- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2003

The board that oversees public broadcasting in Virginia voted last week to preserve its funding formula for now, forestalling an overhaul that could have crippled two Falls Church television stations.
Four PBS affiliates seeking more money from the state asked the Virginia Public Broadcasting Board in November to overhaul the funding formula. The Falls Church stations, WNVT-TV (Channel 53) and WNVC-TV (Channel 56), complained the plan would strip them of $800,000 annually.
The board ordered the squabbling stations to meet with a mediator in December, but the talks failed. On Jan. 7, the panel voted to not tamper with its funding formula during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
"We're not out of the woods yet," said Frederick Thomas, general manager of WNVT and WNVC, which operate under the name MHz Networks.
The board is expected to reconsider funding changes again this spring. Station managers on both sides of the issue said they hope state legislators will not interfere before the debate resumes.
WNVT and WNVC are two of a handful of publicly funded stations in the nation that are not affiliated with PBS. Instead, they produce their own mix of public affairs, educational, cultural and international programs, such as "8101," a talk show geared to black viewers.
The MHz stations have already lost roughly $80,000 in budget cuts. To save money, WNVT only broadcasts weekdays from 4 p.m. to midnight.
Powell departs WHUT
Adam Clayton Powell III has resigned as general manager of PBS affiliate WHUT-TV (Channel 32) after nine months to join the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications as a visiting professor, where he will study the future of electronic news.
Mr. Powell's tenure at Howard University-owned WHUT was brief but busy. He introduced several new programs, including the weekly magazine series "At Howard," and secured funding for WHUT's second digital channel, which will begin this spring.
"I'm leaving because we were able to do more things more quickly than we expected," Mr. Powell said. His resignation took effect Jan. 11, but he was in the office yesterday for a going-away party.
"Adam will keep his access card and his parking space here. That should tell you how much we appreciate the work that he has done," said H. Patrick Swygert, Howard University's president.
Mr. Powell, who is leading the search for his successor, said the station has received applications from "six strong candidates," including three from managers of other PBS affiliates.
Around the dial
WJFK-FM (106.7) has extended the contract of afternoon drive hosts Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara. A station spokeswoman declined to disclose terms of the deal. Last summer, WJFK briefly suspended Mr. Geronimo, whose real name is Mike Sorce, and Mr. O'Meara when they feuded publicly with another radio team, Greg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia.
WRC-TV (Channel 4) will hold its 10th annual Health and Fitness Expo Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center. Doreen Gentzler, an anchor and health reporter for the NBC affiliate, will host the event.
National Public Radio affiliate WAMU-FM (88.5) has moved "The Eddie Stubbs Show," its long-running classic country music program, from Saturdays at 3 p.m. to Sundays at 3 p.m., part of an overhaul of its weekend and overnight schedules.
Questions? Comments? Tips? Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or send an e-mail to cbaker@washingtontimes.com.

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