MPT to expand business show, discontinue weather program

January 11, 1995|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland Public Television will expand its daily early morning program, "Bloomberg Business News," from 15 minutes to a half-hour next month.

To make room for the show, scheduled to air from 6:30 to 7 a.m. weekdays beginning Feb. 6, MPT will discontinue the locally produced "A. M. Weather." The show, now seen at 6:45 a.m., has for 16 years provided forecasts aimed at pilots, farmers and others requiring detailed weather news.

" 'A. M. Weather' is a series we're proud of, and we know it has a loyal audience," Raymond K. K. Ho, MPT's president, said yesterday. He said "eight or nine" employees contracted to work on the show would lose their jobs, but that the station is trying to find other work for some of them.

He said that considering "the current financial realities of public broadcasting," MPT is trying to expand its success in business programming by carrying the longer "Bloomberg Business News."

The program is produced in New York, but with MPT as co-producer. The daily program, aimed at financial professionals more than average viewers, was launched by MPT and Bloomberg L.P. a year ago. Mr. Ho said the program recently gained the underwriting of A. G. Edwards & Sons, a brokerage firm based in Hunt Valley that also supports the MPT-produced "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser."

Public Broadcasting System stations across the nation, to whom MPT distributes both "Bloomberg Business News" and "Wall Street Week," indicated a preference for a half-hour program, Mr. Ho said.

The 30-minute "Bloomberg Business News" will include weather segments, but they will be geared primarily toward business travelers and general viewers, rather than the specialized viewers served by "A. M. Weather."

"Bloomberg Business News" is part of a business news and information service founded by Michael Bloomberg. Among its subscribers are 150 newspapers (including The Sun) and an estimated 50,000 computer users, according to Bloomberg television syndication coordinator Frank Traynor, formerly a production executive at MPT.

Mr. Bloomberg, a Johns Hopkins University graduate, is chairman of the Baltimore university's capital fund-raising campaign.

MPT and the Bloomberg firm yesterday also announced plans to launch on Feb. 6 a 30-minute nightly business series, "Bloomberg Information Television," to be made available to stations for evening airing. The program's air time was not released.

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