Television news anchors, like baseball players, often switch from team to team, changing uniforms and cities.
Bearing that in mind, WRC-TV, which last week bid adieu to Susan King (now at WJLA-TV's News 7), yesterday announced that Joel A. Spivak, a radio talk-show host on WWRC-AM and a veteran of Washington radio, will join Susan Kidd on the station's "Live at Five" broadcast.
"It'll take a while to get back into television," said Spivak, 52, yesterday, "because I haven't been back in front of a camera since I left Philadelphia."
In Philadelphia, Spivak was a mainstay at WCAU radio and television as a news anchor, reporter and commentator for 12 years.
Spivak will continue his "Speaking" radio talk program in conjunction with his WRC-TV commitment. His radio talk show, which airs from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, will be switched to 9 a.m. to noon weekdays beginning Monday. His employment at Channel 4 begins officially on Sept. 14.
"Given the reluctance on our part to put the toothy, blond, stylistic, unoffensive, white-bread news talent on the air, this guy was destined," WRC-TV General Manager Jerry Nachman said yesterday.
Spivak was a well-known presence on WRC-AM radio from 1980 to 1984, but left the station after NBC sold the station to owners who switched from the talk format to music -- and changed its call letters to WWRC. Spivak then moved to NBC-owned KNBR in San Francisco, but remained a popular figure in Washington.
"We loved Joel over here, I'll tell you that," said one employe at WCAU in Philadelphia who asked to remain anonymous. "The response has been absolutely terrific," says Ken Mellgren, program director at WWRC. "The callers behave as if he's never been away."
WWRC reinstated the talk-show format last month, and Spivak returned to the air on Aug. 3. He says he is glad to be back in Washington.
"A stroke of good fortune," he calls it. "All my friends are here. I got married here. It was a great shock . . . when NBC decided WRC wasn't going to exist."
Spivak adds, "I have a lot of good friends at Channel 4. It's like coming home again."