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    Regis calls upon local radio host

    Nancy Alexander of WMTX-FM will co-host Live With Regis on Monday.

    By PAMELA DAVIS

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 21, 2000


    TAMPA -- Talk about a tense moment.

    As WMTX-FM radio host Nancy Alexander nervously watched the television screen Friday morning, Regis Philbin named four of the radio personalities who will co-host with him next week on Live with Regis.

    WTVT-Ch. 13, which carries Live here, split the screen between Regis in New York and Alexander in Tampa, who wondered how she'd handle it if she didn't hear her name.

    "When he got to No. 4, I thought "Oh my God, I'm going to lose this on live television,' " said Alexander, who was one of 10 finalists in a national online competition to find five "Women of Radio" to co-host with Philbin.

    After naming four of the women, Philbin picked up the phone to call the fifth winner. Alexander caught her breath. But he fumbled with the phone so much, his producer had to place the call for him.

    Finally, the phone rang inside the WMTX studio. "Hi Reege," a relieved Alexander said. Philbin told her she would be on his show Monday morning.

    Alexander learned about the contest last month from her listeners who watch Live, one of the top-rated shows here in the 9-10 a.m. slot. That same day her radio show producer, Bill Nelson, put together a videotape of Alexander and mailed it to the TV show. (In addition to hosting the Nancy & Mike Morning Show with Mike Reeves on WMTX, Alexander is a feature reporter for Ch. 13.)

    Last Wednesday she learned she'd made it to the semifinals.

    Viewers cast votes on the Live Web site to select the final five from a group of 10 broadcasters from around the country.

    Philbin has had a number of co-hosts since Kathie Lee Gifford left the show in July; he hasn't said when or if a permanent replacement will be chosen.

    Alexander probably would not have gotten the chance to co-host without the support of online voters from the Tampa Bay area, according to her radio producer.

    "It sounds really corny, but I didn't get this just because they (the Live producers) think I'm charming," Alexander said. "I got it because people voted for me."

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