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January 2002 to December 2002December 28, 2002
TNT's Graham To Richmond
WTNT (570 AM) PM drive talker Michael Graham will be heard on Richmond blowtorch WRVA (1140 AM) come January. Both stations are owned by Clear Channel. Graham will replace RVA's Allen Price (who recently had an on-air spat with a Richmond city councilwoman) in the 3 PM to 7 PM slot. Graham was heard from 4 PM to 7 PM weekdays on WTNT. Apparently, he will no longer be heard on WTNT (his last live day was supposted to be 12/30). Graham plans to do his show from WRVA's studios starting 1/13, so reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Also, RVA plans to add Michael Savage to the late evening slot, replacing Lionel. Savage is also heard on WTNT. According to WRVA program director Randall Bloomquist, Savage "makes (Rush) Limbaugh sound like a liberal."
December 25, 2002
Person Of The Year
It was very easy to select DCRTV's area radio/TV "person of the year" for 2002. Jim Farley. WTOP's honcho. Niche or "division" rules today's radio culture. Gone are the days of the talk station that attempts to provide voices for everybody. Or the "full service" music station with news at the top of the hour. Or a station that plays a wide variety of tunes of different styles. Instead, we now have radio stations that cater to sub-sets of the population. Stations for fat older white guys. For skinny young black women. For Hispanics. For Asians. We have stations for suburban teenagers. Stations for Republicans. Stations for lefties, too. Gen X-ers, Gen Y-ers, baby boomers, hip-hoppers, DINKs, and wonks. Singles. Marrieds. Stations for the wealthy and those not so rich. But, in 2002, there doesn't seem to be a radio station for everybody - one that unites us rather than divides us. Except for all-news WTOP. When a sniper stalks the area. When a snowstorm hits. When a terrorist strikes. When the power goes out. Or a truck wreck blocks I-95. When you can't sleep. Or when you just want to keep in touch. Folks from all across the area - from the southeast DC projects to the mansions of Great Falls to the townhouses of Germantown - tune to WTOP. It doesn't matter what your income is, or the color of your skin, or whether you live inside or outside the Beltway. Or whether you vote Democratic or Republican, or not at all. Jim Farley is WTOP (although he'd surely defer to his fine staff of reporters, editors, and anchors). We're not saying that the station is perfect or that its news judgment is flawless, but it does a damn good job of providing vital news in an informative, friendly, and fair manner. It doesn't "talk down" to or belittle its listeners. Nothing crude or tasteless. And it's always there. Local. Reliable. It's part of the community, and reflects us - all of us. With three signals (on AM and FM) you can hear WTOP no matter whether you're up north of Baltimore or down near Richmond. Day and night. Black AND white. Our pulse. Thanks, in large part, to Jim Farley.
December 24, 2002
Wayne Gruen Retires
DCRTV hears that Wayne Gruen, afternoon "Wayne's World" host on Baltimore's nostalgic WWLG (1370 AM), retires on 12/31. His 40-plus year career includes radio stints at WFBR and WBKZ, and booth announcer jobs with Channels 2 and 13, and with WITH. He's been at WWLG since its inception in 1993.
December 23, 2002
Chuck Levin Dies
From the Washington Post: "Chuck Levin, 76, the owner and president of the legendary Washington Music Center of Wheaton that music trade publications have called the world's largest single music store, died of cancer Dec. 22 at his home in Bethesda." And, from DCRTV's Mailbag: "I can state with some assurance that there is not one radio station in this town that does not have at least one piece of remote and/or production gear that was purchased at either Washington Music or Washington Pro Systems. From $89 microphones to $25,000 DigiDesign ProTools and entire turn key suites, Chuck and family always seemed to have something behind the counter, on a shelf or in the back that would get you by in a pinch or could meet your needs with a plan."
December 20, 2002
Tom Mann Dies
DCRTV hears that Tom Mann has died. Mr. Mann was the director of engineering at NBC's Channel 4/WRC, and also at WKYS and WRC radio - back when they were owned by NBC.
December 19, 2002
Rainbow/PUSH Tries To Reverse Sinclair's Acquisition Of 54
The Baltimore Sun reports: "A civil rights group is accusing Sinclair Broadcast Group of trying to 'corruptly influence' Maryland's recent gubernatorial election by illegally providing free helicopter service for Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and then attempting to cover it up. In a motion filed with the Federal Communications Commission, attorneys for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition said the Baltimore County-based broadcasting firm engaged in fraud by failing to disclose to its local viewers that it had an 'economic interest' in one of the candidates. The 35-page brief was submitted Monday to support a pending motion by Rainbow/PUSH to get the FCC to reverse its approval of Sinclair's purchase of 14 television stations, including WNUV-TV (Channel 54) in Baltimore. That purchase is also the subject of a pending federal court appeal. Spokesmen for Ehrlich and Sinclair Broadcast dismissed the accusations as baseless. Pointing to 'newly discovered evidence of disqualifying misconduct,' the civil rights group is asking the commission to reopen the case and hold hearings to determine whether the sale approval should be overturned. 'These matters are so serious that they place starkly at issue Sinclair's qualifications to hold any broadcast licenses,' the brief states." Sinclair also owns Channel 45/WBFF.
December 16, 2002
TOP On Top, Clear Channel Drops Out Of Top 10
WTOP continued its strong performance in the 12/16 batch of Arbitrends, which track area radio listening through mid-November. The Bonneville all-news outlet scored the top spot in the morning drive age 12+ demo. And in the age 25-54 demo, with adult urban WMMJ's Tom Joyner in 2nd. In afternoon drive, TOP also placed 1st with the 12+ crowd and with the 25-54ers, with hot adult contemporary WRQX in 2nd. Hot talk WJFK-FM's Don and Mike, who recently moved back to PM drive, took the number two spot with men 18+, second only to TOP. In the 12+ overall numbers, as usual, urban WPGC-FM was in 1st place, with TOP 2nd, WMMJ 3rd, urban WKYS 4th, adult urban WHUR 5th - no big changes from last time. Classical WGMS jumped from 9th to 6th, smooth jazz WJZW dropped one to 7th, ditto with WRQX to 8th, news/talk WMAL jumped two to 9th, in a tie with WJFK-FM. Clear Channel (which owns eight DC area stations) could only muster a best-of 11th place finish with oldies WBIG, which plunged from 8th, with sister adult contemporary WASH up two to 12th. Rocker DC101 dropped one to 13th, contemporary WIHT was up one to 14th, with country WMZQ down two to 15th. Modern adult contemporary WWZZ jumped one to 16th, with classic rock WARW down one to 17th, sports talk WTEM staying at 18th, alternative rock WHFS up one to 19th, and Spanish WBZS/WBPS at 20th.
December 14, 2002
McFarland Leaves WJLA
WJLA/Channel 7 assistant news director Bill McFarland heads up I-95 to NYC, to take a like job at WABC, the ABC TV station in the Big Apple. WJLA recently lost its news director, Steve Hammel, who headed out west, to a TV station managing job in Phoenix.
December 13, 2002
13 Cuts Olesker
The Sun reports that Channel 13/WJZ has canned Michael Olesker, who's done commentary for the station for almost two decades. The Viacom/CBS-owned outlet says it's using the salary savings for more reporters and gear for its new 4 PM newscast. Olesker, 57, is a longtime Sun columnist. "I've had 19 really wonderful years, and I have been embraced every day by strangers who come up to me and tell me how much my work means to them, and to this community," Olesker told the Sun. "That is enormously gratifying. It's like getting to therapy every day." By the way, the Tribune-owned Sun has been participating in a news sharing and promotional alliance with WJZ's competitor, Scripps-owned Channel 2/WMAR.
December 9, 2002
Olivia Fox Leaves Radio One And WKYS
Olivia Fox, co-host of WKYS's nationally syndicated Russ Parr AM drive show, has said goodbye to her employer, Lanham's Radio One. According to her website, www.oliviafox.com: "Due to the decision of management at Radio One Inc. I am no longer employed with the 'Russ Parr Morning Show.' I have always and will continue to maintain the integrity of all women. Look for me on a new station coming real soon. Thanks for all the years of support." DCRTV started hearing rumors of her departure on Friday but couldn't confirm them. Over the weekend, we reported that it looked like Fox had, indeed, said farewell to Parr and WKYS. Urban Radio Live adds that she had "at least one more year left on her contract with the Radio One operation but was given her walking papers due to some internal conflict between Miss Fox and Radio One." She and Parr had just celebrated their sixth on-air year together.
December 4, 2002
Former WAGE Engineer Dies
From the Washington Post: "John Richard Gill, 85, a retired Leesburg radio engineer and former owner of an electronics store, died of congestive heart failure Nov. 29 at Loudoun Hospital Center. He lived in Leesburg. Mr. Gill, a native of Loudoun County, had been part owner of Leesburg radio station WAGE-AM, serving as its radio engineer from the time it went on the air in 1958 until he retired in 1981. From the late 1930s until the late 1950s, he owned and operated Gill's Radio And Electronics business in Leesburg. He sold radios and televisions and did electronics work."
December 4, 2002
DC Bans Non-Compete Contracts
The DC Council has approved legislation that prohibits TV and radio stations in the District from putting "non-compete" clauses in their labor contracts. According to the Washington Times: "Stations use the agreements to prevent on-air talent and some behind-the-scenes staffers from leaving immediately to go to work for a competitor. Even if an employee is fired, noncompete clauses can force them to wait - often as long as one year - before they can begin another job." While most major DC area TV stations are still located in the District (except Channel 7/WJLA, which recently moved to Arlington), many area radio stations aren't. All of Clear Channel's eight stations, Radio One's four, and the bulk of Infinity's are in Maryland.
December 3, 2002
TMD Flips To AAA
Towson U's WTMD (89.7 FM) flips to a "AAA" format - adult album alternative. You'll hear a mix of rock, acoustic, world pop, eclectic, and folk. The playlist includes Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Tori Amos, Tom Petty, Bonnie Rait, Coldplay, Beck, U2, Pearl Jam. A few months back, DCRTV reported rumblings that WTMD would be dropping its smooth jazzish New Age music format, dubbed "The Breeze." WTMD's 10000-watt signal covers the Baltimore area, and, if the wind is right, even makes it to parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia. No word on what effect WTMD's flip will have on other stations in the Charm City market, such as WRNR (103.1 FM) in the Annapolis area, which plays many of the same tunes, and adult rock "without the hard edge" WZBA (100.7 FM).
November 29, 2002
26's Founder Hits 100
Elizabeth Campbell turns 100 on 12/4. She, more than 40 years ago, founded the Greater Washington Educational Television Association, which saw the birth of WETA/Channel 26 and FM 90.9. GWETA's first offering was the "Time For Science" program, which ran on Channel 5/WTTG in 1958. In 1961, the FCC granted Mrs. Campbell a license to start a non-commercial TV station on the UHF band, which most sets of the day couldn't receive. WETA has grown to become one of the top program producers for PBS. There's a reception in her honor on 12/8 at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Arlington.
November 28, 2002
Channel 20 Stars Digital Service, Kind Of
Channel 20/WDCA just launched its digital service on channel 35. But if you're out in Germantown or Manassas you may not be able to receive it. We've heard that the UPN station is running a "massive" 250 watts (a typical UHF power is in the millions of watts), which, as one of our technical sources tells us, will get the signal to the "other side of Wisconsin Avenue." WDCA is now owned by Fox, which owns Channel 5/WTTG. And, we hear, Fox was facing a "use it or lose it" digital allocation deadline from the FCC to get WDCA's digital signal on the air. And, in order to meet the tight time frame, Fox needed antenna space on its Channel 5 tower on Wisconsin Avenue in northwest DC. And it worked out a deal with Clear Channel to remove WASH's transmittion gear from the tower, so it could install 20's digital equipment. That resulted in the Clear Channel soft rocker (now in XMAS mode) moving to a less optimal location (an auxiliary site via the DC101 tower in Silver Spring), causing it some signal coverage problems.
November 28, 2002
WRC Wins November Sweeps
Channel 4/WRC, as usual, came out on top of the November sweeps, although its Nielsen numbers have dipped slightly. The NBC station's news was numero uno at 5 AM, 5 PM, 6 PM, and at 11 PM. While Channel 9/WUSA showed news growth during early mornings, its increasingly anemic 6 PM newscast fell to 4th place, behind even "The Simpsons" on Channel 5/WTTG. 9's 5 PM news slumped to 3rd, behind 4 and 7. Channel 5's new 5 PM newscast has lost 45 percent of the viewers who used to watch "Judge Judy," which mounted a strong 2nd place finish at its new time of 4 PM, giving Channel 7/WJLA's "Oprah" a real run for her money/
November 26, 2002
Hammel To Phoenix
From the Washington Times: "WJLA news director Steven D. Hammel announced two weeks ago that he is leaving at the end of November, but he wouldn't say where he was headed. Now we know. Mr. Hammel's new gig is station manager of the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, where he will oversee news and promotions. He begins Dec. 16."
November 26, 2002
Ed Bliss Dies
Former CBS News reporter Ed Bliss, who was also a journalism professor, died on 11/25 at age 90. He was one of Edward R. Murrow's crew and worked with Walter Cronkite in a CBS career that stretched from 1943 through 1968, when he joined American University's School Of Communication to head its broadcast journalism program.
November 20, 2002
WNVC/WNVT Battle WETA For Virginia Funds
There's plenty of "bad blood" among Virginia's public television stations. The issue, naturally, is state money and who gets how much - as massive budget cuts loom. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, on one side we have Richmond-based Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, which operates five non-comm TV stations, including Northern Virginia's WNVC/Channel 56 and WNVT/Channel 53 (otherwise known as MHz and MHz2), two PBS outlets in Richmond, and one PBS station in Charlottesville. On the other side of the dispute are competing stations aligned with the "Virginia Association Of Public Television Stations," which includes DC's WETA/Channel 26 (which serves a large chunk of the Old Dominion), as well as other PBS stations in Norfolk, Roanoke, and Harrisonburg. "They want money and they don't care who get hurts in the process. The bottom line is in hard times, people tend to be greedy," Westwood Smithers, executive VP of Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, tells the RTD. Smithers says that WNVC/WNVT and its sister stations are threatened with losing more than $875,000 in state funding under a proposal being pushed by the state's other public television stations. The money would then be redistributed to other public stations, including WETA, which would receive its first infusion of Virginia state money, amounting to about $200,000.
November 19, 2002
New GM For MAL
Chris Berry is the new president/GM at news/talk WMAL. He's currently VP of ABC Radio News in NYC. He'd been PD at all-news WBBM in Chicago. Berry joined ABC in 1996, after 14 years with CBS Radio. Since 1999, he's overseen ABC's "Paul Harvey News," a job he'll retain. MAL's former GM, Tom Bresnahan, retired back in September.
November 17, 2002
MPT Exec Heads For WETA
The Sun reports: "John T. Potthast, the senior executive responsible for overseeing all original productions at Maryland Public Television, is leaving to accept a similar position at WETA, a Washington-area public broadcasting station. Potthast, who lives in Washington, said yesterday that the move was fueled by the desire to work closer to home after commuting to Owings Mills for three decades. He starts the job at WETA, based in Arlington, Va., in February, when he becomes eligible for a significant retirement package from MPT... At WETA, Potthast will be production executive and report directly to Dalton Delan, the executive vice president and chief programming officer. The Washington broadcaster - home to Ken Burns' documentaries, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Washington Week in Review, among others - produces the third-most programming for the PBS system of any station in the nation. MPT is typically among the top half-dozen producers for PBS."
November 14, 2002
Larry Krebs Honored
WMAL's long-time overnight reporter Larry Krebs was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Achivement In Radio (AIR) Awards. We hear, however, that old 630 sent only one person to the awards dinner. Earlier, we reported that the ABC news/talker decided not to submit nominees for many categories in this years' ceremony. Now wheelchair-bound, Mr. Krebs shed tears of joy, thanking his fellow radio folks for the honor. We did hear that MAL's arch nemesis, all-news WTOP, and its fellow Bonneville stations, did win a whole batch of awards including those for best news reporter (Chas Henry), best news anchor (the not so young Dave Brown), and best long form news interview (Mike Moss). WWZZ/WWVZ (104) received the honor for best website, and WGMS took the award for best continuing program feature. Julian Nieh, of Clear Channel's WIHT, was recognized as best new talent. More winners here.
November 13, 2002
News Director Leaves 7
Channel 7/WJLA news director Steve Hammel is leaving the Allbritton-owned ABC affiliate. Our initial report said he was going to become the general manager of a non-DC area station. However, he tells us that's not so. "I am indeed leaving to take on a new position, but it is not a GM position. I am unable to elaborate at this time." DCRTV hears that one of the key reasons for Hammel's departure is the fact that Channel 7's newscasts are still struggling in the ratings. Channel 4/WRC is still the market leader and Channel 9/WUSA has been showing strength, of late. The Post reported on Wednesday that WJLA station manager Chris Pike will "conduct a 'complete industry-wide' search and hopes to name Hammel's successor in early to mid-January. In the process of replacing Hammel, Pike will appoint a vice president to oversee the combined news operation of Channel 7 and NewsChannel 8. In the interim, the news division will be managed by three executives: NewsChannel 8 News Director Jim Church, WJLA Assistant News Director Bill McFarland, and Alex Likowski, who is director of news operations for both stations."
November 13, 2002
Steele Says Adios To 7
The Washington Times reports: "Popular morning meteorologist Alexandra Steele is also checking out at WJLA. Ms. Steele said she enjoyed working at the station, but didn't want to commit to another three-year contract. 'They really wanted me to stay but I can't move forward if I'm standing still,' she said. Her final airdate will be Thanksgiving Day."
November 13, 2002
Baltimore TV News Changes
The Sun's David Folkenflik takes a look at recent "comings and goings" in Charm City TV news departments, some of which have been already been reported here at DCRTV, such as the departures of Chris Ely and MaryEllen Pann. "At WBAL-TV, weekend sports anchor Chris Ely has been dropped in favor of Sarah Caldwell. Caldwell, 28, was formerly a sports reporter and anchor for the Fox station in Philadelphia. WBAL made the move after converting Ely's slot into a full-time position that includes reporting... Ely, 54, says he was disappointed with the station's decision because he enjoyed the job so much. He had been hired by WJZ-TV in 1988 after winning a contest to do the job for a day and stayed there until his dismissal in 1999. 'I never thought I was that good,' says Ely, a retired monitor for the state Juvenile Justice system. 'I was lucky. But what I do is, I work really hard.' At WJZ-TV, reporters Derek Valcourt and Gigi Barnett have arrived to help a crew stretched by the addition of a 4 p.m. newscast. Valcourt was last at the NBC station in Huntsville, Ala., while Barnett worked at the NBC affiliate in Mobile, Ala. WMAR-TV anchor and reporter Valarie Williams left Baltimore for Texas, where she will join her husband in Dallas. And WBFF-TV dispensed with the services of weekend weather forecaster MaryEllen Pann, who has returned to her old job at the Fox station in Harrisburg, Pa. WBFF is now relying upon forecaster Elizabeth Hart, who works from the station's parent company headquarters in Baltimore County to serve many sister stations."
November 12, 2002
Man Arrested In Radio Stunt
Fairfax County police arrested a shirtless man wearing only gold shorts and booties, and angel wings, who was perched atop an SUV on the Beltway near I-66 on Tuesday morning. The man, Tim Coburn, 24, of Vienna (aka "Teapot Tim") was participating in a stunt ("The Golden Snitch") for the "Hot Morning Mess" team at Clear Channel's "Hot 99.5" WIHT. The man, who was giving out tickets to the new "Harry Potter" flick, was charged with being a pedestrian on an interstate, which, apparently, is an offense. Lisa Greenfield, 23, of DC, who drove Coburn to the scene, was charged with improper stopping, being a pedestrian on an interstate, and not being in possession of a driver's license.
November 12, 2002
John Lynker Dies
From wtopnews.com: "Long-time WTOP news anchor and automotive reporter John Lynker died Monday night from heart and lung disease. He was 75. Lynker had been at WTOP since 1980 until semi-retiring last year. In all, Lynker's half-century of broadcast experience took him through nearly a dozen radio stations, including WINS, WCBS, KGO,WJR, WWJ, WWL. Lynker was a World War II Navy veteran, and commissioned as a Coast Guard captain with four major shore commands... While at WTOP, Lynker earned a 'Broadcasting Legend' award by the Washington Area Broadcasters Association. Lynker was also the president of the Washington Automotive Press Association."
November 12, 2002
Like Father, Like Son
Doug Buchanan has been hired as a reporter at Channel 9/WUSA. He starts in the middle of November. He's worked as a reporter at TV stations in Erie, PA, and Kingston, NY, and behind the scenes at Channel 5/WTTG and Channel 7/WJLA. And, oh yeah, he's the son of Mike Buchanan, who anchors 9's morning 'cast.
November 6, 2002
56/53 Face Cuts
Northern Virginia public TV stations Channel 56/ WNVC and Channel 53/WNVT face a big budget cut from the state. The Virginia Public Broadcasting Board is examining a proposal that would slash $800,000 in state funding for MHz Networks, which runs the two Falls Church-based stations. The board says the cut would remedy an "unnecessary service duplication in areas where more than one public television service." While WNVC and WNVT (which dub themselves as "MHz" and "MHz2") are public TV stations in a market which has three other public TV stations (WETA, WHUT, and MPT), MHz management contends that it provides services that aren't duplicative. WNVC features international "multicultural" fare (including newscasts from 15 countries), and WNVT provides instructional education, African American programming, and locally-based music shows. "Like the other public television entities in the Commonwealth, MHz Networks has recently received a 15 percent cut in its instructional telecommunications programming and has braced itself in anticipation of a 15 percent decrease in state funding. However, the total elimination of this funding would significantly impact the operations of MHz Networks," according to a statement at mhznetworks.org. It continues: "If the VPBB accepts this proposal, funds would be taken from MHz and redistributed to the remaining public stations in Virginia (WETA, WBRA, WVPT, WHRO), constituting an across the board increase in their operating funds." This has alarmed MHz Networks executive VP Frederick Thomas, who says: "This organization simply cannot survive a cutback of this magnitude. These funds represent a significant portion of our operations budget. Their elimination would mean the elimination of unique, community-based programming for Northern Virginia." The stations' website encourages viewers to contact Virginia governor Mark Warner to protest the cut.
November 6, 2002
Bartel Replaces Owens At GMS
James Bartel becomes the new morning drive host at Bonneville's classical WGMS. He replaces Dennis Owens, who recently announced that he's leaving the morning grind to do less stressful fill-in work. Owens has been at WGMS for more than 30 years. Diana Hollander will take over Bartel's current evening slot. Renee Chaney stays in middays and John Chester remains the PM drive guy.
November 6, 2002
SmarTraveler, one of three traffic reporting services in the DC area, will be shutting its doors in mid-December. The firm, which is now owned by Westwood One, recently lost a contract with the Virginia Department Of Transportation, which is facing steep state mandated budget cuts. SmarTraveler once had a morning DC area cable TV traffic program. In 2000, the firm was sold to Westwood One, and in 2001 SmarTraveler's staff moved in with Metro and Shadow traffic.
November 5, 2002
WAMU Apologizes For Sniper Rerun
Lloyd Grove, who pens the "Reliable Source" column in the Post, has more on WAMU's accidental rerun of a sniper news bulletin, which was first reported by DCRTV on Monday. "WAMU-FM's 'Kojo Nnamdi Show' shocked listeners yesterday when Nnamdi's interview on dreams and nightmares with neurologist Richard Cytowik was interrupted by a 'breaking news' report of fatal shootings in Montgomery County. Around 34 minutes into his noon broadcast, Nnamdi was heard urgently introducing WAMU reporters Lisa Nurnberger and James Jones with the latest on the most recent sniper victims and an announcement of a live news conference by law enforcement authorities. The report - part of a rebroadcast of Nnamdi's Oct. 3 show - continued for about three minutes until station managers, alerted by scores of disturbed listeners, realized their mistake and pulled it off the air. 'We heard from a lot of people who were understandably very upset,' WAMU Program Director Mark McDonald told us. 'What can I say? We were horrified here. We launched an immediate investigation and we now have a system in place that gives us assurances that this won't happen again.' An abject apology was read twice on the air and posted on the station's website, signed by general manager Susan Clampitt... 'I can understand that some of our listeners would have a feeling of real panic. It was a really big mistake - really big,' Nnamdi told us, adding that the genesis of the trouble was probably when he called in sick suffering from bad allergies, requiring an overworked producer to choose and vet a program for rebroadcast on short notice."
November 4, 2002
WETA Gets Multiplexed
We're learning more about Channel 26/WETA's new digital multiplex services. Area cable giant Comcast is in the processing of rolling out three of the public broadcaster's digital channels. By late November or early December, many of Comcast's DC area digital subscribers should see "WETA Prime," with a time-shifted prime time program line-up, on cable channel 191. "WETA Kids," with only childrens fare, will air on channel 192, and "WETA Plus," focusing on "how to" and educational shows, will be located on channel 193. Also, a digital feed of WETA's main signal, augmented by the station high-definition service, "WETA Showcase," will air on Comcast cable channel 190. Comcast is also launching high-def services from Channel 4/WRC, Channel 7/WJLA, and Channel 9/WUSA, as well as those form Showtime and HBO. While Cox, which covers most of Fairfax County, is also launching a high-def tier, there's no word on when that system will start airing the three WETA multiplexes, which were officially launched on 11/1. Viewers with the right digital TV gear can receive WETA's new services over the air. They are dubbed as channels 26.1, 26.2, 26.3, and 26.4.
November 1, 2002
45 Stays With Fox
Rupert Murdoch owns the Fox network. Rupert Murdoch also owns Baltimore's UPN station, WUTB, Channel 24. So, there was talk that maybe WUTB would become Charm City's Fox station. Nope. We've just heard that Baltimore-based Sinclair, which owns WBFF, Channel 45, the current Fox affiliate in Charm City, has just signed a deal to keep that station (and 19 others it owns) in the Fox camp, at least through mid-2005.
October 30, 2002
Former DC TV Sportscaster Darrian Chapman Dies
Darrian Chapman, 37, who used to be a sports anchor and reporter on Channel 4/WRC, and who, in 2000, moved to Chicago's NBC station, died suddenly on 10/30. The cause is suspected to be cardiac arrest. He had suffered a heart attack at age 31, while working at WRC, but recovered. Chapman collapsed on Wednesday while getting ready to play hockey at a skating rink. He was in "full cardiac arrest" when paramedics brought him to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 12:20 PM, reports the Chicago Tribune. According to WMAQ, the Chicago station where he had been lead sports anchor: "Darrian joined the NBC5 sports team as a weekend anchor and sports reporter in May 2000. He came to NBC5 Chicago from NBC4 in Washington, DC, where he served as the station's weekend morning sports anchor and sports anchor for more than four years. While in the nation's capital, he also did some play-by-play for George Mason University's men's basketball team on Home Team Sports. Prior to that, Darrian held the position of sports director at WGR NewsRadio 55 in Buffalo, NY."
October 30, 2002
Willard's Wife Dies
Mary, the wife of DC radio/TV vet Willard Scott, died of cancer on 10/28. She was 67. So reports the New York Post. Willard, as you'll recall, was half of DC radio's "Joy Boys" duo in the 1960s and early 1970s, and went on to become Channel 4's weatherman, before moving to like duties at NBC's "Today" show.
October 30, 2002
Charm City Radio, Sports Maverick Robert Embry Dies
Robert Campbell "Jake" Embry, a retired radio executive and civic activist who is credited with making Baltimore a major-league sports city, died of a blood clot on 10/29 at his Towson home. His career started in the 1930s when he sold advertising for WBAL radio. In the 1940s, Mr. Embry went to WITH radio and, with the station's owner, founded the Bullets basketball team. He soon became part-owner of the football Colts. In the 1950s, Mr. Embry also had a stake in the Clippers hockey team. After leaving WITH in 1962, he became executive vice president of the Leon Golnick Advertising Agency. From 1967 until retiring in 1982, Mr. Embry was general manager of WMAR-FM, which had an easy listening format.
October 28, 2002
BAL Radio's Al Burk Dies
Al Burk, who spent more than three decades building the legacy of Baltimore's WBAL radio, died on 10/28 of a heart attack. He was 83. Mr. Burk joined "Radio 11" in 1952 as an account executive and rose to become general manager, where he remained until 1984. Under his guidance, WBAL-FM became rocker WIYY. Also, Mr. Burk started the station's "Kids Campaign," which continues to clothe underpriveledged children.
October 25, 2002
NC8's Wayne Lynch To Milwaukee
Wayne Lynch, who helped found NewsChannel 8 a decade ago, heads to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to become general manager of a local news cable service being launched by Time-Warner. Lynch most recently served as NC8's VP of news and programming.
October 22, 2002
Junks Move To HFS
The Sports Junkies made it official - they announced that they will be moving from Infinity's hot talk WJFK-FM to mornings at co-owned alt rock WHFS, 99.1. DCRTV first reported rumors of the move a few weeks ago. Ron And Fez will be moving from JFK's overnights to replace the Junks in the 7 PM to 11 PM slot at 106.7.
October 18, 2002
WDCU's Ernest White Dies
From the Washington Post: "Ernest Percell White Jr., 54, an award-winning talk-show host and community activist whose broadcasts once were an important barometer of political sentiment in the District, died Oct. 14 at the Heartland of Hyattsville nursing home. He had been struggling to overcome AIDS since the mid-1990s, in a very public drug- and alcohol-fueled deterioration that eventually left him disabled, panhandling and homeless. For nearly 15 years, Mr. White's 'Crosstalk' program on WDCU-FM was a station of the cross for the city's mayors and others involved in District affairs. Politicians and African American journalists, many of whom made their first forays into broadcasting at Mr. White's invitation, jumped at a chance to be on the show."
October 18, 2002
Baltimore Mayor Gets Emotional On BAL Radio
From the Baltimore Sun: "After being criticized on a radio talk show yesterday for maintaining a low profile following the deaths of six people in an East Baltimore arson fire Wednesday, Mayor Martin O'Malley showed up unannounced at the studio and delivered an emotional, teary-eyed attack on both the killers and the hosts... About 10:25 a.m., O'Malley was leaving a conference at the Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel when he heard the WBAL show on his car radio. He ordered his driver to head to the studio. After announcing to the surprised studio managers that he wanted to respond on the air, O'Malley sat down next to a microphone. In a tense and strained voice, the mayor explained that he was slow to say much publicly about the deaths of (a woman) and her children because the cause was still under investigation... The mayor also criticized (BAL radio talk hosts Chip) Franklin and (Rob) Douglas for blaming the city's troubles on 'nitwit politicians'... Douglas tried to compliment the mayor, saying that O'Malley's shaking hands and teary eyes 'shows the passion you have for the city.' O'Malley didn't take it well. 'On that note, that probably is a good way to exit,' he said. 'And gentlemen, if you enjoyed that, come outside after the show, and I'll kick your ass.'"
October 16, 2002
FLS's LaRue Battles Cancer
Tabitha LaRue, news anchor and reporter for Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS (93.3 FM), is said to be in good spirits following ovarian cancer surgery on Monday. VARTV reports that it'll be about four weeks before Tabitha, 28, will be healthy enough to undergo another surgery to remove a cancerous growth in her neck. Meanwhile, she's recovering at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Tabitha is the recipient of two Clarion Awards from the Association For Women In Communications for a radio program on ovarian cancer and for her online personal story detailing her battle with the disease.
October 14, 2002
11's News Director Dies
Jeffrey Abrams, director of news operations at Baltimore's Channel 11/WBAL, died of an apparent heart attack Thursday during a morning jog near his Woodbine home. He was 46.
October 10, 2002
New Calls For 104.3
Goodbye WOCT. Hello WXFB. Clear Channel's Baltimore classic rocker now has a new name. A station press release explains the change: "The new call letters reflect our classic rock image and contains a B for Baltimore and B104.3."
October 10, 2002
DCRTV hears that Dennis MacCarthy, who was associated with Westwood One for two decades, serving as a producer, reporter, and editor for Mutual News and NBC Radio, and more recently as the producer of Jim Bohannon's news magazine "America In The Morning," died at his Woodbridge home on 10/6. He'd suffered from heart problems.
October 2, 2002
Eight Inducted Into Silver Circle
The local chapter of the National Academy Of Television Arts And Sciences will induct some broadcasters into its prestigious Silver Circle. The chapter established the award to honor those who have worked in broadcasting for at least 25 years and made "significant contributions." According to the Washington Times, this year's honorees are WTTG photographer John Dunmire, local advertising executive Charles Horich, retired WUSA newsroom assistant James Jennings, "Today" production manager Lessandra MacHamer, WDCA engineer Lee Payton, "Dateline NBC" reporter Lea Thompson, WJZ weatherman Robert Turk, and James Morison, the retired general manager of the Norfolk area's PBS station.
September 30, 2002
Hillis Assumes New Challenge
John Hillis (right), president and CEO of NewsChannel 8 since its founding in 1991, has left the Allbritton organization to form Equinox Media International, a Fairfax-based media analysis and consultation firm. Hillis will serve as president and will direct Equinox’s services to broadcasters, cable operators, publishers, and financial institutions. Hillis began his career in 1973 as a news film editor at WSB-TV in Atlanta. He joined then infant cable news operation CNN in 1980, and went on to create the first cable TV local news service, News 12 Long Island, before coming to DC to establish NC8.....
September 30, 2002
Ely Out At 11
DCRTV hears that WBAL/Channel 11's 11 PM weekend sports anchor Chris Ely did an on-air farewell. On the 9/29 broadcast he said his departure was not of his own chosing. Also, we hear that he's being replaced by Sarah Caldwell from Philadelphia's Fox station, WTXF/Channel 29. Stay tuned.....
September 29, 2002
Herbert Swan Dies
Herbert Swan, 47, president of SwanTV, an Alexandria company which provides TV production and broadcast logistics for sports events, died on 9/26 at his home in Alexandria after a heart attack. According to the Post, Mr. Swan came to the DC area in 1979 and joined the ProServe sports marketing firm, where he produced sports events, including live broadcasts of tennis tournaments, as well as professional volleyball and cycling. He also was responsible for the sale of foreign TV rights for the National Basketball Association. His SwanTV firm specialized in tennis coverage. Mr. Swan also served as broadcast operations director of the US Tennis Association.
September 26, 2002
Bresnahan Out At 630
WMAL's general manager Tom Bresnahan announced his retirement. However, some local radio sources say he's getting out before ABC/Disney decides to sell its radio properties. Bresnahan has been in the radio business for more than 30 years serving as an account exec at WWDC, local sales manager at WLTT, general manager at Kansas City's KFKF, and 14 years as president and general manager of WMAL. The ABC-owned news talker has seen its ratings slide in the past year or so as it produced quite a few line-up shake-ups. Morning man Tim Brant said farewell in early summer, with the arrival of Jane Norris and Bill Press. One of the station's few female (and liberal) voices, Victoria Jones, was canned in the spring. Also, the station trimmed back its local PM drive show, hosted by Chris Core, in favor of syndicated talk by ABC Radio's Sean Hannity. In addition, syndicated Dr. Laura's morning show has been cut back in favor of a local show hosted by ABC newsman Sam Donaldson. However, few of the changes have produced ratings traction.
September 24, 2002
Pacifica Says Adios To DC
Non-comm lefty broadcaster Pacifica Radio is heading back to Berkeley. The radio group's board voted on Sunday to move its HQ from DC - where it has been for the past three years - back to Cali. However, Pacifica is planning to start a stand-alone news bureau in DC as part of the move. Pacifica owns DC's WPFW (89.3 FM).
September 23, 2002
WETA To Launch Digital Services
Public WETA/Channel 26 is planning to offer several standard definition digital signals that will be carried by Comcast in the DC area. In addition to WETA's high definition signal, which is now available via the airwaves, the area cable giant plans to carry three WETA digital standard-def signals which include "WETA Kids" with childrens programming, "WETA Plus" with educational and how-to material, and "WETA Prime" with time-shifted primetime shows. The Comcast cable launch date for these new services has tentatively been set for November, with a test now being conducted on the firm's Arlington/Alexandria system. WETA's high-def channel will be carried as part of a Comcast HD tier along with the HD signals from locals WRC, WJLA, and WUSA, along with the HBO and Showtime HD premium channels. You'll need to have an HD receiver and monitor and rent a special converter box from Comcast to receive the HD cable broadcasts.
September 18, 2002
Dennis Owens Says Farewell To GMS Morning Shift
Is classical WGMS putting its morning man Dennis Owens, 68, out to pasture? The bearded, gothic-voiced Owens, who has been reigning on 103.5 (and 570, too) since 1966, says he'll be giving up the AM shift before Thanksgiving. Although he'll still be heard doing fill-in work at the Bonneville station. Did he jump or was he pushed? Probably a little of both. While classical stations, like all radio outlets, are desperately scrambling for younger pairs of ears (which advertisers demand), Owens tells the Post that he's tiring of the very early morning alarm clock.
September 15, 2002
MaryEllen Pann Says Adios To 45/54
FOX45/WB54 weatherwoman MaryEllen Pann is heading to FOX43 in York, PA. She's the wife of WUSA/9 weatherman Tony Pann.
September 15, 2002
Channel 7 Pulls Its DC Plug
At 3:30 PM on Saturday, Channel 7/WJLA's transmitter feed was officially switched from its northwest DC studios to its new facility in the Rosslyn section of Arlington - overlooking DC's Mall, from across the Potomac. The Allbritton station is now co-located with co-owned NewsChannel 8 in one of the "twin towers" buildings that was formerly the headquarters for Gannett (which owns Channel 9/WUSA). NC8 moved into the new Virginia studio facility a week or two ago, from its old digs in Springfield.
September 13, 2002
Lewis Joins 104.3 For PM Drive
Lori Lewis is the new PM drive personality on Clear Channel's classic rock WOCT. She'll join B104.3 on 9/15 and serve as the Baltimore station's assistant program director. She comes from CC's Tampa radio station cluster. Plus, some nine years ago she worked in Mobile with Scott Lindy, WOCT's operations manager and program director.
September 12, 2002
Channel 9 To Provide MPT Election Coverage
Come election night in early November, Gannett's Channel 9/WUSA will provide non-stop, ad-free election results coverage via Maryland Public Television. The Post reports that Gordon Peterson and Gurvir Dhindsa will be seen on the statewide public TV network from 8 PM to 11 PM, as well as doing short election updates throughout the evening on Channel 9. Maryland has some hot races this year including those for governor and for the Montgomery County House seat now held by Connie Morella. "They have far more advanced news-gathering resources than we do in terms of coverage of all of the various elections that are going on that day," MPT VP John Potthast told the Post. "We view this as a way to provide much better election coverage than we would normally be able to provide." Gannett has done similar public TV election coverage sharing arrangements in Georgia and Texas.....
September 11, 2002
Changing Of The Guard At Mega
Mega Communications chairman Adam Lindemann assumes CEO/president Alfredo Alonso’s post. Alonso has held those positions at the Silver Spring-based company since August 1996, but that title and oversight of operations have been handed to Lindemann. Although he will no longer be involved with daily operations, Lindemann says Alonso remains "a value resource" for Mega. Reports say that the firm has been struggling with a tight ad market during the past year. Mega owns a batch of Spanish language radio stations along the East Coast including WBZS/WBPS (92.7/94.3 FM) and "Radio Capital" WKDL (730 AM) in the DC area. It recently sold several area AMers to NJ's Multicultural.
September 11, 2002
NPR Drops Kojo, But He Stays On WAMU
The Washington Times reports: "National Public Radio will drop 'Public Interest With Kojo Nnamdi' from national distribution Sept. 30, but the talk show will live on at WAMU-FM (88.5). The NPR affiliate, which produces the program, will retitle it 'The Kojo Nnamdi Show' and shift its focus to interviews with local newsmakers and daily contributions from WAMU reporters. It will still air weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. NPR distributed 'Public Interest' to 37 stations nationwide. It dropped the show because it saw 'limited growth potential,' a spokeswoman said."
September 8, 2002
Sinclair Buys 54
Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcasting has purchased Channel 54/WNUV. Sinclair already owns Charm City's Channel 45/WBFF and had operated Baltimore's WNUV according to a lease agreement with Cunningham Broadcasting. Purchase price $4.453 million. Don't look for any changes at WB affiliated 54.
September 2, 2002
WASH Goes "Girl Talk"
Soft rock" WASH has gone talk - talk for women. At least on Sunday evenings. Without any fanfare, the Clear Channel station on 9/1 aired its first installment of "Girl Talk," which runs from 7 PM to 10 PM. It's hosted by Erica Hilary and Debra Leigh. When not doing GT, Leigh does DJ fill-in work and weekend duties at WASH, and Hilary does traffic reports. We hear that CC wants to see if there's a market for FM talk aimed at women to balance the heavily male-oriented talk of Stern, D&M, Liddy, Imus, Rush, Hannity, Rome, the Junks, the now cancelled O&A, etc. GT will give female listeners (and males) a healthy dose of relationship topics and humor, and not spend as much time on issues like bombing Iraq or having sex in churches.
August 30, 2002
D&M Back To PM Drive
Effective Tuesday, 9/3, the Don And Mike show goes back to PM drive on WJFK-FM. Live. Since late last week, the station's been running D&M reruns during D&M's current midday slot and during the PM drive slot of the recently cancelled Opie And Anthony. It looks like 106.7 will be running "Sports Junkies" reruns in middays until a permanent replacement show can be found.
August 30, 2002
96.7 Goes Wild
Hagerstown's WDLD, formerly WQCM, has flipped to a rhythmic contemporary format as "Wild 96.7." The station had been heard stunting with Tone Loc's "Wild Thing." Its former rock format and calls have moved to that region's 94.3. Up until today, the two frequencies had been airing the same signal.
August 30, 2002
Graeme A Gonner At HFS
WHFS morning man Graeme has received the steel-toed boot. Pogo has been doing the morning show of late. Graeme took over the morning slot on 99.1 back in February, when Gina Crash got the hook.
August 30, 2002
Samtani Returns, Pena Goes Fulltime, Davis Debuts
DCRTV hears about some changes at Channel 9. First, Monika Samtani returns as the primary traffic reporter for the 5 AM to 7 AM weekday newscast. Samtani left WUSA late last year to spend some time with her family and to have a baby. Her (re)start is 9/30. The move comes only weeks after Channel 7 announced that it had nabbed Lisa Baden for its morning news traffic coverage. Second - as of 9/3 reporter Cindy Pena moves to fulltime status at "9 News," with a focus on the 11 PM 'cast. She had been a freelancer. Third - 9's new sports director/anchor Steve Davis debuts on 9/4. Davis comes from Charm City's Channel 45 and replaces Jess Atkinson, who announced a few months ago that he was leaving WUSA. Davis will handle evening sportscasts Sundays through Thursdays. WUSA sports vet Ken Mease will anchor Friday and Saturday evenings. Another DC TV sports vet (and Redskins radio voice) Frank Herzog will continue to anchor 9's weekday morning sportscasts. Also, Davis will host a new program called "Sports Plus," which will air Sundays after the late news.
August 28, 2002
Negron Returns Via WZHF
Alejandro Negron, who was bounced from Mega's WBZS/WBPS a few months ago, can now be heard on Multicultural's WZHF. The Washington Post reports that the "popular local Spanish-radio personality has taken his signature 'estamos bien' ('we are well') to WZHF-AM (1390). Negron left La Mega's drive-time show 'El Vacilon de la Manana' ('Goofiness in the Morning') after a dispute with the FM station's general manager in May. Negron now hosts his own talk show, 'Sin Censura' ('Uncensored'), which airs from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 'I'm still on the radio,' Negron told the Post's Eugene L. Meyer. 'I'm doing what I like, talk radio.' WZHF offers 'brokered' broadcasting, which means Negron pays for the time and makes money through sponsors, some of which, he said, have followed him from La Mega. With him on the new show are his wife, Carmen Aguierre, who was known as La Mega Chica before she also quit La Mega, and Alvaro Milan, who reads the news and joins in the discussions."
August 23, 2002
Simpson Celebrates 25
While the O&A mess is causing Infinity suits some serious stomach cramps, the company has good news to report at its urban contemporary WPGC-FM. "Donnie Simpson will get some surprises as he celebrates 25 years on the air in Washington this morning, " reports the Washington Post. "WPGC (95.5 FM) tells us it's arranged for phone calls and studio visits for its star morning-show host from Michael Jordan, Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Babyface, Jay Z, Vanessa Williams, Smokey Robinson, Mel Karmazin, Bob Johnson and Al Sharpton. Plus, Simpson's former co-host, Tony Perkins, now the 'Good Morning America' weatherman, has planned his own tribute for 8:30 a.m. Simpson, 48, started as an afternoon-drive announcer for WKYS-FM in the summer of 1977, then quickly switched to mornings and became program director before moving to WPGC's morning show in 1993."
August 22, 2002
It's official. Opie And Anthony have been taken off the air. Viacom/Infinity issued the following statement on Thursday afternoon: "Based on recent events, the Opie And Anthony Show has been cancelled, and will be replaced by other programming beginning tomorrow." Apparently, O&A still have two years on their contract. In addition to JFK-FM and their home station in NYC, WNEW, the duo is carried on stations in Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Cleveland, Seattle, Sacramento, Buffalo, and New Orleans.
August 19, 2002
FCC Investigates O&A Stunt
FCC commissioner Michael Copps says he's received "many outraged e-mails and phone calls complaining about a running on-air broadcast of a sex act in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York as part of a radio stunt." Last Thursday's prank was instigated by afternoon duo Opie And Anthony, who are heard on Infinity-owned radio stations in NYC (WNEW) and in DC (WJFK-FM). WNEW/WJFK general manager Ken Stevens issued an apology stating that he has "taken measures to assure that it does not happen again." A Virginia couple was arrested last week for public lewdness after allegedly having sex in NYC's St. Patrick's Cathedral as part of an O&A stunt that outraged parishioners and church officials. NYC-based O&A (who are really Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) offered a prize to the couple having sex at the riskiest location in the city. The arrested couple includes a man, 37, from Quantico and a woman, 35, from Alexandria. Also nabbed - their comedian lookout.
August 16, 2002
Amber Alert Causes Confusion
The Washington Post reports that the first ever local Amber Alert "triggered an errant broadcast by the federal Emergency Alert System across greater Washington yesterday, prompting at least one television station to air vague warnings of a civil emergency." At the request of police in Henry County, VA (several hundred miles southwest of DC, near the North Carolina line), WTOP radio activated the Amber system at 4:25 PM on Thursday. However, the Post adds, "the year-old system in Washington has never been tested and is linked to the federal Emergency Alert System... While WTOP activated the system with an audio message describing the case, some television stations are linked automatically to the emergency system and are set only to broadcast text. Those stations aired a crawler warning viewers of an unspecified civil emergency." During "Oprah," Channel 7 aired the cryptic text message which didn't mention that the alert was for the apparent abduction of 9-year-old Jennifer Renee Short, whose parents had been murdered. WTOP's Jim Farley told DCRTV: "Even though Henry County is outside our broadcast area, the sheriff's office asked us to transmit the warning in case whoever might have the child could be traveling up I-81 into our area." Farley told the Post: "If we erred, we erred on the side of the angels and make no apology." Amber Alert was formed by police departments, various local agencies, and radio and TV stations, which can quickly blanket the area with information about missing and abducted children.
August 16, 2002
"Helga From Westminster" Murdered
Helga Nicholls, a frequent caller to Baltimore radio talk shows, has been murdered. Only a few minutes after "Helga From Westminster" was heard on Tom Marr's WCBM program on Wednesday, the 53-year-old grandmother was stabbed in her kitchen. Her son-in-law has been charged with the slaying. Via her telephone, she was a frequent voice with WBAL talkers Ron Smith, Chip Franklin, and former "Radio 11" host Allan Prell (now in Denver). And with WCBM's Marr and Les Kinsolving.
August 16, 2002
XM's Parenteau Arrested
Mark Parenteau, a former Boston/NYC radio personality and the current director of comedy programming at DC's XM Satellite Radio, has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy. Radio And Records reports that Parenteau "allegedly assaulted the boy Wednesday evening at his DC home and was charged yesterday." The 8/16 Washington Post says that Parenteau, 52, has been charged with sexually assaulting the boy three times in May and June in Parenteau's Swann Street NW home, according to the arrest warrant. Parenteau has been put on administrative leave, according to an XM spokesman. A DC Superior Court judge has released him to a halfway house until a court appearance on 9/10.
August 14, 2002
98Rock Gets New PD
Baltimore's WIYY, also known as "98Rock," is getting Dave Hill as its new program director. He comes from an Albany NY active rock station. Hill replaces Rick Strauss, who recently joined a Philadelphia classic rocker. WIYY general manager Ed Kiernan tells trade pub All Access: "I look for 98Rock to further solidify its position as Baltimore's dominant rock station." However, in the Charm City spring Arbitrons, Infinity's alternative rock WHFS took 8th place to Hearst active rocker WIYY's 9th.
August 13, 2002
Joyner Buys WCXUL, WCVA
Tom Joyner, the North Carolina-based radio station owner and not the nationally syndicated urban radio morning man, has purchased Culpeper's country WCUL (103.1 FM) and nostalgic/adult contemporary WCVA (1490 AM). Culpeper Broadcasting sold the stations for $1.2 million.
August 12, 2002
Donaldson Heads West
Channel 5 weekend weather reporter Stacey Donaldson has said farewell. We hear that she's heading out to Denver's Fox station. Her last DC TV appearance was on 8/11. DCRTV recently reported that Channel 5's hired Gwen Tolbert from Dallas. She'll handle WTTG's weather duties when its 5 PM news debuts on 9/9. Sue Palka will continue to do the station's 10 PM weathercasting.
August 11, 2002
Haber Out In NYC
Former Channel 5 sports anchor/sports director Bret Haber is losing his NYC gig. Management at CBS-owned WCBS-TV has decided not to renew the contract of Haber, who served as a sportscaster and sports news director at the NYC station. He'll leave in October, when his deal expires. A former ESPN anchor, Haber had been with the station since the fall of 2000, when he left DC's WTTG to replace Warner Wolf on WCBS-TV's 11 PM news. Wolf was, for many years, the main sports anchor on DC's Channel 9. According to the Daily News, "Haber seemed to struggle to find the right tone for the newscasts. His ESPN-like smart-aleck approach to sports didn't endear him to many in the newsroom, which may have led to the end of his tenure there."
August 7, 2002
DC101's Elliot Sued
"A Frederick, Md., woman who poses nude on the internet has sued rock music station WWDC-FM (101.1) and morning man Elliot Segal for defamation of character and invasion of privacy, among other things," the Washington Times reports. "Cynthia Hollander is seeking $1 million in punitive damages. She filed the suit in Montgomery County Circuit Court July 1. Mrs. Hollander says Mr. Segal called her a prostitute and urged his listeners to visit her workplace and harass her during a January 17 broadcast." Bennett Zier, head of Clear Channel's DC operations, calls the accusations "unfounded," the Times adds. CC owns DC101. "Mrs. Hollander's attorney, Ranji M. Garrett, said she and her husband operate a website that features nude photographs of her. The site, which costs $9.95 a month to access, does not give her address, Mr. Garrett said. Mrs. Hollander also works as a receptionist for her husband's automotive shop, Mr. Garrett said. Some staffers at Rockville-based WWDC said the lawsuit surprised them. Mrs. Hollander and her husband called into Mr. Segal's show after the January 17 broadcast, and seemed to patch things up with the host, the staffers said," according to the Times.
August 7, 2002
Baden Moves To 7
Traffic reporter Lisa Baden joins WJLA/Channel 7 starting 8/12. The Washington Times reports that she'll deliver traffic updates during "Good Morning Washington" as well as during local news cut-ins on "Good Morning America." And she'll continue her radio work with WTOP. Baden is employed by Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcast Services, which contracts out her services. Baden's voice will be the second that is shared between Allbritton's Channel 7 and Bonneville's WTOP. WJLA's chief weatherman, Doug Hill, does weather reports for the all-news radio station. In related news, the Times says that ratings for "Good Morning Washington" are on the rise - up almost 16 percent compared with last summer. And Channel 7 recently renewed its contract with morning weathercaster Alexandra Steele.
August 6, 2002
Changes At B104.3
A bunch of changes at Baltimore classic rocker WOCT (104.3 FM). Our source tells us that Scott Lindy will now oversee the programming of Clear Channel's "B104.3." Lindy is also operations manager for CC's Baltimore radio cluster as well as program director for country WPOC. Former OCT PD Mark Bradly exits along with morning show co-host Chris Emry and production director/midday host John Klug. Afternoon host Maxwell will be joining Miles Montgomery for mornings, and B104.3 imaging duties will be taken over by Dino D'Addario. "Don't look for sweeping changes but listen for Baltimore's classic rock station to speed up movement into the top tier of Baltimore stations," we're told.
August 1, 2002
No More "Z" At 104
Bonneville has renamed Z104 as "More Music 104" - without the "Z" - with a new website at www.moremusic104.com. The modern rockish adult contemporary format and air staff (still the McDonalds morning show with Dylan and Erin) sound pretty much the same. Looks like they're trying to get the station a ratings boost, something it needs and hasn't seen since it flipped from contemporary hits last fall.
July 29, 2002
Buddy Deane To Retire
Winston Joe "Buddy" Deane once hosted a TV dance party in the late 1950s and early 1960s on Baltimore's Channel 13, and was the model for John Waters' "Hairspray." Now we hear that Deane (right, third from the left), at the age of 77, is planning to retire after 56 years in the radio/TV industry. According to the Arkansas Pine Bluff Commercial, after working for radio stations in Little Rock and Memphis, Deane moved to Baltimore "where he became famous for his Rock n' Roll radio program (on WITH) and TV dance show... Deane said the show was so popular that the viewing audience blew out the telephone system trying to be the first callers to correctly identify a record album he showed on TV." After seven years, Deane moved to Pine Bluff in 1964 and bought a radio station. "Deane said that he is also proud of his affiliation with writer/director John Waters who based the 1988 movie 'Hairspray' on Deane's TV dance show career. The movie, in which Deane had a cameo appearance, is being revised for the Broadway stage to begin production soon," according to the Commercial. Deane is selling a group of seven radio stations for more than $3 million.
July 26, 2002
Anderson To JZW
Carl Anderson heads from a Chicago radio station to become program director of ABC's smooth jazz WJZW. He replaces Kenny King who recently was promoted to operations manager of WJZW and co-owned hot adult contemporary WRQX, and program director of WRQX. These moves come after Steve Kosbau recently gave up OM duties at both stations and PD duties at WRQX to head several ABC stations in Detroit.
July 25, 2002
WKCW, WPWC, WKDV Make Changes
DCRTV's hearing about some changes to AM stations southwest of the DC area. Classic country WKCW (1420 AM) in Warrenton has hiked its daytime power to 10,000-watts, thereby improving its signal to the DC area. The station still features a whopping 17-watts at night. And, WPWC (1480 AM) in Dumfries has dropped its Asian/Korean format for a Spanish sound as "Radio Fiesta." Also, WKDV (1460 AM) in Manassas, which also has a Spanish format, is calling itself "Radio Universal."
July 24, 2002
WWLG Flips Frequencies
The long planned move of Baltimore nostalgic music outlet WWLG from 1360 to 1370 on the AM band took place on Wednesday morning. The station's new Joppatowne transmitter is said to beam the equivalent of 50,000-watts southward, thereby improving the station's daytime coverage of the DC area. WWLG's putting in a listenable, if somewhat weakish, signal on 1370 to DCRTV's world headquarters in Wild West Fairfax. Definitely an improvement over the old 1360 signal, which was usually inaudible at our location.
July 24, 2002
5 Picks Bolter
Channel 5 has selected Brian Bolter to be co-anchor of its 10 PM newscast. He's been with the station since 1999 as a reporter and fill-in anchor, and before that he was a weekend anchor at Channel 11. Bolter will be paired with Tracey Neale. He replaces Mike Landess, who left in March for a Denver anchor job. Also, Neale and Bolter will anchor 5's new 5 PM newscast, which debuts in early September. "I'm a big fan of promoting from within," WTTG news director Katherine Green tells the Washington Post. "I'm a big fan of promoting reporters into anchoring jobs." More changes at WTTG: Amy Robach is leaving Sky Fox, the station's copter, to become early morning co-anchor with Shawn Yancy. Robach replaces Todd Wallace, who left for Dallas in June. And, Allison Seymour will move from the morning news to co-anchor the noon news with Robach. She will also report for the new 5 PM newscast.
July 24, 2002
5's Tucker To 11, Sopka Leaves 13, More
A bunch of local news personnel changes. Noel Tucker, a full-time freelance reporter for Channel 5, joins Channel 11 as a weekend anchor. He'll be replacing Matt Jablow, who will be taking on full-time reporting duties. Also, Bob Sopka, the weekend weather forecaster for Channel 13, has retired voluntarily. Brooks Tomlin, last in Huntsville, AL, will take his job. And, reporter Yakenda McGahee has left Channel 13 and is now doing work for Channel 5. WJZ did not offer her a new contract after her current deal lapsed earlier this summer.
July 22, 2002
JZW And KYS Rise, MAL (And Rush) Plunges
The spring 2002 Arbitron radio ratings (overall age 12+ demo), out 7/22, show urban WPGC-FM in 1st place, as usual. All-news WTOP jumps from winter's 3rd place to spring's 2nd (even though its audience share remains fairly constant), while urban WKYS takes a big leap from 6th to 3rd. Adult urban WMMJ dips from 2nd to 4th, with adult urban WHUR going from 4th to 5th (while its audience share rises slightly). Classical WGMS drops a bit from 5th to 6th, in a tie with oldies WBIG, up from winter's 8th place. Smooth jazz WJZW takes a big leap from 14th to 8th, in a tie with adult contemporary WASH, down from 6th. Country WMZQ is up from 11th to 10th, talker WJFK-FM holds level at 11th, in a tie with rocker DC101, down from 10th. Hot adult WRQX holds steady at 13th, urbanish contemporary WIHT is up one notch to 14th, while news/talk WMAL takes a big plunge from 8th to 15th. Modern adult Z104 stays at 16th, classic rock WARW stays at 17th, sports/talk WTEM is up one spot to 18th, alternative rock WHFS is down one spot to 19th, with Spanish contemporary WBZS/WBPS at 20th. Country WPOC dips a little but holds onto 1st place in Arbitron's spring radio ratings (overall age 12+) for Baltimore. Meanwhile, news/talk WBAL surges from winter's 3rd place to spring's 2nd, in a tie with urban WERQ, which continues its year-long ratings slide. Since last spring, "92Q" has dropped from a 10.5 to a 6.7 audience share. Adult urban WWIN-FM climbs to 4th, with adult contemporary WLIF in 5th. Urban WXYV places a strong 6th, oldies WQSR 7th, alternative rock WHFS 8th, while rocker WIYY slumps a bit to 9th, in a tie with hot adult WWMX. Gospel/religious WCAO places 11th, classic rock WOCT 12th, talker WCBM 13th, and religious WRBS 14th.
July 17, 2002
Good Body Buys WWGB
From "Good Body Media makes its entrance into the Washington DC market with the addition of WWGB-AM. Sun Young Joo is the president." The station, a daytimer on 1030 AM, has been sold by Mortenson Broadcasting for $2.9 million. Based in Indian Head, it currently airs English and Spanish religious programming.
July 17, 2002
9 Selects Davis
Channel 9/WUSA has picked Steve Davis to be the replacement for its main sports anchor Jess Atkinson. Rumors have been flying for weeks. Davis will join Gannett's WUSA in August. He's been the weekend sports anchor at Sinclair's WBFF/Channel 45 in Baltimore. Atkinson announced several weeks ago that he's decided to leave WUSA.
July 16, 2002
Gelfman Infured In Car Accident
Channel 13/WJZ reporter Dick Gelfman was listed in serious condition in Baltimore's University Of Maryland Shock Trauma unit after a Sunday car accident that killed an 18-year-old Baltimore woman. Gelfman's wife, Lenore, a judge, who was a passenger in his vehicle, has been upgraded from serious to fair condition. Police say that the Baltimore woman was behind the wheel of a jeep that crossed the center line on Sunday night when it slammed head-on into Gelfman's Ford Explorer on Route 108 in Columbia. The crash sparked a fire, but a witness was able to pull Gelfman, 54, out of his car. His wife was able to get out on her own. Reportedly, Gelfman has severe leg injuries, but they're considered non-life threatening. Police say a third car was also involved in the accident but the driver was not hurt. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Gelfman is a former attorney and has been at WJZ since 1989.
July 12, 2002
WJZ Launches 4 PM Newscast
Baltimore's Channel 13/WJZ will add a 4 PM weekday newscast in the fall. The move will give the CBS-owned station, which has seen its news ratings lead evaporate to Hearst's Channel 11/WBAL, a three-hour late-afternoon/evening news block.
July 10, 2002
Shaw Leaving Channel 2
From the Baltimore Sun: "Vernon Shaw, hired by WMAR just eight months ago, is being forced out by the station next month. The gregarious television reporter came from Philadelphia's local Fox station, where he was an anchor on the morning news program. He had been assigned for months as a co-anchor of the 5 p.m. newscast with Jo Ann Bauer, also a relatively recent arrival, until June. Shaw was well-liked by colleagues at the station and was described by peers as an energetic reporter once he was removed from the anchor's desk. But he was prone to periodic mishaps on the air - occasionally announcing that he was reporting from West Philadelphia, rather than West Baltimore, for example, or calling The Sun, WMAR's print partner, The Baltimore Sun-Times."
July 9, 2002
Al Herndon Dies
Charles Allan Herndon Jr., 78, one of Baltimore TV's most popular weathermen in the 1950s and 60s, had died. He passed away on 7/9 after suffering from complications of Altzheimer's Disease. Mr. Herndon worked for Channel 11/WBAL back in the black and white days, where he was known as the "Atlantic Weatherman," and would dress in a service station uniform for sponsor Atlantic Refining. Before his TV days, he'd worked at WNAV radio in Annapolis. After his TV days, he worked as an attorney for Baltimore Gas And Electric Company.
July 9, 2002
Grease Lands On WGOP
Doug Tracht, aka "The Greaseman," has returned to the DC area's airwaves via the Frederick area's WGOP (700 AM), an ethnic station that recently switched to a talk format. Just several weeks ago the station debuted the "Steve And DC" show from St. Louis in the AM slot, but apparently WGOP management feels that the country music oriented show is wrong for 700's line-up of (rightish) political talkers. Tracht, as you'll recall, was fired from WARW in January 1999 for making a racist joke, for which he has repeatedly apologized. He did buy time on Arlington's WZHF (as well as on a Baltimore and on an Ocean City station) last summer to air his nationally syndicated show, which Tracht now does from a studio in his Potomac home. Most recently, Tracht landed a spot on WKMZ in the Hagerstown area. Birach-owned WGOP, which plans to soon improve its signal to the DC area, will be carrying the Grease from 6 AM to 10 AM.
July 8, 2002
Battle Heats Up Between WBOC And WHRO
Back in June, Salisbury CBS affiliate WBOC/Channel 16 asked the FCC to decrease the power or shut down the digital operations of Norfolk's WHRO, a PBS station. While WHRO operates on Channel 15, its digital signal is on Channel 16 - the same frequency as WBOC's main analog signal. WBOC has received complaints from viewers and cable companies who say the interference from WHRO-DT is widespread. However, WHRO is fighting back. According to the 7/8 edition of Broadcasting And Cable, WHRO said it has complied with FCC regulations and that WBOC has not demonstrated a reception problem that requires Commission intervention - and that even if it had, there is no legal basis for the FCC to declare WHRO-DT to be at fault as long as WHRO's facilities are in compliance with Commission rules. Meanwhile, WBOC fired back that WHRO's response is wrong "as a matter of policy and law." According to B&C, WBOC submitted additional evidence of harm, including interference reports, electronic mails, charts and a sworn statement from a Comcast cable TV executive saying that the firm "has observed significant levels of interference with WBOC-TV’s signal from late April through the present," and that more than 2,000 complaints regarding WBOC's cable reception have been logged.
July 4, 2002
Liddy Suit Thrown Out
A federal jury in Baltimore has rejected a defamation lawsuit against Watergate conspirator and locally-based radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy. Ida "Maxie" Wells, a former Democratic National Committee secretary, had claimed that Liddy falsely accused her of procuring prostitutes for the DNC in the early 1970s. Liddy, who arranged the break-in at the Watergate complex, has said that the operation was masterminded by Nixon White House counsel John Dean to retrieve photographs and papers from Wells's desk that could have tied Dean's then-girlfriend to a prostitution ring. Liddy's attorney said the suit was an attempt to squelch public debate about the break-in that led to President Nixon's resignation.
July 3, 2002
DC TV Stations Unveil Fall Programming Plans
Let's take a look at the fresh syndicated product area stations plan to unveil this fall. Look for "Dharma And Greg" to join Channel 5's line-up. Channel 20 will start running "That 70s Show" reruns. Channel 7 will air "Pyramid," a game show hosted by Donny Osmond. Channel 9 will run a new version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," hosted by Meredith Viera, replacing "Weakest Link" at 7 PM. Channel 9 gets John Edwards' "Crossing Over" (from Channel 20) for 10 AM, while Channel 4 will show "Dr. Phil," featuring the "Oprah" regular. Channel 50 picks up "Jerry Springer" (from Channel 20) and "Jenny Jones" (from Channel 5), as well as reruns of "Will And Grace." And, as previously reported by DCRTV, Channel 7 will reinstate its noon newscast, and Channel 5 will kick-off a 5 PM newscast, moving "Judge Judy" to 4 PM.
July 3, 2002
Newsroom Changes At 5 And 9
We get a gander at the changes at Channel 5's news - with the departure of weekend sports anchor Dyrol Joyner and the arrival of his replacement, Lou Holder from a Hartford station. Also out at 5, Todd Wallace, who heads to Dallas. On the way in is Yakenda McGahee from Channel 13. We also learn that 5's 10 PM news team will handle chores for the 5 PM newscast (when it debuts this fall), except for weather anchor Sue Palka, who'll only be featured on the late 'cast. Plus, over at Channel 9, reporter Heather Cabot's contract has not been renewed.
July 3, 2002
WGOP Unveils Line-Up
Frederick area talker WGOP (700 AM) makes several line-up changes including the addition of Salem syndicated right-wingers Mike Gallagher (9 AM to noon), Dennis Prager (noon to 3 PM), and Michael Medved (3 PM to 6 PM). WGOP, which used to be ethnic WWTL, also recently debuted the "Steve And DC" morning drive show. In related news, Pocomoke City's WDMV (540 AM), also owned by Birach, may soon drop nostalgic music for Radio Disney. Both stations plan to move their transmitters to Damascus, in upper Montgomery County, thereby improving coverage of the DC area.
June 24, 2002
Norris Joins WMAL
WMAL debuted the new co-host for its morning news show on 6/24. She's Jane Norris, who used to host the late-morning "Today's Woman" program on Louisville's WHAS, a Clear Channel radio station. She replaces Tim Brant, who said adios to the ABC news/talker a few weeks ago. WMAL also adds liberal commentator Bill Press to its morning team.
June 22, 2002
Don And Mike Dropped In NYC
Infinity's WJFK midday radio duo "Don And Mike" have been dropped by their NYC outlet, Infinity's WNEW. D&M's show continues to air on Infinity's WYSP in Philadelphia, we hear. The main reason D&M moved to middays was so they could be heard live in NYC. Could this be one step toward the eventual return of the DC radio duo to WJFK's PM drive? JFK-FM sure could use a return to D&M's stellar ratings in that time slot, something that WNEW-based "Opie And Anthony" have not managed to duplicate. By the way, WNEW is filling the 10 AM to 3 PM weekday slot with "AFRO Zone," which, according to the station's website, is "a great mixture from four of WNEW's most popular personalities: Anthony, Fez, Ron, and Opie.
June 21, 2002
Kosbau To Detroit
Steve Kosbau, director of operations at ABC's WRQX and WJZW, has been named president and general manager for several ABC-owned stations in Detroit. AA adds that JZW program director Kenny King will most likely become acting program director at RQX until a permanent replacement is named. RQX assistant program director/music director Carol Parker continues in that role.
June 20, 2002
New GM At 4
"Michael Jack, former president and general manager of the NBC-owned TV station in Columbus, Ohio, has been named president and general manager of the Washington market's NBC-owned station, WRC," so reports the Washington Post. "At Channel 4, Jack replaces Linda Sullivan, who left recently when appointed president and general manager of NBC's new station in the San Jose-Oakland-San Francisco market."
June 17, 2002
Tracey Neale Wins Top News Anchor Emmy
Fox 5's Tracey Neale (left) won the Emmy Saturday evening for best news anchor during the local awards ceremony. She beat 9's Andrea Roane and Mike Buchanan, Gordon Peterson, and MPT's Jeff Salkin. The top sports anchor Emmy went to Comcast SportsNet's Chick Hernandez, beating 5's Dave Feldman. And the best weathercaster statue was shared by 5's Tom Sater and 4's Bob Ryan, besting 5's Sue Palka. Channel 5 also took the award for best evening newscast. This year's event was televised live via Howard University's Channel 32.
June 12, 2002
Bomb Scare At Channel 5
A phoned-in bomb scare forced the evacuation of Fox-owned Channel 5/WTTG's northwest DC studio facilities on Wednesday morning, causing the station to cancel its noon newscast. A rerun of MASH was aired instead. DCRTV hears that the entire Wisconsin Avenue building was surrounded with yellow crime scene tape, with personnel ordered out at about 10:30 AM. The explosives searching dogs then came in to sniff around. No bomb was found.
June 11, 2002
Holder Heads To WTTG
Channel 5/WTTG is replacing departing weekend sports anchor Dyrol Joyner with Lou Holder, who has most recently been a sports reporter and anchor at a Hartford TV station. He's originally from the DC region, but has spent a lot of time in the Philadelphia area including stints at that market's Fox station and at Comcast's CN8 network.
June 11, 2002
Pavvarotti & Friends
Some of the top performers hit the stage with with the great Luciano Pavarotti for a musical documentary that will be sure to please all. Some of the performers include Andrea Bocelli, James Brown, Grace Jones, Gino Paoli, and Lou Reed. Lou Reed, well known for being the front man of the well know sixties rock band The Velvet Underground. Institutions such as Morningside Recovery or Morningside Recovery Center might be Lou's best option for some life assistance. Alcohol, drugs and other addictions have been overly apparent in his life and Morningside Recovery is probably his best option if he wants to continue.
June 10, 2002
700 Becomes WGOP
Too bad for WMAL (with its line-up of right-wing talkers), the WGOP ("Grand Ole' Party") calls have been taken by Walkersville MD's WWTL (700 AM). The ethnic (largely Arabic) station near Frederick will adopt an Anglo talk format.
June 8, 2002
Court Upholds Defamation Suit Against JLA
The Prince William Journal reports that the Virginia Supreme Court on 6/7 agreed with a Fairfax court and upheld a physician's $2 million award in his defamation lawsuit against WJLA/Channel 7. Dr. Stephen Levin, a Vienna orthopedist, filed suit in October 1998 against WJLA, alleging that he had been maliciously defamed by a November 1997 news report which labeled him the "Dirty Doc" and the "X-Rated Doctor." During the Fairfax trial, Levin contended the techniques in question, which involve the manipulation of womens' breast and pelvic regions, are reputable and are proven in treating back, hip, and shoulder pain. WJLA had asked the high court to overturn the decision claiming that the award was excessive.
June 7, 2002
Jess Atkinson Says Farewell To 9
Channel 9/WUSA head sports anchor Jess Atkinson (right) has submitted his resignation. He told the station's news director, Dave Roberts, that he'll stay on until a replacement can be found. There had been rumblings that Atkinson and Roberts didn't see eye-to-eye on everything. Atkinson joined WUSA in January 2000 after a stint in Providence. He'd originally been a sports reporter and weekend sports anchor for WRC.
June 4, 2002
Joyner Out At 5
Weekend sports anchor Dyrol Joyner is out. Word in the newsroom is that Channel 5 owner Fox decided to option one of its "windows" in his contract and let him go. Also, we hear that morning news anchor Todd Wallace is taking a job with the NBC affiliate in Dallas.
June 3, 2002
Fire Damages WACA
Spanish language WACA (1540 AM) in Wheaton suffered a fire at its studios in May. DCRTV correspondent T.K. Wood reports that the station, also known as "Radio America," is now operating out of a temporary studio while the damage is being repaired. The fire was said to originate in a malfunctioning personal computer on a salesperson's desk. Apparently, the fire damage knocked off the air the station's FM relay, via WASH's 97.1 subcarrier.
May 31, 2002
WZDC Launches Spanish Newscast
Telemundo affiliate WZDC/Channel 64 will launch a Spanish language newscast on Monday, 6/3, going up against Univision's WMDO/Channel 30. WZDC's 6 PM weeknightly "Telenoticias 64" will be produced in cooperation with NBC-owned WRC/Channel 4. NBC recently purchased Telemundo. While WZDC and WMDO are low-power broadcasters, both enjoy substantial cable TV coverage throughout the DC area. WZDC will have an 11-person news team. Rival WMDO has a 15-person team for its 6 PM and 11 PM newscasts.
May 23, 2002
Negron And Aguirre Quit WBZS/WBPS
From Lloyd Grove's "Reliable Sources" column in the Washington Post: "Que pasa? It has been barely a month since The Post's Eugene L. Meyer wrote a splashy Style section profile of popular Spanish-language drive-time radio personality Alejandro Negron, who arrived at the Silver Spring station 'La Mega' (which is simulcast at 92.7 and 94.3 FM) back in January 2001 and gained a loyal following as a deejay and as program director. But Negron abruptly quit earlier this month in a dispute with General Manager Maria Elena Verdugo over the proliferation of diet infomercials leading into his show, 'El Vacilon de la Mañana' ('Goofiness in the Morning'). 'I thought paid programming was hurting it,' Negron told Meyer yesterday, adding that Verdugo agreed to drop the infomercials but then reneged. The dispute came to a head on May 7, when Negron confronted Verdugo. 'She said, 'Well, if you want to leave, leave.' I left . . . out of frustration.' Verdugo's only comment was: 'Alex resigned.' Negron's wife and fellow deejay, Carmen Aguirre, known as 'La Mega Chica,' quickly followed suit."
May 22, 2002
Shaum Leaves 1090
Radio And Records reports: "After more than 27 years as a reporter and news anchor for WBAL/Baltimore, Jack Shaum will retire, effective May 31. However, he's not slowing down - Shaum will take a reporter's position with a weekly in Kent Island, MD and take a more active role with the quarterly magazine of the Steamship Historical Society Of America."
May 20, 2002
"Murphy And Cash" To WBIG
Come July, "Murphy And Cash," actually Gary Murphy and Jessica Cash (left), the morning team at Clear Channel's country WMZQ, will be moving to the AM drive slot at co-owned oldies outlet WBIG, "Big 100." As DCRTV reported last week, M&C's slot on MZQ will be taken over in early July by "Ben And Brian," who had been the morning duo at a Phoenix country station. B&B's show will be syndicated nationwide. It looks like the loser in this game of radio musical chairs is current WBIG morning man Dave Adler.
May 20, 2002
O'Reilly Joins WMET
Business talker WMET (1150 AM) finally got around to debuting Bill O'Reilly's new talk radio show on Monday, 5/20. The show actually kicked-off on 5/8, when WMET joined it 36 minutes late. Thereafter, the station aired its standard financial talk fare instead of O'Reilly. The Fox News commentator's show, which airs live from noon to 2 PM on the Gaithersburg station, features a series of female co-hosts.
May 20, 2002
26 Completes Transmitter Repairs
Channel 26, WETA, is back up to full-power from its Bethesda tower after suffering a burned out transmission line in March. The public station had been operating with a weak signal from a backup tower in Arlington while it waited for the delivery of new gear - and recent bad weather had delayed installation. The transmitter troubles forced WETA to discontinue its digital signal, which it hopes to resurrect very soon.
May 17, 2002
Brant Says Farewell To MAL
Tim Brant (right), co-host of WMAL's morning drive show, dropped a bomb on 5/17 saying on air that it's his last day. Brant joined MAL's AM program in 1990 and has been partnered with Andy Parks. With a sports background, Brant had once been sports director at WJLA, and still does college football coverage for ABC Sports and other TV groups. There was a hint of Brant's restlessness, earlier this year, when management at the ABC-owned news/talk station revamped the morning show - adding PM drive host Chris Core and changing the name to the "WMAL Morning News" - and Brant went missing for a few days. Core returned to evenings after only one day on the AM drive shift. "Hey, I'm part of the old WMAL," Brant said on his final show, strongly suggesting that he felt less comfortable with the station's "new" focus on politically-oriented talk.
May 6, 2002
Oldies 100 Gets Big
Clear Channel's WBIG (100.3 FM) drops the "oldies" from "Oldies 100" in favor of "Big 100." Still the best of the 60s and 70s. Oldies stations across the nation are looking to attract younger listeners, such as removing references to the term "OLDies."
May 1, 2002
Virginia Ellis Dies
Virginia Ellis, 80, an advertising account executive with WDCA/Channel 20 from 1972 to 1997, died of congestive heart failure in Willingboro NJ. Also, she was general manager of WEEL radio in Fairfax from 1963 to 1972. Mrs. Ellis was a member of American Women In Radio And Television a recipient of the Silver Circle Award from the National Association Of Broadcasters..
April 30, 2002
Solly Died Of Coronary Artery Blockage
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease - partial blockage of a coronary artery - caused the death of Dale Solly (left), according to a report issued by the Baltimore medical examiner's office. The Channel 7 weekend news anchor collapsed and died at his Silver Spring home on 4/27. He was 53. The Washington Post reports that since the news broke of Mr. Solly's death, the station has been swamped with phone calls and e-mails, including calls from a number of Channel 7's competitors. WJLA news chief Steve Hammel told the Post: "One of the other station's anchors came over to express his condolences." Saturday afternoon, as news of Solly's death circulated among station employees, "People who weren't scheduled to work just came to the station; they wanted to be with other people from the station," Hammel added. Doug McKelway (who joined Channel 7 in the summer of 2001 after Channel 4 didn't renew his contract) will assume the Saturday anchor duties, while Del Waters will anchor the station's Sunday newscasts. Mr. Solly, who joined the station in 1988, then went to Cleveland (where he'd worked before coming to DC), and came back to WJLA in 1997. In Cleveland he'd worked for WKYC-TV and WJW-TV. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Mr. Solly "was stretching after a jog, said his mother, Dorothy, of Bedford Heights (Ohio). Solly was supposed to attend a birthday party before reporting for work at WJLA... When he failed to show up for the party, a friend went to his home and found his body on the back patio."
April 29, 2002
Donaldson To Air On NC8
NewsChannel 8 will start simulcasting Sam Donaldson's Friday radio show, which airs from 10 AM to noon on weekdays. The show originates at the ABC News bureau in downtown DC. The veteran ABC newsman began the week-daily two-hour radio talk show last September. The program is tape-delayed to midnight on ABC-owned WMAL (630 AM). If the ratings are good, the local news cable network may starting simulcasting Donaldson's radio show on a daily basis.
April 24, 2002
Buren Leaves Channel 13
Channel 13/WJZ has said farewell to long-time sports anchor John Buren (left). According to the Sun, the CBS-owned station will replace him with Mark Viviano, who'd worked at cable sports channel CNN/SI. Reports the Sun's David Folkenflik: "Buren has provided an irreverent presence at the station since his arrival in Baltimore in 1986. Viviano, a former weekend sports anchor at WBAL-TV, will start in late June. Station officials decided to pull Buren, 49, from the air immediately after an article (in the 4/24 Sun) disclosed the planned move. Buren declined comment." The Sun quotes WJZ general manager Jay Newman as saying: "We all wish John well. We thank him for his service to the station and the community for the past 16 years."
April 24, 2002
Patrick Timothy Donnelly, a video editor for Channel 5's 10 PM newscast since 1971, died of cancer on 4/21 at Suburban Hospital. A graduate of Fairfax County's Fort Hunt High School and most recently a Bethesda resident, Mr. Donnelly was 53.
April 24, 2002
Sullivan To San Jose
Linda Sullivan, the president and general manager of DC's NBC-owned Channel 4/WRC, will be moving out west to run the network's new San Jose/San Francisco station, KNTV. She's been with WRC for five years. No word on her replacement.
April 24, 2002
PGC, POC Top Radio Ratings
The winter (through March) Arbitron radio ratings for the DC market, overall age 12+ demographic, out on 4/24. First place, as usual, went to urban WPGC-FM with a 6.1 share, but it was down a fairly substantial 0.6 share from fall's numbers. Second place was occupied by adult urban WMMJ with a 6.0 share, up a healthy 0.9. All-news WTOP placed 3rd with a 5.4 share (down only 0.1), with adult urban WHUR talking a sweet jump to 4th with a 4.7 share (up 0.2), and classical WGMS sliding a bit to 5th place with a 4.4 share (down 0.3). The rest: 6th adult contemporary WASH 4.2 (down 0.3) tied with urban WKYS (down 0.9), 8th news/GOP talk WMAL 4.1 (a solid 0.8 jump) tied with oldies WBIG (down 0.2), 10th rocker DC101 3.9 (up 0.1), 11th hot talk WJFK-FM 3.8 (up 0.1) tied with country WMZQ (up 0.6), 13th hot adult contemporary WRQX 3.7 (down 0.1), 14th smooth jazz WJZW 3.2 (a nasty 1.0 plunge), 15th urbanish contemporary WIHT 2.9 (up 0.2), 16th modern rockish hot adult contemporary Z104 2.3 (up 0.2), 17th classic rock WARW 2.0 (down 0.3), 18th Spanish contemporary WBZS/WBPS 1.8 (up a full 1.0), 19th testosterone rock WHFS 1.7 (up 0.2), and 20th sports talk WTEM 1.5 (down 0.1). Talker WTNT placed 24th with a 0.8 (up 0.2). Country WPOC took the top spot in Baltimore's Arbitron winter radio ratings, for the period through March. The station saw a huge 1.7 share jump since the fall period, to land at an 8.8. Urban WERQ continued its slide, down 0.1 to a 7.8 share for 2nd place. News/talk WBAL took a big plunge, down 1.9, to land at a 5.4 share, in a tie for 3rd place with adult contemporary WLIF, which was up 1.2. Oldies WQSR dipped 0.4 for a 5th place finish with a 5.3 share. The rest: 6th adult urban WWIN-FM 4.9 (down 0.3), 7th urban WXYV 4.6 (up 0.4), 8th hot adult contemporary WWMX 4.3 (up 0.5), 9th rocker WIYY 3.9 (down 0.5), 10th gospel WCAO 3.3 (up 0.7) tied with alternative rock WHFS (down 1.2), 12th classic rock WOCT 2.8 (down 0.3), 13th talker WCBM 2.4 (down 0.8), 15th religious WRBS 1.7 (down 0.2), 16th adult rock WZBA 1.5 (no change), 18th nostalgic WWLG 1.4 (no change), 20th talk/sports talk WJFK-AM 1.2 (no change), and 25th adult album alternative WRNR 0.8 (down 0.1).
April 23, 2002
Local Radio/TV Journalists Featured In 9/11 Book
Several local radio and TV journalists are featured in a new book on the terror of 9/11. "Covering Catastrophe, Broadcast Journalists Report September 11th" has accounts from anchors, reporters, photographers, producers, managers and others at the networks and local radio and television stations who were involved in bringing the story of the terror attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center to viewers and listeners. Allison Gilbert, an investigative producer at NYC's WNBC-TV, who almost was killed on 9/11, along with three other broadcast journalists from New York and a New York University professor, gathered and edited the accounts from more than 100 people. Included in the book: WTOP reporters Neal Augenstein and Amy Morris, WUSA managing editor Tony Castrilli and reporter Dave Statter, WJLA photographer Michael Forcucci, WRC assignment manager Bill Starks, WTTG reporter Will Thomas, as well as DC freelance photographer Bob Pugh. Also, the book features a tribute to the six broadcast engineers who lost their lives at the WTC. Royalties, along with a matching contribution from the publisher, go to the Citigroup Relief Fund, which will provide scholarships to children of 9/11 victims, and to the Society Of Broadcast Engineers Relief Fund. More at www.coveringcatastrophe.com.
April 20, 2002
Channel 26 Installs New Transmission Equipment
WETA/Channel 26, which suffered a burned out transmission line at its Bethesda tower on 3/19, installed a new antenna via helicopter on 4/20. New transmission line installation continues. When all is done, the public station will be able to resume its normal signal. Since March, the station has been operating with a lower power backup transmitter from its FM/digital TV tower in Arlington (its digital signal has been temporarily dismantled). In fact, Channel 26 had been operating at a lower power level than usual even since last year and was waiting for a new antenna which was to be delivered in January, but that was delayed because of a backlog created by the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the need for new transmitters in the NYC market.
April 20, 2002
WJYJ Gets More Talk
Calvary Satellite Network is close to completing its purchase of Fredericksburg's WJYJ (90.5 FM), also known as "Joy FM." The station will be rechristened "Praise FM" with an emphasis on preaching as opposed to music. CSN (an outreach of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa CA) usually devotes about 90 percent of its programming to religious teachings, says VARTV, but since WJYJ has a strong following with its contemporary Christian format, look for some music programming to continue.
April 20, 2002
Changes At TNT
There were a bunch of line-up changes as of 4/29 at Clear Channel's "Dynamite Talk" WTNT (570 AM). Glenn Beck moves to 2 PM, followed by Michael Graham at 4 PM (expanding from a one-hour to a three-hour shift), with Laura Ingraham at 7 PM (she's moving from WWRC), and Michael Savage at 10 PM. Phil Hendrie (who had been heard at 10 PM) appears to be the loser in this game of musical chairs. Plus, co-owned biz talker WWRC (1260 AM) gets a "complete overhaul," we hear. Suze Orman takes Ingraham's evening slot at WWRC. Also, over on CC's sports talk WTEM (980 AM) look for the additions of Steve Spurrier's "Coaches Show" and Army football.
April 17, 2002
Mid-Atlantic Says "Shove It" to "Apple Country"
Mid-Atlantic's "Apple Country" combo 105.5/104.9 in the Winchester/Front Royal area had been repeatedly playing Johnny Paycheck's "Take This Job And Shove It" as it stunted for a new sound with a station DJ pretending to have locked himself in the studio in an attempt to hijack the format. And at noon the new format was debuted - classic rock. The WAPP/WBPP calls have been scrapped for WWRT/WWRE.
April 12, 2002
Religious WWGB (1030 AM) in Indian Head MD had been sold by Jack Mortenson to Rev. Sun Young Joo and the Assemblies Of God for $2.9 million. Look for the English/Spanish religious programming to be replaced with Korean religious programming like what's heard on co-owned WPWA in the Philadelphia area.
April 12, 2002
TOP Snatches Plotkin
After 20 years at WAMU, local political commentator Mark Plotkin (right) is moving to WTOP where he'll host a Friday show at 10 AM, two hours earlier than his previous 88.5 outing. The Washington Post reports that TOP gave Plotkin more bucks than he could get at AMU and offered him a wider range of topics, including the chance to report breaking news.
April 11, 2002
Channel 5 To Start 5 PM Newscast
Channel 5/WTTG plans to move its highly-rated "Judge Judy" to 4 PM this fall when it starts a 5 PM newscast. That will put the judge up against Channel 7's "Oprah," the early news on Channel 4, and Channel 9's "Montel." Channel 5 is still officially looking for a replacement for its 10 PM 'cast co-anchor Mike Landess, who recently bolted for Denver.
April 9, 2002
610 Goes Sports Talk
Winchester's WNTW (610 AM) has flipped from contemporary Christian music to a sports talk format. The Clear Channel station's line-up includes Jim Rome, who was recently dropped by co-owned news talker WFMD (930 AM), across the Potomac in Frederick. WNTW is picking up much of its programming from Fox Sports.
April 8, 2002
WMET Gets New Owner
Trade journal M Street reports that Talk America owner and long-distance phone provider IDT is buying Gaithersburg's WMET (1150 AM) from Sondra Linden's Beltway Communications for $3.2 million cash plus $4.2 million in IDT stock. M Street says that WMET will most likely drop its Business Talk Radio line-up in favor of Talk America programming, which is already carried in part on the station. WMET has a construction permit to hike its daytime 1,000-watt signal to 50,000-watts, and night signal from 500-watts to 1,500-watts with a move to 1160. M Street says that the station will now have the money to carry out that upgrade, along with a new transmitter site, with its new ownership.
April 2, 2002
Cox Dumps Road Runner
Cox, which provides cable TV service to most of Fairfax County, says it will drop AOL/Time-Warner's Road Runner and replace it with its own Cox High Speed Internet Service. The switch will be made in May and June. Also, as of July the price for the service will be increased to $34.95/month - a $5 hike - for those who also subscribe to TV services and $49.95/month for those who don't. Elsewhere across the country, Cox subscribers were served by the @Home service which went bankrupt last year. Those users were switched to the new Cox internet service. An exception, until now, has been Cox's Fairfax operation which was served by Road Runner because of a contract signed by Media General, the previous owner of the system. All Cox Fairfax subscribers will get new e-mail addresses. Comcast's area cable internet subscribers were transferred from @Home to that cable firm's own Comcast.net service in January.
April 1, 2002
Ed Turner Dies
Ed Turner, who helped establish CNN (no relation to founder Ted Turner) as a major news organization and who started the 10 PM newscast at WTTG, died on 3/30 at George Washington University Hospital after battling liver cancer. He was 66. According to the Washington Post, Mr. Turner came to DC in 1966 to set up the news department at Metromedia-owned Channel 5 "and brought a novel concept to this area's broadcasting, the 10 p.m. newscast. With rival outlets airing their late news at 11 p.m., Mr. Turner convinced his bosses that the earlier time (done in Oklahoma City) could win over viewers. The station soon had a top-rated newscast. He was promoted to corporate vice president of all Metromedia-owned TV stations." During his long career, Mr. Turner also served as news director at Channel 9, and worked with the Freedom Forum, a media-oriented foundation then planning to start a local public affairs channel with WETA. He resigned in 1999 as president of the proposed Freedom Network, shortly before plans were scuttled when local cable giant would not guarantee carriage of the local public affairs service.
March 28, 2002
98Rock Hits 25
A quarter of a century ago on 3/28/77, Baltimore's 97.9, WIYY flipped the switch from news/talk to rock. And "98Rock" was born. The Hearst-owned station did an on-air celebration Thursday (3/28) with the likes of Charm City mayor Martin O'Malley, O's legend Cal Ripken Jr., and phone calls from rockers like Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Ozzy Osborne, Foo Fighters, AC/DC, and more. There was also a four-hour retrospective of WIYY's rock history, "98Rock25." Plus, the station, which was once known as WBAL-FM, paid tribute to the personalities who've stuck around the longest - such as Sarah Fleisher who has been with "98Rock" for all of its 25 years, Bob Lopez (23 years), Kirk McEwen (15 years), and Stash, aka Steve Ash (13 years).
March 27, 2002
Oldies WBIG late evening lady Bonnie Phillips has left the station, and even left the radio biz, we hear. Her 10:30 PM to 2 AM slot is now being voice-tracked by someone else. She's been with the station nine years and they're hoping she'll come back soon for some weekend shifts.
March 26, 2002
Asylum Door Slammed At JFK-AM
More changes at Infinity's talk/sports talk WJFK-AM (1300) in Baltimore. We hear that "The Sports Asylum" has been cancelled after being aired less than four months in the 10 PM to 1 AM slot. Hosts Ben Unroe and Cary Newborn have been shown the door. Fox Sports Radio now fills overnights. In other changes: "Those Sports Guys" are now on from 6 PM to 11 PM, with Steve Hill joining the "guys," who include Paul Mittermeier and Steve Stofberg. The station kicks off weekdays with a "hot talk" format featuring Howard Stern at 6 AM, followed by DC's "Don And Mike" at 11 AM. It then flips to sports talk, starting with Jim Rome at 3 PM.
March 19, 2002
DC101 Fined For Airing Answering Machine Message Without Owner's Consent
Clear Channel rocker DC101 has been fined $6000 by the FCC for airing a phone call without the permission of the person being called, however in this case the voice on the other end wasn't actually a person, but rather an answering machine. The incident in question took place last November during Elliot Segal's morning show. According to Radio Business Report: "The owner of the answering machine complained to the FCC and WWDC acknowledged that the recorded phone message was broadcast (on) 11/30. However, the station argued that the message was 'generic in content' and not like a previous case where another Clear Channel station was fined for airing an actual conversation purloined from an answering machine. The FCC didn't buy that argument. It's given WWDC 30 days to pay up or appeal."
March 16, 2002
D&M Get Middays On 1300
"Don And Mike" are moving to middays (11 AM to 3 PM) live on Baltimore's WJFK-AM (1300). Previously the DC radio duo had been aired in PM drive via tape delay. And, sports talker Jim Rome is being shifted from the noon to 3 PM shift to the 3 PM to 6 PM slot, via tape delay. Plus, Steve Stofberg and Paul Mittermeier get another hour of "Those Sports Guys," and the third hour of Tony Bruno is history. Infinity's WJFK-AM still runs Howard Stern in AM drive. And still no sign of "Opie And Anthony" in Charm City (lucky you), although there are rumblings that 1300 will eventually ditch Rome for them.
March 15, 2002
On 3/12 DCRTV reported the death of Mike Rushlow, who served as WTOP's news director in the early 1990s. On 3/15 the Washington Post ran his obit: "Paul Michael 'Mike' Rushlow, 53, who spent the last five years at WTTG-TV and was a senior writer for the 'Fox Morning News' program, died of cancer March 12 at his home in Fairfax. Mr. Rushlow, a Detroit native, was a 1970 communications graduate of the University Of Detroit and concentrated his studies on radio and television. He was a newscaster on a Detroit radio station before settling in the Washington area in 1972. He was an editor and anchor at the old WAVA-AM and FM from 1972 to 1975, and an anchor and producer at WRC-AM from 1975 to 1982. He worked at WTOP-AM from 1983 to 1991, the last two years as news director. In the mid-1990s, he held news producer positions at Unistar Radio Networks, USA Today Sky Radio and National Public Radio."
March 13, 2002
Stan The Fan Says Farewell To Charm City
Stan "The Fan" Charles, who was canned in November from his evening sport talks show perch at Baltimore's WJFK-AM (1300), says he'll give up radio and head down to North Carolina with his family. Charles, 50, who is a 21-year veteran of the Charm City's airwaves, says he simply can't find a new radio job in the area.
March 12, 2002
Henry Ashmead Mustin, 88, died of cancer on 3/5. He was a Washington Star reporter in the 1930s and 1940s, and, in the 1950s and 1960s, a radio newscaster for WTOP, the Mutual Broadcasting System, and for Star-sponsored programs on WMAL. Mr. Mustin went on to write for the Commerce Department and the Voice Of America.
March 6, 2002
NC8 And JLA Merge Ops And Head For Rosslyn
Allbritton Communications, which owns Channel 7/WJLA and NewsChannel 8, will merge both operations into new studio and office facilities in the Rosslyn section of Arlington this summer. Allbritton announced early last year that it was moving WJLA to the landmark Twin Towers buildings (which overlook the Mall), but the news that NC8 is also relocating from its current facilities in suburban Newington VA is new. WJLA is currently located in northwest DC. The Rosslyn buildings had been occupied by Gannett (owner of Channel 9/WUSA) which recently moved its HQ to Tysons Corner. The Post reports: "Well-placed sources said that Wayne Lynch, (NC8's) vice president of news and programming since its launch, is likely to step down. Each station will continue to have its own news director and manager. They will pool news-gathering and production, administration, finance, operations, promotions and human resources. Each will maintain its own sales staff and have a distinct on-air look, separate studios and different on-air talent." No word on whether there will be any layoffs in the consolidation move.
March 6, 2002
Local Radio Revenue Fell In '01
BIA, which provides financial services for media companies, is about to report its 2001 estimated revenue figures for DC radio stations. DCRTV got a sneak preview and the results are not pretty. Most stations suffered declining numbers due, in large part, to the drop in advertising associated with the terror of 9/11. For example, Infinity's urban WPGC-FM plunged from $30 million in 2000 to $27.6 million in 2001. Infinity's hot talk WJFK-FM dropped from $33.8 million in 2000 to $32 million in 2001. ABC's news/talk WMAL went from $17 million in 2000 to $14 million in 2001. (Bonneville's all-news WTOP was not included in our glimpse at the numbers.) The biggest "hit" was taken by Clear Channel's "Hot 99.5" WIHT going from $17 million in 2000 (when it was "jammin' oldies" WJMO) to about $11.4 million in 2001 with "rhythmic pop." The only major increase appears to be at adult urban WMMJ which went from $17.7 million in 2000 up to $20 million in 2001. And the folks at the Radio One station can probably thank Tom Joyner (who was added to 102.3's AM drive) for that.
March 5, 2002
Landess Exits Fox 5
DCRTV hears that news anchor Mike Landess (right) is saying goodbye to Channel 5/WTTG and returning to his old stomping ground of Denver, where he will be joining KMGH-TV as its main news anchor. Landess, paired with Tracey Neale as the top anchor team with the Fox station's 10 PM newscast, has been with WTTG for about three years. We hear that the folks at Channel 5 are very sorry to see him go since he's credited with a spike in the station's news ratings. "I'm disappointed but it made sense," WTTG news director Katherine Green told the Post. "It's his old stomping ground; he wants to go back there. He did a great job for us... He helped us innovate the product. He hopes to do that in Denver".
March 5, 2002
Doerr Leaves NBC
Stephen Doerr, senior VP of news, programming and creative development for the NBC Television Stations division, resigned on 3/1 citing personal reasons. Among his many duties over the years, he'd served as news director at Channel 4/WRC.
March 4, 2002
WYSK Goes Alternative
Fredericksburg's WYSK (99.3 FM) has flipped from modern/hot adult contemporary to a harder, more alternative rock sound with stuff like Linkin Park, P.O.D., Incubus, Weezer, 311, Rob Zombie, and Three Doors Down.
March 4, 2002
More Chaney And Hollander At GMS
DCRTV first reported rumors of change at classical WGMS (103.5 FM) on 2/22 and now they're materializing. Effective 3/9, Renee Chaney and Diana Hollander make a bigger presence on the Bonneville station. In addition to her weekday fill-in duties, Chaney now hosts weekends from 7 AM to 1 PM. Plus, Hollander's back after a year's absence to do weekends from 1 PM to 7 PM. Also, as of 3/4, the station is adding a "Mozart In The Morning" feature and "103 Commercial-Free" minutes weekdays at 9 AM, both during AM driver Dennis Owens' show. More on tap: a focus on relaxing music for PM drive, another commercial-free hour weeknights at 8, and more ad-free tunes on Sundays from 9 AM to 11 AM.
March 4, 2002
Channel 4 Wins February Sweeps
Channel 4/WRC, powered by the Olympics, took first place in the all-important February TV ratings "sweeps." The NBC station scored an average 5.5 Nielson rating and 14 percent audience share, according to the Washington Times. Second place went to Channel 9/WUSA with a 5 rating and 14 share, followed by Channel 5/WTTG with a 3.9/11, Channel 7/WJLA with a 3.3/9, Channel 20/WDCA with a 1.2/3, and Channel 50/WBDC with a 0.9/3. Channel 9 did well in the early morning local news race, leading at 5 AM and coming in second to Channel 4's news at 6 AM. Channel 4's "Today Show" was first at 7 AM, with 5's "Fox Morning News" second, 7's "Good Morning America" in 3rd, and "The Early Show" on 9 in fourth place. Channel 9's news took first place at noon, with Channel 5's news in second. At 4 PM, 7's "Oprah" took the honors, with 4's news in second, and 9's "Montel" in third. At 5 PM, 5's "Judge Judy" was the victor with 4's news in second, 7's news in third, and 9's news in fourth. Channel 4's news was most watched show at 6 PM, followed by 9's news, 5's "Simpsons," and 7's news. At 6:30 PM, 4's local news was still king, with ABC network news on 7 in second, and CBS network news on 9 in third. At 7 PM, NBC network news took first on 4, "Wheel Of Fortune" on 7 second, "Friends" on 5 third, and "Weakest Link" on 9 fourth. "Jeopardy" on 7 was first at 7:30 PM, with 5's "Seinfeld" in second, "Access Hollywood" on 4 in third, and "Entertainment Tonight" on 9 in fourth. In the late news battle, Channel 4 took first, 5's 10 PM show was second, 9 was third, and 7 fourth.
March 1, 2002
Chris Core Gets MAL's 6 PM Slot, Victoria Jones Canned
Chris Core is moving to the 6 PM to 9 PM shift on ABC's news/talk WMAL. The station claimed that it received "thousands of complaints from literally all three branches of government" about moving the former PM driver to its new "WMAL Morning News" show on 2/25. Reports Radio And Records: "Although WMAL promoted Core's move to mornings for three weeks, Core refused to do another morning program after 2/25's debut with longtime hosts Andy Parks and Tim Brant. Core told associates that Parks and Brant, whom he considers his friends, were not the problem; rather, the move was protested by his afternoon audience and contrary to his lifestyle." Evening talker Victoria Jones (the station's only weekday local female host and one of the only avowed liberals heard on MAL) is out on her British bum, we hear. It all started on 2/25 when MAL debuted its morning news show. Chris was moved from his PM drive show (because of Sean Hannity's expansion to a full three hours, Chris used to do the 5 PM to 7 PM shift) to join previous morning show hosts Tim and Andy. But then on 2/26, Chris went missing. He was said to be out sick. And then came 2/27 and Chris was still gone, but now so was Tim, who was said to be out on the west coast doing something for ABC Sports. Andy did the morning show with guest host Tony Blankly. Then a WMAL source told us that Chris had said bye-bye and Tim was really talking to the ABC suits about his future with the station. Then came 2/28. And Chris and Tim were still missing, with Andy and Tony again on the morning show. Then, DCRTV heard that MAL had struck a deal with Chris, removing him from the morning show and giving him Victoria's 6 PM slot. And Victoria joined Chris and Tim and had gone missing too.
February 21, 2002
JC Celebrates 30 Years At 9
Channel 9 paid tribute during its 5 PM newscast on 2/21 to J.C. Hayward (right, joined by her WUSA family), who's celebrating 30 years as a news anchor at the station. She survived three sets of call letters (WTOP, WDVM, WUSA) and three owners (Washington Post, Detroit News, Gannett).
February 21, 2002
MUC May Start All-Sports Internet Station
From the Diamondback: "For a university radio station that once had more listeners than WHFS-FM, WMUC-FM does not exude the same presence on the campus it once had and is currently examining new formats to gain new listeners. The station is researching a 24-hour, online sports station, which it hopes to have running soon. The FM station may change its format to all-music, except for major sports events, station officials said."
February 20, 2002
Dory To WMAR
DCRTV hears that Denise Dory (left) will be joining Charm City's WMAR/Channel 2 as a news anchor and reporter. She's leaving WBTV in Charlotte where she's been for the past seven years. Here last day on the air in the North Carolina city is 3/1. She has been anchoring WBTV's 6 PM and 11 PM newscasts. Dory is a native Washingtonian, and she and her husband have family in the DC area. No specific word on her MAR duties.
February 18, 2002
Howard K. Smith Dies
Veteran network anchor, reporter, and commentator Howard K. Smith (right) died on 2/15 at his Bethesda home. He suffered from pneumonia and congestive heart failure. He was 87. In 1957, Mr. Smith came to DC to be a reporter and commentator for CBS's newscast. He soon joined ABC. Mr. Smith anchored that network's national newscast from 1969 to 1975.
February 18, 2002
Channel 7 To Restore Noon News
Channel 7 is planning to resurrect its noon news this fall - after a 15 year absence. The noon 'cast, which will go up against news on Channels 5 and 9, will feature Don Hudson and Alexandra Steele.
February 18, 2002
Southern Anne Arundel County's WRYR, a low-power community programmed facility at 97.5 FM, signed on for the first time on 2/18. The 100-watt station received donations of broadcast equipment including a 25-year-old stereo console broadcast board from WTOP.
February 12, 2002
98 Rock's Meg Replaced
Jennifer Wagner, the night personality at a Tulsa country (!) station (KXBL "The Bull") heads to Baltimore's 98Rock, WIYY, for the 7 PM to midnight slot. She replaces Meg (aka Megan Gunning, right), a former Miss Maryland, who left 97.9 on 1/31. Wagner will be joining Mickey Cucchiella, who's been a regular guest on 98Rock's morning show. DCRTV earlier reported that Meg had a one-year contract which was not being renewed. We hear that Meg is going to pursue a career in acting and modeling. The new evening show starts in March.
February 8, 2002
WJHU Becomes WYPR
Baltimore's 88.1 FM is now WYPR. The WJHU call letters were recently dropped when the station changed ownership from Johns Hopkins University to locally-based Your Public Radio Corp. The station's news/talk format is expected to continue.
February 8, 2002
Early DC TV Star Aletha Agee Dies
From the Washington Post: "Aletha Agee Travis (left), 75, a hard-working beauty queen who stepped from the pageant circuit into a career in the late 1940s and 1950s as one of Washington's first television personalities, died of brain cancer Jan. 9 at her home in Long Beach, Calif. As Aletha Agee, she appeared on DuMont Television's pioneering 'TV Disc Jockey' show with Arthur Lamb from 1947 to 1952, becoming a beloved and familiar face with the daily afternoon feature as television sets became more common in Washington. She later appeared on a string of game and variety shows for both WTTG and WMAL, and was WMAL-TV's 'weather girl' in the late 1950s... On the 'TV Disc Jockey' show, she and Lamb would read the news, interview such celebrities as Rosemary Clooney, perform skits, and lip-sync with popular songs of the day... Among her later shows (was) 'Joker's Wild,' with Jackson Weaver... Her marriage to former WTTG technical director David Chase Milligan ended in divorce."
February 1, 2002
WHFS Relaunches With New Morning Show
As the clock struck 5:30 AM on 2/1, WHFS began stunting "hot Latino" Spanish pop. But that lasted only ten minutes before Graeme (the first DJ heard on 99.1 in a month) assured listeners that the Infinity station would continue to play "huge f-ing sweeps" of testosterone-dripping alternative rock. He then cranked up the second Linkin Park jam within the hour. Graeme did confirm that he's now doing mornings and that Gina Crash and Allen Scott are history. Kathryn Lauren returns to middays, Tim Virgin is back in PM drive, and nights are being handled by weekender Matty on an interim basis. And, word is, veteran Neci is probably on the way out. And, oh yeah, program director Robert Benjamin gets a 30-day contract extension.
January 28, 2002
Clear Channel Country Cooperation
The seven Clear Channel country formatted stations in the Mid-Atlantic region will coordinate sales, marketing, and programming efforts. The alliance includes DC's WMZQ and Baltimore's WPOC, along with Frederick's WFRE, Winchester's WUSQ, Charles Town's WXVA, Dover's WDSD, and Salisbury's WWFG.
January 28, 2002
All Access reports: "Condolences to country WKLB/Boston morning man John 'J.W.' Willis on the loss of his father, John, a longtime Boston TV personality and one of the original hosts of Boston's 'Good Day' TV show, this past week (1/23) in Baltimore." This is the same John Willis (senior) who once anchored WTTG's 10 PM news and its afternoon talk show "Panorama."
January 28, 2002
Wood Joins WMAR
From NewsBlues: "Longtime Seattle KIRO-TV anchor Brian Wood, who lost his job in a 'layoff' three months ago, begins co-anchoring the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts today (1/28) at WMAR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Baltimore. He replaces Stan Stovall, who spent most of the past 23 years at WMAR. Stovall left the station in December after WMAR chose not to renew his contract."
January 27, 2002
Fredericksburg religious outlet WJYJ (90.5 FM), and a like FMer in Emporia VA, have been sold to Calvery Satellite Network International, another religious broadcaster, for $3.32 million. WJYJ is the main station of the "Joy FM" network which is also heard on a dozen low-powered translator stations throughout Virginia, including one in Alexandria on 97.7 FM. Calvery already owns a 19-watt translator on 91.3 FM in Fredericksburg.
January 25, 2002
Laurel Spanish outlet WILC (900 AM) is being sold to ZGS Broadcast Holdings for $5.5 million. ZGS also owns local Telemundo TV affiliate, low-power WZDC/Channel 64. The seller is ILC Corporation.
January 25, 2002
Przywara And Doerr Die
Bernard Przywara, a technical engineer who retired from Channel 4 in 1985 after 30 years, died of congestive heart failure 1/19 at Casey House hospice in Rockville. He was 87. Mr. Przywara, who lived in Silver Spring, was a graduate of the Capitol Radio And Engineering Institute, where he also taught electronics classes. Also, Alan Doerr, a classical music programmer who was music director at WGMS from 1957 to 1973, died of liver disease 1/9 at his home in Potomac. He hosted "Alan Doerr Presents," featuring personal classical music selections. Also, Mr. Doerr worked for Parkway Productions, putting together programs for sale to classical music stations, and wrote music reviews for the Washington Post. He was 76.
January 15, 2002
WTOP, WASH, WGMS, and WBIG Post Big Gains In Fall Numbers
WTOP jumped from 4th in the summer to 2nd place in the fall Arbitron radio ratings, released on 1/15. WASH, WGMS, and WBIG also saw big gains, while WMZQ posted a substantial drop. The top spot in the overall age 12+ numbers, as usual, was occupied by urban WPGC-FM with a 6.7 share. All-news WTOP took 2nd with a 5.5 share, up from a 4.9 summer number. Adult urban WMMJ and urban WKYS tied for 3rd, each with a 5.1 share. Classical WGMS jumped from 7th to 5th place with a 4.7 share. Adult urban WHUR and adult contemporary (including 33 days of Christmas music) WASH, way up from 13th place in the summer ratings, tied for 6th place. Oldies WBIG took a nice jump from 11th to 8th, smooth jazz WJZW was 9th, while hot adult WRQX and rocker DC101 tied for 10th. Hot talk WJFK-FM jumped from 14th to 12th, news/talker WMAL sunk from 12th to 13th, while country WMZQ took a big tumble, from 6th to 14th place. Contemporary WIHT was up from 17th to 15th, classic rock WARW dropped from 15th to 16th, modern adult Z104 was down a notch to 17th, sports talk WTEM was up a notch to 18th, new rock alternative WHFS continued its slump to 19th, with gospel WPGC-AM in 20th. Even though urban WERQ took the top spot in the Arbitron fall radio ratings (age 12+) for Baltimore, out 1/15, it's down to a 7.9 share from a 9.6 during the summer. News/talk WBAL ranked 2nd with a 7.3 share, with country WPOC in 3rd with a 7.1. Oldies WQSR placed 4th with a 5.7, and adult urban WWIN-FM took 5th with a 5.2. While alternative rock WHFS sunk to 19th place in the DC market (above), it did well in Baltimore, up a full 1.0 share to a 4.5 for 6th place. Rocker WIYY took 7th with a 4.4, also up a healthy 0.7. Adult contemporary WLIF placed 8th, new urban WXYV 9th, and hot adult WWMX 10th. Talker WCBM took the 11th spot, classic rock WOCT 12th, and gospel WCAO 13th. Religious WRBS was 14th, adult rock WZBA 15th, and nostalgic WWLG 16th.
January 14, 2002
Telefutura Blasts Off
Univision's Spanish language, youth oriented Telefutura network launched on 1/14. The network's been running preview stuff for the past week or so. You can catch it on Arlington's Channel 14, which was recently renamed WFDC. The full-powered station is carried on all DC area cable systems except Comcast/Reston. Channel 14, previously WTMW, had relied primarily on old reruns and infomercials. Univision's main network will continue to air on low-powered Channel 30, WMDO.....
January 14, 2002
Wolff Still Howling
Bob Wolff, the radio/TV voice of the Washington Senators (remember them?), and who once had a Channel 5 show called "Wolff At The Door," is still going strong after 63 years in the business. Pushing 80, he's just signed a new contract with News 12, a Long Island cable news outlet where he does sports anchor, reporting, and commentary duties.
January 11, 2002
WPGC-AM/FM VP/GM Sam Rogers has been appointed Infinity/DC Market Captain, replacing the departing Phil Zachary. Rogers adds VP/GM stripes at WHFS, also replacing Zachary. WARW GSM Melissa Huston is upped to VP/GM at WARW, again replacing Zachary.....
January 10, 2002
Former NC8 Anchor Clif Webb Dies
Clifton Webb (right), a news anchor for NewsChannel 8 from its launch in 1991 until he left for the public relations field in 1997, died on 1/10 after suffering from kidney cancer. He was 51. Prior to joining NewsChannel 8, Mr. Webb was anchor and news director of Media General Cable's local Fairfax news operation, and did radio work before that. He also was involved in community work with Wolf Trap and the Fairfax Council For The Arts. Mr. Webb had most recently handled public relations for DuPont.
January 10, 2002
Jackson Upset At Kornheiser Show Remark
Two days after it first appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (and in DCRTV), "Reliable Source" columnist Lloyd Grove reports in the Washington Post that: "Jesse Jackson told us yesterday: 'I have the highest respect for Tony Kornheiser.' And our Post colleague has often declared on ESPN Radio's 'Tony Kornheiser Show' that Jackson is one of his heroes. Still, the civil rights impresario is waging a full-court press against Kornheiser, ESPN and its corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co., for satirical remarks about fired Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green, made during a commercial break on Friday's show and broadcast over the Internet but not on the air. According to Webcast listener Nathan Webb, an African American lawyer who was offended by the remarks and alerted Jackson, someone on the show - not Kornheiser - did a 'black voice' impression of the fired black coach. To wit: 'Brother can't get a chance in Minneapolis... The Man is trying to keep me down... It was the devil white racist... It was the white kicker's fault.' In a letter this week to Disney Chairman Michael Eisner, Jackson wrote: 'Such comments, if indeed verified, are certainly tasteless, without merit, dripping with racism, and must be dealt with severely.'" Jackson told the Post that he's not satisfied by an ESPN apology which stated that the remarks were "an unfortunate error in judgment" and that "appropriate internal actions" would be taken. Kornheiser's show is heard locally on WTEM.....
January 7, 2002
Forrest Boyd Dies
Veteran network radio newscaster Forrest Boyd died on 1/5 at the University Of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore after suffering a series of heart attacks. He was 80. Mr. Boyd's 50-plus years in radio journalism, much it it in the DC area, included long anchor stints with Mutual, UPI, and Standard News. In the 1990s he founded Christian-oriented United News And Information (UNI), which provides news to religious radio stations, and served as its executive news director until his death.
January 7, 2002
New Line-Up On WTNT
Clear Channel's "Dynamite Talk" WTNT (570 AM) has moved G. Gordon Liddy from noon to 10 AM so that he can be heard live. And there are other changes which include Michael Graham at 2 PM (for only one hour, he previously had a two-hour morning block), newcomer Glenn Beck at 3 PM, Michael Savage at 7 PM, and Phil Hendrie at 10 PM. Don Imus still airs in morning drive. And, Art Bell's show has been trimmed from 10 PM to a 1 AM start time. By the way, Bell is also being carried on Clear Channel's WWRC (1260 AM) from 1 AM to 5 AM.
January 7, 2002
More Hannity, No More Dr. Laura On WCBM
Sean Hannity joins Baltimore talker WCBM's (680 AM) line-up from 3 PM to 6 PM weekdays as of 1/7. G. Gordon Liddy gets an extra hour of airtime, from noon to 3 PM, instead of his previous termination time of 2 PM. Dr. Laura, who had the 2 PM to 4 PM slot, has gone bye-bye along with Bob Scherr.
For news items from 2001 click here.....