Eric Meyrowitz, who's held the top sales position at WBDC (Channel 50) for the past 21/2 years, has been bumped up to general manager at the Tribune-owned station.

The 34-year-old New York native replaces Jerry Martin, who left the station last month after a successful four-year run to head up a Tribune-owned duopoly in Indianapolis comprising Fox affiliate WXIN and WB affiliate WTTV.

Meyrowitz takes over a station whose ratings and ad sales both increased over the past few years. WBDC recently overcame UPN affiliate WDCA in the ratings race and in the July sweeps period was the only station with total-day viewership up from the previous year. The station ranks fifth overall in the market.

Meyrowitz said the station will continue to focus on promoting its 5 to 8 p.m. syndicated time period, which serves as a "springboard" to prime time. Programming during the 7 p.m. hour has been particularly successful with the African American community, he noted; WBDC now runs "The Parkers" and "The Steve Harvey Show" in that hour.

Meyrowitz's programming footprint may not be evident for a couple of seasons. The new season is already underway, while "The Bernie Mac Show," "South Park," "Sex and the City" and "My Wife and Kids" are all set to debut in syndication on the station next fall.

As for introducing news to the station mix, Meyrowitz said that's a long way off. "At this stage we are not looking to get into the news business," he said in an interview yesterday. "We are looking at it as a potential some time down the line."

Meyrowitz joined WBDC in 2000 as local sales manager before being promoted to general sales manager in 2002. He previously was national sales manager at Baltimore NBC affiliate WBAL for three years.

-- John Maynard