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January 2001 to December 2001December 31, 2001
Multicultural Picks Up 1050 From Mega
Multicultural is buying WPLC (1050 AM) in Silver Spring from Mega for $3 million. WPLC has featured the Spanish Mexican/Central American music and talk programming of "Radio Capital," which is also heard on Mega's WKDL (730 AM) in Alexandria. Multicultural also owns WZHF (1390 AM) in Arlington, WKDV (1460 AM) in Manassas, and WKDM (1600 AM) in Rockville, all of which have brokered ethnic formats, and WKCW (1420 AM) in Warrenton, which plays traditional country. Mega owns contemporary Spanish combo WBZS (92.7 FM) in Prince Frederick /WBPS (94.3 FM) in Warrenton, along with WKDL.
December 29, 2001
Less Local TV Kiddie Programming In 2002
Look for less childrens' oriented programming on DC's "big four" commercial TV stations - WRC/4, WTTG/5, WJLA/7, and WUSA/9 - in the new year. With the elimination of WTTG's "Fox Kids" afternoon line-up, replaced with reruns of MASH, there will be no regularly scheduled weekday programs for kids on any of DC's four major VHF TV stations. Even WDCA/20 (now owned by Fox along with WTTG/5) has bounced all of its weekday morning kiddie fare in favor of paid religious shows. And Tribune's WDBC/50, likewise, has gutted its weekday childrens' morning line-up in favor of infomercials. Both 20 and 50 still air kids' programming between 3 PM and 5 PM on weekdays. And Channels 5 and 9 still run some kiddie shows on Saturday mornings, including the CBS block of "Nick Jr." pre-school fare. But 20 airs only infomercials on Saturday mornings. There's still lots of childrens' programming on local PBS outlets WMPT/22 and WETA/26, and on cable/satellite - Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, ToonDisney, and Noggin.
December 22, 2001
DCRTV Mover/Shaker Of 2001
DCRTV has selected its "Mover/Shaker" of 2001 and it is (drum roll please) Clear Channel's local radio czar Bennett Zier (right). For better or worse, Mr. Zier has had more influence on the region's radio/TV media than anyone else this past year, we think. In charge of eight DC area radio stations, and recently given control over CC's two dozen-ish stations across the Mid-Atlantic region, Mr. Zier and his company have led the way in cost cutting and in automating the radio business. And not only in robotizing overnights at his DC area FMers, Mr. Zier's been busy with lots of other things such as killing off the local "Jam'n Oldies" and "Music Of Your Life" formats, giving birth to "Dynamite Talk" and contemporary "Hot 99.5," finding DC radio homes for the Orioles and the G-Man, turning DC101 back into the region's prime rocker, boldly converting WASH to "all-Christmas" for a whole month, and keeping country WMZQ and oldies WBIG sounding good. But Mr. Zier still has work cut out for him in 2002, from finally getting the right sound at 99.5, to installing at least listenable line-ups at talker WTNT (maybe Rush?) and sports talk WTEM, and keeping the major FMers sounding fresh (and getting better numbers) even with smaller staffs. Other nominees for the prestigious Movers/Shakers award this year were: Jim Farley (who turned WTOP into a ratings-winning news steamroller in 2001), Comcast (which bought almost all area cable systems in sight along with Home Team Sports, became the largest internet service provider in the region, and then went on to merge with AT&T), XM Satellite Radio (whose DC-based operations injected lots of very welcome fresh sounds into the radio biz and much deserved fear into the hearts of conservative radio programmers), and local Radio One (which continued its mission to completely dominate urban radio in market after market including DC and Baltimore, and is now setting its sights on TV).
December 20, 2001
Jim Bohannon Comes To WWRC
It looks like Clear Channel is moving its business talk WWRC (1260 AM) to more of a mainstream talk format in the new year. DC-based Jim Bohannon, whose late evening talk show hasn't been heard in the DC market for several years (although his "America In The Morning" news program has been heard from 5 AM to 6 AM on Infinity's WJFK-FM), starts airing on WWRC on 1/2 from 10 PM to 1 AM. Bohannon's Westwood One show replaces "Online Tonight." Also, "Troubleshooter" Tom Martino, who is currently heard on CC's "Dynamite Talk" WTNT (570 AM) from 3 PM to 5 PM, starts airing on WWRC from 9 AM to noon. While business talk shows still frequent the station's daytime schedule, right-wing political talker Laura Ingraham will continue to be heard in the 7 PM to 10 PM slot. WWRC, whose after dark signal leaves a lot to be desired in the affluent suburbs west of DC, flipped to business talk after its nostalgic music format (as WGAY) was discontinued last spring.
December 5, 2001
Changes At 2, Including Noon News
The Baltimore Sun reports on all the news changes occurring at Baltimore's low-rated Channel 2/WMAR which is "trying to remake its image with a new set, a new newscast and an infusion of new staffers, including anchor Vernon Shaw," who comes from Philadelphia's Fox station. The Sun says that Mark Vernarelli, who has worked as a reporter and editor at Channel 2 for 16 years, follows five other people who have been let go by Scripps station in recent months, including anchors Stan Stovall and Mary Bubala. Also, look for a noon newscast to start on 1/7.
December 4, 2001
Weiner Leaves 45
News anchor Deborah Weiner has left WBFF/Channel 45 after the Sinclair station failed to renew her contract. According to the Baltimore Sun: "Weiner, an award-winning journalist and former network correspondent, said she made the decision to leave reluctantly. She said the dispute did not spring exclusively from the question of money and alluded to the difficulty of reconciling professional and family responsibilities. For three years as a reporter and four as an anchor, Weiner said she flourished as she helped prepare and present a newscast with a distinct feel. Fox 45, as the station is known, has prided itself on offering viewers longer stories with a more textured understanding of topical issues."
December 3, 2001
Channel 4 Wins November Sweeps
Even though Channel 4's newscasts at 5 AM, 6 AM, 4 PM, 5 PM, 6 PM, and at 11 PM, were tops in the November TV "sweeps" ratings, the NBC station saw its numbers stay flat or decline. For example, the station's 11 PM newscast plunged by about 16 percent since the same period last year. Channel 5's 10 PM news took the crown as the most watched late evening newscast, besting Channel 4's 11 PM newscast by about 1,000 viewers. Channel 4 suffered declines at 6 AM (with gains by Channel 9, see the news item further down this page) and at 6 PM. Channel 4 also took the honors as the most-watched DC area TV station from sign-on to sign-off during November. While it may not yet be back at the top of the DC TV news heap ratings-wise, Gannett's Channel 9, WUSA, is claiming that the recently completed November sweeps showed that it was attracting more viewers. The station's 6 AM newscast jumped from 3rd to 2nd place, with an almost 50 percent gain in viewers for 9's morning news block in total. WUSA also noted gains at 5 PM, 6 PM, and at 11 PM. WUSA's newscasts suffered greatly a year ago when it trimmed 90 minutes from its evening news block and made a series of personnel changes.
November 29, 2001
Weekend Sports Changes At 9
Gerald Owens has been relieved of his duties as weekend sports anchor at Channel 9. He'll be replaced by WUSA sports veteran Ken Mease. Mease, who'd been handling early morning sports anchor chores of late, returns to the weekend sports anchor position which he held before Owens, last year, made the move from early morning news anchor to weekend sports. There's no word on Owens' plans but we hear that he's still under contract to the Gannett station.
November 29, 2001
Catherine Pendleton DeShazo, a former correspondent for WNNT (690 AM/100.9 FM) in Warsaw VA (east of Fredericksburg) died on 11/26 at age 92 after a brief illness. Starting in the mid-1950s, Mrs. DeShazo hosted "The Women's Page" and later "Community Commentary" on WNNT, both focusing on community events and civic news. She continued to work for WNNT, hosting a third radio show concerning "news and notes" until 1990. Mrs. DeShazo was also a correspondent for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Rappahannock News, and a loyal supporter of the GOP. She was a noted collector of items that feature elephants, the Republican party mascot.....
November 29, 2001
Channel 13 Defamation Suit Dismissed
A Baltimore judge has dismissed seven of eight charges in a defamation lawsuit filed last year by March Funeral Homes West against Channel 13. According to the Sun: "The suit arose from a pair of stories broadcast by CBS-owned WJZ in October 1999 about a grieving woman's fears that her late husband's casket had been improperly handled at the gravesite. The funeral home, at the time a significant advertiser on the station, claimed the stories by reporters Suzanne Collins and Alex Demetrick blamed March for work done by a veterans cemetery staff." However, the judge ruled that the station's reporting was truthful but he left standing one count which stems from an allegation that the station illegally recorded a funeral home representative's comments to the widow at the gravesite.
November 28, 2001
Clear Channel Terminates Phil Wood
Clear Channel has officially said goodbye to sports talk host Phil Wood. Wood remained on CC's payroll up until 11/28 even though his daily talk show on WTEM (980 AM) was cancelled last January. Apart from the occasional guest spot on John Thompson's show, Wood was being paid not to show up at "Sportstalk 980." Instead, he has been doing baseball coverage for Comcast SportsNet and guest spots on other sports-oriented stations like Infinity's WJFK-AM (1300) in Baltimore. Wood tells DCRTV that he'd love to get back on DC area radio on a regular basis, but in the immediate future he'll concentrate on running his store, Bethesda Music on Rugby Avenue, and playing in his rock band.
November 28, 2001
Channel 11 Claims Baltimore TV News Crown
From the Baltimore Sun: "As the November ratings period draws to a close tonight, WBAL (Channel 11) seems to have a distinct edge for most of its news offerings, but, as ever, once-triumphant WJZ (Channel 13) is claiming its own victories. In truly head-to-head competitions, Nielsen Media Research estimates show that WBAL has the most viewers in the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and weekday 11 p.m. newscasts. (For Monday through Sunday at 11 p.m., it's coming down to the wire.) WJZ boasts the highest-rated morning show - a big money-maker - and the most viewers throughout the entire day. The CBS station also claims to be the only one in Baltimore to have increased total audience over last year's levels. Yet there's tougher news in there for both stations; WJZ has shed some viewers when compared to last November for the morning, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news shows, while WBAL has dipped in audience size for its late newscasts."
November 22, 2001
Cuts At WWRC
Clear Channnel has bounced just about all of the staff at its business talker WWRC (1260 AM). We hear that even board ops were shown the door. The only survivor - morning show host Jim Cuddy.
November 21, 2001
Stan "The Fan" Bounced
Stan "The Fan" Charles was canned from Baltimore's WJFK-AM (1300). He's being replaced in the 10 PM to 1 AM weeknight slot by the "Sports Asylum" with Steve Hill, Ben Unroe, and Cary Newborn, which has, until now, aired only on weekends. We hear that Infinity management at the talk/sports talk formated station is gunning for the 18-35 male crowd and that's why Stan is being shown the door.
November 14, 2001
Washington AIR Award Winners
DCRTV has received a list of the winners of the Washington Achievement In Radio (AIR) Awards which were held on November 14. Here they are: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER: WTOP Capitol Hill Correspondent Dave McConnell..... Best News Anchor: WTOP-AM/FM, Shawn Anderson & Diane Kepley "Shawn Anderson & Diane Kepley"..... Best News Reporter (new category): WMAL-AM, Andrew O'Day..... Best Sports Play-by-Play: WMAL-AM, Tim Brant "B.B.&T. Classic"..... Best Spot News Coverage: WAMU-FM, Sarah Hughes "D.C. After the Control Board..... Best Locally Produced (Continuing) Public Affairs Long-Form: WTOP-AM/FM, Judlyne Lilly "Issues" with Judlyne Lilly..... Best Short Form News Interview: WTOP-AM/FM, Shawn Anderson, Diane Kepley "Bob Barr"..... Best News Series: WMAL-AM, Andrew O’Day "Gas Tax Gridlock"..... Best Non-English Community Service On-Air Campaign: North American La Cordinia del Radio..... Best Short Form Entertainment Interview: WASH-FM, Loo Katz, Huey Lewis, Steve Allan "Loo Katz & Huey Lewis"..... Best Long Form Entertainment Interview: WAMU-FM, David Furst " The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk"..... Best News Story on a Maternal/Infant Health-Related Issue: WTOP-AM/FM, Michelle Komes-Dolge "The Mommy Track"..... Best Sports Reporter: WTOP-AM/FM, Byron Kerr, Bruce Allen, Diane Kepley, Shawn Anderson, Judy Taub, Mitchell Miller, Mike Jakaitis "Jagr and Collins Arrive in D.C."..... Best Long Form News Interview - (TIE) WAMU-FM, Jim Rosenberg "The Man Who Keeps Watch on the Wall" and Woodrow Wilson Int’l Ctr. George Liston Seay, Karen Dale, John Tyler, Rachel Edmonds "The AIDS Crisis” Guest: Dr. Anthony Fauci"..... Best Traffic Reporter: WTOP-AM/FM, Bob Marbourg "Bob Marbourg"..... Best Talk Show Host: DC101, Elliot Segal, Diane Stupar, Craig Henderson, Bryan Schlossberg, Jared Stern "Elliot"..... Best New Talent in the Market: WIHT-FM, Mark Kaye, Kris Gamble, Ron Ross, Greg "The Urban Cowboy" Byrd, Becky “Buttrub” Froman, "The HOT Morning Mess with Mark and Kris"..... Best Fill-In Talent: WBIG-FM, Charlie Donovan, Kim Alexander, Kenny Franklin "Charlie for Tom Kelly & Goldy"..... Best Morning Drive Show: (TIE) WZHF-AM, Doug Tracht, Lex Davis "The New Greaseman Show" and WIHT-FM, Mark Kaye, Kris Gamble, Ron Ross, Greg "The Urban Cowboy" Byrd, Becky "Buttrub" Froman, "The HOT Morning Mess with Mark and Kris"..... Best Midday Show: WIHT-FM, K.T. Harris "HOT 99.5 Mid-days"..... Best Afternoon Drive Show: DC101, Jon Ballard "The Road Show with Ballard"..... Best Evening Show: WARW-FM, Tony Maddog Colter "In the Doghouse with Tony Maddog Colter"..... Best Overnight Show: WBIG-FM, Bonnie Phillips "First Timer Friday on the Early Bird"..... Best Weekend Show: WRQX-FM, Chris Roth "Retro Saturday Night"..... Best Station Event Promo: WASH-FM, Bob Karson, Randy Thomas "I Race... "..... Best Station-Sponsored Non-Charitable Event: DC101, Ann DeWig, Buddy Rizer "New Music Mart Live..... Best On-Air Audience Promotion: WARW-FM, Ed Locomb, JJ Surma, Phil Locascio, Brian James "Classic Rock 94.7 Cent Gas Promotion"..... Best Station-Sponsored Charitable Event: DC101, Ann DeWig, Buddy Rizer "Chili Cookoff"..... Best Community Service On-Air Campaign: WHUR-FM, Patrick Ellis, Emmett Young, Renee Nash, on-air staff "Boarder Babython 2001"..... Best Radio Advertising Campaign: Jerry’s Subs & Pizza/ Dana Siller, Chato Hill "Mr. X", "Rappin W", "That’s My Bubba"..... Best Commercial Spot by an Agency: Jerry’s Subs & Pizza/ Dana Siller, Chato Hill "The Weakest Dink"..... Best Commercial Spot by a Radio Station: WBIG-FM, Bob Karson, Tom Kelly, Chris Broullire "Lansdowne Fairytale"..... Best Station Image Promo: WBIG-FM, Bob Karson "Nobody Knows Motown"..... Best Continuing Programming Feature: WHUR-FM, Mo’Nique, Terry Tuff "Mo’Nique’s Moment"..... Best Special One-Time Programming Feature: WHFS-FM, Randy Scope, Wes Johnson "How the Grunge Stole Christmas"..... Best Individual Performance in a Radio Spot: WBIG-FM, Charlie Donovan, J.L. Media "American Movie Classics 9th Annual Film Preservation Festival".....
November 14, 2001
Larry Hall Dies
"Larry Hall, whose broadcast voice was heard by radio and television audiences for nearly 30 years, died Sunday (11/11) of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, at his Ruxton home," so reports the Baltimore Sun. "He was the morning drive-time announcer on AM radio stations WCBM and WCAO in the 1970s, and later recorded scores of commercials for automobile dealerships, jewelers, furniture stores and schools." Mr. Hall was 57.
November 14, 2001
Frank Messer Dies
Frank Messer, who once did radio play-by-play for the Baltimore Orioles and Colts, as well as for Virginia Tech football, died on 11/13 at age 76 in Deerfield Beach, Florida, after a long illness. Originally from Asheville, North Carolina, Mr. Messer also was the radio voice of the New York Yankees for almost two decades.
November 12, 2001
Stovall Leaves WMAR
Stan Stovall (right), a news anchor who's been in Baltimore aince 1978, and at Channel 2/WMAR since 1989, will leave the struggling Scripps station in December when his contract expires. Stovall told the Sun that he doubts he'll be staying in Baltimore since he has yet to receive offers from other area stations. WMAR, which has been plagued by poor news ratings for many years, plans to retool its "Real People, Real News" promotions. The station is also letting go weekend anchor Mary Bubala, who has been with WMAR since 1997, but will hire Vernon Shaw, from Philadelphia's Channel 29/WTXF, as an anchor and reporter.....
November 12, 2001
Baltimore AIR Award Winners
DCRTV has received a list of the winners of the Baltimore Achievement In Radio (AIR) Awards which were held in early November. Here they are: BEST NEWSCASTER: Aaron Rehkopf, WPOC... BEST NEWS COVERAGE: Aaron Rehkopf, "The Baltimore Tunnel Fire", WPOC... BEST LOCAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Aaron Rehkopf, "Maryland Today," WPOC... BEST NEWS SERIES: John Patti, "Tired of Truckin' Around", WBAL... BEST NEWS STORY ON MATERNAL/INFANT HEALTH RELATED ISSUE: Gayle Economos, "Pediatric Medicine", WJHU... BEST LONG FORM INTERVIEW: Charlie Michaels, "What To Tell The Children", WCBM... BEST SHORT FORM INTERVIEW: John Patti, "If These Balls Could Talk", WBAL... BEST ON-AIR AUDIENCE PROMO: TJ Roberts, "Black and Blue Weekend", WXYV... BEST STATION IMAGE PROMO: Harold Pompey, "Go Ahead, Hold On", WCAO... BEST STATION EVENT PROMO: Scott Lindy/Mark Williams, "Warren Brothers Concert", WPOC... BEST LOCAL SPORTS PROGRAMMING: WBAL... BEST CONTINUING PROGRAM FEATURE: Chip Franklin, "The Week In Review", WBAL... BEST STATION WEBSITE: WBAL.COM... BEST COMMERCIAL SPOT PRODUCED BY STATION: Scott Lindy/Mark Williams, "Big Buck Bass Tournament", WPOC... BEST COMMERCIAL SPOT PRODUCED BY AGENCY: Gary Jordan "They're Talking Right To Me", Azzam Jordan... BEST RADIO AD CAMPAIGN: Erin Hardesty, Gary Jordan, "Cal And The Kids", Azzam Jordan... BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE ON-AIR CAMPAIGN: Lexi Bartelmay, Gary Jordan, "Hopkins Child", Azzam Jordan... BEST MORNING SHOW: "The Laurie DeYoung Show", WPOC... BEST AFTERNOON DRIVE SHOW: Fast Jimi Roberts, WXYV... BEST MIDDAY SHOW: "Delmont's Diner", Bob Delmont, WPOC... BEST EVENING SHOW: Stacy Lyn, WWMX... BEST OVERNIGHT SHOW: Hawaiian Ryan, WXYV... BEST WEEKEND SHOW: TJ Roberts, WXYV... BEST SPORTS REPORTER: Art Sinclair, WCBM... BEST TRAFFIC REPORTER: Adrian "A-Dawg" Pescetto, WERQ... BEST NEW TALENT: TIE: Poet, WERQ; Gavin "The Baby Bishop" Montgomery, WWIN-AM... BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE IN A RADIO SPOT: Gerry O'Brien, "Walter G. Coal-Boomer", WQSR... BEST TALK SHOW HOST: Chip Franklin, WBAL.
November 2, 2001
New Calls For Channel 14
DCRTV hears that the WFDC call letters may soon grace Arlington's Channel 14, currently WTMW. The station was recently purchased by Univision for its youth oriented Spanish language Telefutura network, which is set to launch in early 2002. Univision is renaming all of its future Telefutura stations with an "F" and/or a "U" in the call. By the way, the WFTY identity, which used to grace DC's Channel 50 (pre-WBDC), is being assigned to the Telefutura station serving Long Island.
November 2, 2001
Shari Macias To Leave Channel 4
Channel 4 news reporter Shari Macias is leaving the NBC station at the end of November. Macias told the Washington Post that she's "relocating" and has "some family and personal matters that are important to attend to, and it seemed like now was a good opportunity to do that." She's been with WRC since 1994. Before that, Macias was an anchor and reporter at NewsChannel 8.
November 1, 2001
Tracey Neale Takes Leave From Channel 5 For Medical Reasons
DCRTV first reported on 10/31 that Fox 5's 10 PM news anchor Tracey Neale (left) will be missing for the next six weeks or so, through the crucial November TV rating sweeps. WTTG news director Katherine Green says that Neale had surgery, but declined to elaborate. "She's doing well; everything is okay and we expect her back in about six weeks," Green told the Washington Post. Green added that the Fox station has decided not to explain on-air Neale's absence. Recently, WTTG had been running those "Just You Watch This November" promos that have Neale and co-anchor Mike Landess all over them.....
October 31, 2001
Channel 45 Cans Clyatt
Channel 45 Cans Clyatt, Clyatt Fires Back - 10/31 - Channel 45 has dismissed its morning news show weatherman Kirk Clyatt "after he asked to be considered for work on the station's other news programs," according to the Baltimore Sun. The Sun adds: "Clyatt says his proposals were prompted by fears that the consistently low ratings for the still-new morning show foretold an uncertain future. Clyatt's gung-ho style at WBFF won him local Emmys and other awards." Clyatt is replaced by Steve Fertig, a chiropractor who is the chief weather forecaster at the NBC affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In a somewhat strange move, Clyatt takes Fertig's place at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre station.
October 30, 2001
Frank Ski Returns To Baltimore
DCRTV's been reporting it since last March, and now has come true. WVEE/Atlanta's Frank Ski Morning Show comes to "X105.7" in Baltimore. Ski's first day at the newly reformatted WXYV was 11/12. Charm City's 105.7 frequency flipped to urban/hip-hop in September after its previous occupant, oldies WQSR, moved to 102.7. Ski used to be heard on Baltimore's former urban outlet V103 and at reigning urban champ 92Q.
October 29, 2001
Former NewsChannel 8 Anchor Killed In Car Crash
Siani Lee (left), 39, a former news anchor for NewsChannel 8, was killed in a car accident in Chester County, Pennsylvania on 10/28. Since 1999, she'd been an anchor for Philadelphia's Channel 3, KYW, and had worked at Philly's Channel 10, WCAU, before that. Lee anchored the 9 PM news for DC area cable news operation NewsChannel 8 from 1991 to 1993. She had also worked at TV stations in Norfolk, Savannah, and at Baltimore's Channel 2, WMAR. The South Korea native received an award while in Northern Virginia for her coverage of relations between the Korean and African-American communities. According to KYW, Lee was killed when she ran a stop sign and a sport utility vehicle struck her car. "All of us at KYW-3 are deeply saddened by the untimely death of our friend and colleague," said KYW VP/GM Marcellus Alexander. "She brought a light into our newsroom and into the homes of our viewers. We will miss her every day."
October 29, 2001
Liddy Re-Signs With Westwood One
DC-based right-wing talker G. Gordon Liddy has re-signed with Westwood One as syndicator for his radio show. There was talk a few weeks ago that Liddy would be signing with someone else. Westwood One is owned by Viacom which also owns Infinity. Liddy was kicked off Infinity's WJFK-FM/AM during the summer. RBR says that he'll be doing his show from Clear Channel's "Dynamite Talk" WTNT (570 AM), which has been carrying Liddy since August. Liddy had been doing his show from the CBS News Bureau in DC since being evicted from WJFK's Fairfax studios. He's carried in Baltimore by WCBM (680 AM).....
October 29, 2001
Fox Acquires Channel 20
It looks like the moving vans will be soon heading from 5202 River Road to 5151 Wisconsin Avenue. We hear that the FCC has approved a request in which Fox, which owns DC's Channel 5, WTTG, will assume ownership of Channel 20, WDCA, from Viacom. In the deal, Viacom receives a San Francisco TV station from Fox, which gets DC's WDCA and a Houston TV station from Viacom. DCRTV first reported last year that Fox was interested in acquiring Channel 20, giving it two TV stations in the market. The deal was made public over the summer. It's still unclear what changes will be coming to WDCA under its new ownership, but we suspect that its operations will be consolidated with WTTG's management, staff, and technical facilities. We might also see some of Channel 5's early evening comedies ("Simpsons," "Friends," "Seinfeld") moving to 20 to make room for a early evening newscast on 5. For the forseeable future, Channel 20 will continue to broadcast UPN fare. By the way, Rupert Murdoch's Fox also owns Baltimore's UPN station, Channel 24, WUTB. It obtained that station a few months ago in a deal to acquire Chris-Craft's batch of TV stations. That acquisition gave Fox a second TV station in the NYC market.
October 27, 2001
Quarter Century Broadcasters Gather
The 25th anniversary dinner of the Washington Quarter Century Broadcasters took place Saturday, 10/27. It was arranged by Walt Starling, emceed by Mac McGarry, and featured "bloopers" hosted by Paul Anthony. The guests included: Martin Edwards, Fred Fiske, Willard Scott, Ed Walker, Bill Mayhugh, Yale Lewis, Stan Karas, Russ Ward, Phil Gaines, Stuart Finley, Don Richards, Ron David, Bob Duckman, "Long John" Dowling, Jerry Clark, Jerry Edwards, Ed Rodriguez, Ed Tobias, Ed Gursky, Bill McCloskey, Max Cacas, Paul Bicknell (as himself), Sean Hall, Cal Thomas, John Harter, Frank Herzog, Dennis Owens, Deena Clark, Arthur Arundel, Steve McCormick, Peter O'Reilly, David French, Lee Shephard, Lee Reynolds, Connie Lawn, Camille Bohannon, Jim Bohannon, Max Schindler, Jim Silman, Pat O'Donnell, and Tom Powers, among many others.
October 27, 2001
WZHF Adds More Spanish Programming
DCRTV hears that Multicultural Broadcasting has rechristened its brokered ethnic WZHF (1390 AM) as "Emisora Unida" ("United Broadcasting") with more secular Spanish language programming. The Arlington station still features a heavy dose of Spanish religious fare, some of which has also been heard on Multicultural's WKDV (1460 AM) in Manassas. WKDV still offers a good deal of Korean language programming, often also heard on WPWC (1480 AM) in Dumfries and WTRI (1520 AM) in Brunswick. Emisora Unida's production studios are located in the Columbia Pike area of south Arlington.
October 24, 2001
Clear Channel Cuts Hit Overnight
We're learning more about Clear Channel's plans to make cuts in its overnight operations at its DC area (and Baltimore area) radio stations. DCRTV hears that oldies WBIG's Johnny Dark will be cut back to a 10 PM to 10:30 PM countdown feature and do "fill-ins." He used to rule 10 PM to 2 AM. Former overnighter Bonnie Phillips moves up to the 10:30 PM to 2 AM slot, with 2 AM to 5:30 AM featuring the voice-tracked Charlie Donovan, while he goes from fulltime to part-time. Over at adult contemporary WASH, the all-night show becomes voice-tracked and Maureen MacClain, who moved to a day shift, will not be replaced on overnights. Overnights also become voice-tracked at contemporary WIHT and rocker DC101. As DCRTV reported earlier, country WMZQ cuts Mike Kelly back to part-time status and is now running Blair Garner's syndicated Clear Channel all-night show "After Midnight." The plan is, as previously reported on DCRTV, to build an after-hours control center where one tech can monitor all eight CC stations between 7 PM and AM drive time. Also, in this round of cuts, several support staff (sales assistants, etc.) went away. In the next round, DCRTV hears, the goal will be to reduce all 7 PM to midnight talent to part-time or to eliminate their positions and voice-track or network those hours. That goal has already been accomplished at CC's Baltimore country outlet WPOC. Plus, their program director voice-tracks the 9 AM to 11 AM shift, we hear. Also to come at CC/Mid-Atlantic - one general manager for the entire region. Look for GM positions in the Salisbury, Winchester, Frederick, and Baltimore clusters to be eliminated. Each market will then be reduced to one "director of sales," one "director of engineering," and one "director of programming." All will report to CC's DC/Mid-Atlantic radio czar Bennett Zier. He will have final say on talent hires and contracts, DCRTV hears.
October 18, 2001
McKelway Moves To 7
News anchor Doug McKelway, who left Channel 4 in July when his contract wasn't renewed, moves to Channel 7 as a general assignment reporter. He actually got his start in the DC market as a Channel 7 reporter in 1990. McKelway moved to Channel 4 in 1992, and had most recently been co-anchoring WRC's 5 PM newscast.
October 17, 2001
Fall Arbitron Ratings Released
All-news WTOP took a jump in the DC market radio ratings released on 10/17 by Arbitron. Partly fueled by the demand for news following the 9/11 terror attacks, the Bonneville station leaped from 8th place in the spring to 4th place in the latest "book." However, the area's other news station, ABC's "news/talk" WMAL, actually dropped a bit in the overall age 12+ numbers, from 11th to 12th place.
October 16, 2001
Duckman And Clear Channel Part Company
It's official. Clear Channel does indeed say goodbye to DC radio vet Bob Duckman (right). Why? We hear "consolidation reasons." Duckman, who was injured in a car accident in October 2000, used to co-host the morning show on nostalgic WGAY. But that was before his partner, Eddie Gallaher, retired, and then Clear Channel flipped the station to business talk WWRC. Duckman has recently been doing behind the scenes production work for CC and some weekend hosting on oldies WBIG (which he may continue doing). He was heard in the 1970s on Metromedia's legendary adult contemporary WASH, among many other area stations over the years.
October 15, 2001
Rush Gets New Shenandoah Valley Radio Home
Rush Limbaugh has a new home in the southern Shenandoah Valley. As of 10/15, Rush moved from his long-time Harrisonburg perch at Verstandig's news/talker WSVA (550 AM) to Clear Channel's nostalgic WKCY (1300 AM). Rush is syndicated by Premiere, which is owned by Clear Channel, which has been moving Rush to its stations in some markets. Could the DC market, where Rush is aired on ABC's WMAL (630 AM), be next? Clear Channel needs something to draw listeners to its "Dynamite Talk" WTNT (570 AM). WSVA, which aired Rush on a one hour tape delayed basis, replaced him in the 1 PM to 4 PM slot with fellow right-wing talker Neal Boortz.
October 8, 2001
Rush Goes Deaf
Rush Limbaugh has gone deaf but has vowed to continue doing his radio talk program. His afternoon radio show is heard locally on WMAL, WBAL, and WFMD. The right-wing talker said he started to experience a hearing loss in May and it has since progressed to near total deafness. Limbaugh was off the air most of last week and says he may take more time off, but maintains he will continue to do his daily noon to 3 PM show. Doctors think that the cause is an auto-immune inner ear disease and, with treatment, the radio talker may not go completely deaf. Also, Rush acknowledged that many (including some DCRTV mailbag contributors) have noticed that his voice sounds differently of late, and that could be related to the fact that he can't hear it any more. Rush just signed his eight year deal with syndicator Premiere (owned by Clear Channel) during the summer.
October 8, 2001
Stevens Gets Infinity Promo
Infinity has named Jay Stevens vice president of programming for its DC area radio station cluster. Stevens, who has been programming and operations director at Infinity's urban WPGC-FM since 1991, will continue in that role and add duties overseeing alternative rock WHFS, classic rock WARW, hot talk WJFK-FM, and gospel WPGC-AM. Stevens will also continue to work with Infinity’s new urban format launches in Hartford, Baltimore (X1057), and elsewhere. Says Infinity's DC "market captain" Phil Zachary: "Jay has had WPGC ranked number one in 36 of the last 38 Arbitron surveys. Every station he works with sounds fabulous and owns the streets."
October 1, 2001
Z104 Flips To Modern Adult Contemporary
Bonneville's contemporary hit Z104 (WWZZ 104.1 and WWVZ 103.9) flipped to an alternative or "modern" rockish hot adult contemporary mix. It seems that the move is aimed more at taking adult female listeners from ABC's hot adult contemporary "Mix 107.3" rather than attracting teenagers from Z104's previous "target" - Clear Channel's rhythmic contemporary "Hot 99.5." Z104's new logo is "More Music - Guaranteed" (it claims to be running half its normal ad load) and its new logo is at the right. No changes were made to Z104's on-air staff, including its "McDonald's Morning Drive" team of Dylan and Erin, except for the departure of nightman Matthew Blades. Z104 program director Mike Edwards tells All Access: "Based on extensive research, this is the first time we've been able to address two major complaints from our listeners. First, the tastes of 18-49 adult females are changing and we are reflecting this with our shift in core artists to feature Dave Matthews, U2, Matchbox 20, Lenny Kravitz, Sara McLachlan, Sting, and the Goo Goo Dolls. It's still top 40 music minus the teen-appeal and rhythmic textured music."
September 30, 2001
Channels 53 And 56 Change Names
Northern Virginia public stations WNVT/53 and WNVC/56 have announced that they're changing their names to "MHz Networks," with the slogan "Your World. Your Frequency." WNVC will be known as "MHz" and will continue to broadcast its international fare. WNVT will be known as "MHz2" when it carries its late afternoon and evening music programming, a mix of local stuff and a MuchMusic USA relay, and "MHz Learn" when it airs educational programs during the morning and early afternoon hours.
September 19, 2001
Charles Giddens, who was the last general manager of WPGC while it still sported a contemporary hit format in the early 1980s, died in early September in a Naples, Florida hospital after suffering a brain hemmorage. He was 57.
September 13, 2001
WKMZ And WLTF Swap Dial Positions
Martinsburg WV's classic rock WKMZ, formerly known as "The Mountain," made the move to 95.9 on 9/13, with that frequency's occupant, Williamsport MD's adult contemporary WLTF, moving to WKMZ's old, stronger signal at 97.5. The move will improve WLTF's reception in the DC area's western suburbs, and significantly reduce WKMZ's reach to the metro area. WLTF is now calling itself "Lite 97.5." Moving WKMZ from WV's panhandle fuels talk that Clear Channel may soon flip country WXVA (98.3 FM) in Charles Town WV to a rock format, most likely relaying Winchester VA's WFQX (99.3 FM). Also, the Greaseman (aka Doug Tracht) debuted his morning show on WKMZ.
September 11, 2001
Local Radio, TV React To The Terror Attacks On Pentagon And World Trade Center
Most of the DC area's radio and TV stations suspended normal programming to cover the horrendous events of 9/11. Channels 4, 5, 7, 9, and NewsChannel 8 focused on the multiple attacks of terror in NYC, DC, and elsewhere. On the radio, besides expected coverage on all-news WTOP and news/talk WMAL, many other stations dropped their normal music programming for coverage of the acts of terror involving the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The DC area's Clear Channel stations, including WASH, WMZQ, WIHT, DC101, WTEM, WTNT, WWRC, and WBIG, were relaying the audio from NBC's Channel 4. Bonneville's Z104 was relaying co-owned WTOP. ABC's WJZW was, at times, relaying sister WMAL. WJFK's Howard Stern and "Don And Mike" even broke into news coverage modes. Virtually all of the major radio stations provided coverage including also WETA, WARW, WAMU, WCSP, WPGC, WHUR, and WRQX, and to a lesser degree on WKYS and WMMJ. Many of the Baltimore TV and radio stations also suspended regular programming along with radio stations in Frederick, Winchester, and Fredericksburg. More TV info - Tribune's Channel 50 was carrying coverage from its sister WPIX in NYC and then picked up coverage from CNN. Viacom's Channel 20, for a while, relayed co-owned CBS News. Pax's Channel 66 was relaying coverage from NBC News, while Channels 14 and 30 were carrying Spanish language news coverage from Univision. Even Comcast SportsNet was providing coverage via Fox Sports Net and Fox News Channel. DC's XM Satellite Radio has postponed its scheduled 9/12 launch. Radio America has also postponed ceremonies slated for 9/12 regarding its new DC broadcast facilities. Westwood One was making all of its news services available to affiliates and non-affiliates for free, in the wake of the tragedy in NYC; among those services is WTOP. The names of the broadcast engineers most certainly killed in the World Trade Center terror attack last Tuesday are being made known. We now hear that WABC-TV transmitter engineer Donald DiFranco was in his office on the 110th floor when the building was attacked, and has not been heard from since. He joins WNET-TV's Rod Coppola, WNBC-TV's William Steckman, WCBS-TV's Bob Pattison and Isaias Rivera, and WPIX-TV's Steve Jacobson on the list of those missing and, at this point, feared dead. The above stations and others have since arranged for alternate transmitter sites in and around NYC. Karen Kincaid, 40, an attorney with the DC communications law firm of Wiley, Rein, And Fielding, was one of the unlucky passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 77, bound from Dulles Airport to Los Angeles, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. Kincaid joined the firm in 1993. Previously, she'd been an attorney with the FCC's Private Radio Bureau. Also lost on that flight - Barbara Olson, 45, a DC-based legal analyst who was frequently seen on CNN. The Salisbury Daily Times reported on 9/14 that Carl Reed, half of Georgetown, Delaware's WZBH (93.5 FM) morning team, resigned on 9/11 after his on-air comments about terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center enraged listeners and station officials. According to the Daily Times, Reed griped about interrupting a song for a news bulletin about the planes crashing into the NYC skyscrapers. Reed refused WZBH management's request to immediately apologize for his remarks. He then quit his job at the rock station, the newspaper adds. WWTL (700 AM), which regularly airs Arabic language programming, has posted a message of sympathy on its website, including a quote from Abraham Lincoln, regarding the recent terror attacks. "We have suspended our website out of sympathy to the victims and families of this National tragedy. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to them," according to the station's website. According to 9/20's Radio And Records, Les Kinsolving, a host on Baltimore talker WCBM (680 AM), recently complained that Radio One's executives sympathize with terrorists because callers to the company's cross town urban talker WOLB (1010 AM) were permitted to express support on-air for Muslim ideals. "Les tried to turn it into something it wasn't," Radio One CEO/President Alfred Liggins told R&R. Lanham MD-based Radio One issued a 9/19 statement saying it is "deeply saddened" by the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and that its stations encouraged and permitted listeners to express their opinions. "A very limited number of opinions were clearly controversial," the statement added. "These opinions do not reflect the views of Radio One." By the way, Radio One plans to donate $100,000 to aid victims, surviving families, and survivors of the terrorist attacks and to assist in relief efforts.
September 10, 2001
Oldies QSR Moves To 102.7, Contemporary XYV Moves to 105.7 And Goes Urban
Baltimore Infinity former oldies outlet 105.7 is playing urban contemporary, hip-hop tunes as of 9/10 and IDing itself as "X1057." It looks like FM "hot talk" will not make it to Charm City because of fears it'll hurt the ratings of Infinity's alternative rock WHFS at 99.1 - both formats target young men. The 105.7 frequency has long been thought to be the most likely spot for the new home for Howard Stern and "Don And Mike," now heard on Infinity's increasingly sports-oriented talker WJFK-AM, 1300. Is "X1057" (with the WXYV calls from 102.7) Infinity's long-awaited challenge to Radio One's urban powerhouse "92Q," WERQ - a challenge DCRTV first reported back in March? As of 6 AM on 9/8, Infinity's oldies WQSR made the move from 105.7 to 102.7 (which puts in a better signal to the DC area), former home of Infinity's contemporary WXYV. The last XYV tune - "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" by Boyz II Men. The air staff from Infinity's contemporary WXYV, formerly at 102.7, is making the move to Infinity's WWMX, 106.5, "Baltimore's Best Variety," also known as "Mix 1065." The new hot adult contemporary line-up: Stacy Lynn joins "Jojo And Kenny" for mornings, 10 AM - Maria Dennis, 3 PM - "Fast" Jimi Roberts, 7 PM - Hawaiian Ryan. Where did Kristie MacIntyre go? To join the "Rouse And Company" morning show, now on 102.7. By the way, 106.5's "Eight Track Saturday Night" moves to 102.7. And - over at Infinity's adult contemporary WLIF (101.9 FM), Michael and Merrie are out as of 9/5. A new morning show kicked off on 9/7 with Greg Carpenter and Tamara Nelson.
August 29, 2001
Hannity Joins WMAL
ABC's news/talk WMAL (630 AM) announced on 8/29 a major schedule change in connection with the arrival of talker Sean Hannity. Starting 9/10, the right-leaning Hannity will take over the 3 PM to 5 PM slot, replacing one hour of Dr. Laura (3 PM) and one hour of the Chris Core show (4 PM). Core's show will now air from 5 PM to 7 PM. Dr. Laura will run from 9 AM to 11:40 AM, with Paul Harvey remaining in the 11:45 AM to noon slot. Naturally, there will be no change to Rush Limbaugh's airing from noon to 3 PM. There's been recent talk that Clear Channel may pull right-wing talker Limbaugh off ABC's radio stations around the country, including WMAL. Limbaugh is syndicated by Premiere, which is owned by rival Clear Channel. In the DC market, Clear Channel could move Limbaugh to its "dynamite talk" WTNT (570 AM) - and then maybe move WTNT to a better signal elsewhere on AM (980) or on FM (99.5). That's why, some surmise, ABC just signed Hannity to a five-year, $10 million radio syndication deal - just in case it finds itself "Rush-less." Hannity, half of Fox News Channel's "Hannity And Colmes" evening talk duo, currently does an afternoon radio show on ABC's NYC blowtorch WABC. He's also been a regular substitute on Limbaugh's show.
August 20, 2001
Liddy Joins WTNT
After two weeks of being missing in his home DC market, Clear Channel has finally penned an agreement with G. Gordon Liddy's national syndicator, Westwood One, and the G-Man (left) aired on "Dynamite Talk" WTNT (570 AM) starting 8/20, from noon to 3 PM. Liddy signed off Infinity hot talker WJFK (106.7 FM) on 8/3. He was to be heard on 8/6 on WTNT, but contract snags prevented that. Westwood One - which is owned by Infinity which owns WJFK - did not want Liddy's show to originate from a Clear Channel station (WTNT). Radio Business Report quotes WTEM general manager Jim Weiskopf who says that Liddy will broadcast "from a Westwood location. We're an affiliate. It's early in the deal, so we're still not sure how and if he will use our station's name on the show. But we expect him to have a close relationship with us."
August 17, 2001
Randi Martin Out At WASH
WASH (97.1 FM) morning personality Randi Martin is history. That's what DCRTV's hearing about the Clear Channel adult contemporary station's line-up on 8/17. No word on why. We hear that Scott Brady, who'd been doing middays, will move to mornings, while current overnighter Maureen McLain takes his slot. Morning traffic/news person Victoria Ray stays on. Martin's only been doing the morning show at 97.1 for half a year. Back in January, WASH ditched its then morning team of Bill Worthington and Kim Burton, moving Martin from afternoons. In other WASH news, on 8/17 Brendan Hurley was named marketing director. He replaces Patricia Wexler. Hurley's been doing the same thing down the hall at Clear Channel's oldies WBIG (100.3 FM). He'll now oversee promotions for both stations.
August 8, 2001
Reingold Out At Channel 9
Dick Reingold, general manager of Gannett's Channel 9 WUSA, resigned on 8/8. According to the 8/9 Post: "Reingold's future seemed in question since the appointment last September of Dave Roberts as news director. Roberts replaced Reingold's hire, former WRC colleague Paul Irvin, who when brought to WUSA in spring 1999 had gotten out of the TV news business altogether and was pursuing a degree in education. Irvin failed to deliver ratings for Channel 9 and, local news sources say, Gannett named Roberts news director rather than having Reingold select Irvin's successor. Roberts proceeded to make some major changes, including ending the station's 4 PM newscast and adding a 9 AM news show." Reingold's replacement is Ardyth Diercks, a senior vice president for Gannett Television. She'll also oversee Gannett TV stations in four southern markets.
August 8, 2001
Murdoch To Acquire Channel 20
On 8/8, Viacom/CBS and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation announced plans to swap TV stations in a deal that will give Fox network owner Murdoch control of DC's WDCA Channel 20, currently a Viacom-owned station that carries UPN programming. If the deal is approved by the FCC, Murdoch will control two TV stations in the DC market; he also owns WTTG Channel 5, a Fox station. Viacom will also hand over to Murdoch a Houston TV station, giving him a TV duopoly there. In exchange, Viacom/CBS will take control of Murdoch's recently acquired San Francisco TV station - giving it a duopoly in the Bay Area.
August 3, 2001
WJFK's Don & Mike Move To Middays, Liddy Bounced
G. Gordon Liddy has been canned from his midday slot at WJFK-FM. That move makes room for the DC-based PM drive team of "Don And Mike" to move there. After nine straight days of "best of" repeats, D&M (actually Mike Sorce and Mike O'Meara) showed up live in a WJFK-FM studio on 8/3 to officially announce that they'll be moving to the midday 11 AM to 3 PM slot starting on 8/6. D&M confirmed that they'll be physically moving to NYC to do their show at least several days per week. Their show will also air middays live on Infinity's Big Apple FM hot talker WNEW. NYC's "Opie And Anthony" (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia), who do the WNEW PM drive show, debuted in D&M's former WJFK-FM PM drive slot (3 PM to 7 PM) on 8/6. We hear that D&M will continue to be aired in PM drive (via tape delay) on Baltimore's WJFK-AM (1300), for now. By the way, D&M, who'll now be up against Rush Limbaugh in many markets, promised to give the right-wing talker a ratings "colonoscopy."
August 1, 2001
Tony Pann Joins Channel 9
Baltimore TV weatherman Tony Pann (right), who left for NYC last summer, will be joining DC's Channel 9 to do the weather for its noon newscast. Pann had been handling the morning weather chores on the CBS station in NYC, and before that worked for Channel 11 in Baltimore. By the way, Channel 9's news director, Dave Roberts, originally comes from Channel 11.
August 1, 2001
Telefutura Coming To Channel 14
Arlington's Channel 14, WTMW, will become Telefutura in January. That's Univision's new youth oriented Spanish language network. Univision's primary network will remain on low-powered Channel 30, WMDO. Full-powered WTMW, which currently airs a mix of old sitcoms, infomercials, and programs from the right-leaning Renaissance Network, was recently sold to Univision.
July 30, 2001
Liddy Moves To Baltimore's WCBM
The G-Man has found a new radio home in Baltimore. Starting 7/30, G. Gordon Liddy will be heard most weekdays from noon to 2 PM on talker WCBM (680 AM). The former FBI agent and Watergate felon was bounced from WJFK-AM (1300) a few months ago (and replaced with syndicated sports talker Jim Rome) as that station gradually becomes a sports talk outlet. With Liddy joining WCBM, Dr. Laura's show moves from 1 PM to 2 PM (losing an hour).
July 25, 2001
Murdoch Picks Up Channel 24
The FCC on 7/25 approved Rupert Murdoch's $5.4 billion purchase of a batch of Chris-Craft TV stations. Murdoch's News Corporation gets control of the Chris-Craft station in Baltimore, Channel 24 WUTB, a UPN affiliate, even though Murdoch's Fox network will remain - for now - on Sinclair's Channel 45 WBFF. Murdoch already owns DC's Fox 5 WTTG.
July 23, 2001
Gray Leaves WAMU
Jerry Gray, one the two hosts who had their weekday bluegrass and traditional country music shows recently axed from American University's WAMU (88.5 FM), has decided not to accept the station's offer to host a weekend show. Post radio correspondent Frank Ahrens reports that Gray "didn't like the look of the contract WAMU offered." Ahrens adds that the other host, Ray Davis, has reached an agreement with WAMU and will do a show on Sundays from 10 AM to 1 PM. Ahrens also says that at least 72 disgruntled former WAMU bluegrass donors have demanded, and received, their $35 membership pledges back from the station.
July 21, 2001
WPTX Goes Sports Talk
Lexington Park MD's WPTX (1690 AM) was back on the airwaves on 7/21 featuring sports talk from the Sporting News (One-On-One Sports) network. The station, which used to sport a talk/oldies format, had been off the air the past few weeks while new owner, Somar, made technical improvements.
July 21, 2001
Infinity Snags U Of MD Sports
Infinity Sports Marketing, a subsidiary of Infinity Broadcasting, is about to sign a contract with the University Of Maryland to acquire the school's sports broadcast rights. The eight-to-ten year deal is said to be worth $20 million. Currently, U Of MD's sports rights are held by Learfield Communications, which has contracted with Hearst-owned WBAL (1090 AM) to air the school's games in the Baltimore market. The switch to Infinity could mean a move of U Of MD games to a station like Baltimore's Infinity-owned WJFK-AM (1300), which is assuming a sports talk format. In the DC market, U Of MD sports is carried by ABC's WMAL (630 AM); Infinity's WJFK-FM (106.7) has a hot talk format but does carry the Redskins and the evening "Sports Junkies."
July 18, 2001
WMDM Goes Oldies
WMDM (97.7 FM) was reborn with an oldies format on 7/18. The station's new slogan: "The Greatest Hits Of All Time - Oldies 97.7 - WMDM." The Lexington Park MD former country outlet resurfaced on 7/14 stunting with a looped tape announcement after several weeks off the air to allow its new owner, Somar, to make technical improvements.
July 18, 2001
New News Director For Channel 2
Channel 2's new news director Staci Feger-Childers has got her work cut out for her. According to the 7/18 Baltimore Sun, she's taking the reins of "a station whose newscasts are mired at the bottom of the Baltimore market. WMAR has an experienced and capable staff that's been demoralized by a series of short-lived, low-impact news directors. And she knows that the bottom line - the ratings and the revenue - matter more than ever to WMAR's Cincinnati-based owner, the E.W. Scripps Company."
July 14, 2001
New Owner For WJHU
Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University signed a letter of intent on 7/13 to sell its public radio station, WJHU (88.1 FM), to the local "Maryland Public Radio" group headed by WJHU host Marc Steiner. The 7/14 Baltimore Sun reports that the group has 30 days to solidify its financing to buy the station and make a specific offer. The asking price has been estimated at $5 million. Earlier this year, the university put the non-commercial, news/talk formatted station up for sale after claiming that it did not have the funds to continue its operations. A half-dozen bidders surfaced, including Maryland Public Television (MPT), along with DC public broadcasters WAMU and WETA. But, over time, most pulled out saying it would be too expensive to operate WJHU as a local entity, as opposed to simply relaying the signal of another station via 88.1. The 7/13 Sun reports that Steiner's group has borrowed most of the $5 million purchase price (raising only $750,000), and will still have to find funds to replace WJHU's aging equipment and to run the station, not to mention making program improvements.
July 7, 2001
New Morning News Voices At WBAL Radio
WBAL radio's morning news voice, Chuck Jackson, gives up the airwaves for a landscaping business. He'll be replaced by Bill Vanko, who'd been WPOC's news director and who'd also been heard before on BAL, and Mellany Armstrong who's from a Philadelphia radio station.
July 7, 2001
New News Director At Channel 11
Some behind the scenes Baltimore TV news changes. Margaret Cronan will be named news director of Channel 11/WBAL, which is owned by Hearst/Argyle. She replaces Princell Hair who's becoming the corporate director of news for CBS-owned stations, which includes 11's arch rival Channel 13/WJZ. Cronan has been news director of the Hearst/Argyle TV station in Palm Beach, Florida. Also, she'd been a news producer at Channel 13 in the early 1990s.
July 2, 2001
Charles Arthur McAleer, 82, a crime reporter and editor at the now defunct Washington Star newspaper for 44 years died on 7/2 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center of complications from diabetes. In addition to his newspaper duties, Mr. McAleer was a copy editor and substitute newscaster on WMAL radio, which used to be owned by the Star.
July 1, 2001
Bob Gneiser, 69, who'd once been a news anchor on Channel 7 (then WMAL-TV) and on WMAL radio, was injured in a two-car crash in Bethesda on 7/1. Mr. Gneiser's wife, Carolyn, also 69, was killed in the mishap. Two others were also injured in the accident.
June 29, 2001
Althage Out At MPT
If you tuned in to Maryland Public Television (Channels 22, 62, 67, etc.) at 7 PM on Friday 6/29 you caught the last edition of "Newsnight Maryland," which has been cancelled. The local news half-hour was hosted by Bob Althage (left) who'd formerly been a news anchor with Channel 9. Starting at 7 PM on Monday 7/2, look for MPT to air (the less expensive?) "World News For Public TV," produced by the UK's ITV and starring Daljit Dhaliwal. No word on Althage's plans.
June 25, 2001
WAMU Drops Weekday Bluegrass
WAMU (88.5 FM) dumps its long running weekday afternoon bluegrass programming, replacing it with talk and news. Starting on 6/25, the 3 PM to 6 PM slot of classic country music hosted by Ray Davis and Jerry Gray was replaced by "The World," an international news show, and an expanded "All Things Considered," NPR's afternoon mainstay. This gives American University's WAMU a solid news/talk format during the weekdays. The bluegrass still airs on weekends - overnight Saturday night/Sunday morning, including "Stained Glass Bluegrass" on Sundays from 6 AM to 10 AM. Gray's classic country show on Saturdays from 3 PM to 6 PM will continue, while Davis had been offered a Sunday slot from 10 AM to 1 PM. WAMU is launching a website, www.bluegrasscountry.org, to carry bluegrass music around the clock. It's being funded by a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment For The Arts.
June 17, 2001
Dame Picks Up Two In Hagerstown
Dame Broadcasting has purchased Hagerstown rocker WQCM (96.7 FM) and news/talker WHAG (1410 AM) for $3.4 million. Dame owns several other stations in the Hagerstown area including adult contemporary WIKZ (95.1 FM), country WCHA-FM (94.3), and news/talk WCHA-AM (800).
June 17, 2001
Changes At 1050
Mega's WPLC (1050 AM) in Silver Spring is now relaying the "Radio Capital" Central American/Mexican Spanish language programming already heard on Mega's WKDL (730 AM) in Alexandria and WKDM (1600 AM) in Rockville. WPLC, which recently dropped its relay of the Spanish "Amor" adult contemporary format, is slated to go Spanish brokered soon, while WKDM is being sold to Multicultural and will probably also go ethnic brokered soon.
June 16, 2001
How about giving everyone an Emmy! Well, the somewhat silly local TV Emmy awards were held 6/16 at the Omni Shoreham. For example, Channel 5's Tom Sater was selected as best weathercaster. And so was Channel 7's Dan Henry. Ditto with Channel 45/54's Kirk Clyatt. Yup, they all beat Channel 4's Bob Ryan. Okay?!?!? As for best sportscaster - Channel 7's Rene Knott, Channel 5's Dave Feldman, AND Channel 4's George Michael were winners, leaving Channel 9's poor Jess Atkinson awardless. And, Channel 5's Mike Landess was selected as best news anchor - at least he didn't have to share his statue with anyone. Also awarded: Channel 7 photojournalist Steven Affens (who died last November) and Channel 4 announcer and "It's Academic" host Mac McGarry.
June 15, 2001
Bad Blood Between Bonneville And Clear Channel
It looks like things are getting pretty nasty in the contemporary hit battle between Clear Channel's WIHT (Hot 99.5) and Bonneville's Z104 (WWZZ/WWVZ). DCRTV heard on 6/15 that a contestant for WIHT's "Freak Week," who was trying to win a permanent gig as the station's "stunt" man, recently went door-to-door in a Z104 shirt saying he was a convicted sex offender of animals and asked if it would be all right if he moved into the neighborhood. Z104 general manager Mark O'Brien says he received calls from angry parents who figured it was a Z104 prank. O'Brien was so angry that he sent letters of complaint to the Washington Post and to CC's DC market honcho Bennett Zier claiming that the joke had tarnished Z104's reputation and he went so far as to call for an advertiser boycott of WIHT. We hear that Zier did issue an apology. And that's not all. More bad blood. On 6/14, Clear Channel announced that it has dropped a trademark infringement lawsuit over a ticket giveaway by Bonneville's contemporary Z104. Clear Channel claimed that Bonneville was infringing on CC's service mark of the "Wango Tango Concert" (which is held by CC-owned KIIS in Los Angeles, a contemporary outlet like CC's WIHT in DC) by recently giving away tickets via WWZZ/WWVZ. Clear Channel stressed that Bonneville was not allowed to say "Wango Tango" on the air and demanded that Z104 stop giving away the tickets and pull ads for the giveaway. Bonneville did comply. Now the suit has been dropped and Clear Channel is reimbursing Z104 for the tickets it purchased to the concert. OK, so Clear Channel's upset at Bonneville, but didn't CC's alternative rocker DC101 recently give away tickets to the "HFStival" held by Infinity alt rocker WHFS? Hmmm.
June 14, 2001
Judge Rejects Tower Lawsuit
US District Judge Paul Friedman on 6/14 rejected a lawsuit filed by American Tower against the District Of Columbia goverment for pulling permits that, last fall, halted the construction of a controversial communications tower in the Tenleytown section of northwest DC. The planned 756-foot tower, which was to be used by some area TV stations for their digital broadcasts, was only partly built when area residents bitterly complained that the structure did not meet DC's zoning laws. American Tower filed its lawsuit after the District ordered tower construction to stop. Friedman said in his recent ruling that he did not buy the tower company's argument that the District violated federal statutes by halting work on the tower.
June 12, 2001
Multicultural Buys WKDM
Silver Spring-based Mega Communications has sold Rockville's WKDM (1600 AM) to Multicultural Radio Broadcasting for $800,000. NYC's Multicultural also owns Arlington's WZHF (1390 AM), WKDV (1460 AM) in Manassas, and WKCW (1420) AM in Warrenton. Currently WKDM carries Mega's Central American/Mexican Spanish language programming, also aired by Mega's WKDL (730 AM) in Alexandria. We assume that WKDM will adopt a multi-ethnic brokered format like WZHF and WKDV. WKCW carries a traditional country music format. Before Mega had bought 1600, it was WINX with Anglo oldies and top 40 formats.
June 8, 2001
"Don And Mike" Sign Contract Extension
WJFK's nationally syndicated PM drive team of "Don And Mike" announced on the air 6/8 that they've signed a two-year extension on their original five-year deal with Infinity. Details about the new "option" were not revealed, but its signing apparently signaled the end of a several day sick-out the DC-based duo had staged. Many had speculated that D&M (actually Mike Sorce and Mike O'Meara) were upset that fellow bad boy talkers "Opie And Anthony" had just signed a $30 million, three-year contract with Infinity that calls for them to remain doing PM drive on NYC hot talker WNEW and allows them to be syndicated nationwide and maybe even in the DC area. In fact, O&A debuted on Infinity's Philadelphia rocker WYSP on 6/7, doing PM drive - a slot D&M have eyed. The bottom line was that D&M would not be getting their wish - to be aired live in NYC (or Philly) during PM drive. D&M are heard on WNEW's evenings (after O&A), tape delayed. There's still no public word on how the new deal satisfies D&M's concerns other than giving D&M an extra hour in the early evenings, with the Sports Junkies' start being moved to 8 PM from 7 PM on 106.7.
June 8, 2001
Mega Drops "Amor" Format From 94.3
Adios "Amor." On 6/8, Mega Communications junked the Spanish adult contemporary "Amor" format on its WPLC, 94.3 FM, in Warrenton, and is now using the Virginia station to relay the Spanish contemporary, urbanish programming also found on its WBZS, 92.7 FM, in Prince Frederick MD. The 94.3 calls become WBPS. Also, the "Amor" relay on Silver Spring's WPLC-AM, 1050, is being discontinued in favor of brokered Spanish programming.
June 7, 2001
American University Pulls Out of Bidding For WJHU
American University's WAMU (88.5 FM) has pulled out of the bidding for Baltimore's WJHU (88.1 FM). With the likely withdrawl of another bidder, Boston's WBUR, there's only one group left to take over the Johns Hopkins University-owned news and public affairs station - a local organization of listeners headed by WJHU host Marc Steiner. According to the 6/7 Baltimore Sun: "WAMU cited what it said were irretrievable financial costs of creating new shows for WJHU. WBUR, while still expressing interest, said it needed more time to decide whether to bid." Added WAMU spokesperson Chris Naylor: "(Our) analysis showed the overall return on investment just wouldn't support that move right now... It wouldn't be a fair decision for our station - nor would it be for them." Earlier, another potential WJHU suitor, Maryland Public Television, which had linked up with DC-based National Public Radio, was rejected by WJHU officials, as was an informal bid from DC's WETA, which operates Channel 26 and FM 90.9. Steiner's group, dubbed Maryland Public Radio, is said to be scrambling to get the $5 million needed to purchase the station. Johns Hopkins put the station up for sale earlier this year after determining it didn't have the funds to continue operating it.
June 6, 2001
McKelway Leaves Channel 4
Channel 4 news anchor Doug McKelway (left), who's been with the NBC station since 1992, is on the way out. We hear that his contract expires in July and it's not being renewed. McKelway co-anchors WRC's 5 PM newscast with Susan Kidd. "It's been a great nine years and I never expected it to last this long," he told the 6/6 Washington Post. "I lasted at least twice as long as any predecessor in the seat at 5 o'clock and I'm going out on top. So the timing is a little curious, but there are broader horizons lying ahead," McKelway said in reference to the frequent first place finishes for the station's 5 PM newscasts. WRC's suits had no comment. According to the 6/6 Washington Times, McKelway had been a critic of WRC's news "balance." He told the Times: "I made a conscious decision about three years ago that I would complain in our newsroom if I saw things on our air that were not balanced. And I did so with the full awareness that it was risky, and it could result in me losing my job eventually." McKelway comes from a family of journalists. His grandfather worked for the Washington Star, a great-uncle worked for 30 years at the New Yorker magazine, an uncle wrote the "Rambler" column for both the Washington Star and Washington Times, and a brother currently writes for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
May 30, 2001
WTOP Plans Signal Improvements To 1500 AM
We hear that FCC has approved a plan submitted by DC's WTOP, KSTP in St. Paul, and WLQV in Detroit - all on 1500 AM - that would relax some skywave rules in order for all three stations to increase their local nighttime coverage areas. This means that WTOP's 1500 AM signal will soon be better heard throughout more of the DC metro area after sunset, particularly in northern and western Montgomery County.
May 30, 2001
WMAL/ABC Won't Let Rush Go Without A Fight
There's been speculation lately that Clear Channel might take Rush Limbaugh (left) off ABC-owned DC news/talker WMAL and put him on CC's new "dynamite talk" WTNT. CC, which owns Rush's national syndicator Premiere, has recently pulled Rush off non-CC stations in some markets. However, DCRTV hears that ABC is not likely to let Rush go in one market without it affecting his carriage in other large markets. In other words, if CC pulls Rush from WMAL, that could affect ABC's deals for Rush in other big, major billing markets such as NYC, SF, Chicago, Dallas, and Detroit. And vice versa. If, say, CC pulled Rush from ABC's station in SF, he might disappear from WMAL, too. We also hear that Rush does have some say about which stations carry his show. Would he want to lose WABC, his Big Apple blowtorch, in a market where CC doesn't even own a talk station? Stay tuned, dittoheads.
May 28, 2001
Baltimore Radio Vet Danny Sheelds Dies
Danny Sheelds, a Baltimore radio air personality and announcer from the 1940s to the 1960s, died on 5/28. Mr. Sheelds worked at WITH, WCBM, and WCAO. His trademark was "Danny Sheelds - two e's if you please." No word on his age or the cause of death.
May 28, 2001
WTOP 2 Changes Name
WTOP announced that it is officially changing the name of "WTOP 2," its federal government news-oriented internet-only service, to "Federal News Radio." The service, available via www.wtop.com, was launched by the Bonneville all-news station in February 2000. The name change is being made to more accurately describe the service to people unacquainted with WTOP radio, says WTOP VP/GM Joel Oxley.
May 25, 2001
Injured TV News Crew Member Sues WTTG
A Channel 5 news crew member is seeking $50 million in damages for injuries he suffered in May 2000 when, in preparing to relay a news feed back to the station, he received a severe shock after a mast in a WTTG news van touched an overhead power line in Alexandria. The 5/25 Washington Post reports that the attorney for Geoffrey Manifold says that Channel 5's owner, Fox, as well as the the van's manufacturer and several companies that made gear for the van, should have provided safeguards to prevent the mishap, which also injured a second member of the WTTG news crew. The lawsuit adds that Manifold suffers from permanent injuries to his head, chest, and back.
May 24, 2001
Channel 4 Does Well In May TV "Sweeps"
The final (!) overall May TV "sweeps" numbers arrived at DCRTV on 5/24. Here are some rating figures for weekdays in the DC market. At 6 AM: (1) Four's news 5.4, (2) Nine's news 2.4, (3) Seven's news 2.3, (4) Five's news 1.5. At 7 AM: (1) Four's "Today Show" 5.3, (2) Five's news 3.4, (3) Seven's "Good Morning America" 3.3, (4) Nine's "CBS Early Show" 2.0. At 4 PM: (1) Seven's "Oprah" 4.6, (2) Four's news 4.3, (3) Nine's "Montel" 3.2. At 5 PM: (1) Four's news 5.4, (2) Five's "Judge Judy" 4.7, (3) Seven's news 4.4, (4) Nine's news 3.4. At 6 PM: (1) Four's news 7.1, (2) Seven's news 5.4, (3) Nine's news 4.9, (4) Five's "Simpsons" 4.7. At 6:30 PM: (1) Four's news 7.3, (2) Seven's "ABC News" 7.2, (3) Nine's "CBS News" 4.9, (4) Five's "Simpsons" 4.8. At 7 PM: (1) Four's "NBC News" 8.2, (2) Seven's "Wheel Of Fortune" 6.5, (3) Five's "Friends" 5.7, (4) Nine's "To Tell The Truth" 4.3. At 7:30 PM: (1) Seven's "Jeopardy" 7.9, (2) Four's "Access Hollywood" 6.2, (3) Five's "Seinfeld" and Nine's "Entertainment Tonight" each with a 5.5. Late news: (1) Four 8.2, (2) Five 6.5, (3) Nine 5.7, (4) Seven 5.4. Up in Baltimore, Thirteen won the news battles at 6 AM, 7 AM, noon, and at 6 PM, while Eleven was victorious at 5 PM and at 11 PM. In the late news battle, Thirteen came in 2nd, Two was in 3rd, and Forty-Five landed in 4th. At 4 PM, Eleven's "Oprah" beat Thirteen's "Rosie."
May 14, 2001
Erin Carmen Joins Z104
Contemporary hit Z104 (WWZZ/WWVZ) finally gets around to selecting a co-host for its new morning show with Dylan. The announcement on 5/14: it's Erin Carmen who's previously worked at the Comedy World Radio Network in LA and at an alternative rock radio station in Chicago.
May 14, 2001
Liddy Looks For New Baltimore Radio Home
DCRTV hears that talker WCBM (680 AM) could be the new Baltimore radio home for mid-day man G. Gordon Liddy, who was recently dumped from WJFK-AM (1300) in favor of syndicated sports talker Jim Rome. DCRTV is also hearing that Infinity's WJFK-AM (with five more years of the Ravens signed-up with co-owned WQSR) may make more moves in the near future to becoming a full-fledged sports talker, with the current line-up of "hot talkers" (a la Howard Stern and Don And Mike) moving over to one of Infinity's Charm City FMers. Our wild guess - WQSR. But Infinity also owns WLIF, WXYV (the subject of many other "urban-ish" rumors of late), and WWMX.
May 14, 2001
WOCT Makes Some Changes
Baltimore classic rocker WOCT (104.3 FM) unveiled a new morning team on 5/14 - "The Most Music Morning" with "our own Baltimore boys Chris Emry and Miles Montgomery." We hear that "Miles" is really WOCT afternoon driver Steve Austin. They replace the "Bob And Tom" morning team. The Clear Channel station is also promising a "wider selection of songs" as it "rebuild(s) the radio station one artist at a time." Could this mean a gradual shift from classic rock to contemporary hits, and a rebirth of the old B104? Officially the station is sticking to its classic rock format. Stay tuned.
May 12, 2001
Fredericksburg Paper Buys WWUZ
The Fredericksburg VA Free Lance-Star Publishing Company has announced that it is purchasing classic rock-ish WWUZ (96.9 FM) in nearby Bowling Green VA for $2.15 million. Rappahannock Communications-owned WWUZ first signed on in 1999. The newspaper already owns WFLS, and WYSK FM/AM.
May 12, 2001
Channel 14 Sold To Univision
Univision will use its newly acquired full-powered Channel 14, WTMW, for its new "Dos" network, to be launched in 2002. That's what Univision's public relations folks say - with the main Univision network staying where it is on low-powered WMDO, Channel 30. DCRTV's analysis: since Univision already has full DC market cable coverage with its two (existing and new) channels - low-powered Channel 30 (which FCC rules do not require cable systems to carry) and full-powered Channel 14 (which is required to be carried by the Commission's "must-carry" rules) - Univision will keep things status quo at 30. If it moved its main Univision network to 14, cable companies could drop carriage of 30 (and Univision's new second network). By keeping the main Univision network (which cable companies want to carry) on 30, the Spanish language broadcaster can get two of its channels carried on area cable systems. Channel 14 was sold in April for $30 million by Theodore M. White's Urban Broadcasting Corporation, which has programmed the station with infomercials, home shopping, and older syndicated fare.
May 12, 2001
Channel 5 Gets New GM/VP
Glenn Dyer is returning to Fox-owned WTTG to be vice president and general manager. He replaces Deborah Carpenter who, barely a year ago, replaced Laureen Ong who left for the DC-based National Geographic Channel. Dyer was VP of programming at WTTG from 1988 to 1996 before moving to Salt Lake City (he'd also once worked at Channel 20). Carpenter moves to NYC where she'll handle ad sales for the Fox network. While Channel 5's expanded morning newscast does well (although it's rarely in 1st place), it seems that the numbers for WTTG's showcase 10 PM newscast are sagging a bit of late. Plus, Channel 5's daytime/afternoon schedule (save "Judge Judy") could also use a serious ratings shot in the arm along with its gradually slumping re-re-runned early evening line-up of "The Simpsons," "Friends," and "Seinfeld." Will Dyer push ahead with plans to kick off an early evening (5 PM or 6 PM-ish) newscast at WTTG?
May 10, 2001
WGAY Calls Come Down
Well, the WGAY calls are no longer on the DC area's radio bands, so why should they continue to grace the Silver Spring building that once housed the station? DCRTV hears that work began on 5/10 to remove the "WGAY" letters from the World Building on Georgia Avenue. The building is now home to Mega's facilities (WPLC, WBZS, WKDL, and WKDM). Easy listening 99.5 FM was known for decades as WGAY until mid-1999 when it became "Jam'n Oldies" WJMO. The WGAY calls were then moved to nostalgic 1260 AM, but were retired in April when that station flipped to business talk.
May 10, 2001
Comcast Picks Up Baltimore City Cable System
As expected, Comcast picks up the Baltimore city cable TV system from AT&T for $500 million. With its recent deal to buy the Cecil County (northeastern Maryland) cable system, Comcast will own an unbroken geographical band of cable systems from New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, through Delaware, Maryland and DC, to northern Virginia.
May 7, 2001
Randy Dennis Loses Court Challenge
Former WWIN-FM morning man Randy Dennis has lost a court challenge regarding a non-compete clause in his contract with station owner Radio One. The six-month clause prevented Dennis from taking a morning show job at DC's WHUR because that station is within a 50-mile radius of his station, which is located in Baltimore. Last time we checked, Charm City was only 35 miles from the District. Dennis was bounced from his morning show in March when the adult urban station started airing Tom Joyner's nationally syndicated show.
May 6, 2001
Charles Taylor Dies
ABC News broadcaster Charles Taylor died on 5/6 of a pulmonary embolism at his home in Rockville. He was 58. A frequent voice on ABC's WMAL radio, Mr. Taylor was a producer and reporter for ABC News Radio in Washington DC and a member of the White House Press Corps. He'd also been senior editor of ABC Radio newscasts, bulletins, and special reports from 1968 to 1977. WMAL news director John Matthews tells DCRTV: "Chuck was a vital contributor to WMAL, working on his own time to put together news stories and features that he had passion for. He also gave us great help on several occasions, working as a local reporter when called for to provide coverage for national stories."
May 5, 2001
Frederick Club Gets In Hot Water Over Don & Mike Show Antics
Frederick nightclub Xhale gets its liquor license back, temporarily, while it fights a revocation decision in connection with a March "sex show" hosted by WJFK "shock jocks" Don And Mike. According to the Frederick News-Post, patrons of Xhale exposed themselves during an event in which women were allowed to "bare their breasts, touch each other's breasts and appear in thongs".
May 5, 2001
Bartelt Leaves Reston Cable TV
Tom Bartelt, who for the past 30 years has been the backbone behind Reston Community Television, is saying goodbye and moving to Utah. Bartelt came to Reston's cable system in the early 1970s after working for DC's Channel 4. Since then he's guided the community programming channel (for many years on cable Channel 8, and now on Channel 28) under a variety of owners - from Warner and Jones, to current owner Comcast. He'll be using his video skills to help wilderness protection organizations out west.
May 5, 2001
WJFK-AM Dumps Liddy For Rome
Baltimore's WJFK-AM (1300) is dumping right-wing talker G. Gordon Liddy in mid-days in favor of Jim Rome's sports talk show. Liddy will continue to air on WJFK-FM (106.7) in the DC market. Hmmm, we wonder if 1300 will be moving more in a sports talk direction - it does carry the Ravens along with WLIF (last season) and WQSR (this season). Currently the station airs much of 106.7's slate of talkers including Howard Stern in AM drive and Don And Mike in PM drive.
May 5, 2001
Clear Channel Buys WAZR In Shenandoah Valley
Clear Channel adds to its Shenandoah Valley cluster with the purchase of WAZR (93.7 FM) in Woodstock VA for $1.35 million. The nostalgic music formatted station was owned by Art Stamler of Ruarch And Associates, which owns a batch of religious low-power TV stations in the Shenandoah Valley. Clear Channel also owns Elkton VA's classic rock WACL (98.5 FM) and Harrisonburg VA's country WKCY (104.3 FM), which serve the south valley. In the north valley it owns Winchester VA's country WUSQ (102.5 FM) and religious WNTW (610 AM), Front Royal VA rocker WFQX (99.3 FM), and Charles Town WV's country WXVA (98.3 FM) and nostalgic WMRE (1550 AM).
May 5, 2001
WAMU Interested In Acquiring WJHU
DC public radio station WAMU (88.5 FM) is interested in acquiring Baltimore's WJHU (88.1 FM). The American University-owned mainly news, talk, and public affairs station would program WJHU as a separate entity and not simply use it as a relay for its signal. "We don't see them as just a transmitter for us," WAMU spokeswoman Chris Naylor told the Sun. "Half of our listeners are in Maryland. [But] Baltimore has a different identity. It's not an offshoot of Washington." WAMU joins Maryland Public Television, Boston's WBUR, and a group of Baltimore listeners headed by WJHU talk host Marc Steiner as organizations that submitted bids by a 4/30 deadline to purchase the Johns Hopkins University station. JHU officials have said they don't have the funds to keep the news and public affairs station operating and have put it up for sale. So far, Steiner says his group, dubbed Maryland Public Radio, has raised $160,000 in pledges. Meanwhile, DC's WETA - which operates classical/public affairs WETA-FM (90.9) and Hagerstown's WETH (89.1 FM) - said it's not interested in WJHU. Ditto from a Minnesota public radio group.
May 4, 2001
Gartlan Leaves Channel 9
Yet another familiar face has left Channel 9. News reporter Joan Gartlan's (right) last day was 5/4. She's been at WUSA since 1989 covering mainly legal and political issues. Gartlan came to Channel 9 after working nine years at Baltimore's Channel 2. We hear that she resigned. Issues with management? No word on her future plans.
May 2, 2001
WTOP Re-Launches Its Internet Stream
WTOP was the first DC area radio station to restore its audio stream on the internet - on 5/2. You'll hear silence in place of the commercials that ad agencies have forbade radio stations to retransmit on the web. This dispute led many stations in mid-April to drop their internet streams including those of local signals like WTNT, WTEM, WRQX, WJZW, and WMAL. It involves a requirement that union talent be paid 300 percent of the normal fee if an ad originally recorded for radio use is transmitted via the web. WTOP's "WTOP 2" Federal News Service steam was not silenced because it is not a retransmission of a radio station.
April 26, 2001
WJFK And Redskins Agree To New Contract
Infinity's WJFK (106.7 FM) has agreed to a record busting five-year $50 million radio deal with the Redskins. The contract, unveiled on 4/26, is said to be miles above other local radio football deals which have topped out in the $8 million range. Clear Channel's WTEM (980 AM) was also involved in talks to acquire the team's broadcasts but dropped out because it could not make a profit with the money Skins' owner Daniel Snyder wanted. WJFK has carried the Skins since 1995, after the team spent four decades on WMAL (630 AM) and then two years (1992 to 1994) on WTEM (then on 570 AM).
April 19, 2001
Jim Snyder Dies
Jim Snyder (left) died on 4/19. Mr. Snyder led Channel 9 to its long period of TV news dominance in the 1970s and 1980s. He became news director of then Washington Post-owned WTOP-TV in 1969 after jobs at Westinghouse Broadcasting and CBS News. Mr. Snyder hired Gordon Peterson, Max Robinson, Glenn Brenner, J.C. Hayward, Gordon Barnes, Mike Buchanan, Chris Gordon, Bruce Johnson, and Susan King. He left Channel 9 in 1978 when the Post traded the station to the Detroit News (and it became WDVM, and still later WUSA). Mr. Snyder was also instrumental in putting the all-news format on WTOP radio. He was 76 and had been suffering from heart problems and stroke complications.
April 14, 2001
Kevin Evans Dies
Kevin "Ocean" Evans, who was the morning man at "The Wave," WLVW/WLBW in Ocean City, died on 4/18. He was 45 and suffered a heart attack.
April 10, 2001
Fox To Deal For Channel 20?
DCRTV is hearing more rumblings about the sale of Channel 20, WDCA. Since last summer we've been hearing talk that CBS/Viacom might trade the station to Rupert Murdoch's Fox network, giving Fox a second TV station in the DC market, along with Channel 5, WTTG. However, now we're hearing that a WDCA swap to Fox could be coupled with the transfer of a Chris-Craft TV station in San Francisco to CBS. You'll recall, Murdoch just received the FCC's OK to purchase a batch of Chris-Craft stations, including the Bay Area's KBHK. A swap would give Fox and CBS duopolies in DC and SF (respectively) by allowing each company to pick up another station without violating FCC rules regarding national ownership caps (duopolies in the same market being exempt). A related issue - what will happen to Baltimore's WUTB, Channel 24, a Chris-Craft station that Murdoch will also own? Will he trade that away so CBS can have a duopoly in Baltimore with its Channel 13, WJZ?
April 9, 2001
WJMO Drops Jammin' Oldies For Hot Hits
As expected, a "hot" contemporary hit format debuted on Clear Channel's former "Jammin' Oldies" WJMO (99.5 FM) at 5 PM on 4/6. This followed a week's worth of hype including a format "Survivor" contest which saw listeners "choose" a rhythmic contemporary format. And, as expected, the hot995.com website came to life with "Washington's Real Hit Music Station," obviously a swipe at Bonneville's contemporary Z104.
April 9, 2001
Entravision Buys Hagerstown's Channel 68
Entravision will pay $10.3 million to buy Channel 68, WJAL in Hagerstown from Good Companion Broadcasting. WJAL is an independent station which focuses on "family" fare. Entravision owns mainly Spanish language radio and TV stations and has an ownership interest in DC's low-powered Univision affiliate, WMDO Channel 30.
April 9, 2001
John Monds Joins WHUR Morning Show
The new morning man on adult urban WHUR (96.3 FM)? John Monds from a like station in Chicago. He'll be teamed up with T.C. Bandit. Howard U's HUR lost syndicated morning man Tom Joyner to Radio One's WMMJ (102.3 FM) last fall.
April 9, 2001
Hot Talk WTNT Debuts With Imus In The Morning
Syndicated morning man Don Imus moved from Clear Channel sports talker WTEM (980 AM) to CC's new hot talker WTNT (570 AM) as of 4/9. That is the day "Dynamite Talk" debuted on 570, with the former business news/talk format and WWRC calls moving to 1260 AM. Michael Graham takes the 10 AM to noon slot on WTNT, Phil Hendre the 2 PM to 5 PM slot, "Troubleshooter" Tom Martino airs from 5 PM to 8 PM, Michael Savage from 8 PM until 10 PM, and Art Bell from 10 PM until 5:30 AM. The website for WTNT is www.wtntam570.com. CC would just love to add Rush Limbaugh to its TNT line-up (he's syndicated by CC-owned Premiere) but we hear he's still got more time to go on his contract with ABC/Disney's WMAL (630 AM).
April 8, 2001
Burke Leaves Channel 9
Channel 9 news anchor Beverly Burke has left the station. Her last broadcast was on 4/8. No word on where she's going - but we hear another area TV station is not out of the question. She was the co-anchor of WUSA's 4 PM newscast before it was cancelled last fall. Since then she's been doing news reporting. Burke previously worked in LA and at Baltimore's Channels 2 and 13.
April 6, 2001
Channel 7 To Move To Arlington
DCRTV heard on 4/6 that WJLA, Channel 7 will be moving its studio and office facilities from northwest DC to the current Gannett-owned tower in the Rosslyn section of Arlington by mid-2002. Channel 7's move across the Potomac could have some union ramifications since Virginia is a right-to-work state. Also in the deal, WJLA will be able to replace Channel 9's Gannett tower rooftop weathercam with its own. Channel 9, WUSA, is owned by Gannett. Gannett, which also publishes USA Today, is slated to move its HQ facilities from Rosslyn to Tysons Corner by next year.
April 6, 2001
Could Baltimore's WXYV Flip To Urban?
DCRTV hears that Infinity could be planning to break Radio One's urban formatted hold on Baltimore with the restoration of the urban contemporary format at FM 102.7 WXYV, along with the old V103 identity. You'll recall that 102.7 was urban before it was flipped to a variety of contemporary hit flavors (as B102.7) over the past few years. Baltimore radio vet Frank Ski, syndicated from Infinity's WVEE in Atlanta, could be lined up for the "new" V103's morning drive show. Hey, Infinity's got the top station in the DC market with urban WPGC (95.5 FM) and it probably would like to duplicate that success in Baltimore. Radio One rules Charm City's urban format zone with constant top performer WERQ (92.3 FM) and adult urban sister (and new home to Tom Joyner) WWIN (95.9 FM). And if V103 is reborn, will another Charm City radio classic re-hit the airwaves to assume the contemporary hit format? Perhaps a "new" B104 in place of struggling Clear Channel classic rocker WOCT at 104.3 FM? What goes around comes around.
April 5, 2001
Local Group Raised Funds To Purchase WJHU
A local group called Friends Of Baltimore Public Radio has been created with a mission to raise funds to purchase Charm City's public news/talker WJHU (88.1 FM) which has been put up for sale by Johns Hopkins University. The group hopes to raise $5 million and has created a website at www.baltimorepublicradio.org. Other groups reportedly interested in snatching the station include Maryland Public Television (which owns Channels 22 and 67), DC's American University (which owns WAMU), Boston University (which owns Beantown's WBUR), and Minnesota Public Radio (which even owns an LA area public radio station).
April 4, 2001
Comcast SportsNet Replaces HTS
Wednesday, 4/4, featured the debut of Comcast SportsNet, which replaces mid-Atlantic cable sports network Home Team Sports. Comcast, which made a deal to purchase the network from Viacom last year, owns a like sports net in the Philadelphia area. New programming includes local sports shows at 6 PM and 10 PM along with former Channel 5 sportscaster Chick Hernandez and former Channel 7 sports anchor Kevin Kiley. And, as with HTS, expect a healthy dose of infomercials during the morning hours. Comcast owns most of the cable systems in the DC and Baltimore areas.
April 2, 2001
Nostalgic WGAY Given The Ax
Clear Channel killed off its nostalgic music outlet WGAY (1260 AM) on 4/2. The music of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Glen Miller, and many of the other great musicians of the past has be evicted from DC's airwaves. The 9th largest radio market, with some 60-ish signals, no longer has a station playing big band and so-called "standards" tunes. Following the orders of Bennett Zier (right), who is in charge of CC's eight DC area stations, 1260 begins simulcasting the business news/talk of WWRC, 570 AM. Then, on 4/9, (as DCRTV has been predicting for the past few months) 570 will assume a "hot talk" format. It will become "Dynamite Talk" WTNT, which will feature a line-up of national and locally-based political, social, and sexual talk shows. The WWRC move to business news/talk 1260. The WGAY calls - which had been on once easy listening 99.5 FM for decades and still grace the Silver Spring building which used to house the station - become history.
April 2, 2001
Morris Jones Leaves Channel 5
More on the end of an era at Channel 5 with the recent departure of long-time news anchor Morris Jones (left). DCRTV first reported this on 4/2, and we now hear that Jones has left WTTG on his own terms and will continue to work in TV production and programming in the DC area. He'd started with then Metromedia-owned WTTG 18 years ago as a weekend anchor. He went on to replace Maury Povich (who left for "A Current Affair"), moving into the weeknightly news anchor slot. During his tenure in 1997, Fox 5's 10 PM show became the highest rated prime time newscast in the country. Lately, however, Jones had been doing weekend newscasts.
March 29, 2001
Dylan Joins Z104 As Morning Man
With 99.5 going hot hits, will Bonneville's contemporary hit station, Z104, flip to a more adult contemporary sound? That looks increasingly doubtful as Z104 is planning for a continued youth-ish, hit format stance with the news, as of 3/29, that it has signed morning man "Dylan" (aka Guy Patton) from a Birmingham, Alabama rock station, along with the addition of MTV heartthrob Carson Daly's daily countdown show. Carson debuted on 4/2, Dylan on 4/9. We also hear that Z104 is still looking for a co-host for Dylan. WWZZ/WWVZ has been airing Rick Dees from LA since the January dismissal of former Z104 morning man Billy Bush. Dees' placement in AM drive was only a temporary move until the station could put together a new morning team.
March 29, 2001
WACA Carries DC United
Spanish WACA (1540 AM) was named on 3/29 the official station of the DC United soccer team. The Wheaton station, dubbed "Radio America," is the club's "Spanish-language radio partner for the 2001 season" and will broadcast all of DC United's 28 regular season games. The station's signal can also be heard on WASH's subcarrier (97.1 FM) and via the web at www.radioamerica.net.
March 26, 2001
Greaseman Airs In Ocean City
Next stop on the Greaseman's radio revival express - Ocean City. We hear the controversial morning radio guy - aka Doug Tracht - debuted on OC's new AM contemporary hit station WKHZ (1590) on 4/2. The station first signed on the air on 3/14 and is owned by DC radio veteran Bill Parris, who also had a hand a few years ago in the "top 40" format at Rockville's 1600 AM, back when it was WINX. The Greaseman also started airing in Baltimore, via Towson sports talker WNST (1570 AM) on 3/26. As in the DC market, the Grease in Charm City can be heard from 6 AM to 8 AM. You'll have to surf to www.live365.com to hear the rest of the four-hour show. The Greaseman returned to the DC's market's airwaves on 3/5 via Arlington's WZHF (1390 AM). He's paying for the radio time. He was canned from classic rock WARW (94.7 FM) in 1999.
March 26, 2001
Redskins Close To New Radio, TV Deals
The Redskins are close to signing new radio and TV deals that will keep the team on the same local outlets. Infinity will pay upwards of $40 million to keep the Skins on WJFK (106.7 FM) for the next five years with the same coverage team of Frank Herzog, Sonny Jurgensen, and Sam Huff. Plus, NBC's Channel 4 is said to be close to a three-season deal for Skins preseason games to be play-by-played by George Michael.
March 26, 2001
Joyner Joins WWIN
Tom Joyner (right), the popular nationally syndicated morning man, started airing on Radio One's adult urban WWIN (95.9 FM) on 3/26. Former WWIN morning man Randy Dennis did his last show on 3/14. The new WWIN line-up features Sasha at 10 AM, program director Tim Watts at 2 PM, Lolo at 7 PM, and Keith "Chop Chop" Fisher in overnights. Joyner gets stellar ratings on Radio One's DC adult urban outlet WMMJ (102.3 FM), which stole him from Howard U's adult urban WHUR (96.3 FM) last fall. We had heard that Dennis might be moving to WHUR's morning show, joining T.C. Bandit. However, he is fighting a clause in his contract that bars him for six months from taking another radio job within a 50-mile radius of Charm City, and that includes the DC area.
March 18, 2001
XM Launches Satellite
XM's "Rock" satellite successfully lifted off a Pacific Ocean launch pad on 3/18 at 5:33 PM ET. DC's XM Satellite Radio tried to get a bird off the pad in January but it had mechanical problems. XM's second satellite, "Roll," is slated to be launched in May. The firm hopes to kick-off 100+ channels of digital satellite radio by the end of the year.
March 14, 2001
Front Royal's WDRV Becomes WDRZ
Late last year Front Royal oldies station WFTR (95.3 FM) changed its calls to WDRV (which had been on a Pittsburgh station), as in "drivin' oldies." Now those calls have been moved to Chicago for the use of a Bonneville-owned new male-oriented oldies station ("The Drive"). The Front Royal station is now WZRV. No word on what Bonneville (which owns locals WTOP, WGMS, and Z104) offered the owner of the former WDRV - Royal Broadcasting - to obtain the calls.
March 12, 2001
Morton Downey Jr. Dies
Combative motor-mouth Morton Downey Jr., who, we're told, once hosted a talk show on DC's WWRC radio, died on 3/12 at age 67. No cause of death was noted but he had been battling cancer. In the 1980s Downey hosted a syndicated TV talk show in which guests and audience members often attacked each other and chairs were frequently thrown.
March 11, 2001
Channel 4 Wins February "Sweeps"
Channel 4's news is the winner in the February TV ratings sweeps, with a big gain for NBC's 7 PM network news. Channel 5's 10 PM newscast also added viewers. However, Channel 9 was a big loser with its 4 PM hour chasing away 43,000 viewers - from 100,000 in February 2000 to 57,000 in February 2001 - by switching from news to "Montel." Channel 9 saw big drops for most of its newscasts.
March 10, 2001
Bennett Says Goodbye To PFW, Joins XM
Bobby "The Mighty Burner" Bennett, one of the original WOL "Soul Brothers," did his farewell Saturday afternoon broadcast on 3/10 after more than four years on WPFW (89.3 FM). He's joined DC's XM Satellite Radio.
March 10, 2001
Adelphia Takes Over Frederick MD Cable System
Adelphia has taken over the GS Communications cable system in Frederick County MD. Adelphia has developed a cluster to the west of the DC/Baltimore area including cable systems in Loudoun County, the Shenandoah Valley, and southern Pennsylvania.
March 10, 2001
Wilder Gives Up Richmond Radio Talk Show
Former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder has announced that he'll give up his talk show on Richmond's WRVA (1140 AM). The Democrat has hosted a weeknightly 8 PM to 10 PM show on the Clear Channel station since 1994. Wilder stressed that it was his decision to leave even though news/talker WRVA has been plagued by dismissals of its on-air staff of late. He'll be replaced by right-leaning Ian Punnett, who's based in Atlanta.
March 10, 2001
Ravens Move To WQSR
DCRTV hears that the Baltimore Ravens will land on Infinity's oldies outlet WQSR (105.7 FM) for the upcoming season. Last year the team's radio games were aired on Infinity's adult contemporary WLIF (101.9 FM). The games had been broadcast and will continue to air also on Infinity's talker WJFK-AM (1300).
March 5, 2001
Greaseman Returns To DC Airwaves
The Greaseman, aka Doug Tracht (right), did show up on WZHF (1390 AM) on 3/5. The show airs from 6 AM to 8 AM in the DC market, but continues for another two hours in other markets and on the web. We hear that WZHF will air the full 6 AM to 10 AM show in the near future. Arlington's WZHF features a brokered ethnic format with Spanish and Chinese programming. The Greaseman is also supposed to eventually air on Baltimore's WNST (1570 AM in Towson), which is a sports talker. He's arranged to acquire time on stations in four markets including DC and Baltimore, along with Binghamton NY and Portland OR. This is the Grease's return to radio since he was fired from classic rock WARW (94.7 FM) in 1999 for making a racist joke.
February 28, 2001
Layoffs At Metro/Shadow Traffic Services
DCRTV hears that there was a bunch of layoffs 2/28 at the local Metro/Shadow traffic services. We hear that Jack Taylor and Rona Mensa are among those going. We also hear that both Traffic.com and Traffic Station are calling stations in the DC area, offering to replace Shadow and/or Metro as traffic suppliers.
February 28, 2001
February Arbitrends Released
Some results of the Arbitrend radio ratings, out 2/28, for November, December, and January. Total day, age 12+: 1. WPGC-FM, 2. WKYS, 3. WMMJ, 4. WGMS, 5. WTOP, 6. WRQX, 7. WHUR and WASH, 9. WJFK, 10. WMAL, 11. Z104, 12. WJZW and DC101, 14. WBIG, 15. WMZQ, 16. WARW, 17. WJMO, 18. WHFS, 19. WTEM, 20. WPGC-AM. The 2/28 Arbitrends for Baltimore, age 12+: 1. WERQ, 2. WPOC, 3. WWIN-FM, 4. WBAL, 5. WQSR, 6. WLIF, 7. WXYV, 8. WHFS, 9. WWMX, 10. WCAO, 11. WIYY, 12. WOCT, 13. WCBM, 14. WRBS, 15. WWLG.
February 25, 2001
WNVT Has Transmitter Troubles
WNVT's transmitter experienced a "major melt down of sorts" on or about 2/18. So says Bill Elmquist, program director of public Channel 53 which is licensed to Goldvein VA, but has its transmitter at Independent Hill in Prince William County. "The system that cools the transmitter has ruptured, spilling the entire contents into the transmitter facility. The engineers are currently having to remove all the equipment, dry it out, and hopefully be able to put it back in (soon)," he adds. The station did return to the airwaves on 2/25. WNVT, co-owned with Channel 56/WNVC in Fairfax, carries educational and tech shows during the mornings, as well as MuchMusic and a host of music shows in the afternoons and evenings.
February 13, 2001
Jim Gibbons Dies
Jim Gibbons, former owner of Frederick radio stations WFRE and WFMD, died on 2/13 at age 88 of heart failure at his home in Bethesda. Mr. Gibbons was a sports anchor for Channel 4 back in the 1970s and had also once been the radio voice of the Redskins. He hosted the morning show on WMAL radio from 1946 to 1957. During his carreer he'd also worked at WOL and WWDC and at CBS. Along with the Frederick stations, he also owned two radio stations in Roanoke. All of his radio properties were sold in the late 1990s.
February 13, 2001
New Joy Boys Site Unveiled
Check out the new Joy Boys website at www.thejoyboys.com. You'll recall (if you're old enough) that the Joy Boys - Ed Walker and Willard Scott - reigned supreme on WRC radio from 1955 to 1972.
February 10, 2001
Feldman Takes Top Sports Slot At Channel 5
DCRTV hears that Channel 5 has promoted Dave Feldman to sports director. We assume that means that he's WTTG's official and final choice for its main sports anchor. Feldman joined the Fox station from ESPN last fall after Channel 5's then main sports anchor, Brett Haber, left for an NYC TV anchor job. There was talk back then that Feldman was just an interim top sports anchor at 5.
February 8, 2001
DC101's Elliot Stages White House Stunt Day After Shooting
DC101's morning man Elliot Segal (right) sent his "street stud" Flounder to the south fence of the White House on 2/8, where a gunman had been shot and arrested the previous day, offering passerbys "free shots of bush." The "bush" in question was an anatomical reference in connection to a spread of porn magazines that were on display. The Secret Service soon surrounded Flounder who was connected to DC101's airwaves via cell phone; he was not taken into custody. Segal is being "investigated" for threatening the president, even if it was a joke. Segal told the All Access website: "They got the joke, but 'shots of bush' on the White House lawn is viewed as a threat against the president. They re-iterated that they are continuing to 'build a file' against me and this is will be added to the 'lick Yasser Arafat' promotion and the discussion of porn at Camp David." Several weeks ago Segal offered a prize to the first listener who could lick the Palestinian leader, a prank that could get one shot by security forces.
February 6, 2001
Weiss Leaves For Atlanta
Jack Diamond's morning sidekick on WRQX (107.3 FM), Bert Weiss (right), is leaving for his own morning radio gig in Atlanta. Weiss, who's been at "Mix 107.3" for almost a decade, will be joining WWWQ, a new contemporary hit station. Weiss is the second major talent to leave WRQX in recent months. Afternoon guy Loo Katz left last September; he's now at WASH (97.1 FM).
January 24, 2001
Rick Dees Joins Z104 In Wake Of Billy Bush's Departure
Z104 has announced a replacement for its morning man Billy Bush. It's syndicated LA radio guy Rick Dees (left). Dees, who did the infamous "Disco Duck" song in the 70s, has been a long-time personality on LA's KIIS radio. "Rick Dees is what Top 40 is all about," Z104 VP/GM Mark O'Brien told Radio & Records on 1/24. However, Z104 PD Mike Edwards hinted to the All Access website that Dees will fill Z104's morning slot "at least on a temporary basis." AA adds that Z104 could still be in the hunt for a permanent replacement for Bush and may be looking at someone from NYC hit outlet Z100 (where DC101's Elliot Segal came from). Bush, his co-host Janet Elliott, and several non-air staffers were given the boot by Bonneville-owned contemporary WWZZ/WWVZ on 1/12 in what was seen by many as a budget cutting move. The start date for Dees' Z104 stint was 1/29.
January 22, 2001
Channel 5 Plans Early Evening Newscast
DCRTV hears that Channel 5 will be launching a 5 PM newscast this year - probably by this September but it could show up as early as April. The Fox network has lifted its childrens programming restrictions so affiliates can move their 3-5 PM kid show block to 2-4 PM. We'd earlier heard a fall start date for the new newscast, but now we're hearing a spring date. Apparently, management at Fox 5, WTTG, gave its blessings last December for the new early evening newscast. The station hopes to build on the ratings success of its 10 PM newscast.
January 21, 2001
Channel 14 Picks Up Renaissance Network
Arlington's Channel 14 has spun the format wheel again and this time it's landed on the conservative talk of the DC-based Renaissance Network - something for the new prez to watch if he doesn't want to splurge for cable, we guess. WTMW had been carrying the moldy oldie reruns of the American Independent Network plus a boatload of informercials. Before that it carried the Panda Shopping Network, and before that it carried the now defunct Military Channel, and before that the America's Store shopping network.
January 20, 2001
Channel 4 Wins Inaugural Ratings Battle
Channel 4 won the battle for the most Washington area viewers (households) during coverage of the inaugural ceremonies on Saturday 1/20. Channel 4 received 1st place finishes for its local coverage at 6 AM and 7 AM, at 8 AM for "Saturday Today," at 11 AM for NBC's coverage, and at 1 PM for its local coverage. Channel 7 took 2nd place with a special "Good Morning America" at 7 AM, and at 10 AM, 1 PM, and 2 PM for its local and ABC coverage - however ABC 7 did grab the lead for a short time right at noon when GWB was sworn in. Channel 9 took 3rd place for its local coverage which started at 6 AM, the CBS coverage at 11 AM, and the resumption of its local coverage at 1:30 PM. Channel 5's 11 AM to 2 PM coverage (local and Fox) took 4th place. Up in Baltimore, Channel 11's NBC coverage took 1st, with ABC 2 and CBS 13 more-or-less tied for 2nd place.
January 18, 2001
Don & Mike Return To NYC's Airwaves
WJFK (106.7 FM/1300 AM) afternoon dudes Don & Mike are back on NYC hot talker WNEW as of 1/18. Earlier in January they'd asked to be taken off the Infinity-owned station because station management (formerly at Infinity's JFK) wouldn't give them the earlier PM drive slot currently occupied by Opie & Anthony. Their DC PM drive show had been and is still now tape delayed and aired at 7 PM in the Big Apple. WNEW did take D&M off the air for a few days while the "controversy" brewed.
January 18, 2001
Is The Grease Planning A Return To DC Area Radio?
Could the Greaseman (aka Doug Tracht) be working on a return to DC radio? A la buying time on a local station? Stay tuned. You'll recall that the Grease was fired from WARW in early 1999 for making a racist joke which he has repeatedly apologized for. Since then the Grease has failed to find radio work but does occasionally appear at a Frederick comedy club. We also hear that the Grease has a new manager.....
January 12, 2001
WTRI Goes Korean
On 1/12 Brunswick MD's WTRI (1520 AM) started a relay of the Korean programming currently heard on WKDV, 1460 AM, in Manassas, and on WPWC, 1480 AM, in Dumfries. We'd heard a while back that both WTRI and WPWC were being purchased by JMK for Korean programming. WKDV is owned by Multicultural along with Arlington's WZHF (1390 AM) and Warrenton's WKCW (1420 AM). For the past few months, 1520 has either been off the air or playing MIDI music.
January 12, 2001
Channel 4 Changes Involve Gordon & Jones
Long-time DC TV news reporter Chris Gordon (left) leaves his fulltime job at Channel 4 for the lawscope.com website, but he'll still be doing occasional law reports for 4 (Mondays and Wednesdays), as well as for other NBC stations and WMAL radio. Gordon, an attorney, used to work at Channel 7 and then at 9 way back when. He then took a job with Court TV, before moving to 4. Jackie Benson has been named to the fulltime staff of News4 to fill Gordon's reporter position. She has been part time at 4's news since leaving Channel 5 more than a year ago. DCRTV also hears that Channel 4 weatherman Dave Jones has left WRC to run his own weather forecast service. He's been with 4 since the early 1990s.
January 12, 2001
SmarTraveler TV Fades Away
SmarTraveler TV, the morning traffic information service carried by DC area cable TV systems, was discontinued as of 1/12. Westwood One recently purchased SmartRoute Systems which produces the daily cable show as well as a traffic info website.
January 10, 2001
Line-Up Changes Announced At WASH
Changes at 97.1 FM, WASH. Randi Martin moves from afternoons to AM drive (5 AM to 9 AM). DC radio vet Loo Katz takes the afternoon/PM drive slot (2 PM to 7 PM). Moves effective 1/22. Also: Scott Brady from 9 AM to 2 PM, Glenn Hollis from 7 PM to midnight, and Maureen McLain from midnight to 5 AM. Say goodbye to the Clear Channel soft rocker's morning team of Bill Worthington and Kim Burton. Katz was last heard doing afternoons on WRQX last September.
January 9, 2001
Ben Hill Leaves WPGC
Benjamin Hill, who 15 years ago brought the urban contemporary format to then struggling 95.5 FM, WPGC, announced on 1/9 his retirement as the station's president/general manager along with his post as Infinity's senior vice president overseeing the firm's urban stations in Dallas, Atlanta and Charlotte. Since Infinity's PGC flipped from adult contemporary to urban in the mid-80s it's been a top three station in almost every ratings book and frequently number one in the DC market. (PGC was a top station with a contemporary hit format in the 70s, but slumped badly in the early 80s as "Classy 95" WCLY.) Hill tells trade journal Radio & Records that he'll take some time to travel with his wife and doesn't rule out a return to the radio biz. He'll be replaced by Sam Rogers, who had been sales manager at PGC.
January 8, 2001
XM Sets New Satellite Launch Date
February 28 is the new launch date for DC-based XM Satellite Radio's first bird, "Roll." With only 11 seconds to go before its planned launch on 1/8, technicians scrubbed the lift-off of "Roll" from a Pacific ocean platform (right). The detected fault was apparently minor but it required that the launch be terminated and rescheduled. Even with the delay, XM still plans to debut 100+ channels of satellite-delivered radio as early as this summer. XM's second bird ("Rock") will be launched in April.
January 8, 2001
Mega Moves AM Programming Around - Again
More Mega musical chairs. 1600 AM, WKDM in Rockville is now (as of 1/8) carrying Mega's Spanish language "Radio Capital" Central American/Mexican programming which is also carried on 730 AM, WKDL (formerly WBZS) in Alexandria. Previously, 1600 carried the music/talk mix of Radio Unica. The Central American program used to be carried on Mega's 1050 AM, WPLC-AM (then WKDL) in Silver Spring which last year flipped to a relay of its "Amor" love songs format which is also carried on Warrenton's WPLC-FM, 94.3.
January 8, 2001
Elizabeth "Liz" Muriel Roberts, who ran a cool, locally-based progressive music format on Brunswick MD's WTRI (1520 AM) in the mid-1990s, died on 1/8. She was 57. No cause of death was noted. Born and educated in England, Ms. Roberts worked for the BBC before moving to the US in 1981 to join NPR in Washington DC as a producer. In 1993 she moved to Loudoun County and bought WTRI. Roberts' WTRI left the airwaves in 1997 to be reborn in 1999 with a new owner and a Spanish format (which lasted until mid-2000).
January 7, 2001
National Geographic Launches Cable Channel
The National Geographic Channel was launched on 1/1, although the official start-up date was 1/7. While it's based in DC and has got state-of-the-art studios in the city, you can't see the new net on any area cable systems - yet. For now you can only catch it on DirecTV. The channel features programming from the National Geographic Society (travel, nature, history, and science shows) and is partly owned by Fox, which is handling distribution duties.
January 3, 2001
Bill Randolph, who was a producer since the mid-1980s at Montgomery Community Television (cable channel 21), died 1/3 at Shady Grove Hospital in Rockville. He was 73. Mr. Randolph volunteered his time to create more than 700 public interest shows including "News Counterpoint," a weekly in-depth news program. Mr. Randolph was assistant news director at WTOP radio in the 1950s. But he then took a job with the White House police and eventually moved to the US Commerce Department before joining MCT in the 1980s.
For news items from 2000 click here.....