Host of 'Marketplace'Adding KCET Show to Resume

Media
by Claudia Peschiutta

Radio listeners will soon be able to put a face to the voice that brings them business news on Minnesota Public Radio's "Marketplace."

David Brancaccio has agreed to also serve as host for "California Connected," a weekly public affairs show being produced by KCET-TV (Channel 28) and three other public television stations throughout the state. The show premieres on April 25 and will air from 9 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays.

"The question is, 'Do I have a television face?'" Brancaccio joked.

Brancaccio has more than 25 years of experience in broadcasting, including several television appearances on KCET's "Life and Times," but he has never hosted a TV show.

"This show hopefully will be like a salon, a really cool party where everyone is invited," he said. "It will not be like taking your medicine."

Also working on the show are John Beaupre, a former show host on KPFK-FM (90.7), and Katie Chen, formerly the news director at the local Pacifica Radio station. Beaupre will be a field reporter and Chen a researcher.

Jerome on Rukeyser

After Louis Rukeyser was fired last week as host of "Wall Street Week," ending a 32-year run, some fingers quickly pointed to PBS stations for the broadcast veteran's ouster.

But Al Jerome, president and chief executive of L.A.'s KCET (Channel 28), said his station had nothing to do with the decision made by Maryland Public Television executives.

"We have not made any comments to PBS or MPT about the program," Jerome said. "Louis Rukeyser has been an excellent host."

But Jerome added that he supports efforts to improve programming and said KCET will continue airing "Wall Street Week." Local ratings for the show averaged a 1.5 last year, down from a 1.9 in 2000. (Each ratings point represents a percentage of television sets turned on during the time a show is being aired).

KCET has seen its prime-time ratings drop in some periods, Jerome said. For example, "Washington Week In Review," the lead-in to "Wall Street Week," saw its average rating fall to a 1.5 in 2001 vs. a 1.7 in the year prior.

Reporter Sues

A former KCBS-TV (Channel 2) reporter has filed a lawsuit against the station claiming sex, race and age discrimination, station officials said.

Angela Black left KCBS in October when station executives decided not renew her contract. CBS officials denied Black's claims. Black could not be reached for comment.

"We find her allegations to be baseless," said CBS spokesman Dana McClintock. "We will defend them vigorously and expect to prevail."

Black joined the station in November 2000. Although mainly a reporter, she occasionally served as a fill-in anchor.

Movie Mania

The Hallmark Channel, the fledgling cable network so far known mostly for airing reruns of "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" and "Northern Exposure," plans to commission 24 movies from Hallmark Entertainment over a two-year period. The Hallmark Channel plans to premiere one original movie per month starting in December 2002 or January 2003.

David Kenin, the network's executive vice president of programming, would not disclose how much the network is spending on the effort, but noted that it was more than quadrupling its annual programming budget next year.

The network, owned by Crown Media Holdings Inc., has been working hard to increase its ratings. Lana Corbi, former president of network distribution at Fox Television, was made president and chief executive of the channel with the goal of helping the network double its domestic reach, which now stands at 44 million households. Kenin, a broadcast and cable veteran, was brought on to help boost production.

KPCC Breaks Record, Again

KPCC-FM (89.3) is proving that records were made to be broken.

The station's March pledge drive broke the record set during its most recent fund-raising effort, which was held in November. The 10-day drive in March brought in $931,000, a five-percent increase over last fall, according to Bill Davis, president and chief executive of Southern California Public Radio, parent of KPCC.

The station might have reached its $1 million goal if the drive had been better organized, Davis conceded. KPCC tried new things, such as airing live testimonials from station listeners, that could have been more effective with better planning, he said.

J2 Communications Delisted

J2 Communications, the L.A. company that owns the National Lampoon trademark and its namesake Web site, was delisted from Nasdaq last week.

J2 had requested continued listing at a Feb. 14 hearing, according to a company statement.

Company officials did not return calls for comment.

J2 had only $1.4 million worth of shareholders equity in the period ended Jan. 31, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The minimum required for continued listing on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market is $2.5 million. In addition, J2 reportedly failed to hold its annual meeting last year as required.

Silver Lake News

A Silver Lake couple is taking its experience in alternative media and creating a community newspaper they hope will rival the likes of the LA Weekly at least in their own neighborhood.

Martin Albornoz, formerly the owner of Silver Lake's Zineorama, and his wife, Yvette Doss, are launching Silver Lake Press this month. The paper, which will cover Silver Lake and Echo Park, will feature community news, profiles of local businesses and a calendar section. It will become a twice-monthly paper as of May 15.

Albornoz admitted that they're starting the paper on a "shoestring budget," with him and Doss as the only employees. Columns and other items will be written by paid freelancers and volunteers.

In Other News...

Los Angeles Magazine is up for two National Magazine awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors. Amy Wallace's much talked about article on Variety Editor In Chief Peter Bart is one of five finalists in the profile-writing category. "Valley Girl, Interrupted," by Dave Gardetta, is in the running for a feature-writing award... Crys Quimby, director of news and programming at KFWB-AM (980), will be a panelist at the "Newsradio Summit" next week in Las Vegas.



Staff reporter Claudia Peschiutta can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229 or at cpeschiutta@labusinessjournal.com.

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