After what is being described as an "exhaustive search," National Public Radio President Douglas J. Bennet has named Bill Buzenberg vice president for news and information. Buzenberg had been acting in that role since February, when Adam Clayton Powell III resigned.

Buzenberg was selected from among 50 candidates whom Bennet described as "mostly broadcast and some print journalists." Buzenberg's selection is encouraging news for many staffers; never before had a staffer rise from the NPR ranks to lead the respected noncommercial network's news division.

Buzenberg "is a very senior and longstanding NPR journalist and represents our greatest strengths. He's been acting VP and has acquitted himself very well. He's built up confidence among the staff and member stations," Bennet said. "He is the strong leader of NPR and for NPR for coming years."

Buzenberg, 43, who joined NPR in 1978 as a foreign correspondent and was the London bureau chief from late 1986 until last September, will oversee a news budget of nearly $14 million. Among his immediate goals, Buzenberg said, is improved coverage of national news and breaking world news events.

In July, NPR will air a comprehensive series examining America's future, with contributions from more than a dozen reporters covering science, education, national and foreign policy, and other areas.

NBC Admits Fabricating Talk Show Calls

Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Westwood One, the Los Angeles-based media conglomerate that owns NBC Radio, the Mutual Broadcasting System and industry newspaper Radio and Records, acknowledged last week that NBC Radio producers used "poor judgment" on April 2 when they "created" three calls to the early-morning newsmagazine "First Light." The hour-long NBC show, now heard on 85 affiliates, made its debut that morning. During a listener call-in segment that aired five calls, the show's executive producer, Greg Johnson, and news producers Emory Kobor and Lou Giserman, each staged calls to anchor Dirk Vann, who identified them as callers from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Atlanta.

"It was a situation where it was a brand-new show that was going on for the first time, so there was no reason to believe that there would be calls on the line when the first {request for calls} came up. So they created some calls internally, as I understand it," Pattiz said.

Pattiz said he did not think the incident was "the beginning of any kind of a pattern."

Ron Nessen, vice president of news for Westwood One, has not returned a reporter's phone calls since he was first asked about the incident the day it happened.

In a cost-cutting move last week, Westwood One fired the last two top management people at NBC Radio who had worked for the company when it was owned by the National Broadcasting Co. NBC's parent company, General Electric, sold the radio division to Pattiz for $50 million in August 1987. Pattiz said Craig Simon, vice president and general manager of NBC Radio Network, "was sort of a man without a job" since the news division was moved from New York to Mutual's Arlington studios 14 months ago. "There just wasn't enough for a guy of his caliber to be doing. These are not the kinds of times when we have the luxury of being able to have executives in reserve."

Also cut was Steve Soule, general manager of the Source and NBC Radio Entertainment. Pattiz said, "It's just not practical to have the head of a department in New York when his whole department is in Los Angeles."

In a consolidation move last year, most of the Source, NBC Radio's youth-oriented news and entertainment network, was also moved from New York to Culver City, Calif. The Source's two news anchor slots now in Arlington will also be sent west.

And finally, NBC Radio last week won the bid to NBC Television for the exclusive English radio rights to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. NBC Radio, which also carried the 1988 Summer Games, will broadcast from Spain for six hours daily from July 25 to Aug. 9. The bid price was not disclosed.

Taking It to the Tube

C-Span is featuring "A Week in the Life of Talk Radio," taking its cameras into radio stations around the country for live simulcasts. On Friday starting at 10 a.m., cameras will be on Rush Limbaugh during his two-hour New York show on WABC-AM. (Limbaugh's two-hour national talk show will not be shown.) On Monday, the day Mayor Marion Barry's trial is scheduled to begin, C-Span will simulcast "The Cathy Hughes Show" on WOL-AM (1450) from 6 to 10 a.m.