A veteran announcer returns to radio Home: Chuck Jackson takes over Alan Walden's morning news anchor position on WBAL-AM in July

Radio and Television

June 17, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

For Chuck Jackson, taking over as morning news anchor on WBAL-AM (1090) is simply a matter of returning home. And, he adds, it's about time.

"It's just really great to be back in the business I guess I never should have left for public relations work," says Jackson, a WBAL alumnus who's a familiar voice to journalists throughout Maryland, having spent seven years as spokesman for the state police.

Jackson, 47, will take over for the semi-retiring Alan Walden July 13. The two men will share the morning airwaves the week of July 6-10; after that, Jackson will take over the 5 a.m.-9 a.m. shift, with Walden continuing his commentaries ("Walden Ponderings") and other special events work.

"I have some rather big shoes to fill," Jackson admits. "Alan Walden has one of the most respected names in broadcast news in the country. I have marveled at his delivery and his sense for news and his keen awareness of what is going on around him ... and am very mindful of the need to pick up where he left off."

News Director Mark Miller believes Jackson, who worked at WBAL from 1972-1976 and again from 1982-1985, is just the man to follow in those footsteps.

"He knows the town, and he is well-respected by his colleagues in the industry," Miller says. "Probably most importantly, when I was more of a rookie in this business, back in the early '80s, I had built a great respect for him then, and I never lost that."

A Maryland native who grew up in northern Anne Arundel County, Jackson's radio career has included stints at WCBM, Mutual Broadcasting, Metro Traffic and WVOB in Bel Air, where he worked before moving to WBAL in 1972.

Outside radio, he's done public affairs work for former Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden and the trauma center at the University of Maryland. Most recently, he was a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a branch of the federal Department of Transportation.

While a job offer involving a workday that begins at 3 a.m. every morning might cause some of us to think twice, Jackson insists he's ready.

"I love getting up early," he insists. "Maybe singing in the shower and whistling in the kitchen might have had something to do with my divorce...."

Fantasies about family

The way work and family life is presented on TV has little to do with reality, according to a study released last week by the National Partnership for Women & Families.

The report, an analysis of two weeks of prime-time programming on the six commercial networks, criticized TV for presenting a male-dominated fantasy world in which mothers rarely have to work, child care is never a problem and conflicts between work and family responsibilities rarely occur.

In all, 150 episodes of 92 different programs were monitored and analyzed.

"Of course, TV is supposed to be a fantasy world," said the group's president, Judith L. Lichtman. "But the fantasy it presents is that most of us do not have children, parents or other loved ones who need our attention and care, and that our work and family obligations never conflict. The lives of most Americans have changed dramatically since the days of Donna Reed and 'Father Knows Best.' It is time for our popular culture to catch up."

Among the study's findings:

One-third of TV mothers (34 percent) work for pay, compared to two-thirds (67 percent) in real-life America;

Of 57 TV parents, only 40 percent had to deal with child care;

Only 26 of 820 adult TV characters (3 percent) were depicted as having to care for someone 65 or older, compared to 25 percent in the real world;

Only 14 percent of adult TV characters are over age 50, compared to 38 percent in the real world.

WBFF cleans up in Emmys

Baltimore-area TV stations were awarded 20 Emmys at Saturday's annual awards ceremony of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Washington chapter.

The big winner was WBFF, Channel 45, which walked away with eight Emmys.

The station's 10 p.m. newscast shared the award for Medium Market News Programs with WJZ, Channel 13's 6 p.m. broadcast, WNUV, Channel 54's news at 6: 30 and WMAR, Channel 2's 11 p.m. edition.

WBFF also won awards for General News Segment (Reporter John Barr's "Remembering Rex"), News Segment: Features, Hard (reporter Jennifer Gilbert's "History of a Gun"), Cinematography/Videography: News Segment, Spot News (Scott Livingston), Cinematography/Videography: News Series or News Special (two winners: Scott Hedeen, "Both Sides of the Block," and Gregory Marsh, "Deep Fears"), Editing: Spot News Segment (Jeff Grice) and Editing: News Series or News Special (Jimmy Mathis, "Baltimore's Clipper City").

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