Late newscast breathes life into WMAR ratings; Programming: Channel 2 runs last behind Channels 13 and 11, but here and there the numbers improve; Television and Radio

With the latest TV ratings period set to close tonight, the local news numbers look like they'll remain pretty much the same, save for promising signs of life from long-dormant WMAR, Channel 2.

Preliminary numbers through Monday show WJZ, Channel 13, increasing its lead at 11 p.m. and taking over the top spot at 6 p.m., while WBAL, Channel 11, maintains its lead at 5 p.m.


But while WMAR remains a distant third in all three time periods, its 11 p.m. newscast out-rated WBAL five times during the month. This past Sunday, WMAR scored an impressive 9.2 rating, easily outdistancing WBAL's 7.4 and approaching top-ranked WJZ's 9.6.

Overall, the rating for WMAR's 11 p.m. newscast so far has climbed from 5.2 to 5.9 -- the only late-night news broadcast to show ratings growth since February.


Each ratings point translates to about 10,000 viewing households.

Soldiers' tales

Stories of soldiers from the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars make up The Learning Channel's Memorial Day commemoration.

"Vietnam: Stories From the Wall" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., repeats midnight-1 a.m.), tells the tales of Richard Fitzgibbon Jr., whose name was left off the Wall for years because he died before the war officially started; Dan Ouellette, a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome who went even deeper into shock after visiting the Wall and finding his name there; Richard Luttrell, haunted for 20 years by a photograph he'd found in the pocket of a dead North Vietnamese soldier; and Layna McConkey, whose father died in Vietnam and who visited the Wall with her dying mother.

"War In the Gulf: The Soldiers' Story: Airstrike" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., repeats 1 a.m.-2 a.m.) looks at the air war over Iraq. U.S. Air Force Stealth pilots dropping laser-guided missiles fought against an Iraqi army using SCUD missiles.

MPT in the running

The folks at Maryland Public Television are up for an impressive 16 local Emmys this year.

In public affairs programming, MPT scored nine nods: five for "Maryland State of Mind"; three for "Outdoors Maryland" and one for "Newsnight Maryland."


MPT technicians were nominated three times for photography (Marlene Rodman, Timothy Pugh and Pat Stalionis) and three times for audio (one each for John R. Davidson and David Wainwright, plus one for them as a team).

MPT's 30th anniversary bash was nominated for entertainment program, while Robert W. Heck is up for an award for his work on MPT's "Vid Kid" series.

Local views

Author Eugene Meyer is scheduled to discuss his new book, "Maryland Lost and Found ... Again," during the first hour of today's edition of "The Marc Steiner Show." Tomorrow, in the show's second hour, Marion Orr, author of "Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore 1986-1998," will discuss the city's struggle with school reform.

"The Marc Steiner Show" airs from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays on WJHU-FM (88.1).

Look at small businesses


An hour-long town meeting on "Prospering In the New Economy -- The Survival of Small Business" will air live on CNN tonight beginning at 10.

Business anchor Jan Hopkins will serve as host for the meeting, scheduled for the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York, with satellite feeds coming in from Detroit, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

A panel including U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Aida Alvarez; managing editor of Fortune Small Business Hank Gilman; founder and CEO of DME Interactive Holdings Inc. Darien Dash; and futurist Watts Wacker will accept questions from audiences both live and online (at