QVC to shine its spotlight on Baltimore Program: "Hometown Baltimore," a show airing in October that will feature products from area merchants, will be QVC's first venture in local programming.


Because of incorrect information supplied to The Sun, it was reported yesterday that Fastnet is a same- and next-day delivery service offered by the U.S. Postal Service. Fastnet does not offer same-day service.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Calling Baltimore at once "unique" and "middle of the road," QVC Inc. has chosen Charm City for its first venture in local programming.

The television shopping network has selected 20 products from more than 400 submitted by local manufacturers, retailers and restaurants for "Hometown Baltimore," a three-hour pilot program be aired Oct. 5 in Baltimore and the five surrounding counties.

The products, which range from a Haussner's strawberry pie to a McCormick spice rack to a set of crab knives from Carvel Hall, are all "uniquely Baltimore," said Carroll Thomas, the QVC buyer.

Since regional products are primarily purchased by residents of the region, the network "hopes the program will spark interest and get people to look at the rest of QVC," said Irv Kalick, executive vice president, sales and marketing.

Kalick also predicted "a drive to retail," increasing sales for businesses featured.

Mary DeMarco, owner of La Terra in Baltimore, agreed.

"The hope is people will come to the store after seeing the product on QVC," said DeMarco, whose silver "bee" earrings were selected. The network estimates 500,000 people will view the program.

The program will also allow unconventional participants, like the Maryland Science Center, "to tap into a whole new market, given all of QVC's viewers," said spokeswoman Walinda West. The Center's "You're a Special Effects Movie Artist Kit," allows kids to produce optical illusions like those in the movies.

Last month, QVC held a four-day open call for products.

"The response was absolutely crazy," Thomas said. "There is just so much out there."

The 20 products selected have never appeared on QVC, which explains why crabs -- which QVC has sold nationally -- are conspicuously absent from the list.

And as for the location, Baltimore-specific characteristics as well as convenience led the network to choose the city.

"Baltimore's pretty middle of the road," Kalick said. "The buying level is good -- not below the national average and not much higher -- and it's a tight market that has its own identity."

Like runners-up San Diego and San Antonio, there are specific products "that people from Baltimore will want to own," he said.

The fact that two cable operators share more than 60 percent of the market also offered the opportunity for complete coverage.

"If you get Comcast and TCI to buy the concept, you can be pretty sure the smaller systems will carry the program, too," Kalick said.

Baltimore also offered the network the chance to try something new from the U.S. Postal Service.

Fastnet, a same- and next-day delivery service, will be available in Baltimore at the time of the airing. Something QVC is "really interested in experimenting with," the service will allow viewers "to order a strawberry pie that day and have it for dinner," Kalick said.

Typically, products purchased on QVC take between six and 10 days to arrive by mail.

Prices for the products will range from $10, for a "3-pack Maryland Soup Sampler" from Mid-Atlantic Foods Inc., to $235, for a Mystery Weekend Getaway at the Clarion Hotel in Mount Vernon.

The program, which will be aired live from 9 a.m. to noon, will originate from Brown's Wharf at Fells Point, and will coincide with the beginning of the Fell's Point Fun Festival. About 1,000 free seats will be available on a first-come basis.

'Hometown Baltimore' products

Company .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Product

Andrew Thomas Ltd. ... .. .. .. Ready Rider Bar

Baltimore Sun .. .. .. .. .. .. Baltimore Ravens inaugural game press plate and newspaper package

Cafe Hon . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Dill vinaigrette

Clarion Hotel .. .. .. .. .. .. Concierge Plus Mystery Weekend Getaway

Carvel Hall .. .. .. .. .. .. . Set of four crab knives

Chezelle Inc. .. .. .. .. .. .. Wool and cashmere blazer

Haussner's .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Strawberry pie

Jet Blast Products Corp. .. ... Drain Blaster "Home Drain Care Kit"

La Terra .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . Sterling bee earrings

Lisa Anne's Toffee Apples .. .. Two candy apples; toffee and chocolate peanut butter

Maryland Science Center .. .. ..3-month membership and "You're

a Special Effects Movie Artist Kit"

McCormick/Schilling's .. .. .. .Gourmet spice rack; spice Cookbook

Mid-Atlantic Foods Inc. .. .. ..Gordon's Chesapeake Classics "3 Maryland Soup Sampler"

Nadina's Cremes .. .. .. ... .. Perfumed body creme

Noir Inc. .. .. .. .. .. ... .. Sterling necklace with pearls

Phillips Harborplace .. ... ... Clam Bake

Pied Piper .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Children's sterling tea service set

Providence Center .. .. .. .. . Thomas Point Light Birdhouse

Rockland Industries .. .. ... . Roc-Lon blackout drapery liner

Weber's Cider Mill Farm Inc. .. Fall decorator kit (pumpkin, gourd and Indian corn)

Pub Date: 8/27/96

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