|Broadcast area||Baltimore metropolitan area|
|Branding||WBAL NewsRadio 1090|
|Slogan||Maryland's leading source for thought-provoking discussions, news, weather and sports|
|Repeater(s)||WIYY-HD2 (97.9-2 MHz)|
|First air date||November 2, 1925|
|Class||A (clear channel)|
|Callsign meaning||W BALtimore|
|Former frequencies||1220 kHz (1925–1927)
1050 kHz (1927–1928)
1060 kHz (1928–1941)
|Affiliations||ABC News Radio
Westwood One Network
|Sister stations||WBAL-TV, WIYY|
WBAL (1090 kHz) is an AM News/Talk radio station licensed in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Owned by the Hearst Corporation, WBAL broadcasts from a three–tower transmitter 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. WBAL employs the largest news staff of any radio station in the state. WBAL and WIYY are the only two radio stations still owned by Hearst.
WBAL is a Class A clear-channel station, the most powerful station in Maryland. It operates with 50,000 watts, the maximum power permitted for AM stations by the Federal Communications Commission. The signal is non-directional by day but directional at night to protect the other Class A stations on 1090 AM, KAAY in Little Rock, Arkansas and XEPRS in Rosarito, Mexico. With a good radio, WBAL's nighttime signal can be heard in much of Eastern North America, reaching as far as Nova Scotia and Bermuda. Its daytime signal easily covers most of Maryland as well as the Washington metropolitan area, and parts of Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
On weekdays, WBAL airs 10 hours of all-news blocks. During the middays, two local talk shows are heard. Evenings feature The Brent Hollander Show, and overnights, the nationally syndicated Westwood One talk show Overnight America with Jon Grayson.
Weekends include local shows and syndicated programs, including The Tech Guy with Leo LaPorte, Kim Komando, Larry Kudlow, Joe Pags, Meet The Press, This Week from ABC and Bill Cunningham. WBAL carries national news from ABC News.
Since the Baltimore Orioles began their inaugural season in 1954, WBAL was 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 from 2011 to 2014 before the team returned to WJZ-FM in 2015. Ravens games have been broadcast on WBAL and WIYY since the 2006 season.
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 Middle Of The Road music format heavily emphasising personality and news. The station played a mix of standards with some softer songs from the Top 40.
By the early 1970s, the station had a full-service adult contemporary music format with the exception of weekday evenings, where the station aired 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 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. WBAL offers no moderate or liberal talk shows in its programming.
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 shows has since been renamed to Maryland's News Now and later to "WBAL News Now" and "Maryland's News This Week".) The all-news blocks include national newscasts from ABC News every 30 minutes. Previously, the national feed had been provided by CBS at the top of each hour until 2014. Also in 2014, the station was re-branded as WBAL News Radio 1090, to better reflect its status as Maryland's radio news leader.
Anchors, Reporters & Hosts
- Dave Durian
- Bill Vanko
- Bryan Nehman
- Derek Hunter
- Steve Fermier
- Brett Hollander
- Anne Kramer
- Robert Lang
- Clarence M. Mitchell, IV (C4)
- Jimmy Mathis
- Doug McIntyre
- John Patti
- Jim Russ
- Brian Kilmeade
- Kim Kommando
- Scott Wykoff
- Phil Yacuboski
- Troy Johnson
- Stacy Lyn
- Brenda Carl
- Dave Gegorak
- Jacob Young
- Tyler Waldman
Notable former on-air staff
- Ron Smith – died, at the age of 70, on December 19, 2011, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
- Allan Prell - Along with Smith, the leading voice of WBAL in the 1980s and 90s. Left the station in 1999, died in 2016.
- FCC History Cards for WBAL
- 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.
- "WIYY Drops HD Only Music Channels". AllAccess.com. All Access Music Group, Inc. August 29, 2014.
- "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.
- Kelly, Jacques; Rasmussen, Frederick N. (December 13, 2016). "Allan Prell, WBAL talk show host, dies at 79". The Baltimore Sun.