- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The Butch and Sundance of local punditry — Kojo Nnamdi and Mark Plotkin — are reuniting.

Mr. Nnamdi will be a guest on an upcoming edition of Mr. Plotkin’s “Politics Program,” which airs Fridays at 10 a.m. on WTOP (1500 AM and 107.7 FM). An air date has not been set.

It will mark the first time the talking heads have livened up a mike together since April 2002, when Mr. Plotkin gave up his gig as the resident analyst on Mr. Nnamdi’s “D.C. Politics Hour” on WAMU-FM (88.5), which airs Fridays at noon.

The sauve Mr. Nnamdi and the passionate Mr. Plotkin have remained friends, even though their bosses had some tense moments after Mr. Plotkin bolted for WTOP.

At one point, WAMU, a National Public Radio affiliate, threatened legal action against WTOP, which is owned by Bonneville International Corp. WAMU management said the original title of Mr. Plotkin’s new show, “The Politics Hour,” sounded too similar to the name of Mr. Nnamdi’s program.

Mr. Plotkin said he wants Mr. Nnamdi to appear on his show when he has a big guest, such as Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, who is expected to drop by in July.

“Kojo sure beats having Sherwood as guest,” Mr. Plotkin said, referring to frequent foil Tom Sherwood, the city hall reporter for NBC affiliate WRC-TV (Channel 4).

Downsizing

Gannett Co. is downsizing its USA Today Live television service, sources close to the company say.

The service, an arm of the USA Today newspaper, provides reports to Gannett’s 22 stations, including WUSA-TV (Channel 9) in the Washington area.

It was not clear yesterday how many staffers will be affected, but sources said some are likely to be moved to other jobs in the company.

USA Today Live, based in McLean, won four local Emmys this month. When reporter Ginger Gadsden won the Emmy for news segment at the June 7 ceremony, she asked the audience, “Can you see me over this podium, because I’m looking for a job.”

Another USA Today Live reporter, Mike Walter, is expected to replace Mike Buchanan as Andrea Roane’s co-anchor on WUSA’s morning news. Mr. Buchanan confirmed last week that he is giving up his anchor seat to resume reporting.

A slimmer version of USA Today Live is likely to remain. A spokeswoman said she couldn’t confirm the reports.

Schaefer update

Jim Schaefer, the popular executive producer at WJLA-TV (Channel 7) whom management suspended in April after some expensive editing equipment disappeared, resigned last week.

Mr. Schaefer, a 10-year WJLA veteran, never returned to the station after the suspension. Newsroom morale plummeted after his suspension, and several staffers said he was treated unfairly because he wasn’t responsible for the equipment in the first place.

More gear turned up missing Thursday. Arlington County police are investigating.

Around the dial …

• Liz Crenshaw, the savvy consumer reporter behind WRC’s popular “Ask Liz” segment, has extended her contract until 2007.

• Alison Starling, a reporter for the CBS affiliate in Seattle, is joining WJLA. Bill Lord, WJLA’s news chief, first hired her when he ran the Seattle station’s newsroom a few years ago.

• Insomniacs take note: Derek McGinty signs off as anchor of ABC’s overnight newscast, “World News Now,” early Friday. Next stop: Broadcast House, where Mr. McGinty will anchor WUSA’s new 7 p.m. newscast.

Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or send an e-mail to cbaker@washingtontimes.com.

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