ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* ABC interviewer Barbara Walters may have gotten all the attention for her speech here Sunday night (on the occasion of Sinai Hospital's 125th birthday), but young actor Troy Slaten was the celebrity attraction for another age group altogether.
The co-star of the Fox network's "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" (he plays sidekick Jerry in the Saturday-at-7:30 show), Slaten was in town Sunday and yesterday to help kick off local affiliate WBFF-Channel 45's annual Operation Prom project. (In the 4-year-old program, high school students and their parents sign a contract agreeing to celebrate prom season without alcohol or drugs, and students gain a variety of membership discounts around town.)
Slaten, himself a high school junior, appeared at the project's Sunday night party at the Hyatt Regency and visited with students yesterday at Carroll County's Liberty High School. He met with the school's SADD chapter (Students Against Drunk Driving) and held a press conference for high school reporters from schools around the region.
* Channel 45, by the way, last week quietly observed the 20th anniversary of its initial air date of April 11, 1971. A big belated birthday celebration is planned surrounding the expected June launch of the station's first local news broadcast and its relocation to new quarters in the old Canada Dry bottling plant on 41st Street at the foot of TV Hill.
Work on the building is coming along, and the station expects soon to announce the names of its key on-air news talent.
* While we're on 41st Street, that's a nice billboard that Jim Conway's last employer has taken out to greet motorists driving west just past Roland Avenue.
One of the city's first radio traffic reporters, Conway is retiring from WPOC-FM 93.1 after 27 years of tracking traffic snarls. The billboard says, "Jim Conway, thanks, from your Baltimore."
* "We have never seen such resident loyalty," marvels an official of the game show "The $100,000 Pyramid." She's talking about the scores of complaints from Baltimore viewers about a wrong answer given regarding the Maryland state capital on last Wednesday's edition of the show (at 11 a.m. daily, WJZ-Channel 13).
The word being sought was "Baltimore," and the contestant got it. But her partner had given the clue to the answer as, "the capital of Maryland."
"It was the right answer to the wrong clue. There was this ESP weirdness going on," says Linda Lipman of the syndicated show's staff, noting that Channel 13 fielded more than 60 calls from viewers pointing out the factual inaccuracy.
Because the answer was still right, however, the fluff did not affect the game's outcome.