NBC may be looking for a way to keep its radio stations in cities where it also has television. Since RCA bought the media giant 2 1/2 years ago, the company has been under orders to divest by the end of 1987. But recently, NBC asked the Federal Communications Commission for an extension, and some NBC insiders believe the company is looking for a way to hold onto the highly profitable stations.
The move comes after months of talk within the industry that the television-oriented network had little regard for radio. But NBC President Bob Wright told top brass this month that he's "keen on radio." NBC owns and operates WRC-TV and urban contemporary WKYS-FM (93.9) in Washington.
High Cost of Talk
Meanwhile, NBC Radio News Vice President James T. Farley Jr. gave multi-award-winning Washington-based correspondents C.D. Jaco and Peter Laufer "a piece of my mind -- chewed them out" over an interview in The Washington Times 10 days ago.
Laufer was quoted as saying that "the kind of thing we're doing could be a cash cow for network radio except that local management at the local stations is either kind of dumb or has been brainwashed by consultants who say that news is a tune-out." The story, which plugged the team's in-depth look at Nicaragua, also quoted Jaco as saying, "Put us up one-on-one against any network television news correspondents in the country, on any high-risk story where your gonads are on the line and we are completely confident that we can kick their butts."
"They used bad judgment in the interview," Farley said. "It wasn't very classy." When he read the story, Farley sent the pair a note saying "You better look for other jobs now!!!"
"That was in the heat of the moment," Farley said yesterday. "Editors get mad at reporters and blow up at them." Farley admitted that he told Jaco and Laufer not to talk to the press in the future, but said that also was "in the heat of the moment. They have no gag -- no muzzle."
Cooled down, Farley said that despite the note, the correspondents, who specialize in in-depth reports, "haven't been fired and they aren't going to be. They are two terrific reporters."
Darlings of the Dial
The Washingtonian magazine's annual readers' "Best of" poll will be out next month, and names WWDC-FM's (101.1) Doug (Greaseman) Tracht top local radio disc jockey. WAVA-FM's (105.1) "Morning Zoo" with Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara ranked second followed by WCXR-FM's (105.9) Paul Harris. Favorite talk show hosts were Mutual's Larry King, heard nightly on WTOP-AM (1500), WMAL-AM (630) sports gabber Ken Beatrice and WAMU-FM's (88.5) Diane Rehm. Overall, the town's most popular station was news, information and personality WMAL-AM, followed by classic rock WCXR-FM and Top 40 WAVA-FM. The readers also named their favorite traffic reporters -- WLTT-FM's (94.7) Walt Starling, WMAL-AM's Andy Parks and WTOP-AM's Bob Marboug -- in that order.
More Talk on the Way
News/talk WNTR-AM (1050) has hired American Politics Magazine editors Grant Oliphant and Jeff Stanton to host "The Power Breakfast," a two-hour weekday morning show that begins at 7 a.m. Stanton says WWRC-AM's (980) announcement that it would switch to a talk format doesn't worry them.
"With our unique blend we can compete with anybody," Stanton says. "We don't believe WRC can put together anything like we have." The pair hope to have at least two congressmen on each week. Tomorrow's schedule: Rep. Tom McMillen (D-Md.) and Republican presidential hopeful Pete du Pont.
Meanwhile, WWRC-AM has begun live auditions for phone-talk hosts on Saturday mornings from 9 to noon. Former WMAL-AM veteran Tom Gauger will try out Saturday.
Richard Belzer, just back from the Coast, is hosting this week's morning show at WBMW-FM (106.7). At the mike the following week will be Blake Clark, who'll also host the Welcome Back concert on July 4 at RFK ... ABC announced Friday that WMAL-AM's Vice President and General Manager Fred Weinhaus will add sister station WRQX-FM (107.3) to his list of chores effective July 10 when Ernie Fears Jr. retires. Insiders predict staff changes and a new marketing approach for the ratings-troubled Top 40 Q-107, but program director Chuck Morgan denies that the format will change to country ... Laurel's contemporary Latin station WILC-AM (900) has been chosen by Billboard magazine to chart Washington's weekly Top 20 Latin favorites ... WWRC-AM's (980) Ed Walker has been awarded the 1987 Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee's Award of Excellence for his nostalgic Sunday morning show, "Play It Again, Ed." The five-hour show begins at 8 a.m. ... WDJY-FM (100.3) has been chosen Radio Station of the Year by Black Radio Exclusive, a radio trade publication. WHBC-AM, Howard University's student-run station, has been named Radio Station of the Year in the black station category by the Black College Radio Committee.