- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tomorrow is a big day for longtime WUSA-TV (Channel 9) news anchor JCHayward.

The Washington television news veteran is celebrating her 36th year at the local CBS affiliate, where she anchors the station’s weekday newscast at noon. At the same time, Ms. Hayward is helping WUSA debut a new Web site devoted to baby boomers.

“For so long, television stations were trying to attract those who were 24 to 45,” Ms. Hayward said. “It’s the first time that a television station has now decided to focus on people who are 50 and older.”

DvmOurTime.com — short for District, Virginia and Maryland — will include information about health, finances, housing, travel and other topics of interest to the area’s over-50 population, she said. WUSA is teaming up with AARP and the local senior-focused Beacon Newspapers, to help feed content to the site.

In addition to providing news, “Our Time” invites users to sign up for a free membership that includes a Club Card with access to special discounts. For example, Ms. Hayward noted, a local restaurant might offer free dessert Wednesday nights in exchange for an advertisement on the site.

The site coincides with Ms. Hayward’s position as vice president of community outreach at the station.

“It’s something I wanted to be involved in because when you talk about boomers, you’re talking about me,” she said.

Ms. Hayward, who was Washington’s first female anchor, credits her longevity to her involvement in the community. Her affiliations include the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP and the Summer Opera Theatre Company among others.

“I owe it to the viewers, I really do. They are the ones who have kept me at Channel 9 for so long,” she said. “Television managers like young-looking people and I’m not young.”

Asked how long she plans to continue anchoring, Ms. Hayward said, laughing: “I’m going to ride it until the wheels fall off.”

The domino effect

On the same day Verizon Wireless became the first national carrier to start offering unlimited calling plans at a flat monthly rate of $99.99, AT&T; Inc. and T-Mobile USA yesterday announced plans to follow suit.

AT&T;, the country’s largest wireless carrier, will make available virtually the same plan — $99.99 a month per line for unlimited voice calls anywhere in the U.S. — beginning Friday.

“If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s our ability to react to the competitive marketplace quickly,” a company spokeswoman said.

T-Mobile’s plan will be available tomorrow. Unlike Verizon and AT&T;, the company’s $99.99 flat rate includes unlimited text and picture messaging.

Independent telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan noted the plans make sense for heavy users but not all customers.

“What this means is we won’t see one carrier winning customers from another carrier,” he said. “This is another pricing option to save some high users money, but since it is available from almost all providers it won’t be a reason customers will switch providers.”

Channel Surfing runs Wednesdays. E-mail krowland@washingtontimes.com.


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