Stu Kerr's death adds to tension in TV world

July 24, 1994|By SYLVIA BADGER

Competition is certainly hot and heavy between local television stations, which is good news for the consumer. But where does competition end and pettiness take over?

Strange as it may sound, the death of one of Baltimore's most beloved television personalities, Stu Kerr, has brought this to the front. Stu Kerr and WMAR-TV (Channel 2) were synonymous.

After Kerr's death, WJZ (Channel 13) reporter Richard Sher, who had known Kerr for 30 years, called Channel 2 to ask for dubs with color and sound. According to Sher, Jack Cahalan, Channel news director, vetoed that request, but did offer to share old black-and-white footage with no sound.

Sher said that when Channel 13's Jerry Turner died, WJZ opened its files for other stations because they wanted as many good tributes to Turner as they could get, so he didn't understand Channel 2 not doing the same with Kerr.

Gail Bending, Channel 13 news director who had known Kerr from her days as a Channel 2 intern, said she was surprised by the actions of her counterpart at WMAR. Cahalan was too busy to talk to me, but his spokeswoman, Maria Velleggia, responded by saying the station had offered to share a video with some sound, but would not share dubs associated with the Andy Barth report on Channel 2.

However, Channel 13 says that Maryland Public Television came to the rescue and provided film for their tribute. I also chatted with Wanda Draper at WBAL-Channel 11, to see how Channel 2 had treated them. She said her station was not unhappy with what they had been offered.

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Sen. Barbara Mikulski celebrated her birthday in style this week. While attending a meeting of the Democratic Caucus at the White House, she was surprised with a birthday cake and President Clinton leading the group in singing, "Happy Birthday to Babs."

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Nearly 100 people showed up at the NationsBank Glass View Room to bid a fond farewell to Baltimore Goodwill Industries president Harvey Kettering. After 40 years with the organization, Kettering has decided to retire in October.

At his side were his wife, Wilma, and his 89-year-old mom, Jennie Kettering, who came down from Pennsylvania for the luncheon. Others who stopped to heap praise on Harvey were David M. Cooney, the president of Goodwill Industries International; Bruce McLean, Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust; Thomas Nuttle, Genstar executive and Goodwill's chairman of the board; and Meb Turner, president of the University of Baltimore.

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Tomorrow is the start of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy Week" at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel. The festivities are geared to hype the seventh annual Hard Travelers-Ryan Homes benefit concert for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Aug. 28, starring Kathy Mattea.

Highlighting the week will be an exclusive performance of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" by John Sommers, former member of John Denver's band who wrote the song. He'll perform the song at the Orioles Bar in the hotel after the Orioles/Toronto game Friday evening, with bass player Cash Cashman, a Maryland native who attended the Naval Academy. In addition to performing, Sommers will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Oriole Park on Wednesday.

Call (410) 771-9000 for information about the Pier Six Concert.

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How would you like to play a few rounds of golf with celebrities Chi Chi Rodriguez, Jim Ferree and Bruce Devlin? If you're interested, two nonprofits with headquarters in Baltimore, the American Foundation for Urologic Disease and the American Urological Association, are inviting you to play in the celebrity classic at the lovely Caves Valley Golf Club on Aug. 15. For more information, call (800) 546-6666.

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