- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Former WTTG-TV (Channel 5) sportscaster Brett Haber will join adult pop music station WWZZ-FM (104.1) as its new morning man March 31, almost three years after he left the Washington area for a New York gig.
"There is no other morning show in Washington like the one we will do. We're going to bring the funny and the smarts without the toilet humor," Mr. Haber said.
He replaces Dylan Patton as Erin Carman's co-host on WWZZ's morning show, which airs weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The station chose not to renew Mr. Patton's contract.
On the retitled "Haber and Erin on the McDonald's Morning Drive," Mr. Haber and Miss Carman will play music and chat each other up about topics geared toward WWZZ's target audience, women between 25 and 40.
What does a wisecracking sports anchor know about girl talk?
"I'm married to one of those women. I just had a child with one of those women. I'm going to be sitting next to one of those women all morning long. I feel pretty attuned to their thought process," Mr. Haber said.
Plus, Miss Carman is a "take-no-prisoners kind of chick" who will keep him on his toes, he said.
Mr. Haber is no stranger to radio, either. As a member of the original "Elliot in the Morning" crew at rock station WWDC-FM (101.1), he frequently played straight man to freewheeling host Elliot Segal, a longtime friend.
Mark C. O'Brien, WWZZ's president and general manager, compared Mr. Haber to Bob Costas and Pat O'Brien, two sportscasters who eventually eased into entertainment reporting.
"Brett is a master storyteller. You don't sit down to watch Brett talk about the right tackle for the Washington Redskins. You sit down to watch him talk about the right tackle's life," Mr. O'Brien said.
Mr. Haber, a fan favorite during his three years at WTTG, departed in September 2000 to take a bite out of the Big Apple as the weeknight sports anchor for CBS's New York affiliate. The Big Apple bit back when the station cut Mr. Haber loose last fall, replacing him with the man he replaced, a fellow named Warner Wolf.
Mr. O'Brien, who managed WWDC when Mr. Haber contributed to "Elliot in the Morning," approached him three months ago about the WWZZ morning gig. The deal they struck allows Mr. Haber to keep a part-time gig at CBS Sports.
Next month, for example, Mr. Haber will cover the NCAA basketball tournament for the network.
Mr. Patton, who is expected to sign off WWZZ's airwaves March 19, has been with the station since its days playing bubble gum pop music. It switched to the adult pop music format in October 2001, when it also began playing fewer commercials in a bid to draw listeners weary of the "clutter" on the airwaves.
Mr. O'Brien said Mr. Haber will be a better fit with WWZZ.
"We are going up against some memorable morning shows in Washington. We needed a younger version of Jack Diamond," Mr. O'Brien said, referring to the longtime morning drive host at WRQX-FM (107.3), WWZZ's main competitor for the ears of thirtysomething women.
Bonneville International Corp., which owns WWZZ, is committed to the "more music, fewer commercials" mantra the station embraced 18 months ago, Mr. O'Brien said.
The changes haven't paid off in huge ratings, but Mr. O'Brien believes Mr. Haber's addition will help change that.
"We're in this for the long haul," Mr. O'Brien said.

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

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