'On Time' guest host looks like winner, producer says Talent search: 'Very accessible' Aleta Parrish will appear this morning on Channel 13.

On the Air

March 03, 1996|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Aleta Parrish, who will be the guest host on today's edition of WJZ's "On Time" public-affairs show, isn't sure she's ready for the big time.

But as far as Patrick Onley, the show's producer, is concerned, she's on her way.

"There is something about her that is very accessible," Mr. Onley says of Ms. Parrish, one of two winners of the show's recent guest-host contest. "This must be what people saw in Oprah."

That's a flattering comparison for the 39-year-old Ms. Parrish, who would love to be host of a show like "People Are Talking," which Oprah Winfrey and Richard Sher steered while Ms. Winfrey was working for WJZ back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"I like talk shows, but not some of the ones that are on now; they're just too gross for me," she says. "What happened to shows like the one Oprah and Richard had when she was here?"

Speaking from her job as an accountant at Baltimore City Community College last week, she was still a little shocked by the good fortune that led the show's producers to choose her and Aaron Bryant from among the 40-plus entries in the " 'On Time' Guest Host Contest."

"I was really surprised," she explains. "There were so many people. The other ladies, they were so great. One had written a book, and it was just being published. Another one had written a play. Another one was a reporter for the Afro over in Washington."

But none of them will bring more to the show than Ms. Parrish can bring, says Mr. Onley, the producer.

"She seems like a Baltimore woman, that's what it comes down to," he says. "She's not particularly glamorous, but she's engaging and very affable. She represents what you like best about people in this market."

As of Wednesday, the soon-to-be-host had yet to practice for her appearance, during which she'll share duties with regular host Michael Cryor.

"I've been writing up questions," she says, laughing a little nervously. "I've been watching the morning shows, Joan Lunden, Bryant Gumbel, trying to see what their technique and style are. And I've been watching 'Dateline' every night."

At least she's been doing her homework.

You can see the results when "On Time" airs from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. today on Channel 13.

The show will include interviews with Henry Holmes, the Baltimore man who angrily removed his son from day-care at the Social Security complex in Woodlawn after seeing the youngster wearing a dress; Shawnette Alston, a Baltimore fifth-grader whose mother, Pearl Brown, was killed just before Christmas when a Jeep Cherokee ran through a red light outside the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and plowed into her on the sidewalk; and Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Gallery, who will discuss the museum's "Lasting Impressions" exhibit, which looks illustrations for children's books aimed at an African-American audience.

Aaron Bryant, the other contest winner, will appear on next week's show alongside regular host Angela Stribling.

Two smooth hours

Looking for some smooth sounds to help wash down your Sunday brunch?

How do two hours of such jazz artists as Quincy Jones, Bobby Caldwell, David Sanborn, Anita Baker and the Jazzmasters sound?

"Smooth Jazz Brunch," debuting at 10 a.m. today on WLIF-FM (101.9), will feature a mixture of jazz forms found nowhere else on Baltimore radio, WLIF program director Gary Balaban promises.

D8 The show will air from 10 a.m. to noon every Sunday.

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