If one party declares war on the second party and the second party doesn't know about it, is it really a war?
That's the question at the center of the radio talk show "battle" between Nestor Aparicio and Josh Lewin, whose nightly programs each air from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Aparicio, who works at WWLG (1360 AM), has been lobbing verbal grenades this week at Lewin, who's over at WBAL (1090 AM), claiming the newcomer has stolen his material, especially the concepts of football predictions contests, music bursts going into and out of commercials and trivia contests.
"I've been doing this for the better part of two years. If this is indeed his show, it should have been his show on September 23 or whenever he started," said Aparicio. "I feel like the next thing he's going to do is grow a ponytail and hire Mark Mussina as his co-host."
In what he calls the "spirit of good fun," Aparicio, who applied at WBAL to replace Jeff Rimer -- a job that went to Lewin -- has been holding an "idea telethon" this week where his listeners have called to pledge items to both help Lewin better acclimate himself to the area and to get his own material.
"Our thing is to help Josh help himself," said Aparicio, a former editorial assistant and free-lance writer at The Evening Sun.
All of this is a surprise to Lewin, who says he has never heard Aparicio's show.
"I'm flattered by all the attention," said Lewin, who debuted here Sept. 20. "I wasn't aware until now that Mr. Aparicio invented the concept of bumper music and trivia. Those are things that I've done since 1990 when I was in Rochester. I was very surprised to learn that someone who hasn't met me would do things like this."
By the energy Aparicio has poured into this, one would think that the two parties are in a razor-thin ratings battle.
In the most recent Arbitron radio ratings report, which covers June 23 through Sept. 14, WBAL's "SportsLine" got a 7.4 share of the market, pulling in 19,850 listeners during an average quarter-hour.
Aparicio's "Sports Forum" got a 0.5 share, or 1,200 listeners.
An NBC spokesman yesterday shot down a suggestion made in this space yesterday that the network, which aired the Oct. 16 Miami-Los Angeles Raiders game at which Raiders coach Art Shell allegedly uttered a racial slur at quarterback Jeff Hostetler, could clear up whether Shell made the comments by reviewing game tapes.
"We looked at what we had and we couldn't find anything of a distinguishable nature," said Ed Markey. "When you have charges of this nature, you have to be absolutely sure and there was nothing distinguishable of a racial nature."
ABC's Keith Jackson, who will call the Nebraska-Colorado showdown Saturday, airing at noon on Channel 13, yesterday announced that he has signed a new two-year pact with the network. His current contract was to expire at the end of this year.
Cotton comes back to CBS
CBS, which had broadcast the Cotton Bowl for 35 years before losing it to NBC this year, will regain telecast rights for six years, starting in 1996, under the terms of a deal announced yesterday.
"After allowing our friends across the street [NBC] temporary custody, we're delighted to be back in Dallas," said Len DeLuca, vice president of programming for CBS Sports.
In 1996, the reconfigured Cotton Bowl will match the runner-up of the soon-to-come Big 12, a merger of the Big Eight and Texas, Texas A&M;, Texas Tech and Baylor, against either the Pac-10 runner-up or the winner of the Western Athletic Conference or possibly Notre Dame.