Station is all sports no more

Radio: Nasty Nestor Aparicio signs off the air tomorrow night, but he's not gone for good.

September 29, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach and David Zurawik | Chris Kaltenbach and David Zurawik,SUN STAFF

Nestor Aparicio's year-long experiment in all-sports radio ends tomorrow, with his last broadcast at WNST-AM (1570).

Nestor and the gang are inviting listeners to drop by an open house at the studios, 1550 Hart Road in Towson (off Providence Road), for food and reminiscing tomorrow. On the air, the morning team of Spiro Morekas and The Swami ("The PC Banknet Sports Guys") will broadcast from 7 a.m.-noon, followed by Nasty Nestor himself, from noon-7 p.m. (a little longer than usual, but hey, it's his last day). The station will then conclude broadcast operations with the Maryland-Georgia Tech football game, which it picked up from WBAL because of a conflict with the Orioles' schedule.

Beginning Monday, Aparicio moves his operations to WCBM-AM (680), where "Nasty at Night" will air weeknights from 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

Aparicio was given the chance to buy WNST outright, but declined. It was sold in July for $1.5 million to Chicago-based Catholic Radio Networks.

Don Scott, screen actor

All you eagle-eyed WJZ lovers out there, you're right: that is Don Scott who's seen briefly during commercials for the coming Harrison Ford-Kristin Scott Thomas film, "Random Hearts." Director Sydney Pollack and his crew filmed at the WJZ studios last year. The film centers on a plane crash that kills Ford's wife and Scott Thomas' husband. Some of the on-air talent at WJZ will be playing on-air talent in the film.

`Action' gets a smackdown

Some early results are in on the new TV season, and one of the series getting the worst news is "Action," the coarse Fox sitcom starring Jay Mohr as a young Hollywood producer. While the series did generate some critical buzz, viewers do not appear to be impressed.

Last week, "Action" earned a 3.45 rating, which translates to about 3.5 million U.S. households. By way of comparison, "Homicide: Life on the Street" last year was seen on average in about 10 million homes each week, and it got canceled.

Making it a really humiliating week for "Action" is the news from Nielsen that it was beaten by UPN's new Thursday night entry, "WWF Smackdown!" The wrestling extravaganza was seen in almost a million more homes nationally and did gangbuster ratings with its target audience of teen boys.

One of the cities with the biggest audience for "WWF Smackdown!" is Baltimore, according to Nielsen Media Research provided by UPN.

Another early winner in Baltimore is "The Parkers," co-starring former Baltimore comedian Mo'Nique. The sitcom about a mother and daughter who attend college together has WUTB (Channel 24) with almost four times as large an audience as it had last year at this time.

WUTB launches new show

Speaking of WUTB, this month the UPN-owned station launched its first locally produced program, "PROFILES," with Craig Thompson.

The public affairs show airs at 8: 30 a.m. Sundays, and features field reports and interviews with area news-makers. The interviews are handled by Thompson, an attorney in the law firm of Peter Angelos and host of "The Back Page" radio show on Morgan State University's WEAA-FM.

Angelos is the scheduled guest this week.

WBAL hires Vanko

The coverage of local news on Baltimore radio grows ever less, as stations depend more and more on syndicated broadcasts and news readers (as opposed to news reporters). Which makes it especially welcome to report that Bill Vanko, the former news director at WPOC-FM (93.1), has been hired as a reporter at WBAL-AM (1090).

Vanko, who started his new job Monday, replaces Sue Kopen. The seven-year WBAL veteran left the station to accept a job teaching at the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

Also at WBAL, News Director Mark Miller is in Charlotte, N.C., for tonight's presentation of a pair of Edward R. Murrow awards to the station. Given annually by the Radio Television News Directors Association, the Murrow Awards honor excellence in television throughout the nation.

WBAL's two awards were given to John Patti, for a piece called "Billiard Babes," about a group of women at the Charlestown Retirement Community who got so tired of the men dominating their billiard room that they formed their own team, and Linda Foy and Allan Prell, for investigative reports on Model One, a Virginia-based modeling agency.

WBFF, Channel 45, also landed a Murrow, for Scott Livingston's video on a piece about a fantasy baseball camp in Pennsylvania. Just another accolade for the city's feistiest TV news organization.

TV's top shows

Here are last week's top TV shows, according to A. C. Nielsen Co. figures: Rating

1 Friends NBC 17.8

2 Frasier NBC 16.6

3 NFL Monday Night Football:Atlanta at Dallas ABC 15.2

4 Third Watch NBC 14.1

5 Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary Special NBC 14.0

6 Jesse NBC 13.9

7 Law & Order NBC 13.2

8 NFL Monday Showcase ABC 12.6

9 33rd Annual Country Music Association Awards CBS 12.3

9 (tie) Once and Again ABC 12.3

9 (tie) Stark Raving Mad NBC 12.3

12 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 12.2

13 West Wing NBC 12.1

14 Touched by an Angel CBS 12.0

15 The Practice ABC 11.6

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