'Today' show will sweep into Baltimore this week


Baltimore is getting into the national spotlight again this week. NBC's "Today" is bringing the broadcast to town on Wednesday (7 a.m.-9 a.m., WBAL, Channel 11).

Network morning shows traditionally go on the road for the November "sweeps" ratings and to help boost affiliate relations, and an NBC spokeswoman says Baltimore is a particular target because of last January's switch of affiliations. WBAL had previously been a CBS station.

The Baltimore visit is part of a three-day spotlight on the mid-Atlantic region, with the show visiting Philadelphia on Monday and Wilmington on Tuesday.

Co-hosts Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric and newscaster Matt Lauer will set up at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor, while weatherman Willard Scott will do his segments -- with WBAL-TV weather guy Tony Pann -- from Lexington Market.

Planned segments include an interview with Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, a feature on Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a visit by naturalist Jim Fowler to the National Aquarium and a report/plug on the NBC series "Homicide: Life on the Street," which tapes here.

The Baltimore region also had a piece of two "Today" segments last week. Hunt Valley dermatologist Robert A. Weiss was featured Thursday and Friday in reports on a new treatment for varicose veins.

'Maryland Magazine'

The relatively new "Maryland Magazine On The Air" radio show gets a new host tonight: Charles J. Nabit, a health-care executive who is co-publisher of the namesake Maryland Magazine. The show's second edition airs at 8 p.m. on stations WWLG-AM (1360) and WASA-AM (1330) in Havre de Grace.

In July, Mr. Nabit joined with Towson attorney Michael Hodes, a co-owner of the two Legends Radio stations, to buy Maryland Magazine. The publication was originally produced by the state of Maryland but has been in the private sector since 1992.

Its radio edition, which includes the same topics as in a given issue of the magazine, premiered in September with editor Hirsch Goldberg as host.

Stories covered tonight, and in a second hourlong edition to air next Sunday, will include features from the November/December issue of the magazine.

Profile subjects include Don Messick, the longtime Hanna-Barbera cartoon-voice performer, who lives in Edgemere; firefighter-turned-doll-maker Anthony Meeker; Douglas Kuzmiak, a volunteer at the state's Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Anne Arundel County; and Essex native Thomas Jones, an American astronaut.

Also to be heard in the new edition are holiday memories from WMAR-TV anchor Sandra Pinckney, state Comptroller Louis Goldstein and Stu Feiler, whose book show, "PageOne," airs at 10 p.m. Sundays on Legends Radio.

Little listeners

From Beethoven to Fraggle Rock? That's pretty much the career move made by Ceil Martin.

Mrs. Martin is the former business-development manager of WBJC-FM (91.5), the classical music station based at Baltimore City Community College. In late August, she became general manager of WKDB-AM (1570), the Towson station that belongs to the network called Radio Zone: The Kids' Stations.

With sister stations in the Washington area and northern Virginia, the Radio Zone network offers music-based programming to elementary and middle-school-age youngsters.

"Quite honestly, they're not as different as you think. They're both a concept sell," says Ms. Martin.

Neither the child-oriented station nor public radio stations such as WBJC address conventional radio audiences, she says. They must persuade advertisers or underwriters to support them because of the specific audience they address.

In the case of kids, the Arbitron ratings service does not even measure their listening, with Arbitron ratings only beginning at age 12.

Two Baltimore-area schools will be getting a lesson in kid-oriented radio production this week, as winners of the Radio Zone's "Breakfast Tour '95" contest.

The Radio Zone morning show, with Kenny Curtis and Susan Huber, will be produced live from Colgate Elementary School in Baltimore on Tuesday and Timonium Elementary School in Timonium on Friday.

Ms. Martin said the two schools sent in the most entries inviting the show to visit, among about 320,000 received from 125 schools.

A long labor

Call it a premature delivery. Based on information from the producers, last week's column said a ratings stunt on "The Gordon Elliott Show," in which the host dons an "empathy belly" to simulate pregnancy, would air in last week's shows.

In fact, the five shows in which Mr. Elliott wears the maternity simulator are airing this week (9 a.m.-10 a.m. on WMAR, Channel 2).

Get 'Kidnapped'

Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" comes to TV tonight, with a two-part adaptation on cable's the Family Channel. Part 1 is at 7 o'clock, with Part 2 at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

Armand Assante and Scottish actor Brian McCardie star in the adventure story that traces the birth of the independent nation of Scotland. Francis Ford Coppola is a co-producer.

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