New face on Channel 2 should be a familiar one

On the Air

July 21, 1996|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

WMAR, Channel 2, is bringing a not-so-old friend back to Baltimore to replace the departing Ken Phillips on its noon and 5 p.m. news broadcasts. Veronica Johnson, who spent two years at WBFF, Channel 45, will debut on WMAR at noon tomorrow.

Johnson began her career on the Weather Channel. She followed that stint with two years at WBFF before becoming the weekend weather person at WABC-TV in New York in April 1993.

Johnson will have a tough act to live up to in replacing Phillips, who has been at WMAR since coming to Baltimore in 1979 and has become a familiar face in the community. Eschewing the excessive breeziness (OK, maybe it's just a little pun) that often characterizes TV meteorologists, he brought a stabilizing presence to the station's newscasts.

Phillips, a native of Canada who came to Baltimore from Pittsburgh, could not be reached for comment. In a press release, the folks at WMAR said he was leaving to pursue other interests and will continue to free-lance for the station. Let's hope they mean it.

Around the dial

Local TV isn't the only medium reshuffling its deck. Radio is also experiencing personnel moves.

Merrie Street, a longtime news director at WPOC and former press secretary to Rep. Helen Bentley, has joined the staff of WLIF-FM. Beginning tomorrow, Street will join the veteran Dick Ireland during the station's 5 a.m.-9 a.m. morning show, reading the news and other informational pieces.

Street was news director at WPOC from 1977 to 1993. She has taught at Towson State University and, come September, will teach an Introduction to Journalism course at Harford Community College. Street replaces Sloane Brown, who will continue to do occasional free-lance entertainment pieces for WLIF.

Meanwhile, at Froggy 100.7 (WGRX-FM), former WPOC-er Kelly Green has been hired as the station's music director and evening DJ.

In addition to country heavyweight WPOC (which Froggy took on when it switched from rock to country in May), Green, a native of Annapolis and graduate of Anne Arundel Community College, has worked at WYRE in Annapolis and WXCY in Baltimore County.

In other Froggy news, the station has picked up the nationally syndicated "Country Countdown USA." The show, airing from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sundays, plays the week's 30 hottest country hits and features such guest co-hosts as Wynonna, Vince Gill, Travis Tritt and Clint Black.

Ratings report

Here are the spring '96 Arbitron rankings and audience share for listeners 12 and older for Baltimore's top 10 radio stations. Each share represents about 3,600 listeners in an average quarter hour.

1. WBAL-AM (1090), 8.9

2. WPOC-FM (93.1), 8.5

3. WQSR-FM (105.7), 7.4

4. WLIF-FM (101.9), 6.3

5. WERQ-FM (93.2), 5.8

6. WWMX-FM (106.5), 5.6

7. WXYV-FM (102.7), 4.4

8. WHFS-FM (99.1), 4.2

9. WIYY-FM (97.9), 3.9

10. WWIN-FM (95.9), 3.8

WBAL and WPOC continue duking it out for the top spot. WBAL, as usual, picked up thousands of listeners thanks to its Orioles coverage and overtook WPOC, which ranked first in the winter '96 ratings book by some 5,300 listeners.

WBAL moved up a full two ratings points, picking up about 7,200 listeners in an average quarter hour, while WPOC stayed pretty much the same, climbing one-tenth of one percentage point.

Other than WBAL, the award for largest change in listenership from winter to spring goes to WXYV, which decreased its share (( by 1.1 (about 4,000 listeners), but remained in seventh place.

Curiously, the same 10 stations that were on the Top-10 list in the winter made it this go-round, suggesting that, in Baltimore at least, the numbers may change but the players stay the same.

One other note: among listeners ages 25-54, WQSR ranked first, outdrawing runner-up WPOC by about 4,000 listeners. It especially dominated the hours from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., when the Rouse & Co. morning show attracted nearly 50 percent more listeners than WPOC -- 43,600 vs. 29,500.

Correction

Apologies to those who tuned in to WLG-AM (1360, 1330 in Havre de Grace) at 6 p.m. yesterday expecting to hear all about old Baltimore during "Startalk" with Walter Bright.

I goofed. The show airs 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturdays. Sorry.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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