Mangione's magic number is three Options: Nick Mangione plans to own radio stations that will offer all talk, all sports and all music. @

August 12, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Nick Mangione has a plan for Baltimore radio, and with his recent purchase of WWLG, it's now two-thirds complete.

His goal, Mangione says, is to own three radio stations, one that's all talk, one that's all music, one that's all sports. As owner of WCBM-AM (680) for the past 10 years, he's long had his talk station; WWLG-AM (1360), with its big-band and easy-listening format, gives him the all-music component.

The sports station, he promises, will happen "soon we're negotiating for one right now."

Once his plan becomes reality, Mangione envisions a local population that will no longer need to search the dial for what it wants. "If you want to hear talk, you'll listen to 680," he says from his Towson office. "If you want to know something about sports, you'll dial that station. If you want nice, leisurely, relaxing music, you'll dial 1360."

And what, exactly, is "nice, leisurely, relaxing music?" Pretty much what WWLG listeners are used to. "I'm not talking about rock and roll or rap or hip-hop," Mangione says. "I'm talking about big-band music, the music that is enjoyable and allows you to relax. People like Sinatra, Perry Como, Vic Damone, Bing Crosby."

Mangione says he has no big changes planned for either the station's personnel or its playlist. But with the purchase of the station -- along with its sister station in Havre de Grace, WASA-AM (1330) -- now complete, he does have two moves in mind.

He'll be moving WWLG from Paper Mill Road in northern Baltimore County to a 6,500-square-foot studio he's having built at his Pikesville Hilton hotel on Reisterstown Road. Mangione expects the studio to be ready in about six weeks.

He'll also be moving the station's transmitting towers from Baltimore's Park Circle to Bel Air, a location he says should improve reception throughout the metropolitan area.

WJZ leads 11 p.m. slot

The July Nielsens are in for Baltimore's TV stations, and while they're traditionally the least important of the four ratings books compiled every year (they also appear for November, February and May), here are a few points worth mentioning.

For the second book this year, WJZ, Channel 13, has the `D top-rated late-evening news program -- and this time, it didn't have the Olympics around to provide a sure-fire lead-in.

For the month, WJZ finished with a 9.7 rating, compared with a 9.2 for WBAL, Channel 11, and a 4.2 for WMAR, Channel 2. Each ratings point translates to roughly 9,800 viewing households.

When WJZ won the 11 p.m. crown in February, thanks in great part to CBS' Winter Olympics coverage, it marked the first time in nearly three years it had wrested the crown from WBAL. Channel 11, helped by a dominant May sweeps performance from NBC, emerged back on top in May. Not all the ratings news was good for WJZ, as the station's top-rated morning show, with Don Scott and Marty Bass, continues to lose ground to its counterpart at WBAL. At 5: 30 a.m., the two stations were separated by seven-tenths of a ratings point in May, five-tenths in July. And at 6 a.m., the difference has gone from 2.8 ratings points in February to 1.4 in May and 1.3 in July.

The two stations continue to battle for supremacy when it comes to their early-evening newscasts. WBAL won at 5 p.m., 8.3 vs. 8.1, while WJZ came out on top at 6 p.m., 9.6 vs. 9.2. WJZ, however, did markedly narrow the gap at 5; in May, it came in second by 1.9 ratings points.

Where was the music?

Yet another reason to hate network television:

CBS aired "Philadelphia" Sunday night, a moving film about an AIDS-infected lawyer's battle for both his life and his rights. The film, although it has its flaws, has some undisputed strengths, not the least of which is its soundtrack (including Bruce Springsteen's Oscar-winning song, "Streets of Philadelphia").

So the movie ends Sunday night, and just as the closing credits are set to begin, accompanied by a beautiful orchestral score, we're treated to a split screen with the credits rolling on one side (at about four times their normal speed), ads for CBS programs on the other.

Instead of the beautiful, noble music that goes with the film, we get to hear some guy shilling for the upcoming week's CBS programming.

And the networks wonder why they're losing their audience

Glendening on WJHU

Guest host Mindy Mintz is scheduled to share the studio with Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening during the first hour of Tuesday's "The Marc Steiner Show" on WJHU-FM (88.1). The program airs weekdays from noon-2 p.m.

That pesky 2000 bug

Will the new millennium bring with it a massive systems meltdown, because all those computers and their internal calendars aren't programmed to measure time beyond Dec. 31, 1999?

Through Friday, the daytime talk-show hosts on WOLB-AM (1410) are looking into the coming computer glitch, asking the experts just how serious it could be, what people can do to avoid it and even how people looking for work can take advantage of it (one computer trainer says there are jobs out there related to the possible computer meltdown with annual salaries of up to $150,000).

"When I began to delve into this problem and learn how it may affect every aspect of our lives, I felt we would be doing our listeners a disservice not to explore it," says WOL Program Director Joe Madison.

Pub Date: 8/12/98

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