Rudy Miller leaving TV behind

TV: WMAR's consumer reporter will become vice president for marketing and community relations for LifeBridge Health.

September 08, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Rudy Miller is changing careers, if not exactly jobs.

A fixture on Baltimore TV for nearly two decades, Miller in recent years has concentrated on health and family issues, both as a magazine publisher and as a consumer reporter for WMAR, Channel 2.

Her new position, as vice president for marketing and community relations for LifeBridge Health, which operates three Baltimore-area hospitals, will allow her to concentrate on many of the same issues. She just won't be looking at them from the viewpoint of a journalist.

"What I love about this is it takes what I have done in television and the magazines and rolls it into a different job," Miller said yesterday from her Baltimore County home. "It's a new job, and it's using the skills in a different way, but it's the same skills."

Miller, who told WMAR management last week that she would be leaving the station, said she had been looking to "test the waters and see what was going on" months ago. She called it "a happy confluence" that the job offer from LifeBridge came just as her contract with WMAR was up for renewal.

"She's quite a talent, and we're sorry to see her go," said WMAR Vice President and General Manager Steve Gigliotti. "This is a very positive step for Rudy. ...Aside from being a top-drawer journalist, she's also an entrepreneur of sorts. I was not surprised to learn she wanted to go on and do something new."

Miller first hit Baltimore airwaves in the late 1970s as a reporter for WBAL, Channel 11.

After a brief stay there, she left for San Francisco, spending a year there before returning to WBAL in 1979. She stayed at Channel 11 for 10 years, quitting her full-time position in 1989.

Two years later, she started work at WMAR, serving as co-anchor of the early morning newscast -- a position she retained until last fall, when she became a full-time consumer reporter.

The entrepreneurial skills Gigliotti mentioned came to the fore in 1990 when she founded what would eventually become Alliance Media, publishers of Maryland Family, Fifty Plus and Jubilee. She sold Alliance to The Sun in 1996.

Ideally, Miller said, she wanted a job that would draw on the areas she's studied during her years as a journalist here in Baltimore. She says she found it.

"I feel very lucky," Miller said of her position with LifeBridge, which operates Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital Center and Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital. "Broadcasting has been extremely good to me. I have no regrets. But it's time to move on."

Miller insisted her decision had nothing to do with the recent unease at WMAR, where management has offered a buyout package for long-time employees in an effort to cut costs and streamline operations. And she expressed optimism over the troubled station's future.

"I hope that the people who want to leave find jobs that will make them as happy as this will make me," she said. "They have a wonderful stable of talent at the newsroom, and they ought to be doing just fine. A lot of [things that are going wrong] is stuff that nobody has any control over."

Rehm on Steiner show

Diane Rehm, host of her own show National Public Radio and author of the memoir "Finding My Voice," is the scheduled guest on today's first hour of "The Marc Steiner Show."

Other guests in the coming week include Democratic mayoral candidates Carl Stokes (tomorrow, first hour) and Martin O'Malley (Friday, first hour), plus novelist John Berendt, author of "Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil" (second hour, Tuesday). "The Marc Steiner Show" airs noon-2 p.m. weekdays on WJHU-FM (88.1).

Thompson to receive award

Chuck Thompson, long-time voice of the Baltimore Orioles and a 1993 inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame, will receive this year's Lifetime Achievement Award at the third annual Achievement In Radio (A.I.R.) awards, slated for Nov. 9 at the Holiday Inn Select in Timonium.

Thompson, who began his radio career spinning records and reading the news at WRAW in Reading, Pa., in 1939, got his start as a sportscaster doing Temple University football games in 1942. After World War II, he did play-by-play work for several Philadelphia-area teams, including baseball's Athletics and Phillies and football's Eagles, before coming to Baltimore in 1949.

He began his local career as voice of the old International League Orioles that year, as well as the All-American Conference Colts, Bullets basketball and Navy football. He began doing play-by-play for the American League Orioles in 1955, their second year in the majors. He's been pretty much an Orioles mainstay ever since, save for a four-year period (1957-1961) as the voice of the Washington Senators.

Among the thousands of games he's called over the years are two classics: the 1958 NFL title game between the Colts and the New York Giants, known ever since as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," and the seventh game of the 1960 World Series, won by a dramatic ninth-inning home run by Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski.

The awards are voted on by the A.I.R. Awards board of governors, including representatives from Baltimore-area radio stations and the March of Dimes, which organizes the annual event.

Tickets to the A.I.R. Awards, at $50 each (or $450 for a table of 10), can be purchased by calling 410-752-7990. Proceeds from the awards banquet, slated to begin at 11: 30 a.m., benefit the March of Dimes.

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