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January 2003 to December 2003December 31, 2003
Steve Davis To BAL Radio
Steve Davis is getting the top sports gig at Baltimore's WBAL radio. Davis used to be top sports anchor at Channel 9/WUSA, before being replaced with Frank Herzog in March. Before joining 9, Davis did sports anchoring and reporting for Channel 45/WBFF. Steve Melewski, sports director and Orioles' baseball program host for the news talker, quit in September after what the Baltimore Sun called a "vehement argument with a top station executive."
December 27, 2003
Shen Val TV Founder Dies
Virginia Stamler, who co-founded Shenandoah Valley TV station WAZT/Channel 10, died on Saturday of cancer. She was 71. Mrs. Stamler was the sales manager for WAZT, and started the station with her husband, Dr. Art Stamler, under the name of Ruarch Associates. The Woodstock-based independent TV operation, which is relayed on a series of transmitters throughout the valley, focuses on religious and local news fare. The couple also owned a Woodstock radio station, nostalgic music WAZR (93.7 FM), but sold it to Clear Channel, which moved it to Harrisonburg and flipped it to contemporary tunes.
December 26, 2003
Shenandoah Valley Gets Kissed
Winchester area country music outlet WXVA has flipped to rhythmic contemporary WKSI, "98.3 Kiss FM." There had been rumblings that the Clear Channel outlet would not resume playing country tunes after its Christmas music blitz. Promos during the last days of WXVA advised country fans to tune to sister country outlet WUSQ in Winchester. WKSI's hiking its power and moving its city of license from Charles Town WV to Stephens City VA.
December 25, 2003
DCRTV's Person Of The Year
This year it's people of the year. Debra Leigh, Erica Hilary, Ron Bennington, and Fez Whatley. Two bold and refreshing talk teams on DC area radio. Debra and Erica are "Girl Talk" on 104.1/103.9 (formerly 97.1). It's about time that commercial radio talk started involving women. GT is talk by women, and for women. But that doesn't mean men don't want to listen, too. These gals are clever and funny. And honest. This testicle-free duo can go from a humorous discussion of a certain kind of naughty "back door" sex to heartfelt insights from a cancer survivor. If there were more "chicks in charge" at more radio stations, GT would be on a major FMer five mornings or afternoons a week - not just on Sunday evenings. And other "girl talkers" would be on 24/7 in every market. It's about damn time, too. And, DCRTV also pays tribute to a pair of fat, ugly guys, 106.7's "Ron And Fez," who made the move from NYC to DC this past year and focused their show on the local market. Yeah, they do the same "schtick" as others - taking calls from drunkish young men - but where they shine is in the breezy, fast, and fun look at everything from politics, to sports, to pop culture. And proof that male-oriented talk doesn't have to be such a blustery, Republican, and - gasp - "straight" experience. A quick listen to R&F's 11 AM hour provides more political insight than a month's worth of some of those blowhards on AM. Kudos to Ron and Erica and Debra and Fez (sounds almost like a 1960s movie title) and best wishes for 2004 and beyond. Proof that cool innovation's possible even in the all too "play it safe" DC radio market.
December 24, 2003
CBS, NBC Cameraman Joseph Neil Dies
Joseph Neil, 77, a Washington TV cameraman from 1956 until his retirement in 1991, died on 12/20. He had emphysema. Neil worked with CBS and NBC. He did camerawork for "CBS Reports," "60 Minutes," and for several of Edward R. Murrow's productions. He lived in Silver Spring for 46 years. "Neil was one hell of a photog for WRC-TV," a colleague tells DCRTV. "Not only could he tell the story visually, but he was aggressive and wouldn't stand for anyone trampling on his first amendment rights which is why local cops arrested him at least twice for disrespect of 'police lines.' He knew when to keep rolling and taped his own arrest."
December 24, 2003
Norris To Labor
Jane Norris, who used to co-host WMAL's morning show, becomes a spokesperson for the US Labor Department. She and Bill Press were ditched by 630 in early 2003 for former congressman and "Love Boat" star Fred Grandy.
December 23, 2003
New Christian Outlet For Winchester
A low-power Christian contemporary station is now operating on 90.1 FM in Clear Brook VA, near Winchester. The 10-watt outlet relays Priority Radio's WXHL (89.1 FM) in Wilmington DE. The firm plans another half dozen relays throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
December 20, 2003
Jarvis To Pepco
Channel 4 anchor and reporter Debbi Jarvis will become Pepco's manager of media relations. Her last day at WRC was 12/28, where she's been anchoring weekend morning newscasts. She starts at the DC/Maryland electricity utility on 1/5. Jarvis has been with 4 since 1994, covering local education and health issues. Before joining WRC, she worked for WJW-TV and WKYC-TV in Cleveland. She got her start at WOOD radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
December 17, 2003
Lou Davis Gone From 2
Reporter Lou Davis is leaving Baltimore's Channel 2/WMAR. His contract is up. Davis has been covering Maryland state government for WMAR since 1983. He has also been serving as 2's Anne Arundel County bureau chief. Davis covered the Vietnam War for NBC in the early 1970s.
December 16, 2003
Tim Brant Joins 7
Tim Brant is re-joining Allbritton's Channel 7 as vice president of sports. Brant currently handles weekend college football for ABC Sports. Until 2002, Brant co-hosted the morning show on WMAL radio. Before that, he was a sports anchor at Channel 7. And before that, a football player at the University Of Maryland. Brant replaces Rene Knott, who's been with WJLA more than 11 years. A while back, DCRTV reported that Brant had originally planned to sign with Gannett's Channel 9 as a news anchor, but that his current employer, ABC, didn't want him joining a CBS affiliate.
December 15, 2003
Isabel Good To TOP
WPGC-FM, WMMJ, and WTOP take the top three spots in the latest monthly Arbitrends, which include September, October, and November. All-news TOP gets a ratings bump with Hurricane Isabel coverage, due to all of those powerless folks listening on battery-powered radios, from summer's 5.2 to a 5.5 share. Other full-week, age 12+ demo rankings: 4)WGMS, 5) WKYS, 6) WHUR, 7) WJZW, 8) WMZQ and WBIG, 10) WASH, 11) WIHT, 12) WMAL, 13) WWDC, 14) WJFK-FM and WRQX, 16) WWZZ/WWVZ, 17) WARW, 18) WBZS/WBPS and WHFS, 20) WTEM. In PM drive, WJFK-FM's Don and Mike place 3rd in a tie with WTOP, behind WPGC-FM and WMMJ, while Sean Hannity on WMAL ranks 17th. Midday, Dr. Laura/Rush Limbaugh on WMAL take 15th, bested by WJFK-FM's Ron and Fez/Bill O'Reilly in 12th. In Fredericksburg, country WFLS takes 1st, hot adult contemporary WBQB 2nd. Again, Baltimore's numbers have been embargoed.
December 12, 2003
Lewis Elevated To SMJ's PD Post
Lori Lewis becomes acting program director at WSMJ (104.3 FM), Baltimore's smooth jazz outlet. She had been assistant program director, and will continue to be music director and do her 2 PM to 7 PM shift on the Clear Channel station. Lewis replaces Baltimore radio vet Jason Kidd, who lasted only a few weeks in the gig.
December 11, 2003
Mike Buchanan Leaves Channel 9
Anchor and reporter Mike Buchanan leaves Channel 9 after 33 years. According to the Washington Post: "His contract was scheduled to run out at the end of the year, and it had been widely forecast that he would not remain. Buchanan had been out of the building for nearly the past two weeks. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the station did not try to sign Buchanan for another tour of duty." WUSA's suits had "no comment." Buchanan's son, Doug, is a reporter for 9.
December 8, 2003
1260 Goes Sports
Clear Channel has dropped CNN news from WWRC (1260 AM) and replaced it with sports. WWRC becomes "Sportstalk 1260," joining CC's "Sportstalk 980," WTEM. The "1260 Fox Sports Radio" weekday line-up: 5 AM Mark Patrick, 8 AM Tony Bruno, noon Jim Rome, 3 PM John Thompson (simulcast from 980), 5 PM "Sports Reporters" (also on 980), 7 PM Steve Czaban, 10 PM J.T. "The Brick," 2 AM "Fox Sports Overnight." CC's DC radio honcho Bennett Zier even promises play-by-play coverage of local high school sports.
December 8, 2003
George Farmer Dies
George Farmer passed away on 11/16 after a short battle with cancer. He was 49. Farmer was a member of Fairfax County's Hayfield High Radio Club, class of 1973, which sired the careers of several folks into the local radio and TV business. Including Channel 9's Tom Buckley, and WQSR's Steve Dreppard and "Big Don" O'Brien. After Hayfield, Farmer went to WUVT at Virginia Tech. He spent his career at the Naval Research Laboratory.
December 4, 2003
O' Brien Leaves 104 Which Leaves Arlington
Mark O'Brien is leaving the general manager post at hot adult contemporary "More Music 104" WWZZ/WWVZ. Joel Oxley, who now oversees all-news WTOP and classical WGMS, will now be in charge of all three Bonneville stations in the DC market. No word on O'Brien's plans. Is a round of shake-outs coming? Also, 104 will move its studios from Arlington to northwest DC, and be co-located with WTOP and WGMS.
December 2, 2003
WDMV Gets FCC Approval For Damascus Move
Birach Broadcasting has received the FCC's blessing to move WDMV (540 AM) from Pocomoke City, on the Eastern Shore, to Damascus, in upper Montgomery County. The new operation was granted 1,000-watts directional day and night. However, Birach will be required to power down its WWCS (also on 540 AM) in Canonsburg (near Pittsburgh). WWCS will reduce daytime power from 5,000-watts to 3,600-watts, and become slightly more directional. WWCS keeps its nighttime power of 500-watts. Despite the FCC's approval, Birach still must get Montgomery County's okay to build a transmitter site for WDMV and its WGOP (700 AM), which is licensed to Walkersville (near Frederick). Birach plans to move daytimer WGOP's talk format to fulltimer WDMV's frequency.
December 1, 2003
Former WTOP Engineer Dies
Nelson Bernard Wilson, an engineering technician for WTOP radio and TV from 1949 until his retirement in 1980, died on 11/19 of complications from Altzheimer's disease. He was 88. Mr. Wilson had served as an aircraft radio man during World War II. Before joining WTOP, he worked as an engineer for WINX radio.
November 27, 2003
4 Wins November News Battle
The all-important November TV ratings "sweeps" show Channel 4/WRC holding onto its lead in the DC TV news race. However, Channel 5/WTTG's fortunes are looking upward at 5 PM, with Channel 9/WUSA showing some strength at 11 PM. Channel 7/ WJLA has yet to see any significant improvement with new anchor Leon Harris. In the early morning news war, 4 leads, with 9 in 2nd, 5 in 3rd, and 7 in 4th. At 5 PM, 4 takes 1st, with 7 in 2nd, 5 jumping to 3rd, and 9 falling to 4th. At 6 PM, 4 wins again, with 5's "The Simpsons" in 2nd, 9 in 3rd, and 7 in 4th. At 7 PM, 4's "NBC News" is 1st, with 9's new local newscast in 4th. At 11 PM, 4 leads, with 9 jumping to 2nd.
November 27, 2003
Hal Walker Dies
Hal Walker, the first African American to be a correspondent for CBS News, died on 11/26 at his home in Reston. He was 70 and had been suffering from cancer. Walker's career at CBS News spanned 12 years. He covered foreign and domestic stories from Washington. Before joining CBS, Walker worked at DC's Channel 9, then Washington Post-owned WTOP-TV.
November 26, 2003
DC Radio Legend Eddie Gallaher Dies
Veteran Washington broadcaster Eddie Gallaher passed away Wednesday morning at age 88. Eddie came to Washington in 1947 and soon replaced New York-bound Arthur Godfrey on WTOP-AM's "Sundial" morning show. Within a few years, Eddie was the biggest media star in DC, on WTOP-AM, FM, and TV-9. In 1968, Eddie and others offered to buy WTOP-FM from the Washington Post. When the Post donated the station (now WHUR) to Howard University, Eddie moved to Metromedia's WASH-FM in 1968 as morning man. At WASH, Eddie led the station as the first breakthrough full-service FM operation in the country. His morning show dominated the FM dial and went head-to-head successfully with the old-line AMers. In 1983, Eddie moved to WWDC-AM (which later became WGAY-AM) as morning man on a big band and nostalgia format. He co-hosted the show with Buddy Rizer and Bob Duckman until his retirement in December 2000. During his career, Eddie interviewed and entertained the "Stars Of The Day," including Ed Sullivan, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Al Jolson, Rosemary Clooney, and others. His programs were a must for entertainers passing through Washington. Eddie always concluded each broadcast with: "It's nice to know so many nice people."
November 26, 2003
Buzz Long Dies
Radio personality Buzz Long has died at age 63. In the 1960s, Long worked at "top 40" outlets WEAM in Arlington and WYRE in Annapolis. He was suffering from cancer.
November 20, 2003
Aberdeen, Maryland oldies outlet WAMD (970 AM) has been sold for $150,000. The seller is Mackk Broadcasting, headed by James McMahan. The buyer is Dallas-based Big D Broadcasting (owned by First Broadcasting), which owns nine other radio stations across the nation. WAMD, which beams 500-watts by day, has been on the market for the past months. The station features "Captain Jim" McMahan's morning show, and a news department which covers Harford County. McMahan, who previously worked at WBAL radio, has owned WAMD since 1978.
November 18, 2003
WCTN (950 AM), a Christian-formatted station in Potomac, has been sold for $2.2 million. The seller is John Vogt's Seven Locks Broadcasting. The buyer is Win Radio Broadcasting, headed by Richard Yoon. WCTN beams 3,000-watts by day, but only 47-watts at night.
November 15, 2003
DC News Anchor Julian Barber Dies
DCRTV hears that long-time DC news anchor Julian Barber died on 11/12 of heart failure. He joined Channel 9, then WTOP-TV, in 1958 and became a top newscaster in Washington for the better part of 15 years, winning several Emmys along the way. He also anchored newscasts at Channel 4/WRC, Chicago's WBBM-TV, and at Mutual News in DC. More at www.lookoutlee.blogspot.com.
November 8, 2003
WNVT Goes Digital
WNVT has started its digital service on channel 30. The Northern Virginia public TV outlet goes digital-only, having turned off its analog signal on channel 53 last spring. The station, which calls itself "MHz2" and airs Russian programming from 6 PM to midnight, has been providing a land line feed to area cable systems. The move to channel 30 displaces the low-power analog signal of WMDO, DC's Univision station, which moves to channel 47.
November 8, 2003
Former VOA Music Director Dies
The Washington Post reports that Eugene Dreyer, 82, deputy music director at DC-based Voice Of America from 1949 to 1978, died on 11/5. He had a neurological ailment and dementia.
November 7, 2003
No Jail For O&A Stunt Woman
The NY Post reports: "The Virginia woman who scandalized St. Patrick's Cathedral by having sex in the pews as part of a sleazy radio stunt that revolted the city will not go to jail. Loretta Lynn Harper, 36, was sentenced to 40 hours of community service as part of a plea deal in which she admitted to disorderly conduct. Prosecutors took pity on Harper because her boyfriend, 38-year-old Brian Florence - her sex partner in the church tryst - died suddenly of heart failure last month... The incident, on Aug. 16, 2002, led to the firing of WNEW-FM shock jocks Opie and Anthony and an FCC fine of $357,000..." O&A were also heard on DC's WJFK-FM.
November 5, 2003
Charlie Warren Gone From WMAL
Charlie Warren, WMAL's long-time evening host, has left the ABC news talker. NYC-based political talkers "Batchelor And Alexander" now occupy the 9 PM slot. All mentions of Warren have been removed from WMAL's website.
November 5, 2003
New Jersey's MultiCultural Radio Broadcasting (via Arthur Liu and Way Broadcasting) has sold Warrenton's WKCW (1420 AM) to Metro Radio for $400,000. Northern Virginia-based Metro Radio is headed by Bruce Houston, who also owns business talker WPLC (1050 AM) in Silver Spring. In early October, WKCW dropped classic country for Spanish. In the DC area, MultiCultural still owns Spanish WZHF (1390 AM) and WKDV (1460 AM), as well as Korean WLXE (1600 AM).
October 31, 2003
Susan Clampitt, WAMU's executive director, has been ousted. Clampitt had been heavily criticized for her handling of the station's finances since taking charge in 2000. American University President Benjamin Ladner named his chief of staff, David Taylor, to oversee the station during the search for Clampitt's replacement, according to public broadcasting website Current. Long-time WAMU talk show host Diane Rehm tells Friday's Washington Post: "There's a real lift in the air. A feeling as though we've got our feet back on the ground... As sad as I am to see any one person have to bear the burden of this, it was clear that Susan Clampitt and the personnel of this station were out of sync, and it was not only her financial management, it was her personnel management. Both directions were just wrong for this station."
October 30, 2003
Del Walters Leaves 7
Del Walters has left Channel 7/WJLA. The news comes just as CNN vet Leon Harris is set to debut as the primary male anchor on the Allbritton station. Walters, who used to co-anchor the station's evening newscasts, had been with the ABC affiliate for 18 years. Walters was yanked off the air in early September, and DCRTV had reported rumors that his future with WJLA was in doubt. Walters, who had been working without a contract, once headed 7's now defunct "I-Team" investigative unit.
October 30, 2003
Gabe Mirkin Retires
From the Montgomery Gazette: "A local doctor is canceling his radio show with an eye toward stepping up his bicycling and writing endeavors. Dr. Gabe Mirkin of Chevy Chase announced this week that he will end his nationally syndicated call-in radio show, 'The Dr. Gabe Mirkin Show,' on Friday. He has run the show from a professional studio in his home for 27 years."
October 25, 2003
WPGC "Good Guy" Dies
Dean Anthony has died. In the early 1960s, Dean was known to Washington area listeners as Dean ("Big Ole, Fat Ole Dino") Griffith, the 2 PM to 6 PM "Good Guy" on then "top 40" WPGC-AM/FM. He left WPGC in 1964 for a gig at NYC's WMCA, the original "Good Guys Radio." Dean, who later became the long-time vice president and program director at Long Island radio station WHLI, died of cancer on 10/24. He was 68.
October 25, 2003
WXVA Gets Closer To Winchester
Clear Channel's "Xtra Country 98" WXVA (98.3 FM) in Charles Town WV is moving its city of license to Stephens City VA, a few miles south of Winchester. This will be a move-in to the Winchester market. WXVA currently "rimshots" it from the north. Also, the station will double its power to 6000-watts.
October 23, 2003
WRC Promotes Caskin
Frank Caskin has been promoted to assistant news director at Channel 4/WRC. He joined the NBC station's news department in 1996 as producer of the 11 PM newscast, and, in 2000, was promoted to executive producer. Before joining WRC, Caskin worked at TV stations in DC, Michigan, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
October 22, 2003
Jarvis To Leave 4
Anchor and reporter Debbi Jarvis is leaving Channel 4/WRC. A station source tells us that her contract was not renewed a while back, but she was very quiet about it. Now management has said that December is the end of her freelance work for the NBC station, where she's been since 1994. She's been co-anchoring weekend morning newscasts. Jarvis might soon be seen on another area station.
October 22, 2003
James Jennings Dies
From the Washington Times: "The folks at WUSA are mourning James Jennings, a beloved former newsroom assistant who died last week of Alzheimer's disease. The grandfatherly Mr. Jennings spent 32 years at the CBS affiliate, beginning in June 1969. He also worked a second full-time job as a copy aide at the Voice Of America radio service. Anchor Bruce Johnson remembered when staffers banded together to ask for a pay raise for Mr. Jennings, who he said was too humble to ask for one himself. According to anchor J.C. Hayward, former Channel 9 star Max Robinson once used his clout to get the station to sign a document that stated Mr. Jennings would have a job at Broadcast House as long as he wanted one."
October 20, 2003
13's Chopper Destroyed
A maintenance incident has destroyed Channel 13/WJZ's news and traffic helicopter. Apparently, a mechanic was running the craft's engine at a copter parking area at Martin State Airport in Middle River on the evening of 10/15. The chopper began to spin to the left, while it was on a dolly. It then slipped off the dolly and continued spinning left, while skipping down a taxiway. The blade tips scraped the pavement, producing sparks. After a few fuselage rotations, it tipped and the blades hit the grass next to a taxiway, where it came to rest. The craft lost its tailboom and leaked fuel. No one was injured and none of the other helicopters parked nearby was damaged by debris from "Sky Eye Chopper 13," which is "beyond repair." WJZ will soon have a replacement bird in operation.
October 17, 2003
Goodbye Bill, Hello Miles
Bill Rohland has been removed as co-host of the "Out To Lunch With Bill And Thrill" midday show on Baltimore's Live 105.7, WXYV. His former partner, Steve "The Thrill" Hill introduced his new radio mate on Friday. It's Miles Montgomery, who did mornings on the now defunct WXFB, classic rock 104.3 FM. Rohland is expected to continuing working for Infinity's Live 105.7 or to sister sports talk "The Jock" WJFK 1300 AM, which used to carry "Out To Lunch."
October 14, 2003
WASH's Katz Moves To AMs, Worthington Returns For PMs
WASH afternoon driver Loo Katz is moving to mornings, starting 10/21. He'll be teamed with Lori Brooks. Also, the Clear Channel adult contemporary outlet is bringing back Bill Worthington to do afternoons. Katz, a 30-year DC radio vet, has hosted PM drive on WASH for three years. The DC native worked at WEAM in the 1970s, WPGC and WAVA in the 1980s, and spent a decade at WRQX before joining WASH. Brooks, most recently a Metro Networks news anchor, spent the bulk of her 20-year radio career on the west coast before moving to DC in 2002. Worthington used to be half of WASH's "Bill And Kim" morning show. Current WASH morning man Dave Adler will continue to do fill-in work.
October 14, 2003
WIHT Up, WMAL Down In Summer Ratings
Clear Channel's rhythmic contemporary Hot 99.5/WIHT jumps from spring's 13th to summer's 8th place, to become the firm's top-rated station in the DC market. As usual, Infinity's urban WPGC-FM remains at 1st in the summer Arbitrons, age 12+, out on 10/14. Radio One's adult urban WMMJ jumps one notch to 2nd, and its urban WKYS jumps from 5th to 3rd. Bonneville's all-news WTOP goes from 2nd to 4th. Howard U's adult urban WHUR drops from 4th to 5th, Bonneville's classical WGMS stays at 6th, ABC's smooth jazz WJZW jumps from 8th to 7th. CC's country WMZQ stays at 9th, in a tie with CC's oldies WBIG, which stays flat. ABC news talker WMAL plunges from 7th to 11th. CC's adult contemporary WASH jumps two to 12th, ABC's hot adult WRQX drops one to 13th, Infinity's talk WJFK-FM drops three places to 14th, in a tie with CC rocker DC101, which stays level. Infinity's classic rock WARW stays jumps one to 16th, in a tie with Bonneville's hot adult WWZZ/WWVZ, which stays level. Infinity's alt rock WHFS jumps one place to 18th. CC's sports talk WTEM drops one to 19th, in a tie with Mega's Spanish contemporary WBZS/WBPS.
October 10, 2003
WNVC Goes Digital
Channel 56/WNVC has kicked off its digital broadcasts. The Fairfax public station, which calls itself MHz, features foreign language and educational programming. The digital signal on channel 57 includes four subchannels, one of which features programming from sister station WNVT, also known as MHz2. Channel 53/WNVT, which airs Russian programming from 6 PM to midnight via a cable-only feed, signed off last spring and is supposed to become a digital-only operation on channel 30. Both stations are owned by Richmond's Commonwealth Public Broadcasting.
October 10, 2003
Erica & Deb Bolt For 104
Erica Hilary and Debra Leigh are making the move from Clear Channel's 97.1 FM, adult contemporary WASH, to Bonneville's 104.1/103.9 FM, hot adult contemporary WWZZ/WWVZ. Since September 2002, the two have hosted WASH's "Girl Talk" on Sunday evenings, which will be jumping to 104. Also, Erica will join Brett Haber and Erin Carman on 104's morning show as the news, traffic, and weather personality. GT will still be heard on Sunday evenings.
October 10, 2003
Channel 25/WHAG, the NBC affiliate in Hagerstown, has been sold by Quorum Broadcasting to Nexstar Broadcasting out of Texas. DCRTV hears that "one big head has already rolled." More will likely follow.
October 8, 2003
FCC Fines WCSP, WTOP, More
The Federal Communications Commission has hit 28 radio stations in the Mid-Atlantic region with fines of up to $4,000 each for failure to adequately comply with public file requirements. The violations were disclosed as part of the three-year nationwide broadcast station license renewal process that began recently for radio outlets in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. DC/Baltimore area stations hit with a penalty include WCSP (90.1 FM) in Washington, WTOP (107.7 FM) in Warrenton, WWGB (1030 AM) in Indian Head, WTMD (89.7 FM) in Towson, and WYRE (810 AM) in Annapolis. Also fined: stations in Harrisonburg, Roanoke, and Lynchburg, plus outlets in a bunch of small communities throughout the three state region.
October 2, 2003
FCC Fines Infinity, DC101
The Federal Communications Commission has hit Infinity Broadcasting with a $357,500 fine for airing the Opie and Anthony sex in a church stunt that took place in August 2002. The Commission called the beer company-sponsored contest a "well-planned event executed and approved by the station's managers." The O&A show was based at Infinity's WNEW in NYC, and also heard on the company's WJFK-FM in DC. The FCC added: "The material broadcast was specifically calculated to produce offensive conduct and the contest portion of the broadcast, over an hour in duration, was extensive." The stunt, which featured a Virginia couple having sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral, got O&A removed from the airwaves. The FCC determined the punishment by multiplying the fine of $27,500 by 13, the number of stations that aired the show. Infinity has 30 days to pay up or file an appeal. The Commission added that "additional serious violations by Infinity may lead to a license revocation proceeding." The Commission also fined Clear Channel rocker DC101 for two segments that were part of Elliot Segal's morning show from May 2002. Elliot and his crew questioned teenaged girls about their sexual activities at high school and made repeated and graphic references to oral sex. CC has 30 days to pay the $55,000 fine or file an appeal.
October 1, 2003
O&A Stunt Man Dies Of Heart Attack
The Virginia man who was charged with attempting to have sex with his girlfriend in an NYC church - the stunt that got shock jocks Opie and Anthony (right) fired - has died of an apparent heart attack at his home in Alexandria. Associated Press reports that Brian Florence, 38, died on 9/25. His co-defendant, Loretta Lynn Harper, 36, also from Virginia, is "still in a state of shock." According to AP, Florence and Harper were to appear before a Big Apple judge on 9/30, but the hearing, now involving only the girlfriend's charge, has been delayed until November. Florence's attorney said both defendants had planned to plead guilty to a lesser charge and not receive any jail time. The third person involved in the case, radio producer Paul Mercurio, 43, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to disorderly conduct and was ordered to perform community service. Mercurio was on a cell phone to O&A's Infinity-owned WNEW show while watching Florence and Harper in St. Patrick's Cathedral. The August 2002 stunt got O&A - Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia - fired from their nationally syndicated PM drive show, which was carried locally via Infinity's WJFK-FM. Both radio personalities are still under contract to Infinity.
October 1, 2003
41 Years At 7 For Jim Clark
He survived at least 29 news directors during 41 years. Now, DC TV news reporter vet Jim Clarke says goodbye to Channel 7. Approaching his 69th birthday, Clarke says he wants to make his WJLA exit before having surgery on a pair of painful knees. Then he hopes to return to the news biz, perhaps on the print side. "It's been a long ride, but it's not over," Clarke tells the Washington Times. He got his start as John Cameron Swayze's copy boy, and joined then Washington Star-owned WMAL-TV in 1962, beginning his coverage of nine presidents and countless Washington scandals. WJLA paid tribute to Clarke during its 6 PM newscast on Tuesday.
September 30, 2003
Goodbye Classic Country WKCW
Monday was the very last day of the long-running traditional country format at Warrenton's WKCW (1420 AM). Final tune: "Last Date" by Floyd Cramer. The now silent station will soon pick up something Spanish, we're told. New Jersey-based MultiCultural owns WKCW, along with DC area brokered ethnic outlets WZHF (1390 AM), WKDV (1460 AM), and WLXE (1600 AM).
September 29, 2003
VOA News Reformer Dies
From the Washington Post: "Bernard H. Kamenske, 75, a champion for journalistic integrity at Voice Of America, which he left as chief news editor in 1981 after his much-publicized battle for objective reporting, died Sept. 25 at Suburban Hospital. He had complications from cardiovascular and pulmonary ailments. Mr. Kamenske, who started working at VOA in 1955 and became chief news editor in 1974, was credited with helping establish its charter governing news accuracy and objectivity."
September 26, 2003
William Reynolds Dies
William Reynolds, 83, a broadcast journalist who worked at the Voice Of America, died on 9/12 of pneumonia at Georgetown University Hospital. Reynolds was an announcer, editor, and producer for VOA from 1962 until his retirement in 1976. He was born and raised in Baltimore and hosted children's radio programs in Baltimore and Stamford, Connecticut, along with his wife, Meredith. He then moved to television, reporting news for a Milwaukee station from 1952 to 1962.
September 19, 2003
DC101 Hires Metal Mama
Is DC101 going to sound more like hardish rock "98Rock" and less like alt rock HFS under Joe Bevilacqua, its new operations manager/program director? Effective 10/6, heavy metal mama Donielle Flynn joins the Clear Channel rocker as music director and midday host. She replaces Leann Curtis, who left the station in June. Flynn, also known as the "vixen of volume," has worked at rockers in Detroit and Philadelphia, including Infinity's WYSP. Also, DC101 evening man Greg Roche adds assistant music director stripes.
September 19, 2003
BAL Radio Sports Director Quits
From the Baltimore Sun: "Steve Melewski, sports director and baseball program host for WBAL radio, has not been heard on the station's airwaves since last Friday, after a vehement argument with a top station executive less than an hour before his show was supposed to begin. Melewski would not comment Thursday on his status, but the WBAL executive, Jeff Beauchamp, said Melewski unexpectedly quit during the argument."
September 17, 2003
"More Parks Sausages" Voice Silenced
Hilary Kilberg, whose voice-over artistry in hundreds of commercials included the role of a child asking for "more Parks sausages, mom, pleeease," died of a cerebral hemorrhage on 9/12 at Baltimore's Union Memorial Hospital. The Cross Keys resident was 80. She was one of the most frequently heard voices on Baltimore radio and TV from the 1950s through the 1980s. Kilberg voiced ads for local banks, Sealy mattresses, and Pariser's rye bread. She also narrated films for the Smithsonian Institution and voiced transitional breaks for several cable TV networks.
September 13, 2003
11's Pegues To NYC
Channel 11/WBAL news anchor Jeff Pegues is making the move to NYC's ABC TV outlet, WABC. He follows 11's Sade Baderinwa, who recently jumped to the same station. Pegues, a DC native, leaves the Charm City TV news scene in November. He's been at WBAL three years, following TV news gigs in Miami and Milwaukee. Pegues will be a reporter and backup anchor in the Big Apple.
September 13, 2003
FCC Approves WNVT For Digital-Only Ops
The Federal Communications Commission has granted Commonwealth Public Broadcasting's request to "turn off" Channel 53/WNVT - also known as MHz2. The Goldvein-licensed station, with studios and offices in Fairfax, will soon be digital-only on channel 30 (forcing low-powered Univision station WMDO to relocate). According to Commonwealth, WNVT suffers financial problems and "will not be able to sustain the operation of both analog and digital facilities through the transition (analog to digital) without sacrificing much of the unique non-commercial and educational service that the station provides, which is targeted primarily to meet the needs of the local African American community." Commonwealth will demand that DC area cable systems carry WNVT's over-the air digital signal and will provide cable operators with conversion gear. Currently off the air, WNVT carries Russian programming between 6 PM and midnight (and ShopNBC during "sign off" times) via a land line to cable systems.
September 9, 2003
ZBA Assumes Classic Rock Status
Baltimore area adult rocker WZBA (100.7 FM) "The Bay" has dropped its slogan of "rock without the hard edge" and is now calling itself "Baltimore's only classic rock station." Last Friday, the plug got pulled on Charm City classic rocker WXFB (104.3 FM), which became smooth jazz WSMJ.
September 5, 2003
104.3 Drops Classic Rock For Smooth Jazz
Clear Channel's Charm City classic rock WXFB (104.3 FM) became smooth jazz WSMJ at 10 AM on Friday. No word on what will happen to WXFB's air staff, but it's a good bet that they're packing their bags - including the morning team of "Max And Miles." There have long been rumors that CC's 104.3 would change formats, but the current betting was on a contemporary or rhythmic contemporary sound, perhaps a resurrection of the old "B104." Baltimore has never had a smooth jazz station, although Towson University's WTMD (89.7 FM) did do a "New Age" lite jazz-ish format a while back. The signal of DC's smooth jazz outlet, ABC-owned WJZW (105.9 FM), is difficult to receive in the Baltimore area.
September 5, 2003
Steve Allen Says Adios
Steve Allan, program director for Clear Channel oldies outlet WBIG, has announced his resignation. Some say he was pushed. Allan has been PD of the station since it flipped to oldies in the early 1990s. He was recently relieved of like duties at CC's adult contemporary WASH in favor of Bill Hess. It looks like Hess will now oversee programming at WBIG, too. Allan will remain a consultant for CC's DC operations.
September 5, 2003
Leon Harris Joins 7
Leon Harris is Channel 7/WJLA's 5 PM, 6 PM, and 11 PM new news anchor. Harris, who leaves the late morning news anchor slot at CNN, will join the Allbritton station in late October. He's been at the Atlanta-based cable news net for 20 years doing anchoring and reporting duties. At WJLA, Harris will co-anchor with Maureen Bunyan and Kathleen Matthews. There have been rumbings for more than a year that WJLA has been looking for a high-profile news person to anchor its evening newscasts - and jolt the ratings. And, Harris's name has been mentioned all along.
September 3, 2003
New News Director At 11
Michelle Butt is the new news director at Hearst Argyle's Channel 11/ WBAL. She comes from WXII, the firm's Winston-Salem TV station, where she was news director. She's held news management jobs at WAVY and WTKR in Norfolk, and at WTAE in Pittsburgh. Butt replaces Margaret Cronan, who announced her resignation in July and who leaves WBAL in late September.
September 3, 2003
New News Director At WYPR
Baltimore Sun veteran C. Fraser Smith becomes news director at Charm City public radio talker WYPR (88.1 FM). According to the Sun, during his 26 years at the paper "Smith wrote extensively about politics at the city, state and federal levels. At 65, however, he decided to retire from the newspaper, where he was last an editorial writer specializing on state matters."
August 28, 2003
Burns Is 4's New News Director
NBC's Channel 4/WRC has selected its new news director. It's Vickie Burns, who has been the news director at NBC's Chicago TV station. She replaces Bob Long, who recently left to become news director at NBC's LA TV station. Burns is a Windy City TV veteran. She's also worked at Chicago's CBS and ABC stations.
August 28, 2003
Bruce Pennington Dies
Bruce Pennington, 56, who hosted "Friends," a gay-themed radio show from 1973 to 1982 on Georgetown University's WGTB and Pacifica's WPFW, died on 8/26. He had AIDS and suffered a stroke. In June, Pennington was honored at DC's annual gay pride celebration as a "capital pride hero" for 35 years of activism.
August 27, 2003
Bevilacqua Replaces Rizer
Joe Bevilacqua has been named operations manager at Clear Channel rocker DC101. He replaces Buddy Rizer, who recently announced his resignation. Bevilacqua comes from CC's Providence radio station cluster, where he programmed rocker WHJY. He's also worked at a classic rocker in Detroit, and at stations in Akron and Youngstown. Trade pub Radio And Records twice named him "rock program director of the year." Bevilacqua says: "DC101 is the premier rock station in America, and I'm honored to be chosen as the OM... and I'm ready to help bring DC101 to the top."
August 26, 2003
Buddy Rizer Resigns
DC101 Program Director Buddy Rizer announced his resignation on 8/26. He plans to take some time off and won't be joining another station. Rizer tells trade pub FMQB: "I'm looking forward to a nice long sabbatical to figure out what my next challenge will be. Radio is all I've done since I was 15 years old. The tough decision to leave was entirely mine, and one I'm very excited about." Rizer joined rocker WWDC-FM in 1988 from WARK-WARX in Hagerstown. He did many duties at DC101 including night jock, production director, music director, and assistant program director under several owners, including the latest - Clear Channel. Bennett Zier, CC's DC radio honcho, tells All Access: "Buddy has been a great partner. He has given his all to building DC101 to the great station it is today. We wish him well in the future."
August 22, 2003
D&M Lose Philly
As expected, Infinity's WYSP in Philadelphia has dropped the "Don And Mike Show." The last installment (a rerun) from the DC-based PM drive radio duo aired Friday, 8/22, on the rock station which also airs Howard Stern in mornings. Tim Sabean, YSP's operations manager, tells trade pub FMQB: "The combination of Howard in the morning and rock throughout the day is more consistent, provides better flow through the dayparts, and is more conducive to audience recycling."
August 22, 2003
Lisa Worden To HFS
Lisa Worden of LA alt rocker KROQ becomes program director at like formatted WHFS. Worden received the 2002 "alternative music director of the year" award from Radio And Records. While both stations are owned by Infinity, KROQ is at the top of the ratings heap while WHFS is at the bottom. Plus, this scuttles any 99.1 format change rumors for the time being. HFS's old PD, Robert Benjamin, recently took off for the west coast.
August 20, 2003
Carroll Larkin has died in Florida. Larkin started his radio career as a sales manager at Baltimore's WCAO in the 1950s.
August 19, 2003
From the Post: "Mike Duggan, 56, who helped establish Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service 30 years ago and later became its director in Washington, died of a heart attack August 15 at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, after collapsing at his Fairfax County home."
August 19, 2003
Bloomquist Joins MAL
Randall Bloomquist joins ABC's news talk WMAL as operations director. He comes from Clear Channel's Richmond cluster, where he was AM operations director. He oversaw news talk WRVA, sports talk WRNL, and the Virginia News Network. Before that, he was news and program director at WBT radio in Charlotte. Bloomquist grew up in Severna Park and is a graduate of the University Of Maryland. He's worked for trade pub Radio And Records. Bloomquist starts on 9/2. John Matthews, MAL's news director, has been in charge of programming duties since John Butler left in May.
August 19, 2003
TOP Takes A Dip
WTOP joined other all-newsers around the country in seeing a slight dip in its numbers. In the overall age 12+ demo monthly Arbitrends, the Bonneville outlet went from a 6.1 to a 5.6 share. Like drops were recently reported by news radio stations in NYC, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Detroit. As usual, urban WPGC-FM placed 1st in the DC market with a 6.7 share. Adult urban WMMJ was 2nd with a 5.9, up one notch. TOP was 3rd, down from 2nd. Adult urban WHUR remained at 4th, urban WKYS remained at 5th, classical WGMS remained at 6th, with country WMZQ up two places to 7th. Talker WMAL was down one to 8th place, in a tie with smooth jazz WJZW, no change, and oldies WBIG, which was up one. Talker WJFK-FM was steady at 11th, while adult contemporary WASH was up two to 12th, in a tie with rhythmic contemporary WIHT, up one slot.
August 16, 2003
DC Area Cable Systems Don't Have To Carry Hagerstown Station
The FCC has ruled that Comcast's cable TV systems in the DC area are not required to carry Entravision's WJAL/Channel 68 in Hagerstown. Comcast had requested a DC media market (which includes Hagerstown, some 50 miles northwest of DC) modification to exclude WJAL, which features home shopping and infomercial programming. WJAL had proposed to transmit its digital signal from inside the DC Beltway, which could have given it "must carry" status on DC, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia cable systems.
August 14, 2003
1050 Goes Biz
Silver Spring's WPLC (1050 AM) will flip to Business Talk Radio on Monday, 8/18. The station has been carrying mainly right wing political talk. DC's been without radio business news since WWRC (1260 AM) flipped to CNN Headline News and WMET (1150 AM) went to mainstream talk.
August 12, 2003
Charm City Chopper Changes
"Chopper Roy" Taylor is changing Charm City 'copters. DCRTV hears that he's leaving "Sky Eye Chopper 13" for "Sky Team 11." Also, 11's whirlybird will be moving from Tipton Airport in Laurel to Martin State Airport in Middle River, which is closer to downtown Baltimore. And, we hear that 13 is talking to Ray McCort, who's been 11's chopper pilot.
August 8, 2003
WNVT Goes Russian
WNVT/Channel 53, also known as MHz2, will air Russian programs from 6 PM to midnight starting 8/15. The Russian World TV network was created last year and targets the Russian speaking community in the USA. It's signed a five-year deal with Fairfax-based MHz Networks, which operates non-commercial WNVT. Programming will include newscasts, talk shows, and films - some of which will be subtitled in English. WNVT has been off the air the past few months while it upgrades its Independent Hill transmitter for digital broadcasts on channel 30, but its signal is currently being relayed via land lines to area cable systems.
August 7, 2003
New GM For 9
Darryll Green (not Redskin great Darrell Green) is the new general manager of Gannett's Channel 9/WUSA. The 20-year company vet comes from Gannett's Buffalo TV station. He replaces Ardyth Diercks, who recently left Gannett for a Miami TV station.
August 5, 2003
Deena Clark Dies
Deena Clark, a Washington television personality who, from the 1950s until her retirement in the early 1980s, interviewed politicians, artists, ambassadors, and other celebrities, died of complications from cancer on 8/1 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. She was 90. Mrs. Clark hosted NBC's "Deena Clark - A Moment With" and CBS's "The Deena Clark Show." She also occasionally served as a moderator of NBC's "Meet The Press."
August 5, 2003
Buren Joins Real Estate Firm
John Buren, former top sports anchor for Channel 13/WJZ, now sells real estate for Long And Foster in Reisterstown. During his 16-year sports stint with WJZ, Buren won eight Emmys. But he was given the boot last year. "Ever since I was a child, real estate has been a fascination for me," says Buren in a Baltimore Sun advertisement, which welcomes the "television legend" to the suburban Baltimore office. "As I grew older and began buying and selling residential properties, that fascination grew into a passion."
July 31, 2003
WETA Frowns On Plan For Day Laborers
The Northern Virginia Journal reports that WETA is not too happy about Arlington County's plan to build a $100,000-plus pavilion for day laborers adjacent to the public TV/FMer's Shirlington office and studio complex. Recently testifying before the county board, WETA CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller predicted a "pretty hostile environment" for Channel 26 and FM 90.9 employees who could be accosted by day laborers (mainly immigrant Hispanic men waiting for work) while walking from one building to another. According to the Journal, Rockefeller added that putting the facility near WETA's south Arlington complex would also inconvenience high-profile guests who arrive to be interviewed on the "NewsHour," which is produced by WETA for PBS.
July 31, 2003
Catherine Meloy Quits Clear Channel
Catherine Meloy, the general manager at adult contemporary WASH, has quit. She's got another job lined up outside of the radio biz, at Goodwill Industries. Meloy was also senior VP of sales for Clear Channel's Mid-Atlantic radio operations, as well as general manager of oldies WBIG. Sources tell us that Meloy was angry that Bennett Zier, the head of CC's DC radio cluster, hired WASH's new program director without consulting her. Bill Hess was brought down from CC's Providence cluster to revamp the ratings slumping station.
July 28, 2003
Felicia Ledesma Dies
DC radio vet Felicia Ledesma recently passed away. Of a heart attack on 7/19, we're told. She was 43. In 1989, she joined DC's 100.3 FM, then WJZE, "Jazzy 100." In 1994, adult urban WHUR hired Felicia to be its overnight personality, where she remained until 2000. She'd also been heard on WorldSpace's jazz channel. Most recently, Felicia was employed by MetroNetworks in Baltimore.
July 26, 2003
Diercks Gone From 9
Ardyth Diercks, general manager of Gannett's Channel 9/WUSA, has said farewell, DCRTV first reported on Friday. She's heading to WTVJ, the NBC station in Miami. Richard Mallary, a Gannett news exec, will run WUSA on an interim basis while a new GM is sought. Staffers "complained about Gannett budget cuts and frequent newsroom turnover, particularly in the sports department" during her reign, reports the Washington Times. "WUSA experienced modest ratings growth during Mrs. Diercks' watch, although the station failed to recapture the local news crown from rival WRC." Adds News Blues: "Insiders wonder if Diercks lost a tug-of-war with News Director Dave Roberts (they had frequent public squabbles), or if division President Craig Dubow simply wanted to clean house. Diercks was hired by Dubow's predecessor Cecil Walker."
July 25, 2003
Bob Long Leaves 4
Bob Long, the news director at DC TV's news ratings leader NBC-owned Channel 4/WRC, is leaving. He's heading to ratings challenged KNBC, the NBC station in LA, from where he came. Also leaving is Mike Whatley, 4's operations director, who heads to KABC, the ABC station in LA, along with Frank Caskin, a producer, to a Hartford station. We hear that Long's "interim" replacement will be Steve Schwaid from NBC's Philadelphia station, WCAU, with Caskin filling in in the meantime. In the past few months, WRC has lost its top news "suits," including assistant news director (Nanette Hobson) and managing editor (Mary Ellen Donovan).
July 24, 2003
John Aubuchon Dies
John Aubuchon, 57, a senior reporter for Maryland Public Television, died on Wednesday at Georgetown University Hospital. He had lung cancer. During his 30-year career in journalism, Aubuchon covered the Vietnam War, the White House, and Maryland state government and politics. He'd been president of the National Press Club and was the organization's Press Freedom chairman at the time of his death. At MPT, he reported for "Direct Connection" and "State Circle." Before joining public television, Aubuchon had worked in the DC bureau of CNN Newsource, Tribune Broadcasting, and with the Armed Forces Radio And Television Service. He'd also worked with UPI Radio, Metromedia Radio News, and WTOP.
July 24, 2003
Stuart Finley Dies
Stuart Finley, 84, who announced the Pearl Harbor attack on NBC's Red and Blue radio networks before serving in the US Navy, died on 7/20. A long time resident of Falls Church, Finley in 1954 produced the environmental TV series "Our Beautiful Potomac" for Channel 4/WRC. Finley was active in AFTRA and mentored many young announcers. He started in radio in 1935, working at many stations including WLW, WWSW, and KYW. Also, Finley moderated "Youth Wants To Know" and "The American Forum" and did news cut-ins on the "Today" show.
July 24, 2003
WAMD Up For Sale
Aberdeen MD's WAMD (970 AM) is up for sale. Apparently, the station's local owner wants to retire and has sold the land where the towers are located. That could make it a tough sell, and a candidate for the infamous "dead air" format. Asking price is $200K, according to www.buysellradio.com. The oldies station prides itself as being Harford County's "most reliable source for local news." WAMD features "Captain Jim," whose "52 years experience in broadcasting makes him our main man in the morning. He'll guide you through the early morning hours when you want a cheerful companion and information you can count on."
July 24, 2003
BAL Flips To CBS News
After five years of carrying ABC radio news, Hearst-owned Baltimore news talker WBAL-AM will begin airing CBS radio newscasts in October. WBAL was a CBS news outlet in the 1980s and early 1990s. "CBS has made some dramatic improvements during the last few years and is truly ahead of the curve in its news programming," says Mark Miller, BAL's news director. "This year, the network's coverage of the shuttle disaster and the war in Iraq led the radio networks." CBS correspondents Mark Knoller, Dan Raviv, Barry Bagnato, and Howard Arenstein will file custom reports for old 1090, once known as "Radio 11."
July 23, 2003
Fire Hits 47
WMDT/Channel 47, the ABC affiliate in Salisbury, has been knocked off the air. The transmitter was damaged by a fire. The station's programming can still be seen via land line links to Eastern Shore cable systems. WMDT's digital signal on channel 53 as well as its "WB Delmarva" cable feed are unaffected by the fire damage.
July 22, 2003
Coleman To Sirius
Jeremy Coleman, former program director at WJFK-FM, becomes VP of "talk, information, and entertainment" at NYC-based Sirius Satellite Radio. Not all that long ago, Coleman moved to NYC (with former JFK-FM suit Ken Stevens) in a failed attempt to build an FM talk station based on some guys named Opie and Anthony.
July 22, 2003
Steve Allan Out At WASH
Steve Allan is out as program director at Clear Channel's adult contemporary WASH. But he will retain his like duties at co-owned oldies WBIG. Allan's replacement is said to be Bill Hess, a "top programmer" from CC's Providence cluster of radio stations. We've been hearing that CC's making some changes at DC's 97.1 following a less than impressive performance in the latest Arbitron ratings. A total format flip isn't really in the cards, we're being told. Maybe just a swing to something more musically intensive, a la CC's NYC and Richmond "lite" outlets. WASH jettisoned its morning man, Scott Brady, a few months ago.
July 21, 2003
PGC's 1st Again, TOP Jumps To 2nd
Once again urban WPGC-FM was in 1st place (up from winter's 2nd) in the spring Arbitron quarterly radio ratings for DC, out on 7/21. In the overall age 12+ numbers, all-news WTOP placed 2nd (up from 3rd). Adult urban WMMJ ranked 3rd (down from 1st), with adult urban WHUR 4th (up from 6th), urban WKYS 5th (down from 4th), classical WGMS 6th (down from 4th), news talk WMAL 7th (holding level), smooth jazz WJZW 8th (up from 9th), with a tie for 9th between country WMZQ (up from 13th) and oldies WBIG (up from 12th). Hot talk WJFK-FM was 11th (up from 14th), hot adult contemporary WRQX 12th (down from 8th), rhythmic contemporary WIHT 13th (down from 11th), adult contemporary WASH 14th (down from 9th) in a tie with rocker WWDC (up from 16th). Hot adult contemporary WWZZ/WWVZ placed 16th (up from 17th), with classic rock WARW 17th (down from 15th), sports talk WTEM 18th (holding steady), and a tie for 19th between religious WAVA and alternative rock WHFS (both holding steady).
July 19, 2003
11's News Director Says Goodbye
Channel 11/WBAL news director Margaret Cronan has resigned. After two years at the Hearst-Argyle station, Cronan says she wants to return to Philadelphia where she has a boyfriend and other personal ties. During her tenure, Channel 11 often beat CBS's Channel 13/WJZ, which had been the perennial Charm City TV news leader.
July 17, 2003
WMDO To Move To 47
DC's low-power Univision station WMDO will be soon moving from channel 30 to channel 47. According to a recent FCC filing. The station will have to make the move because Northern Virginia public TV station WNVT will be starting its digital service on channel 30.
July 16, 2003
Buddy Dean Dies
Buddy Deane died on Wednesday morning in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He was 78. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Deane hosted Channel 13/WJZ's dance party show, which was the model for the "Corny Collins Show" in John Waters' "Hairspray" movie and Broadway musical. A radio personality in his native Arkansas, Deane was hospitalized on 7/6 after suffering a stroke. Deane is said to have introduced Baltimore to early rock 'n' roll via WITH (AM 1230).
July 16, 2003
WNVT Wants To Become Digital Only
A few months ago, DCRTV reported that Northern Virginia public TV outlet Channel 53/WNVT (aka "MHz2") was exploring the possibility of shutting down its analog operation and going all-digital. A few weeks ago, the station's analog signal went off the air. It's now being relayed via land lines to area cable systems. WNVT's owner, Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, has made a request to the FCC to allow it to "turn-in" its analog TV license for in favor of becoming a digital-only operation on channel 30. Shutting down the analog transmitter would allow WNVT to continue to lease revenue-producing space on its Independent Hill tower and save upwards of $400,000 in installation and construction costs, as well as $500,000 in operational costs over the next four years. By the way, if and when WNVT ignites its digital signal, channel 30's current occupant, Univision's low-powered WMDO, will have to move to a new channel.
July 10, 2003
Buchanan Injured In Car Crash
Channel 9/WUSA morning news anchor Mike Buchanan was injured in a car accident on 7/10. Attempting to avoid a deer, the vehicle he was driving hit a tree and then a utility pole at about 12:40 PM at the intersection of West Offutt Road and West Willard Road near Poolesville in upper Montgomery County. We hear that he was the car's sole occupant and was trapped for "quite some time." He needed to be "cut out" by Montgomery fire and rescue personnel. Buchanan was then flown to the trauma center at Suburban Hospital where he is said to be suffering from non-life threatening injuries. Including "a big knot on the head," according to one of his co-workers. At the time, he was heading to play golf with his son Doug, a reporter at Channel 9.
July 10, 2003
Ernie Fears Dies
Ernie Fears, general manager of ABC-owned WRQX in the late 1970s and early 1980s, died on Wednesday of heart disease. He was 71. Nicknamed "coach," Mr. Fears "broke down barriers and impacted the lives and careers of many broadcasters," according to an ABC Radio memo. "His most significant accomplishment involved the impact that he had helping hundreds of young people who had an interest in broadcasting, and until very recently he taught his passion for our business at Howard University." His son, also Ernie, is general sales manager at ABC's WMAL.
July 10, 2003
Benjamin Leaves HFS
Robert Benjamin is no longer program director of alt rocker WHFS. He's heading to SF, where former HFSer Kathryn Lauren now works at an alt rocker. Infinity DC radio czar Michael Hughes tells trade pub Radio And Records: "Due to Robert's family having been on the west coast for the past nine months and a number of other factors, including his personal and professional goals, we agreed the timing was right to separate and for Robert to pursue other opportunities." Benjamin had been HFS for a decade, overseeing the station's tranformation from a broad-based progressive-ish rocker to one that narrowly targets teenage males. While HFS does pretty well in the money making department and in its Charm City numbers, for the past few years it's faced a major ratings slump in the DC market, sometimes ranking outside the top 20, below gospel WPGC-AM or religious talk WAVA.
July 7, 2003
New Calls For 1600
Rockville's 1600 AM is now WLXE, with the station's WKDM calls being restored to MultiCultural's co-owned 1380 AM in NYC (now Russian programming). The WKDM calls used to be on the NYC station (then brokered ethnic) until a few years ago when it was bought by Mega and became WNNY (Spanish news talk). Mega then moved the WKDM calls to its then co-owned 1600 in Rockville (Spanish talk and music), which used to sport the WINX calls (back when it was Anglo oldies). Then Mega sold the Rockville station to MultiCultural (with it picking up Korean talk and music) and flipped the NYC station to WLXE (with Mexican tunes), which was eventually also sold to MultiCultural, which used to own it before Mega did.
July 3, 2003
Walter Replaces Buchanan
As expected, Channel 9/ WUSA has selected Mike Walter to replace Mike Buchanan on its 5 AM to 7 AM newscast. He'll join current AM anchor Andrea Roane. However, Walter will not co-anchor the 9 AM newscast as Buchanan did; Roane will do that solo. For the past three years, Walter's been a reporter with "USA Today Live," which produces features for Gannett's 22 TV stations, including WUSA. Before that, he was a morning anchor at Tampa's WFLA and Kansas City's WDAF. Buchanan will now do features reports for WUSA. His contract expires at the end of 2003. Also, WUSA reporter Bruce Leshan will be shifted to the station's new 7 PM newscast (which launches in September). He'll do a daily "cover story" segment.
July 3, 2003
Missing Gear At 7 Leads To Arrest
The Washington Times reports that "Arlington County police arrested James Hillen, a sports producer at WJLA, in connection with the recent disappearances of editing equipment from the Rosslyn-based station. Police estimate the value of the equipment is about $100,000. Police said they nabbed Mr. Hillen, 25, when they found him fencing the equipment at online auction house EBay." In April, longtime news producer Jim Shaefer was suspended after the gear went missing. Staffers said he was treated unfairly because he wasn't responsible for the disappearances. In June, he resigned from WJLA.
June 20, 2003
Buchanan To Leave 9's Morning News
Channel 9/WUSA anchor Mike Buchanan will be leaving the Gannett station's 5 AM, 6 AM, and 9 AM newscasts. The move, scheduled to happen this summer, will end Buchanan's 14-year partnership with Andrea Roane. The two used to anchor the station's now defunct 4 PM newscast. "I have mixed emotions. The morning show is a winner, but I need to get some sleep," he told the Washington Times. May's ratings showed 9's morning newscast slipping to 3rd place, behind Channels 4 and 5. Buchanan's contract expires in December but he hopes to renew it. He's been with the station since 1970. His son, Doug, is a reporter for WUSA.
June 19, 2003
PGC, POC Again Rule Radio Roost
No big changes in the radio Arbitrends for the DC and Baltimore markets, released on 6/19. In the overall age 12+ demo, 1st place in DC, as usual, went to urban WPGC-FM. Adult urban WMMJ was 2nd, all-news WTOP 3rd, classical WGMS 4th, adult urban WHUR 5th, urban WKYS 6th, news talk WMAL 7th, and hot adult contemporary WRQX 8th. Hot talk WJFK-FM jumped two notches to land at 9th, in a tie with smooth jazz WJZW. The best Clear Channel could do was country WMZQ's 11th place. Oldies WBIG was 12th, with contemporary WIHT falling three places to 13th. Adult contemporary WASH was 14th, rocker WWDC 15th, hot adult contemporary WWZZ/WWVZ 16th, classic rock WARW 17th, sports talk WTEM 18th, with alternative rock WHFS and country WFRE tied for 19th. Up in Baltimore, country WPOC again placed 1st in the age 12+ numbers. Urban WERQ was 2nd, news talk WBAL-AM 3rd, adult urban WWIN-FM 4th, adult contemporary WLIF 5th, hot adult contemporary WWMX 6th, oldies WQSR 7th, rocker WIYY 8th, alternative rock WHFS 9th, and hot talk WXYV 10th. Talker WCBM placed 11th, with religious WCAO and classic rock WXFB tied for 12th. Other Charm City station numbers: adult rock WZBA 14th, nostalgic WWLG 16th, and religious WRBS 17th. Down in Fredericksburg, country WFLS again placed 1st with hot adult contemporary WBQB in 2nd.
June 18, 2003
Virgin To NYC
WHFS afternoon guy Tim Virgin heads to NYC to do afternoons on Infinity's co-owned contemporary WNEW with MTVer Alison Stewart. The gig starts 7/4.
June 18, 2003
Larry Douglas Dies
Larry Douglas, longtime technical director for ABC's "Nightline," has died. Douglas established technical procedures and oversaw their performance in the "Nightline" control room at the ABC News Washington bureau.
June 17, 2003
Former Channel 9 Weatherman Charlie Gertz Dies
Charlie Gertz, who did the weather from 1969 to 1972 on Channel 9, back when it was Washington Post-owned WTOP-TV, has died. He passed away on Friday (6/13) at the Bethesda Naval Hospital after suffering a stroke. The 20-year Navy veteran was 76. Mr. Gertz was dubbed Channel 9's "Fearless Forecaster." From 1978 to 1992, he did the weather at WYFF-TV in Greenville SC.
June 12, 2003
WGOP Tower Plan Hits Hurdle
The latest on plans to move WGOP and WDMV to a transmission site in northern Montgomery County is in the Montgomery Gazette. A proposal to build a series of radio towers on Bethesda Church Road in Damascus hit a hurdle when the county planning board voted to restrict the future use of the property. "The land is owned by Sima Birach, president of Elijah Broadcasting of Southfield, Mich., and Michael Winn, who lives in an existing house on a 8.6 acre lot. A home can also be built on a 5.6-acre lot. The remaining 78 acres must return to the planning board for approval of anything other than agricultural buildings. Elijah Broadcasting wants to transmit its two Washington area stations, WDMV 540 AM and WGOP 700 AM, from the seven radio towers, which would range in height from 279 to 411 feet, according to Elijah's filings with the Federal Communications Commission," the Gazette adds. WGOP is currently located in the Frederick County community of Walkersville. WDMV is in the Eastern Shore town of Pocomoke City.
June 9, 2003
WTTG Dominates Emmys
Fox's Channel 5/WTTG sent in the most nominations and, golly gee, took home the most statues at the local Emmy award ceremony on Saturday evening. Including the one for best newscast in a "large market." Tracey Neale was selected as best news anchor. Again. And Tom Sater was there to pick up his statue as best weathercaster. For the fourth year in a row. There were no nominations for best sports anchor, but NBC's Channel 4/WRC did take the trophy for best sportscast. Hearst's Channel 11/WBAL was selected for the best "medium market" newscast. "But the night belonged to WTTG. News Director Katherine Green, thanked profusely throughout the night in speeches by staff members accepting their awards, finally got her chance when accepting the award for best continuing coverage, of last fall's sniper attacks," reports the Washington Post. Among top Baltimore area stations, MPT won nine prizes, while WBFF took home four. WBAL-TV took three and WJZ two.
June 3, 2003
50 Big Ones For Johnny Dark
WBIG personality Johnny Dark just celebrated his 50th big year in the radio biz. He currently hosts 100.3's "Top 10 At 10" show weeknights and the station's live all-request show on Saturday evenings. His contemporary music radio career includes a really big event in 1964 - when he introduced The Beatles, who were on stage in the USA for the first time. Dark started his radio days in 1953 at WHIL in Boston. In the late 1950s he moved south, to Arlington's WEAM (1390 AM), one of the DC area's legendary "top 40" stations. After a short stint back in Boston, in the early 1960s he headed to Baltimore's also legendary "top 40" outlet WCAO (600 AM). And then back to WEAM and again back to WCAO. Dark worked at Baltimore's WWMX in the early 1990s before joining WBIG.
May 27, 2003
WASH Boots Brady, Adler To Mornings
DCRTV hears that, as of Monday, WASH morning man Scott Brady (left) is a gonner. He's been at the Clear Channel adult contemporary station for seven-ish years. Dave Adler will be running 97.1's morning show on an "interim basis," as the search for a new morning host and assistant program director takes place. By the way, DCRTV ran rumors of such a move about six-ish months ago. Adler used to do mornings at CC's oldies WBIG, but he got bounced last spring-ish when "Murphy And Cash" moved over from CC's country WMZQ. Brady's been doing mornings at WASH since the late-ish summer of 2001.
May 27, 2003
John Allen Dies
John Clayton Allen III, 57, who once hosted a morning radio show on DC's WNTR, died of cancer on 5/24 at his home in Bethesda. Most recently, he'd worked in the public affairs department at the Administration For Children And Families within the Department Of Health And Human Services. Mr. Allen was a child actor in the 1950s, appearing on "I Love Lucy."
May 23, 2003
9 To Launch 7 PM News With McGinty
Channel 9/WUSA plans to start a half-hour 7 PM newscast in September and has hired Derek McGinty to anchor it. McGinty left Channel 7/WJLA in 2001 to co-anchor ABC's overnight "World News Now." Before that, he hosted a talk show on WAMU (88.5 FM), which was also carried on National Public Radio. WUSA is moving the current 7 PM occupant, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," to 4 PM, and is picking up "Inside Edition" for 4:30, replacing the low-rated "Montel."
May 21, 2003
4 Leads DC Sweeps, Again
Once again, Channel 4/WRC leads the key May ratings period, although it's slumping a bit in the afternoon and early evening. Some stats. 5 AM to 7 AM: WRC/4 news is 1st (up 22 percent from last year), WUSA/9 news is 2nd (down 6 percent), WJLA/7 news is 3rd (down 7 percent), WTTG/5 news is 4th (up 22 percent). 5 PM: WRC news 1st (down 13 percent), WJLA news 2nd (up 8 percent), WUSA news 3rd (down 6 percent), WTTG news 4th (down 37 percent from last May when it aired "Judge Judy"). 6 PM: WRC news 1st (down 17 percent), WUSA news 2nd (up 3 percent), WJLA news 3rd (up 8 percent), WTTG "Simpsons" 4th. Late news: WRC 1st (up 1 percent), WTTG 2nd (up 12 percent), WUSA 3rd (up 14 percent), WJLA 4th (up 5 percent).
May 20, 2003
Press Leaves WMAL
Bill Press, the lone dyed-in-the-wool liberal at news talker WMAL, is a gonner. He's saying adios to the "Morning News." We're being told that it's Press's decision. We hear that Press wants to spend more time on his various national TV stuff like co-hosting an MSNBC show. He'll still be heard "occasionally" on ABC-owned MAL. Press joined MAL's morning show last year, after Tim Brant left.
May 14, 2003
Channel 53 Goes Off The Air
Northern Virginia public TV station Channel 53/WNVT has gone off the air until September, while it installs new transmission gear for its digital broadcasts. And the question remains - will the station ever resurrect its analog signal on Channel 53 or will it become a "digital only" operation on its digital signal allocation of Channel 30? Area cable subscribers will continue to see WNVT (aka "MHz2") during the summer, via land line connections from the station's Merrifield studios. WNVT "signs on" most days at 4 PM, and broadcasts mainly educational and music programming. It's owned by Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, which also operates Channel 56/WNVC ("MHz"), which primarily airs foreign language programming. WNVT's transmitter is at Independent Hill in Prince William County. By the way, once WNVT starts its digital operations on Channel 30, low-powered Univision station WMDO will have to move to a new channel.
May 12, 2003
"On Your Side" Returns To 7
Channel 7 brings back its "Seven On Your Side" consumer report segment. The long-running feature was canned a while back, as was the host, former WJLA news anchor Paul Berry (who is now heard on WTNT radio). The station's new consumer reporter will be new arrival Ross McLaughlin.
May 12, 2003
This weekend, WASH alums held a reunion at the Monocle Restaurant on Capitol Hill. The occasion celebrated the Metromedia Broadcasting "glory years" from 1968 to 1983, and the emergence of adult contemporary WASH as perhaps the first full-service stand-alone FM to achieve such dominance in a major market. Most of the legendary airstaff still work in the area. Attending: Greg Cole, Craig Windom, Bill McClosky, Bob Hughes, Long John Dowling, Ed Rodriguez, Joe Connolly, Charlie Carson, Bob Duckman, Jerry Clark, Walt Starling, Barton Eckert, Josh Cohen, Mike Kavanagh, Ed Tobias, Dick Uliano, Bob Raiford, Paul Anthony, and, by telephone hookup, the one and only Eddie Gallaher. The reunion was organized by former managers Bill and Sue Dalton, and also included former GM's Sid Abel and Susan Breakefield, and the former sales, engineering, and office staff. Unable to attend: Al Roker, Jeff Beauchamp, Jim Lashley, Bob Levey, and former intern Katie Couric.
May 12, 2003
Sam Lacy Dies
From the Baltimore Sun: "Sam Lacy, a Baltimore sportswriter whose crusade for integration rattled the cage of big league baseball and helped erase the game's color line more than a half-century ago, died Thursday of heart and kidney failure at Washington Hospital Center in Washington DC. He was 99."
May 9, 2003
WJAL Pushes For Cable Carriage In DC Area
Might you soon be seeing the home shopping and infomercial programming of Hagerstown's Channel 68/WJAL on your DC area cable system? Probably. We hear that 68's owner, Entravision, is pushing the FCC to enforce its "must carry" rules to apply to all cable TV systems in the DC area. We also hear that even though most DC area cable systems can't get even pick up the signal of Channel 68 at their headends, if Entravision can create a fiber relay of the signal or offer it via its digital allocation (on channel 12) in the DC area, the various Comcast systems, as well as Cox's Fairfax system, would be required to make room for the signal on their basic tier. By some definitions, Hagerstown is considered to be part of the DC TV market. By the way, Entravision also has an ownership stake in two DC area Spanish stations, full-power Channel 14/WFDC in Arlington (which broadcasts Telefutura) and low-power Channel 30/WMDO (a Univision station) in DC. Most DC area cable systems already carry both of those signals.
May 8, 2003
Donovan Leaves 4
Mary Ellen Donovan is out as managing news editor at Channel 4/WRC. We hear that she wants to take some time off to be with her family. A DC area native, Donovan's been at WRC for the past five years, and has also worked at Channels 7 and 9.
May 8, 2003
Former XM Satellite Radio director of comedy programming Mark Parenteau has been indicted on charges that he and another man had lured teenage boys to a DC home during a two-year period and plied them with money, marijuana, and alcohol in exchange for sex. According to the Washington Post, the 18-count indictment handed up by a DC Superior Court grand jury accused Parenteau, 53, of the 1400 block of Swann Street NW, and Thomas Grady Jr., 44, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, of sexual abuse, prostitution, and other crimes. Parenteau was dismissed by XM shortly after his arrest in August 2002. He and Grady allegedly paid a 17-year-old to bring boys (some as young as 14) to their home. Kathleen Voelker, an attorney for Parenteau, said he has been falsely accused, the Post adds. Before joining XM, Parenteau worked at WBCN/Boston and WAXQ/NYC, both rock stations.
May 2, 2003
WHAG Swings To Sinatra
Hagerstown's WHAG (1410 AM) has dropped the news talk format it's offered for 20-plus years in favor of adult popular standards. The Dame Broadcasting-owned station now plugs into the satellite feed of "Music Of Your Life," joining co-owned WCHA (800 AM) in nearby Chambersburg PA. WHAG will still feature a live morning show as well as Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball and the ESPN "Game On The Week." A Dame suits says that the station's lowish ratings didn't justify the more expensive news talk format.
April 30, 2003
Joe Witte Joins 7
Channel 7/WJLA has hired a new weekend meteorologist. It's Joe Witte who comes from CNBC as well as WNBC-TV in NYC and NBC's "News At Sunrise" and "Sunday Today." "With Doug Hill on weeknights and Joe Witte on weekends, ABC7 will have one of the strongest weather teams in the country," says JLA VP/news Bill Lord.
April 29, 2003
John Butler Gone From MAL
John Butler has resigned his post as program director/operations manager at ABC news talker WMAL. Apparently, suits at parent ABC weren't very pleased with the station's recent ratings performance in the "pre-noon" period - with the recently revamped "Morning News" program (which saw the addition of Jane Norris and Bill Press), as well as Sam Donaldson and Dr. Laura Schlessinger's numbers. So, look for changes. Also, we hear that management is pretty much satisfied with the performance of the afternoon and early evening programming - nationally syndicated righties Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, both of whom saw upticks in the latest Arbitrons. Butler's been a newscaster for ABC Radio since 1981. He later joined WMAL as its news director, and in 1998 was promoted to the PD/OM position.
April 29, 2003
7 Gets Yet Another News Director
Jamie Foster is Channel 7/WJLA's latest news director. The Allbritton station's third in four years. Foster comes from WFAA in Dallas where he's an executive news producer. He starts at the chronically news ratings-starved WJLA in June. Foster was picked by 7's vice-president of news Bill Lord, who joined the DC ABC affiliate and sister NewsChannel 8 in February. Foster replaces Steve Hammel, who was jettisoned in November 2002. The Post adds that this is the second time Lord has hired Foster. While news director at KNBC in LA, Lord signed Foster as producer of the 5 PM news, and he soon became assistant news director. Foster has also worked at WSVN in Miami.
April 25, 2003
1260 To Stay With CNN
Clear Channel plans to continue the relay of CNN Headline News on WWRC (1260 AM). In mid-March, the station dropped most of its syndicated talk line-up (Jim Bohannon, Jim Kramer, Bloomberg Business News, The Dolans) for CNN's Iraq war news coverage. Now, because of "positive listener response," CC plans to keep the news output coming despite the decrease of war-related news.
April 24, 2003
JLA Brings Times Square To Rosslyn
Nightlife shy Rosslyn, that cluster of office buildings just across the Key Bridge in Arlington, will soon get an oversized screen featuring the animated images of Doug Hill, Maureen Bunyan, and Peter Jennings, as well as other news programming from ABC affiliate Channel 7/WJLA and co-owned NewsChannel 8. It's being called "a touch of Times Square." The 9-by-12-foot screen, as well as a breaking news ticker, will be located just outside WJLA's new studio/office facilities, which are in one of the 31-story twin towers that used to house USA Today and the headquarters of Gannett (both now at Tysons Corner). Allbritton-owned WJLA moved from DC to Virginia last year.
April 23, 2003
MMJ, POC Top Radio Ratings
Winter Arbitrons for DC. While TOP was down a bit from the sniper coverage of fall, the beginning of Iraq war was good for the news station. Rush and Sean Hannity are on an upswing at MAL, but still some work needed for the morning show. MMJ sees a huge jump in PM drive. Don and Mike do well on JFK-FM, but still got beat by MMJ and TOP. JFK posts overall losses from fall and the previous winter book. And a solid performance for ARW, plus a nice uptick for the Junks on HFS. And now the numbers. Full week, age 12+: 1. urban adult WMMJ, 2. urban WPGC-FM, 3. news WTOP, 4. classical WGMS and urban WKYS, 6. urban adult WHUR, 7. news talk WMAL, 8. hot adult contemporary WRQX, 9. smooth jazz WJZW and adult contemporary WASH, 11. rhythmic contemporary WIHT, 12. oldies WBIG, 13. country WMZQ, 14. hot talk WJFK-FM, 15. classic rock WARW, 16. rock WWDC, 17. Spanish contemporary WBZS/WBPS, 18. hot adult contemporary WWZZ/WWVZ, 19. sports talk WTEM, 20. religious talk WAVA and alternative rock WHFS. In Baltimore, full week, age 12+: 1. country WPOC, 2. urban WERQ, 3. adult contemporary WLIF, 4. urban adult WWIN-FM, 5. news talk WBAL, 6. hot adult contemporary WWMX, 7. urban (flipped to talk) WXYV, 8. rock WIYY, 9. oldies WQSR, 10. alternative rock WHFS, 11. gospel WCAO, 12. talk WCBM and adult rock WZBA, 14. classic rock WXFB, 15. nostalgic WWLG. Down in Fredericksburg, full week, age 12+: 1. country WFLS, 2. hot adult contemporary WBQB, 3. news WTOP, 4. alternative rock WYSK, 5. hot talk WJFK-FM, 6. urban WPGC-FM and classic rock WWUZ, 8. nostalgic WFVA, 9. smooth jazz WJZW, 10. urban WKYS.
April 19, 2003
Barnd Returns To 45
Jeff Barnd will rejoin Channel 45/WBFF as its main news anchor. Barnd, who'd been working at a Boston TV station, had been at WBFF from 1991 to 1995. He replaces Tony Harris, who left for an Atlanta TV station a short while ago. Barnd will be seen on two newscasts - 45's 10 PM show as well as sister station Channel 54/WNUV's 6:30 PM edition.
April 18, 2003
Stovall Returns To 11
DCRTV has been reporting rumblings that Stan Stovall is returning to the Charm City's airwaves - as a morning news anchor at Channel 11/WBAL. Stovall will co-anchor the morning newscast. He'll replace Barry Simms, who moves to the station's investigative unit. Stovall had worked at Channel 11 in the late 1970s and early 1980s before leaving for stints in St. Louis and Philadelphia. He returned to Baltimore via Channel 2/WMAR, where he anchored the news from 1989 until his contract wasn't renewed in late 2001.
April 16, 2003
9 Hires Weekend Sports Anchor
Channel 9/WUSA has hired Levan Reid (left) as its weekend sports anchor. He replaces the recently canned Ken Mease. Reid comes from the Fox station in Boston. He starts in June. Still no word on the future of Steve Davis, who, in March, was demoted from 9's main weekday sports anchor position to a weekend gig.
April 16, 2003
92Q's Ms. Toni Dies
"Radio personality and nationally known recording artist Ms. Toni is dead." So reports urbaninsite.com. "Baltimore native Tony Boston was a Baltimore City housing authority employee by day, but at night transformed into the hip hop transvestite club performer known for his 1994 hit, 'How U Gonna Carry It, Whazup Whazup.' Ms. Toni would go on to be the morning radio sidekick of announcers Randy Dennis and Frank Ski at WERQ-FM (92Q). His song was a club favorite nationwide receiving accolades from artists like Sean 'P-Diddy' Combs and Michael Jackson. Boston died Friday from complications from an automobile accident two years ago. He was 37."
April 8, 2003
George Baumann Dies
Channel 13/WJZ reporter and anchor George Baumann has died at age 74. He suffered a heart attack Monday after undergoing angioplasty the previous week to repair coronary artery blockage. Mr. Baumann spent five decades on Charm City's airwaves. A Baltimore native, he had been a radio personality on the old WBMD and WFBR during the 1950s. Mr. Baumann joined Channel 13 in 1960, focusing on political news until his retirement in 1998.
April 2, 2003
Mega To Import Programming For 92.7 & 94.3
DCRTV hears that as part of a budget cutting move, Silver Spring's Mega Communications may be pulling the plug on local programming at its two DC area FMers in favor of relaying the signal from a Spanish station it owns in the Orlando market. The move will happen by the end of April, we're told. It will affect Prince Frederick's WBZS (92.7 FM) and Warrenton's WBPS (94.3 FM). For the past few years, those two stations have been airing the same Spanish adult contemporary programming, which has come from Mega's studios in the old WGAY "World Building" in Silver Spring. Previously, WBZS had a Spanish urban contemporary format, with WBPS (then WPLC-FM) running Spanish "amor" love songs. Says our source: "It seems odd that Mega 92.7/94.3 would abandon local programming considering their latest Arbitron accomplishment. Would WHFS or Z104 consider Spanish programming? DC could easily represent $6 to 8 million in revenue." WBZS/WBPS ranked a record high 19th place in the latest radio ratings round-up.
April 1, 2003
PLC Goes Righty Talk
On 4/1, Silver Spring's 1050 AM, WPLC, which has been off the air the past few weeks, assumed a talk format with the likes of conservative Oliver North. North, who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate from Virginia in the mid-1990s, hasn't been regularly heard on DC area radio since WWRC, then on 980 AM, dumped its local talk format many moons ago. Air Time Media, in a deal with the Genesis Communications Network, will operate the former Spanish station, which Metro Radio recently bought from Mega. Besides North in afternoons, the line-up includes Doug Stephan's "Good Day" show in mornings. Also: Alex Jones, and the "Power Hour" with Joyce Riley and Dave Von Kleinst.
March 31, 2003
810 Is Sold, Goes Spanish
WYRE (810 AM) in Annapolis dropped its English eclectic music format in favor of Spanish tunes. It's calling itself "Latino 810." We also hear that the locally-owned station has been sold.
March 24, 2003
Comcast, Radio One Pick Head For BET Rival
Johnathan Rodgers, former president of Discovery Communications' US networks, has been selected as the head of the new Comcast-Radio One cable TV network that will rival Viacom's Black Entertainment Television. Radio One, Discovery, and BET are based in the DC area; Comcast in Philadelphia. The new black-oriented network is slated to start later this year or early next. Its name will be chosen in a contest to be held by Radio One's radio stations. Locally, Radio One owns WKYS, WMMJ, WERQ, WWIN FM/AM, WYCB, WOL, and WOLB. Comcast owns many cable TV systems in the DC/Baltimore area.
March 21, 2003
Marc Anthony Gone From 99.5
Marc Anthony leaves Clear Channel's rhythmic contemporary WIHT, Hot 99.5. He'd been doing the evening shift. Word is that he didn't jump, he was pushed.
March 19, 2003
TOP Is DC Radio's Top Money Machine
WTOP raked in the most ad dollars in 2002, according to estimated stats for the DC radio market provided by BIA Financial Network, which keeps an eye on the profitability of broadcast outlets. The Bonneville all-news station generated $30.5 million in advertising revenue last year. Second place went to Infinity's hot talk (and Redskins flagship) WJFK-FM with $28.4 million. Co-owned urban contemporary WPGC-FM took 3rd place with $28.2 million. ABC's hot adult contemporary WRQX placed 4th with $23.4 million. Radio One's adult urban WMMJ ranked 5th with $20.5 million. Clear Channel's top local generator was oldies WBIG, in 6th place with $20.1 million. Radio One's urban WKYS ranked 7th with $20 million. Rounding out the top 10 - Clear Channel's adult contemporary WASH with $19.4 million at 8th, Howard University's adult urban WHUR with $19 million at 9th, and Clear Channel's country WMZQ at 10th with $18.8 million. The rest: CC rocker WWDC $17 million, ABC's news talk WMAL $14.8 million, ABC's smooth jazz WJZW $12.7 million, Infinity alt rocker WHFS $12.5 million, CC rhythmic contemporary WIHT $12 million, Infinity classic rocker WARW $10.6 million, Bonneville's classical WGMS $9.4 million, CC sports talker WTEM $7.6 million, Salem's religious WAVA $6.5 million, and Bonneville's modern rockish adult contemporary WWZZ/WWVZ $6.4 million.
March 19, 2003
Rudin Sues 5
From the Washington Times: "WTTG-TV (Channel 5) substitute weatherman Steve Rudin is suing his bosses, claiming they unfairly passed him over for a permanent gig forecasting on the station's new 5 PM newscast. The lawsuit was filed March 4 in DC Superior Court. In the complaint, Mr. Rudin claims the station violated the DC Human Rights Act when it gave the 5 PM forecasting job to Gwen Tolbart, a black woman. Mr. Rudin is white. The complaint asks the court to force WTTG to make Mr. Rudin a full-time forecaster on the 5 PM newscast, with back pay and benefits. It also seeks unspecified 'general and special damages' and 'punitive damages.' Mr. Rudin's attorney, James. M. Eisenmann, and WTTG managers declined comment."
March 13, 2003
Herzog Takes Top Sports Spot At 9
Veteran sportscaster (and radio voice of the Redskins) Frank Herzog becomes Channel 9/WUSA's top sports anchor. He replaces Steve Davis, who joined 9 in September 2002 from Baltimore's Channel 45/WBFF. Davis, who apparently never jelled with other staffers at the station, moves to weekend sports anchoring. Herzog's been at 9 for 30-ish years. He, most recently, handled morning sports duties and occasionally did some morning news anchoring. Herzog left 9 in 1983 to become sports director at Channel 7/WJLA, and returned to WUSA in 1992. It appears that WUSA sports anchor and 17-year vet Ken Mease, who had been handling weekend duties, is the odd man out in this latest game of musical chairs. The word is that he's been discharged - to the tune of more than $150,000 in severance, thanks to his union contract.
March 12, 2003
WBIS Looks For New XMTR Site(s)
DCRTV tech guru Dave Loudin tells us that Nations Radio, the owner of business news/talk WBIS (1190 AM) in Annapolis, has had a construction permit to build a new 50,000-watt daytime facility at a landfill on the southern tip of Baltimore City since 1999. However, unspecified environmental concerns preclude using that site, so WBIS has applied for and gotten the permit to build a 50,000-watt four-tower array at the Dover Road landfill operated by Anne Arundel County. WBIS will have to hurry, Dave adds, since the station will lose the lease for its existing transmitter site this fall. Nations Radio is seeking a separate night signal site that requires changing its community of license to Garrison.
March 11, 2003
66 Snags Orioles For DC
Pax's Channel 66/WPXW will air 56 Baltimore Orioles games during the 2003 season. The broadcast schedule kicks off 3/31 when O's take on the Cleveland Indians. Tribune's Channel 50/WBDC had been the Orioles' TV affiliate for the DC market during the 2002 season. Viacom/CBS's Channel 13/WJZ and Sinclair-operated Channel 54/WNUV will again be carrying Orioles broadcast games in the Baltimore market. Comcast SportsNet is the team's cable affiliate, with some games airing on Allbritton's NewsChannel 8 in the DC area and Comcast's CN8 in the Baltimore area.
March 11, 2003
Brett Haber Joins 104
The new morning show co-host at Bonneville's 104, WWZZ/WWVZ, is going to be former Channel 5 sports anchor Brett Haber. Haber, who once co-hosted DC101's morning show with Elliot Segal, went back to (his native) NYC in 2000 to sports anchor on the CBS station there (with former Channel 9er Warner Wolf). But he recently lost that gig. Last we heard (late last year), he was still under contract to CBS doing sports duties, but there have been rumblings that he might like to return to the DC area. Haber will continue doing sports work for CBS and other media groups on the weekends. But, on weekday mornings he'll be partnered with current 104 morning co-host Erin. Erin's old partner, Dylan, has been jettisoned. Also, we're getting a reaffirmation that 104's format will not change, although the rockish nature of the modern rockish adult contemporary music playlist will be reinforced.
March 10, 2003
Stern Plus D&M Move To 105.7, 1300 Goes Sports
Howard Stern did his expected Baltimore flipperooni, going from 1300 to the new "Live 105.7." Frankly, Howie sounded a bit less than enthusiastic when he made the announcement on his Monday show about his new Baltimore FM radio home - while noting that he was on an Infinity co-owned AMer for "nine years." However, he didn't mention his somewhat lackluster Charm City ratings during that long period. WJFK-AM is now ESPN-based sports talk as "AM 1300 The Jock - All Sports, All The Time." It looks like JFK-AM's midday "Out To Lunch With Bill And Thrill" show is also moving to 105.7, along with "Don And Mike" for PM drive. Tom Leykis will air during 105.7's evenings, with "Coast To Coast" with George Noory in overnights. "Those Sports Guys" remain in 1300's evening slot. Hip-hop/rap had aired on 105.7 since September 2001, when oldies WQSR moved from the frequency to 102.7.
March 7, 2003
New News Director At 2
Channel 2 has a new news director. It's Andrea Parquet Taylor. She comes from Scripps' co-owned WXYZ-TV in Detroit, and before that WRAL-TV in Raleigh. Staci Feger-Childers left WMAR in January after her two-year stint failed to boost the station from its long-time third place news position.
March 4, 2003
13 Wins Baltimore Sweeps
From the Baltimore Sun: "Two strategic shifts at (Channel 13) WJZ-TV have sent the station's ratings surging above those of rival (Channel 11) WBAL-TV. Last fall, WJZ launched the city's first 4 p.m. news show and adopted a more serious tone throughout all of its newscasts. Now the early news program beats out WBAL's perennial winner, Oprah Winfrey's syndicated talk show, and boosts ratings for WJZ's evening news shows by capturing viewers who tune in early."
March 4, 2003
WNVT Might Become Digital Only
Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, which owns Northern Virginia public TV stations Channel 56/WNVC (MHz) and Channel 53/WNVT (MHz2), along with PBS stations in Richmond and Charlottesville, has just asked the FCC to extend the build-out of its digital TV services. And one scenario that Commonwealth is proposing calls for WNVT to completely cease analog operations on channel 53 and become a digital-only service via its digital allocation on channel 30.
March 1, 2003
Former Channel 5 Anchor Dies
From the Washington Post: "Larry Bryant, 53, a native of Washington who was a reporter, producer and anchor for WTTG-TV in the 1970s and host of the program 'Black News,' died of a heart attack Feb. 20 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York while on a business trip. He lived in Canoga Park, California."
February 26, 2003
Channel 5 Wins Late News Crown
With a little help from the Fox network's "Joe Millionaire" and "American Idol," Channel 5/WTTG received the late evening news crown for the February ratings "sweeps." According to the Washington Times, the Fox-owned station, which is known for its sensationalist slant, posted a 59 percent hike and attracted an average nightly 204,000 households for its 10 PM 'cast. Channel 4/WRC's 11 PM news attracted 191,000 households, a 7 percent rise since February 2002. Channel 9/WUSA snagged 164,000, up 59 percent, with Channel 7/WJLA netting 114,000, a 30 percent jump. However, in other time periods WTTG's newscasts didn't fare as well. At 5 PM, WRC was 1st, WUSA 2nd, WJLA 3rd, and WTTG 4th. At 6 PM, WRC was 1st, WJLA 2nd, WTTG's "Simpsons" 3rd, and WUSA 4th. During the 5 AM to 7 AM period, WRC was 1st, WUSA 2nd, WJLA 3rd, and WTTG 4th.
February 25, 2003
Kitzmiller To WAGE, Draisey Leaves
Paul Draisey is leaving "Good Morning Loudoun" at Leesburg's WAGE (1200 AM). Ron Kitzmiller, formerly of Frederick's WFMD (930 AM), will be taking his place. He'll be co-hosting with Draisey this week, with Kitzmiller taking over the AM drive slot on Monday, 3/3. Draisey says that he's planning to focus on his own ad/PR agency and other non-radio business ventures. He tells us: "I will not be going to another station. I just need to slow down the all-day pace from 3:30 AM to 7 PM at night." Draisey's been at WAGE since 1971, when he was only 14.
February 22, 2003
Chikage To Boston
Channel 4/WRC weekend weather person Chikage Windler moves to Boston to be a meteorologist for NBC affiliate WHDH.
February 21, 2003
Fire At 2
The fire alarms went off at the Baltimore studios of WMAR/Channel 2 at 5:25 PM on Friday causing the building to be evacuated. For about 20 minutes the station ran an ID graphic. At about 5:45, the station's evening newscast resumed. News anchors said that a car in WMAR's parking lot was on fire and smoke from the blaze entered the building via an air intake vent. Haze filled the structure's second floor causing the alarm and sprinkler system to go off, forcing an evacuation. Police and fire officials quickly OKed the safety of the studios and the station's staff returned.
February 20, 2003
Stevens, Coleman Leave WJFK
WJFK-FM suits, GM Ken Stevens and PD Jeremy Coleman, have been officially given their walking papers by Infinity. The two, who had also been in charge of NYC hot talker WNEW-FM, had been on suspension since shortly after the Opie and Anthony sex-in-a-church stunt last summer. They had maintained offices at the Fairfax hot talker for "appearance" sake since the O&A debacle, but their spaces are now vacant. Alan Leinwand is JFK-FM's "acting" GM, with Jason Veazey serving as the station's "acting" OM/PD. WNEW dropped its talk format a few weeks ago and is playing current hit music while everyone waits for an entertainment-based talk/music format to debut.
February 19, 2003
4's Chopper Intercepted By F-15
CNN reports: "An unresponsive news helicopter in the restricted airspace around the nation's capital prompted a security scramble Wednesday by an Air Force F-15 and a US Customs Black Hawk helicopter, which intercepted the chopper over suburban Maryland. The helicopter - owned by local TV station WRC - was flying over the traffic-clogged Interstate 270 in suburban Maryland north of Washington and failed to respond to queries by radio from military crews patrolling the area, according Air Force Gen. John Jumper. Jumper, who is the Air Force chief of staff, and Secretary Of The Air Force James Roche were taking questions on a live radio call-in show when two drivers on cell phones called to report seeing the unusual movements of aircraft. Air Force officials said he North American Aerospace Command scrambled the F-15 and Customs helicopter. The traffic helicopter was identified and found to pose no threat to the region. As part of the stepped-up combat air patrols over Washington, Air Force fighters patrol at high altitudes, rapidly covering a large territory, while the US Customs helicopters patrol closer to the ground and at slower speeds."
February 18, 2003
Shermon Brodey Dies
Shermon Brodey, 66, director of marketing communications for Arbitron for more than 20 years, died 2/6 at his home in Annapolis. He had a heart ailment and diabetes. According to the Post: "After moving to Washington in 1961, he was an announcer for radio station WASH-FM. He was senior editor of Broadcasting Magazine from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, and also was an announcer for the Washington Senators."
February 14, 2003
Shev Val Radio Vet Dies
David Stanley "Stan" Marsh, 68, died on 2/9 after several years of poor health. A Luray native and long-time resident, Mr. Marsh was a DJ at Harrisonburg's WKCY and at Luray's WLCC. Also, he owned a Luray electronics firm.
February 13, 2003
Parr Picks Replacement For Olivia
WKYS morning man Russ Parr has reportedly selected Alfreda as his new co-host. She used to be the midday personality at a Dallas urban radio station, and previously was paired with Parr when he was based in Dallas. Alfreda replaces Olivia Fox, who was given the boot by Radio One a couple of months ago. Parr's show is syndicated nationwide.
February 7, 2003
Smooth Sailing For New WWVZ Tower
No members of the public even bothered to show up at a hearing regarding a plan to build a new tower for WWVZ (103.9 FM) in the Frederick area. According to the Gazette, Bonneville wants to erect a 120-foot steel monopole to replace two 80-foot towers at the High Knob section of Gambrill State Park. One tower holds an antenna for the Maryland Department Of Natural Resources, which owns the site on Gambrill Park Road. The other tower holds an antenna for Bonneville's WWVZ, which relays the signal of the DC area's modern rockish contemporary formatted "104," WWZZ (104.1 FM). The Gazette says that Bonneville wants to build one taller, unpainted and unlit tower for both antennas because of safety concerns about its aging structure.
February 7, 2003
CSN Goes HD
Comcast SportsNet launches a high-definition cable channel and will begin production of local professional sports, including the Wizards, Capitals, and Orioles. The initial CSN-HD local schedule will feature 20 regular season professional contests, beginning 2/17 with a Wizards afternoon game against Toronto. If you have an HD set and an HD cable converter box, CSN-HD will be available on Comcast's channel 172 in the DC/Baltimore area. Some of Comcast's cable systems already carry the HD signals of area ABC, CBS, and NBC stations, as well as WETA/PBS, HBO, and Showtime. An NBA HD channel is being added.
February 7, 2003
Larry LeSueur Dies
Larry LeSueur, a former CBS News radio reporter who was the first person to broadcast from the US beachhead at Normandy on D-Day in 1944, died Wednesday at his home in Washington DC of Parkinson's Disease. He was 93. According to Radio And Records: "LeSueur began his journalism career in 1936 as a writer for the United Press and was hired by CBS's Edward R. Murrow shortly after World War II began. In a series called 'London After Dark,' LeSueur, Murrow and Eric Sevareid reported on the nighttime sights and sounds of London during the Nazi Blitz. LeSueur also was first to report the liberation of Paris and covered the liberation of the Dachau and Manthauson concentration camps. LeSueur was later a CBS White House correspondent and was assigned to the United Nations before he left the network in 1963. He retired in 1984 after serving as a White House correspondent for the Voice of America."
February 7, 2003
Robert St. John Dies
Former radio newsman and author Robert St. John has died at his Washington area home of leukemia at 100. St. John joined NBC Radio in 1941 but was blacklisted in 1950 and spent 15 years in Switzerland, becoming a prolific author.
February 6, 2003
Harris, Pinson Leave 45
Channel 45/WBFF news anchor Tony Harris heads to Atlanta, where he'll do like duties for the CBS station there. And, Lori Pinson, a weather forecaster, is also leaving the Sinclair station. No word on her plans. Both Harris and Pinson could also be seen on co-operated Channel 54/WNUV's 6:30 PM newscast.
February 6, 2003
LaRue Has More Surgery
Tabitha LaRue, a news reporter and anchor at Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS, is recovering from yet another round of surgery to battle ovarian cancer. According to VARTV, she called the radio station newsroom from her Johns Hopkins hospital bed on Wednesday to say that "they got everything." She hopes to be released on Friday, with recovery at home for about two weeks.
February 5, 2003
Wagner Joins WXFB
Jennifer Wagner, who was given the boot from the evening show at Hearst's WIYY "98 Rock" late last year, has joined WXFB "B104.3." She'll do morning and afternoon traffic reports for the classic rocker and its Clear Channel sister, gospel WCAO "Heaven 600." Also, Whitney, who used to handle traffic duties for 104.3 and 600, becomes producer and news anchor of XFB's Max and Miles morning show.
February 5, 2003
Morris Jones Now Seen On 45
Looks like Sinclair's Charm City Fox affiliate Channel 45/WBFF has kicked off its 11 PM newscast. Dubbed "Newscentral Late Edition," it features elements from Sinclair's centralized news service, which is based locally at Hunt Valley and provides news segments to its 60+ TV stations around the country. Former Channel 5/WTTG anchor Morris Jones handles the national feed, which is added to a local wrap hosted by Jennifer Gilbert. WBFF continues its locally-based 10 PM newscast.
February 4, 2003
WJLA Gets New News Director
Bill Lord joins WJLA/Channel 7 as VP/news. He'll reign over news ops at Rosslyn-based 7 and sister NewsChannel 8. According to the Washington Post: "Lord was news director at the CBS affiliate KIRO-TV in Seattle. He was let go in May 2001 after failing to boost KIRO's newscasts above third place in that market, even though, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, KIRO frequently beat its competition on breaking news and its investigative work 'transcended the standard sweeps-month fear that aims to frighten rather than inform.'" Lord worked at LA's NBC station in the mid-1990s and once hired Bob Long, now the news director at WRC. Lord replaces Steve Hammel, who left JLA in November for a news director job at a Phoenix TV station.
February 3, 2003
Mickey Gets New Partner
Charm City native Amelia Ryerse, who hails from a Wilmington NC station, is joining evening man Mickey Cucchiella on WIYY "98Rock" as of 2/17. He's been doing the show with producer Don ever since Jennifer got the boot late last year.
February 2, 2003
WYSK Goes Latino, WKDM Goes Korean
A new line-up of Spanish language programming arrives at Fredericksburg's WYSK-AM (1350). According to the Washington Post, WYSK-AM is "the first all-Spanish radio station in north-central Virginia." However, the paper makes only a veiled, non-specific reference to WPWC (1480 AM) in Dumfries, a few exits up I-95, which kicked off its "Radio Fiesta" Spanish format last year. Andy Lazo, who is a host of the new "Latino Mix" format on WYSK, used to work at Rockville's WKDM (1600 AM), which has apparently flipped from Spanish to Korean programming.
January 30, 2003
Mega Sells WPLC
Mega Communications sells Silver Spring's WPLC (1050 AM) to Northern Virginia-based Metro Radio for $1.5 million. That leaves Mega, which owns a batch of Spanish language stations along the East Coast, with only two area FMers (WBZS 92.7/WBPS 94.3) and one AMer (WKDL/730). WPLC has been relaying the "Radio Capital" regional Mexican programming of WKDL. No word on what the new format will be. Last year, Mega had an agreement to sell WPLC for $3 million to Multicultural Broadcasting, which owns several local AMers including WZHF/1390, WKCW/1420, WKDV/1460, and WKDM/1600. But, apparently, that deal fell through. Mega, which is HQed in Silver Spring, also sells a Philadelphia AMer (WURD) while holding onto an AM/FM combo (WEMG) in that market.
January 30, 2003
JZW To Air News
ABC's smooth jazz WJZW will air newscasts from sister news talker WMAL. Starting 2/10, 630 anchor Michelle Basch will be heard twice an hour during 105.9's morning drive. "The strength of WMAL news brings a credible voice to WJZW, and provides an additional outlet for WMAL to showcase the importance of their brand," an MAL spokesperson tells us. Also, MAL will market (run spots) for JZW (and probably the other way around). Speaking of MAL, look for the addition of two news people in the upcoming weeks.
January 28, 2003
Ron And Fez To JFK-FM
It looks like Ron and Fez will be booked on the next flight from LaGuardia to Reagan National. Their flagship station, Infinity's NYC FM hot talker WNEW, has started stunting for a new format. A Monday announcement from the duo of risque evening talk - "To all our New York buddies: We just wanted to thank you for all the support and friendship that you have given us over the past several years. The Ron and Fez Show will no longer be on WNEW. We would have liked to have done a 'see ya' show to thank you all, but such is the radio business. The show will still be on the air on WJFK in Washington, DC." The NY Daily News adds that Infinity spokesperson Dana McClintock has "confirmed that Ron and Fez, WNEW's last live talk team, are moving to sister station WJFK in DC. This disappointed R&F fans, who have waged a spirited campaign to keep them here."
January 19, 2003
Allen Lands BAL News Job
Mike Allen joins Hearst's Channel 11/WBAL as its director of news operations. He comes from Channel 4/WRC where he's been manning the night news desk. A Baltimore native, Allen has also worked at Channel 5/WTTG and and Channel 13/WJZ, and at Salisbury's Channel 16/WBOC, as well as at TV stations in Jacksonville.
January 17, 2003
Hughes Joins Infinity
Michael Hughes, general manager of WZGC, a classic rock outlet in Atlanta, has been promoted to head the Infinity cluster in DC. That includes WPGC-FM and AM, WHFS, WJFK-FM, and WARW. Hughes's title will be senior VP/market manager. We also hear that WHFS/WPGC GM Sam Rogers adds senior VP/sales director duties for the cluster.
January 13, 2003
Allen Becomes WWLG/WCBM News Director
The Baltimore Sun reports that "substitute radio announcer Mandy Allen this week has become the news director for WWLG (1370 AM) and WCBM (680 AM), the Baltimore radio stations owned by the Mangione family. She says the station will have Frank Luber and Ken Maylath report more stories for regular inclusion in the news updates each morning on WCBM, the station with the talk format. As the antennas broadcasting their signals have been greatly strengthened - many people in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore can hear their programs for the first time - the stations' officials wanted to give a greater local feel to broadcasts."
January 13, 2003
More D&M On 1300, No More Rome
DCRTV hears that Baltimore's WJFK-AM (1300) is finally adding the fourth hour of Don and Mike's show. Starting on 1/20, D&M will run until 7 PM, instead of being terminated at 6 PM. And, the Infinity talker's giving the walking papers to Jim Rome's national sports show. A new local sports show will air from 11 AM to 3 PM called "Out to Lunch" with Steve Hill from "Those Sports Guys" and Bill Rohland. And, Mark Cizler joins "Those Sports Guys," which will now air from 7 PM to 11 PM. Howard Stern will still rule morning drive.
January 13, 2003
Radio One, Comcast Launch Black Cable Net
Radio One and Comcast plan to launch an African American-oriented TV network to rival Black Entertainment Television. Radio One's based in Lanham. It's the largest black group owner of radio stations in the nation. Owning some 60 outlets including WKYS, WMMJ, WERQ, WOL, WOLB, WYCB, and WWIN-FM/AM in the DC/Baltimore area. Comcast, based in Philadelphia, owns most of the DC/Baltimore area cable TV systems. And with its recent merger with AT&T Broadband, it's the largest owner of cable systems in the nation. The new network would take on BET, which is based in DC and is the brainchild of local media/sports magnate Robert Johnson. He sold the channel, which is available in 60 million homes, to Viacom (which also owns CBS and MTV and Infinity radio). Radio One has dabbled in cable TV before, with a financial stake in the struggling New Urban Entertainment network, also based in the DC area.
January 3, 2003
2's News Director Calls It Quits
Help wanted: news director at Baltimore's WMAR/Channel 2. The Baltimore Sun reports that "after two years on the job, Staci Feger-Childers has resigned, saying she had burned out in pushing to revive the station's flagging fortunes. General manager Drew Berry informed staffers of her departure during brief meetings yesterday morning." Feger-Childers, 35, said she'll stay in the area - her husband is a photojournalist at a DC TV station. She transformed WMAR's look ("ABC 2") and brought on many new faces. "Anchors Stan Stovall and Mary Bubala, reporters Anna Marie Chwastiak, Mark Vernarelli and John Rosson, and weather forecaster Colette Kennedy were all dropped. Meanwhile, the station added reporter Janet Swanson, forecaster Dennis Ketterer and anchors Brian Wood, Denise Dory and Jo Ann Bauer. Morning news host Jamie Costello returned to WMAR, while anchor and reporter Vernon Shaw came and left during Feger-Childers' tenure," reports the Sun. And the station's long slumping news ratings have seen an upturn. But apparently not enough for owner Scripps.
January 2, 2003
32's GM Resigns
After just eight months on the job, Adam Clayton Powell III has resigned as general manager of Howard University-owned WHUT/Channel 32. According to Richard Prince's "Journal-isms," university president Patrick Swygert said that Powell would remain as a consultant and head the search for his own successor. In a statement, Powell said he was able to achieve more than expected in relatively short time, including expanding local news, public affairs, and educational program production, creating partnerships and joint production agreements with other public and commercial broadcasters in the DC area, restarting WHUT's fund-raising and development department, and pushing forward with plans for the PBS station's digital service. Before joining WHUT last April, Powell was VP of technology at the Freedom Forum.
January 2, 2003
Paul Berry Does PM Drive On WTNT
Former Channel 7 news anchor Paul Berry is the replacement for WTNT PM drive host Michael Graham, who is moving to Richmond's WRVA radio. Several years ago, WJLA did not renew Berry's contract. Berry has been heard on WTNT as Graham's substitute host. We do hear that WTNT is looking for a permanent host to fill the 4 PM to 7 PM period. Clear Channel sources tell us that Graham just didn't quite "click" in the WTNT PM drive slot, and that a less political, more humorous replacement is being sought.....
January 1, 2003
New Sked For 53 And 56
Northern Virginia public television stations WNVT and WNVC (MHz Networks) are making some schedule changes for 2003. Channel 53/WNVT (also known as MHz2), which has been signing off most evenings at 6, will now be off the air all weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Its weekday schedule will be from 4 PM to midnight and will include a batch of Latino and Indian international fare, plus some educational shows via "open.tv." Over on Channel 56/WNVC (also known as MHz), the international (China, Ireland, Japan, Spain, Pakistan, Russia, Poland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Vietnam, etc.) fare continues most of the time, with educational shows ("MHz Learn"/"open.tv") slated to run between 1 AM and 7 AM on Monday through Friday. The station will sign off on Saturday and Sunday at 1 AM.
January 1, 2003
Hamlin Says Goodbye To 94.7
From our Mailbag: "Lost amid all the New Year's revelry was the fact that another longtime Washington radio voice signed off at the end of 2002. With no fanfare, Bill Hamlin, who worked for more than 30 years (!) at WARW and its predecessors on 94.7 (beautiful music WJMD and lite rock WLTT), did his last show on December 31. Bill, a graduate of Catholic University's esteemed drama department, will continue his on-stage work in local theatre productions. WARW's live all-night show is being replaced with a board op shift. Here's wishing all the best in the future to one of DC radio's true gentlemen."
For news items from 2002 click here.....