Big Bird turns 6 (again) in prime time



* Do you ever wish in the rush of modern life you could be, oh, 6 years old again? That's the perpetual age of Big Bird, the "Sesame Street" regular who's preparing to celebrate a prime-time birthday next month on PBS.

Although the daily show is in its 21st year (at 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on channels 22 and 67), Big Bird remains 6 to allow young viewers to identify. And "Big Bird's Birthday: Let Me Eat Cake" airs at 8 p.m. Monday, March 11.

In preparation, Maryland Public Television and Baltimore County public libraries are sponsoring a contest that offers youngsters a chance to attend a pre-birthday bash at MPT studios in Owings Mills at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 9. And next Monday, March 4, is the entry deadline.

Big Bird pictures for coloring, postcards and entry chances for pre-schoolers 2 to 6 are available at all library branches. Each branch will draw one winner to attend the party.

* Speaking of young viewers, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" (at 2:30 p.m. daily on MPT) is offering one of its periodic theme weeks.

In "Growing," host Fred Rogers explores how and why things grow, from his hair to plant seeds. And he makes the point that "inside growing and learning is even more important than the outside kind."

* Mark your calendars, baseball fans. Thursday, March 7, is the first scheduled spring training broadcast of a Baltimore Orioles game. The Birds/White Sox exhibition can be heard on WBAL-AM 1090 at 1 p.m., with regular play-by-play man Jon Miller and newcomer Ken Levine.

It's the first of 15 pre-season games on WBAL.

* Cable viewers who are fans of "Attitudes," the Lifetime network's daily talk show (at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. Saturdays) will have noticed something new in yesterday's show.

Celebrity host Marla Maples ("friend" of Donald Trump) was the first of a series of guests who will help Linda Dano in the hosting chores. Previous co-host Dee Kelly has left the show, and among the co-hosts to come are model Kim Alexis (scheduled today), Melba Moore and Robin Leach.

Some of the guests, according to Lifetime, are under consideration to be permanent co-hosts.

* Congratulations to Greg Cole, music director at country station WPOC-FM 93.1. He's been named Music Director of the Year (for large-market country stations) by the Gavin Report, a recording industry trade magazine.

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