Unwelcome competition in Delmarva

Pubcasters on Maryland’s Delmarva Peninsula are not rolling out the welcome wagon for their newest neighbor, WRAU 88.3 in Ocean City, a station simulcasting NPR News and talk programming from WAMU in Washington, D.C.

The region now has five public radio stations broadcasting NPR News shows, reports the Delmarva Daily Times, including a signal from Baltimore’s WYPR broadcasting on 106.9 FM. “If WAMU were to bring a different format, we’d welcome it with open arms,” says Gerry Weston, g.m. of Public Radio Delmarva. “Those stations [WRAU and Baltimore’s WYPO] have resources in big cities and they are deciding to come down here.”

Mark McDonald, WAMU p.d., says listeners lobbied his station to expand its signal into the Delmarva region. “There will be duplication, but our aim is to be distinctive in our local coverage,” he tells the Daily Times.

Public Radio Delmarva, which is based in Salisbury, operates WSDL as an all-news station and WSCL as a news and classical music service. Further south in Princess Anne, WESM-FM splits its broadcast days between NPR News shows and jazz and blues music. “I can’t say we’re happy about it,” said Stephen Williams, news director, of the new competition. “It’s especially problematic because we want our listeners to know they are listening to WESM.”

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