Kenneth Manelis, 48, anchorman for WBAL radio's weekend news

May 20, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Kenneth Manelis, a weekend news anchorman for WBAL-AM radio who was known for his calm demeanor on breaking news stories, died Monday after a short illness at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson.

Mr. Manelis, 48, of Pikesville had been with the radio station off and on for nearly 20 years. He last anchored the news the weekend of March 28 and did rush-hour traffic reports early last month.

He had worked part time at WBAL since 1990, combining his work as one of the station's newscasters with free-lance announcing duties; part-time, on-air work at Maryland Public Television; and acting jobs.

For MPT, he had been a host for fund-raisers, newscasts and special events since 1984.

His acting career consisted of several small parts in television movies and a role as a reporter in "Arlington Roads," a motion picture starring Jeff Bridges that is scheduled for release this year.

"He liked to be able to go out and compete for parts for voice-overs and industrial training films," said Mark Miller, WBAL radio news director. "He liked the challenge of doing new and different things day to day."

At WBAL, Mr. Manelis was fond of and excelled in reporting breaking news, colleagues said -- stories such as the blizzard of 1996 when he worked around the clock to anchor coverage of the storm as it brought the region to a standstill.

"He liked the excitement of spot news," Mr. Miller said. "He liked the inability to predict the outcome."

Said Jack Shaum, a news anchorman at the radio station: "He gave a clear, concise presentation of the news. He had a smooth broadcast that made it pleasant to listen to."

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Mr. Manelis served with the Army in Vietnam in the 1960s. After his discharge, he attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore City Community College and Towson State University.

He began his local radio career in 1970 at WBJC-FM, where he was a news anchorman until 1974. From 1975 to 1984, he ZTC worked at WBAL, and anchored a nightly news program for Baltimore County's cable television system from 1982 to 1984. He returned to WBAL in 1990.

"I thought he was an extremely talented young man with great potential," said Richard Sher, a reporter and anchorman at WJZ-TV who, as news director at WBAL radio, hired Mr. Manelis in 1975.

Mr. Manelis enjoyed swimming and jogging and had a large collection of classical music. He was also a great storyteller and had become more interested in acting in recent years, said his wife, the former Sigrid Mendel, whom he married in 1985.

"He loved acting," Mrs. Manelis said. "He just loved doing the different aspects of what humans do."

Services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sol Levinson and Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Gordon Dreyfuss of Pikesville; and his mother, Julia Manelis, a brother, James Manelis, and a sister, Audrey Davis, all of Rochester.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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