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Familiar voices get face time


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2001

Some local radio folks, whose faces we rarely see because they are stuck inside studios, have been flirting with the very visual medium of television. Here are some of the latest radio/TV connections:

Greg Smith, host of the nationally syndicated talk show On a Roll, which is broadcast from Temple Terrace and heard locally on WHNZ-AM 1250, was recently profiled on CBS' Early Show. Smith is a full-time power wheelchair user who discusses disability lifestyle issues from 6 to 8 p.m. each Sunday.

Another Sunday evening talk show host, WFLA-AM 970's Mark Beiro, appears on Comedy Central's BattleBots program as a ring announcer. BattleBots pits robots against each other in a fight similar to a boxing match. Beiro, a WFLA talk show host since 1993, is a professional boxing ring announcer.

WFLZ-FM 93.3 morning sidekick Uncle Fester recently taped a TV pilot in Knoxville, Tenn., for Bull Masters. To portray a "mobster type guy," Fester had to use the New York accent he worked hard to lose after getting into radio. TV differs from radio in that "I have to shave, go to wardrobe and go to makeup," Fester said. But, he added, "I love radio and right now TV is just a fun thing. I'm blessed to be able to do it on side."

Wednesday, the NBC newsmagazine Dateline was in the studio during WFLA's Glenn Beck Show. The footage will be used in a future Dateline story on Marlene and Steven Aisenberg.

WFLZ'S REVOLVING DOOR: There are more comings and goings at WFLZ-FM 93.3, one of the leading stations in the market. Just hired is Jeff Kapugi, who will take over as operations manager of WFLZ and WSSR-FM 95.7 (Star). Kapugi, who worked for WFLZ before leaving the station in 1997 for a job at KSLZ in St. Louis, replaces BJ Harris who left WFLZ in February.

Joey B., producer of the MJ & BJ Morning Show, will leave WFLZ later this month to be the morning show producer for WIOQ in Philadelphia. Program director Dom Theodore just left WFLZ for a job at a Houston station.

Yes, people are leaving but don't read too much into it, according to Dave Reinhart, vice president and market manager of the Tampa's eight Clear Channel Communications stations, including WFLZ.

"It's just kind of the way things worked out all of a sudden. It started when we made the decision to move Jeff Thomas and Jennifer Jordan from WFLZ to Star (as WSSR's new morning team)," Reinhart said. "That started a series of changes that aren't really related to each other. It just happened that way."

Reinhart said there are no plans to change WFLZ's format. "We're putting a fresh coat of paint on the radio station," he said. "That's all."

THE ROCKY ROAD: Issue-oriented talk show host Rocky D. is no longer on the air at WTAN-AM 1340. Rocky's self-described "politically incorrect talk on steroids" used to air weekdays from 3 to 5 p.m. He left the station after it refused to move the Radio Free Rocky D show to 10 a.m.

"Even though the signal wouldn't reach half of what WFLA does, I still knew it was a good idea to go up against Dr. Laura," said Rock, who is now pursuing other on-air positions.

WUSF NEWS: You hear them on the radio every day but rarely get to see them in person. Now you get the chance. WUSF-FM 89.7 morning concert host Geoff Norcross will narrate a special performance of American music by the Florida Orchestra during the "Victory at Sea Concert" in Tampa on Saturday at 6 p.m. WUSF jazz director Bob Seymour will interview Duke Ellington veterans, bassist John Lamb and trombonist Buster Cooper, during the "Take the A Train Festival" at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The interview will air during Seymour's show April 28.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be a guest during the second intermission of Saturday's Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Massenet's Manon on WUSF. Ginsburg will discuss her love of opera, not politics. Unlike many of its other shows, WUSF will not interrupt the Metropolitan Opera broadcast during its current fund drive.

WORTH A LISTEN: The Sunday Acoustic Brunch on WBBY-FM 107.3 (The Bay) is expanding to include local artists. Since 1999, host Annie Sommers has been doing the show from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Starting this Sunday, she'll mix in a couple of songs each hour performed by Tampa Bay area musicians.

"I think there's talent out there that needs to be showcased," Sommers said.

Sommers is also on the air at WBBY weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is the station's program director. She collects acoustic music and rare tracks and did a show similar to the Sunday Acoustic Brunch while working for an Orlando station.

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