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WJAR Reporter Gets $50K Fine

Providence, R.I.—The
contempt-of-court fine against WJAR investigative reporter Jim Taricani has
passed the $50,000 mark. A federal judge found Taricani in contempt for
refusing to reveal who gave him a secret FBI tape that showed a former
Providence official accepting a bribe. It's unclear whether owner NBC is paying
the $1,000-a-day levy that started in mid August; the station declined to
comment. Taricani says he intends to keep his source secret. But it could get
worse. A special prosecutor filed a motion with the court late last month that
could increase the sanctions. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
says it believes Taricani is the only reporter now paying a fine for protecting
a confidential source.

Blast From the Past

WB reruns have disappeared from WPIX New York's Saturday-night lineup.
The station dropped the repeats last week in favor of a two-hour comedy block
that includes four classic New York-based sitcoms, most of which have not been
seen in the market in several years. The 1970s-era collection comprises
Taxi, The Jeffersons, The Odd Couple
and Welcome Back, Kotter. "They are all set
in New York, and they largely feature New York-based actors," says WPIX Program
Director Julie O'Neil. WPIX has run The Odd
Couple
off and on since it went into syndication nearly 30 years
ago. The Jeffersons has been off the air in
New York since 1993. Welcome Back, Kotter
hasn't been seen on New York broadcast TV since 1985. WPIX is the only TV
station in the country to own the rights to the show.

Hometown Favorite

Hartford, Conn.—The city of
Hartford will spend up to $25,000 a year on advertising with Meredith's CBS
affiliate WFSB. The agreement is part of a complex deal to keep the market's
top-rated station from moving to the suburbs. Meredith will buy a 3.5-acre
city-owned site for $800,000 and will receive about $1 million in property-tax
credits over seven years. The company plans to build a $20 million
digital-broadcast center. Once it's finished, Meredith will donate its old
Constitution Plaza property to the city. Hartford officials appeared desperate
to hang on to WFSB. Over the summer, one council member threatened to "lie down
in front of the moving vans" if necessary. General Manager Elden Hale
reportedly pressed for the ad clause in the package, though it means little to
WFSB's bottom line. BIA estimates the station's revenue last year at about $48
million.

Struts Her Stuff

Miami—WSVN's edgy
Deco Drive, a nightly local entertainment
program, will get a face-lift this fall. The show kicks off its 10th season
with a new anchor team—Louis Aguirre and Lynn Martinez—and the market's
first drag-queen reporter. Daisy D hosts a segment called "Queen on the Scene."
WSVN designers are working on a new set intended to emulate the bright colors
and neon accents of Miami's Art Deco district. The station hopes a ratings
makeover follows. Deco Drive finished fifth
in its 7:30 p.m. time period in the May sweeps, behind Jeopardy!, Hollywood
Squares
and reruns of That '70s
Show
and Everybody Loves Raymond.

Applegate Polishes Big Apple

New York—Former MSNBC and
Weekend Today anchor Jodi Applegate is
headed back to New York. She has signed on to anchor Good Day New York on Fox O&O WNYW. For the past
four years, she has hosted a similar program at sister station WFXT in Boston.

Dish Reaches 150

Terre Haute, Ind.—Last week, Terre
Haute became the 150th market in which Dish Network offers local TV stations
via satellite. Stations available in the package include Fox affiliate WBAK,
owned by Bahakel Communications; WTHI (CBS, Emmis); and WTWO (NBC, Nexstar).
Terre Haute (Nielsen market No. 148) has no ABC affiliate.

Musial Takes Charge

Buffalo, N.Y.—Longtime WIVB News
Director Chris Musial has been named president and general manager of LIN
Broadcasting's CBS affiliate. Musial started at the station 27 years ago as an
intern. He had been acting GM following the death of GM Lou Verruto in
June.

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