ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* When Media Monitor solicited some opinions last summer on favorite old television shows viewers would like to see again, "The Bob Newhart Show" on CBS from 1972-78 was among the top vote-getters.
Good news this week, then, for cable viewers: The TBS basic service began reruns of the series last night, and it can be seen nightly at 7:35.
You remember the show, of course. Before he was inn-keeper Dick Louden, Newhart was psychologist Bob Hartley, married to Emily (Suzanne Pleshette) and living in a Chicago high-rise. His circle of acquaintance included single dentist Jerry (Peter Bonerz), receptionist Carol (Marcia Wallace) and neighbor airline flyer Howard (Bill Daily).
As part of "Hi, Bob Week," TBS is staging a promotional stunt, asking viewers to count the number of times Newhart is greeted by those words ` "Hi, Bob" ` in the first week of repeats. Send a postcard to "Hi, Bob!" Contest, P.O. Box 7518, Atlanta, Ga. 30357. And don't laugh. The prize is $2,500 cash.
And speaking of cable prizes, Baltimore City's nearly completed cable service, United Artists Cable of Baltimore, hit a major milestone earlier this month when it signed its 100,000th subscriber.
Willette Wright of West Baltimore was the lucky viewer, whose daughter signed her up for cable service. And as a prize, United is providing Mrs. Wright free service for a year, an all-expense paid trip to Disney World and other goodies, including Orioles and Blast tickets.
A December, 1990 phone-in program about AIDS has earned a national award for radio station WJHU-FM 88.1. The Johns Hopkins University station won the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Public Radio Silver Award for the program "The Health Care Profession and AIDS." The show was aired after the revelation a popular local surgeon had died from AIDS.
And speaking of good radio, have you caught the new nighttime talk show host on Washington's WAMU-FM 88.5? On the air since late March, he's Derek McGinty, previously at Washington stations WHUR-FM and WTOP-AM.
Classy longtime night talker Mike Cuthbert left the station in late 1990, and WAMU mounted a five-month search for a replacement. McGinty's worth tuning in by local listeners who can receive the Washington signal.
In media encounters of the telephonic kind, is anybody else irritated to be put on hold and hear a broadcast commercial? We ask after calling Turner Broadcasting in New York and instinctively fingering a receding hairline when a commercial came on for a hair-weave service. Turns out the "hold' button tuned in CNN, taking a break from the news.