- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2002

ABC Radio has named Chris Berry president and general manager of WMAL-AM (630), its once-mighty local news-and-talk station that now struggles in the ratings.
Mr. Berry who most recently served as vice president of radio for ABC News in New York joined WMAL yesterday. He replaces Tom Bresnahan, who retired in October after running the station for almost 15 years.
"The opportunity to work with this team was too good to pass up," Mr. Berry said.
He has his work cut out for him.
In the summer, WMAL ranked No. 13 among Washington's 33 major stations, according to the most recent Arbitron Inc. research. It fared even worse among its target audience, listeners 25 to 54, ranking No. 18.
The station angered some fans in the winter when it fired evening host Victoria Jones and moved afternoon man Chris Core to a later time slot. Some listeners also complain the station's new morning show which features three hosts and lots of political debate is too noisy.
Mr. Berry declined to identify specific weaknesses at WMAL, although he said change is one of the few constants in the radio business. But he cautioned: "Don't look for any changes immediately."
This will be Mr. Berry's second tour of duty in Washington, following a stint in the mid-1980s as a CBS Radio executive. He said he has "an overwhelming passion" for the business, and cited the syndicated Sam Donaldson and Sean Hannity shows which just happen to air on WMAL as his current favorites.

Funding MHz
The Virginia Public Broadcasting Board has assigned a mediator to work with a group of public television stations squabbling over how much state funding each receives after budget cuts announced by Gov. Mark R. Warner, a Democrat.
Several Virginia PBS affiliates asked the board last month to overhaul the formula it used to fund public television, but two Falls Church stations complained the plan would strip them of $800,000 annually, crippling their ability to produce original programming.
The local stations WNVT-TV (Channel 53) and WNVC-TV (Channel 56) operate under the name MHz Networks. They are two of a few publicly funded television stations in the nation that are not affiliated with PBS.
At its Nov. 13 meeting, the board ordered MHz and the PBS affiliates to work with a mediator to resolve the dispute. A progress report is due in December.
MHz is known for producing inventive programs, such as "8101," a talk show for blacks; "MHz Presents," a weekly concert series; and "Open.TV," a live, daily magazine for teenagers.

The winners are
All-news station WTOP (1500 AM, 820 AM and 107.7 FM) won eight awards at last week's Achievement in Radio (AIR) competition, more than any other broadcaster.
Oldies station WBIG-FM (100.3) won five awards, including two for disc jockey Charlie Donovan, who poked fun at a familiar WTOP slogan during the free-wheeling ceremony in Bethesda.
"See that, your favorite radio station does play songs," Mr. Donovan quipped during an acceptance speech.
"The Russ Parr Morning Show with Olivia Fox" on WKYS-FM (93.9) won the award for best morning program, and "The Mike Kaufman Show" on WRQX-FM (107.3) was named best afternoon program.
The Washington chapter of the March of Dimes organizes the competition, which serves as one of its main fund-raisers. The group raised $41,500 this year.

Questions? Comments? Tips? Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or send an e-mail to [email protected]


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