'State Circle' does a capital job of public affairs programming

April 09, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

With the end of the General Assembly's 90-day session, MPT's "State Circle" brings down the curtain on its year with a special broadcast at 7:30 tonight on Channels 22 and 67.

"State Circle" is a model of quality, locally produced public affairs programming. For those not familiar with the show, which airs each Friday when the legislature is in session, it offers the kind of coverage of state politics that big-city, network affiliates are supposed to provide but rarely do. It's aggressive, thoughtful and fairly comprehensive.

The "State Circle" team consists of Dave Durian at the anchor desk, with reporters John Rydell, Sue Kopen and Nate Howard.

Durian is a very strong anchor, who can not only move a show from one segment to another, but actually asks intelligent questions of the reporters -- all of whom are highly capable. In fact, they are three of the brighter reporters Baltimore and Washington viewers are going to find on any area station.

One of the most impressive things about this show is how much care seems to go into producing it. Each report on recent shows was fleshed out with network-quality visuals -- solid and illustrative pictures that helped tell the story.

State government is usually not very sexy stuff, which is one reason nightly newscasts tend to do and less and less with it. But sexy or not, it is central to the quality of our lives. MPT is providing a genuine public service by staying on the case in Annapolis.

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