- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Worlds colliding: Adult pop music station WWZZ-FM (104.1) will move into the building that houses its sister stations in the Washington area — all-news WTOP (1500 AM and 107.7 FM) and classical music WGMS-FM (103.5) — next week.

This means life at the three stations will be like those HBO promos in which “The Sopranos” mobsters mingle with the “Six Feet Under” morticians, except here in Washington we’ll have WWZZ’s mouthy morning man, Brett Haber, bumping into his cerebral WGMS counterpart, James Bartel, at the water cooler.

Trippy, huh?

Bonneville International Corp., which owns the three radio stations, considered moving them into a single building in Bethesda two years ago, but determined it would be too expensive.

Now the company has gone the cheaper route, shoehorning WWZZ — now located in Arlington — into the Cleveland Park building where WTOP and WGMS have been based for years.

WWZZ’s new ground-floor studio will include a window overlooking Newark Street NW. It’s not the busiest street in the District, but pedestrians will be able to peek in and do some “Today” show-style gawking while Mr. Haber, sidekick Erica Hilary and other hosts do their shows.

Wake-up call

WTTG-TV (Channel 5) is dropping “Cops” reruns weekdays at 5 a.m. to add an extra half hour to its morning newscast.

Beginning Monday, “Fox 5 Morning News” will start at 5 a.m. instead of 5:30. For the first time, the four major stations in the Washington area will each begin their morning newscasts at the same time.

Eventually, one of the local stations is expected to bump the start of their newscast to 4:30 a.m. to get a jump on the competition.

Somewhere, Mike Buchanan — the ex-WUSA-TV (Channel 9) anchor who quit the grueling morning shift last summer — is smiling.

Dead air

First, WMAL-AM (630) talker Michael Graham renamed his studio after Ronald Reagan.

Now archrival WTOP has rechristened its “glass enclosed nerve center” in honor of the father of broadcast journalism, Edward R. Murrow.

It began when WTOP news chief Jim Farley read about Mr. Graham’s stunt on dcrtv.com, an industry gossip site. Mr. Farley jokingly told the site’s editor that WTOP would name its studio after Mr. Murrow.

But Mr. Farley’s crew genuinely liked the idea, so he decided to make it a real tribute. He said it makes sense, too, because WTOP carried Mr. Murrow’s newscasts.

This columnist, feeling inspired, has decided to rename his cubicle to honor a famous dead person to be determined later. Send your suggestions to the e-mail address below.

‘… It feels so good’

Ex-sidekicks Mark “Peaches” Plotkin and Kojo “Herb” Nnamdi will reunite Friday when Mr. Nnamdi is a guest on Mr. Plotkin’s WTOP show at 10 a.m., and Mr. Plotkin appears on Mr. Nnamdi’s WAMU-FM (88.5) show at noon.

The stunt, originally scheduled for June 11, was delayed by Ronald Reagan’s funeral.

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

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