Changes abound around WFEL-AM


November 19, 1993|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer

New sounds began airing this week at two locations on the AM radio dial.

In an unusual lease arrangement, the Christian ministry voice of Towson-based WFEL-AM (1570) can now be heard mornings on WITH-AM (1230).

And at WFEL, "Radio Zone . . . The Kids' Stations!" began to be heard this week in intervals of transmitter testing. The Baltimore outlet of Capital Kids Radio Company plans to begin airing its daily schedule of children's fare on Monday. The Kids' Stations carry programs of the nationally syndicated Radio Aahs 24-hour children's network out of Los Angeles, but also air a daily local morning show with host Kenny Curtis. He is also host of the Fox 45 Kids' Club children's programs on WBFF-TV, Channel 45.

The two programming moves are related.

Last month, Capital Kids agreed to buy WFEL-AM from Guardian Communications, a Cincinnati-based Christian broadcaster. While consummation of the $521,500 sale will take several months, under the approval process of the Federal Communications Commission, the children's broadcaster arranged to go on the air sooner under a lease agreement.

Subsequently, Guardian Communications reached an agreement with James McCotter, the Florida-based owner of WITH-AM, to lease that station and relocate some WFEL programming there.

"We think we're putting together the best of both stations," said Gerry Liss, former general manager at WFEL, who has now become GM at WITH.

WFEL personalities Glenn Brooks and Mark Patey are now heard from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays on WITH.

The remainder of the WITH schedule -- big-band nostalgia -- is unchanged, and Mr. Liss said no employees at either station have lost jobs under the merger. Music announcers Jack Edwards and Niles Seaberg have adjusted their schedules, with Mr. Edwards on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Mr. Seaberg heard from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Mr. Liss said he could not comment on whether Guardian Communications, which also owns stations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Albuquerque, N.M., and Pueblo, Colo., is seeking to eventually purchase WITH.

However, Lawrence Kessner, a principal of Capital Kids Radio Company, said his firm still intends to press a $500,000 lawsuit filedagainst Mr. McCotter, claiming he failed to fulfill a contract to sell WITH to the children's broadcaster.

No new sales agreement could be made until the lawsuit is settled, Mr. Kessner said.

Listeners who tuned in to WFEL-AM this week might have heard some of the Radio Zone programming in transmitter tests. The company began broadcasting earlier this year on two stations in the Washington area, WKDL-AM (1050) in Silver Spring and WKDV-AM (1460) in Northern Virginia. Eventually, WFEL will take the call letters WKDH.

Although out of the White House, Barbara Bush is still on the radio. For the third year, the former first lady is host of "Mrs. Bush's Story Time," which airs its Thanksgiving special on WBAL-AM (1090) next week.

From 8 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, Mrs. Bush and guests including Tony Randall, Harry Connick Jr., Jasmine Guy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Charlie Brown and Grover the Muppet will read stories.

In addition, weekly editions of the show are scheduled from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. on these Sundays: Dec. 5, 12 and 19. And a Christmas special airs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas day.

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