the flagship station for the international broadcast of radio evangelist G. E. Lowman, which originated in Baltimore until 1959. During the 1960s, WBAL had a full service free-flowing Middle Of The Road music format heavily emphasising personality. The station played a mix of soft rock and roll and non rock songs/standards.
By the early 1970s, the station had a full-service adult contemporary music format with the exception of weekday evenings, where the station employed talk programming. Among its personalities during that period were program host Jay Grayson, Harley Brinsfield (who had a long-running Saturday night jazz music program, The Harley Show), and White House-accredited newsman Galen Fromme. In the early 1980s, WBAL began running talk shows overnights as well as evenings and continued to play some music during the day. Music gradually decreased and in the fall of 1985, WBAL had transitioned to its current news-talk format, winning 19 national Edward R. Murrow Awards since then – the most of any local U.S. radio station. Since the mid-1990s, the station has become increasingly conservative, both in its on-air personalities and its editorial disposition.
In 2010, WBAL switched its morning (5–9 AM) and afternoon (3–6 PM) drive-time shows to an all-news format, entitled Maryland's Morning News and Afternoon News Journal respectively (the latter show has since been renamed to Maryland's News Now). The all-news blocks include national newscasts from CBS at the top of each hour.
- Dave Durian
- Bill Vanko
- Bryan Nehman
- Steve Fermier
- Brett Hollander
- Anne Kramer
- Robert Lang
- Clarence M. Mitchell, IV (C4)
- Jimmy Mathis
- Mary Beth Marsden
- Doug McIntyre
- John Patti
- Jim Russ
- Brian Kilmeade
- Kim Kommando
- Scott Wykoff
- Phil Yacuboski
- Ron Smith – died, at the age of 70, on December 19, 2011, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
WBAL is also an affiliate of Sporting News Radio which it broadcasts late nights and weekends.
Since the Orioles began their inaugural season in 1954, WBAL has been their flagship station for most of their existence, though not continuously; for example, it carried Orioles games every season from 1987 to 2006 (after which the team's games were broadcast on crosstown rival WJZ-FM "105.7 The Fan"), and resumed that status in 2011. Ravens games have been broadcast on WBAL and WIYY since the 2006 season. In the event that the Orioles and Ravens are playing on the same day, WBAL will broadcast the Orioles game, while WIYY gets the Ravens game.
- King, Thomson (1950). Consolidated of Baltimore 1816–1950: A History of Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Company of Baltimore. Baltimore: Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Co. pp. 246, 274.
- O'Connor, Thomas H. Baltimore Broadcasting from A to Z (1985), p. 23.
- Zurawick, David (July 24, 2009). "WBAL radio manager is leaving". The Baltimore Sun. p. 3.
- "CBS Radio News Mid-Atlantic Region". CBS. May 25, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
- "WBAL Schedule". Retrieved September 2, 2010.
- "Ron Smith Succumbs To Cancer At 70". WBAL-TV/Hearst Television. December 20, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- "Ron Smith 1941–2011". WBAL/Hearst Television. December 20, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- "Orioles headed back to WBAL". baltimoresun.com. February 8, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- WBAL website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WBAL
- Radio-Locator Information on WBAL
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WBAL
- Isaacs, Stan. "The Orioles Play Stop The Music," Sports Illustrated, October 8, 1979.