News, talk and information are main items of WOR's broadcast agenda. Consequently, Rick Devlin, vice president and general manager, said the departure of four principal WOR news-talk-information personalities did not mean a "major redirection of format" for the city's No. 1 AM outlet.
Most of those who are leaving have been with the station for most of its 55 years on the air. John Wingate, a WOR reporter for 30 years, received his severance pay March 18. Stan Lomax, a sports commentator for 43 years; Henry Gladstone, a newscaster for 32 years, and Jean Shepherd, famous for his impressionistic nostalgia monologues, which have been heard for 20 years, all resigned and will leave within two weeks.
Two Older Than 65
Advertising-agency sources said that generally as a station's on-the-air personalities got older the audience attracted to the station became older, too. And older persons are not usually the prime target of advertisers on television or radio.
Mr. Devlin said the departures or Mr. Lomax, who is 77, and Mr. Gladstone, who is 66, could be termed retirements. Mr. Shepherd wanted to do many other things, Mr. Devlin said. He declined to discuss Mr. Wingate's situation.
Mr. Devlin did say that the vacancies created by the leaving of the newsmen and by the departures of two news writers - Robert J. O'Conner, who also retired, and Jeff Grambs - gave the station an opportunity to reshape news presentations.
Affiliating with ABC, WOR will use ABC's American Information Network as a national news source and be able, he said, to put more news "where we need it," in the late night and early morning hours.
The station will continue to emphasize local news, Mr. Devlin added. WOR will present IS-minute local newscasts at 6, 7, 8 and 9 A.M., noon and 4, 5 and 6 P.M. Ten-minute newscasts at other times will include five minutes of local news and five minutes or national news.
Leader in Ratings
WOR's news organization also consists, Mr. Devlin said, of part-time reporters in Westchester County, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut. The station also has three mobile news units and a helicopter watching rush-hour traffic.
Sources close to the local radio-broadcasting Industry, however, said the changes at the station had been ordered by corporate officers at RKO General, owners of WOR. WOR, is apparently trying to strengthen its afternoon and evening audience, one source believed.
According to the Arbitron Radio Service, WOR-AM had the largest number of households listening to radio in January and last month. Its weekly share from 6 A.M. to midnight averaged 8.1 percent. WABC was second, with a 7.3 percent share, and WCBS was third with 6.1.
WOR's audience tends to be older. Its share of those 18 to 34 years old, for example; is 1.7 percent, while its share of the 35-to-64-year-old group is 9.5, the highest of any metropolitan area station.
In contrast, WABC attracts 8.3 percent of radio listeners between 18 and 34 and 6.2 percent of the older group.
WOR is strongest in the morning hours, when its "Rambling with Gambling" show is broadcast.
These days, an advertising agency executive said, most advertisers are trying to reach Younger people. WOR, with its No. 1 overall listenership, may not be a choice advertising medium because at the age group of its listeners. ||
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