Kids, turn off that TV and open those books Broadcasting: Maryland Public Television and state's libraries form partnership to encourage reading.

On the Air

September 29, 1996|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Beginning Nov. 2, parents will be able to watch PBS with their children in the afternoon, then hustle on down to the library that night and help them read more about it.

If spending more time with the characters and concepts introduced daily to kids on public television is a good thing, then Maryland Public Television's new "Ready to Learn Library Reading Project" is just what the doctor -- or the educator -- ordered.

Presented during a luncheon at Baltimore's Clarion Hotel Wednesday as a groundbreaking partnership between MPT and Maryland's public library systems, the project will place reading stations at branches in Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City. Those stations will contain books introduced or alluded to during MPT's children's programming.

The project will kick off Nov. 2, which Gov. Parris Glendening has proclaimed "Family Reading Day." Throughout the state, libraries from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. will play host to politicians and other prominent local personalities who will read to children and otherwise stress the advantages of the written word -- particularly those written words that tie into what kids have been watching on MPT.

In all, MPT broadcasts some 50 hours of educational programming for children each week. The shows for the library stations include "Wishbone" (a wonderful show, in which a dog imagines himself a character in all sorts of famous books), "Magic School Bus," "Reading Rainbow" and "Storytime."

Most libraries also will be serving refreshments on Nov. 2 and sponsoring other family-oriented activities.

David Nevins, chairman of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission, acknowledged with a smile that it might seem unusual for a television station to urge people to turn off the tube and reach for a book, but said urging kids to read is part of MPT's commitment to bettering the lives of all Marylanders. "The real winners in this project are the children," he said, predicting that other public television stations will follow suit.

Although he could not appear in person at the luncheon, Glendening spoke via tape from the State House, surrounded by kids from Georgetown Elementary School in Annapolis. He called the project "an example of the positive force public television can be by combining family TV programming with community outreach to provide educational service to Marylanders."

UFO abductions

This evening on WCBM-AM (680), Bob and Zoh Hieronimus will submit for your approval author Budd Hopkins, whose latest book is "Witnessed: The True Story of the Brooklyn Bridge UFO Abductions."

According to the press release, aliens paid a visit to New York on Nov. 30, 1989, and left with more than they came.

"Accompanied by three small alien figures," it reads, "Linda Cortile, a married mother of two, was seen emerging from an apartment building window 12 stories above the ground. Suspended within a blue beam of light, Linda and her captors were lifted into a large reddish-orange glowing UFO, which then moved off in the direction of the Brooklyn Bridge."

Apparently the aliens didn't care who saw them, as the abduction was witnessed by several people, including a pair of New York City police officers and a "major world political leader."

Believers and nonbelievers alike are invited to listen to "21st Century Radio with Dr. Bob Hieronimus" from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

More coming from cable

Good news for Baltimore cable subscribers with an insatiable need for more programming.

Here it comes.

Beginning Oct. 7, TCI Communications will add Classic Sports Network (on channel 72, replacing Prime Sports Network) and Fox News Channel (on channel 50).

If the all-news Fox network sounds like something you've seen before, it is, as TV conglomerates continue to push the envelope and see how much news programming the public really wants. It should prove interesting to see how it fares with both big-daddy CNN and the recently launched MSNBC.

Classic Sports Network sounds like a gem, focusing on classic sporting events culled from the libraries of the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball. The channel will also have access to a catalog of more than 18,000 classic boxing matches.

Of course, nothing comes without a price, and the price here is less time for two cable stations that have been struggling of late to attract viewers nationally. Comedy Central, which can now be found on channel 50, will move to channel 34, where it will share space with VH1.

Comedy Central will be carried on channel 34 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with VH1 taking over from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Rockin' Ravens

The Ravens return this week, as does "98 Rock Ravens Gameday" on WIYY-FM (97.9).

Airing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today from Hooter's at Harborplace, the show is anchored by hosts Kirk McEwen and Stash and boasts a lineup including all sorts of sports journalists and experts, including Stan White, WBAL's Gerry Sandusky and Pam Ward, ESPN's Mel Kiper and even -- just to ensure they have at least one person who knows what he's talking about -- The Sun's Gary Lambrecht.

Pub Date: 9/29/96

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