WBAL awarded radio news prize

August 03, 1994|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Staff Writer

How do you celebrate having put together the country's best radio news story?

That's easy, said WBAL News Director Mark Miller, who faced that happy dilemma yesterday when told the Associated Press Broadcasters was handing its Best of Show award to Baltimore's dominant AM station.

"We'll celebrate the way everyone in Baltimore celebrates, with one knock-down, drag-out crab feast," said Mr. Miller, a 14-year WBAL veteran who has headed the news division since 1990.

The news staff was cited for its coverage of the travails of former city Comptroller Jackie McLean, said AP spokeswoman Evelyn Cassidy. Ms. McLean resigned last month while awaiting trial on corruption charges. She has been under a psychiatrist's care since attempting suicide in April.

The majority of WBAL's coverage, which also received the AP's Best Radio Enterprise award, was reported by native Baltimorean Larry Roberts.

"It is the type of story that does not lend itself well to being a good radio story," Mr. Miller said, "involving lots of paperwork, lots of digging. To have taken on the challenge of doing that and having it recognized is really rewarding."

Mr. Roberts was essentially assigned to spend 40 hours a week covering that one story -- a commitment unusual for radio news, Mr. Miller said.

"It was easy to identify the elements in that story that would give it universal appeal," he said. It was money, it was wealth, it was fame, it was power, it was everything you'd write into a great novel."

The award will be given during the Associated Press Broadcasters annual meeting, Oct. 12-15 in Los Angeles.

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