Scott Borgerding targets his new format to a teen-age 0) audience
Some people change clothes to get into the weekend spirit. Scott Borgerding changes identities.
He's Scott Harris when he's doing his Sunday newscast on WBAL-AM -- and Scott Borgerding during the week, when he teaches English at Eastern Technical High School in Essex.
At 40, Mr. Borgerding, of Parkville, is starting his second full year in teaching after 15 years or so in the radio world. (On radio, he always has been known as "Harris," his mother's maiden name.)
His wife, Laura, and daughters, Melissa, 13, and Jennifer, 11, supported his career change to teaching, he says. But some colleagues still doubt his commitment.
"They say 'As soon as that big offer comes along in radio, you'll be out of here.' I took a little bit of a pay cut from news director to starting teacher, but not that much. A lot of money in local radio is a myth unless you're a big star."
Mr. Borgerding dates his radio career to his own student days at Parkville High School, when he did morning announcements and worked on a station at the old Loch Raven Veterans Hospital.
After he graduated from the University of Baltimore with a degree in English in 1975, his full-time radio career, minus two years as a Woolworth's assistant manager, lasted until 1991. Then Mr. Borgerding, news and public affairs director at WYST-AM for 10 years, fell victim to a format change.
"I'd been wanting to go into teaching for a long time anyway," he says. "I just needed something to push me."
After 46 credits, two student teacher stints and some long-term substitute teaching, he was ready for full-time teaching.
"Sometimes I tell the kids when I'll be on the air and ask them to critique me," he says. "High schoolers are not too likely to listen to WBAL, except for baseball, but they get a kick out of having their teacher on the radio." It's 2 a.m. Jeff Kinney is stretched out on his bed, staring at the ceiling and slurping down an entire six-pack of soda. This can mean only one thing:
He's writing "Igdoof."
"Igdoof" happens to be Mr. Kinney's comic strip brainchild -- a smart alecky student with bug eyes and a tiny tuft of hair who has spent the last eight semesters floundering as a freshman.
Mr. Kinney, meanwhile, has spent his college career chronicling Igdoof's misadventures -- from getting a driver's license to signing up for a dating service to cramming for finals -- in roughly a dozen college papers around the country, including those at Towson State University and the University of Maryland, College Park.
"Igdoof is a puny guy with big ears and a big nose who's totally uninhibited. He's exactly who I'd like to be if I could get away with it. I think of him as being the coolest guy around," says Mr. Kinney, 22, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Since the strip began in 1989, Igdoof has developed his own cult following.
Testament to that came last year when five students at College Park dressed up as Igdoof during a Halloween fraternity party. And in a campus newspaper poll last year, he came in a close second to Mario Cuomo as the students' choice for president of the United States.
Now Mr. Kinney is hoping fans will want to show their affection in their apparel. He recently signed a licensing agreement to create T-shirts featuring Igdoof's friends -- Ugly Eugene, Manny the Talking Sideburn and Remedial Ralph.
Although he has visions of going into syndication next year, Mr. Kinney acknowledges that his humor isn't for everyone.
"It's definitely not high brow," he says. "I'd call it juvenile with a punch."