President Bush may not concede there is an economic recession, but WJZ-Channel 13 is offering this weekend an unusual on-the-air campaign "to help Maryland families survive recession," in cooperation with local radio station WWIN-AM/FM (1400/95.9).
Anchor Al Sanders is hosting "Hope In Hard Times," an hour-long special spawned by layoffs and budget cutbacks. It airs at 8 p.m. tomorrow and will be simulcast on the radio stations. (A repeat airing is also scheduled on Channel 13 at 10 a.m. Monday.)
A studio audience, as well as call-in viewers, may ask a panel of experts questions about how and where to go for assistance with problems caused by economic hard times, including maintaining credit, gaining public assistance, finding work and coping with personal and family stress.
The phone resource service First Call for Help has also arranged to staff its phone lines with counselors during and following the broadcast. (Call 685-0524, (800) 492-0618 or TTY for hearing impaired 685-2159.)
And Channel 13 is also making available, in cooperation with the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, a pamphlet version of the resource guide, subtitled "A Survival Guide to Living on a Reduced Income." Send a self-addressed stamped business envelope to: Hope In Hard Times, WJZ-TV, TV Hill, Baltimore, Md., 21211.
THE CABLE CONNECTION:
* For five years, comics Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams have headlined annual laugh-a-thons aimed at raising funds to help the homeless in America.
On "Comic Relief's Greatest Hits," a special being screened at 10 p.m. tomorrow on the HBO premium service, the trio hots a two-hour retrospective of routines drawn from the first five "Comic Relief" programs.
* Some local cable systems are offering tomorrow night a pay-per-view concert show bringing together 20 top female rap groups.
"Sisters in the Name of Rap" is scheduled at 10 p.m., for example, over Baltimore County's VC-1 service, at a cost of $14.95.
Dee Barnes and Dutchezz are the hosts, and among the groups to perform are Queen Latifah, Salt-n-Pepa, Yo-Yo, Roxanne Shante and McLyte.
* In another musical realm altogether, The Disney Channel premium network is screening, at 9 p.m. Sunday, the special "Judy, Liza, Barbra & Ethel" -- as in Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Barbra Streisand and Ethel Merman.
It's a compilation of clips from two 1963 episodes of the old "Judy Garland Show." That means that in Liza's appearances she is a mere slip of a 17-year-old, and pre-"Funny Girl" Streisand is just 21.