February is Black History Month, and both familiar and unusual local broadcast observances have begun airing this week:
* On the Baltimore city government's local access Cable Channel 44 (on United Artists Cable), Mayor Kurt Schmoke is hosting "Saturday Stores at the Top," an hour-long condensation of the story-telling performances mounted weekly at the Top of the World attraction in the World Trade Center.
The shows can be seen at 11 a.m. daily, as well as 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The first week is featuring longtime local griot Mary Carter Smith. In future weeks the performers will include Maria Broom, Alice McGill, Temujin The Storyteller and Jamal Koram.
United Artists Cable has also begun screening a series of vignettes, "Leaders of the Past/Leaders of the Present," during breaks in programming on cable networks CNN, TNT, TBS, USA, Lifetime, Nickelodeon and ESPN.
* WBFF-Channel 45 has begun airing its "Champions of Courage" annual feature several times daily.
The effort features different students every day from local schools, reading winning essays about people in their lives who have best exemplified the leadership ideals of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
* Radio station WEAA-FM 88.9 at Morgan State University has launched "The Radio Stage," a month of Sunday radio dramas, which began this past weekend with "The Dramatic Circle."
Coming productions, heard at 7 p.m., are: "St. Joe's Takes the Radio Stage," "Haiti: A Dream" and "The Devil and Uncle Asa."
FAMILY TIES -- Even his mother didn't recognize him. But in a scene of this week's "Northern Exposure" on CBS, the driver of a green Bronco -- supposedly actor Rob Morrow (Dr. Fleishman in the show) -- was really Andy Horwitz, Pikesville High School Class of 1986.
"He was there [on the set] all day, and it was 10 seconds on the show. Of course, being his mother, it was the most exciting thing to me. I taped it and I've watched it 17 times," says Gail Belaga Horwitz, of Pikesville.
Her son was cast as Morrow's "body double" for the scene, marking his first exposure on national TV.
Mr. Horwitz, whose stage credits at Pikesville High School included "Damn Yankees" and "Anything Goes," is a 1990 graduate of Northwestern University who helped start a Seattle theater troupe, The New Passage. Although supposedly set in Alaska, "Northern Exposure" is actually produced in Washington state.