Metro Access Drove WTOP Move to Montgomery County

Chevy Chase studios closer to transit

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Alejandro Alvarez/WTOP

News radio station WTOP’s decision to move into new studios in Chevy Chase was largely based on space and Metrorail access, General Manager Joel Oxley said.

The broadcaster completed the move to 5425 Wisconsin Ave., just across the District line and two miles from its previous studios, on Feb. 2.

“We wanted to stay pretty close to where we were,” Oxley said. “We looked at a lot of different buildings and it just really was driven by the amount of space here. We wanted to be on one floor, we also wanted good parking, we wanted to be near the Metro and this checked all those boxes.”

The area in particular did not influence the decision and the company was not driven by choosing Montgomery County over the District, Oxley said.

WTOP, which consistently leads radio ratings in the Washington area, had been based on Idaho Avenue since 1989. The headquarters did not have nearby direct Metro access.

Alejandro Alvarez/WTOP

The move to Montgomery County will not shift news coverage at WTOP, but increased transit availability may allow reporters to get to stories more easily, Oxley said.

WTOP brought more than 200 employees to its new fifth-floor, 30,000-square-foot office.

“In that way I think we might be able to have some more immediacy that we didn’t prior,” Oxley said.

WTOP will be joined in the county by Fox 5, scheduled to move to downtown Bethesda in June 2021. The station will reside in a 290-foot office tower going up at 7272 Wisconsin Ave.

Fox’s sister stations WTTG and WDCA have been based at 5151 Wisconsin Ave. in the District since 1966.

Fox 5 Vice President Patrick Paolini described the new office as a “state-of-the-art facility that will keep us in the heart of the Washington, D.C. metro area,” in a statement following the September 2017 announcement.

Charlie Wright can be reached at charlie.wright@bethesdamagazine.com 

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