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TV Notes: 7/10/02

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

'Wide Angle' beckons globally minded to PBS

PBS's documentary-interview program "Wide Angle" premieres tomorrow with two missions.

The first is to take an in-depth look each week at a global issue that could have an impact on Americans. The second is to get people to watch in the summertime, when they are more likely to be thinking of baseball and the beach than of global problems.

"Wide Angle" (10 p.m. tomorrow on WQED/WQEX), given a 10-week run, will be hosted alternately by British veteran news anchor Daljit Dhaliwal, recently hired by CNN International, and James P. Rubin, former assistant secretary of state.

Executive producer Stephen Segaller of New York's WNET called the program "a kind of weird hybrid" but wants to make "Wide Angle" a continuing series. Using narrators but not on-camera reporters, the documentaries will focus on people and issues behind news stories. After each film, the host will interview a guest with expertise in that field.

"Usually the object is to have two guests who sit there and disagree with each other. My objective is to present a sense of why this story matters to American viewers," said British-born Segaller. "Clearly when you pick a guest, you get one point of view, but the job of the host is to ask the right questions."

The opening hour, hosted by Rubin, will focus on Saddam Hussein's weapons of repression and the wider threat they imply. "Saddam's Ultimate Solution" is produced by British filmmaker Gwynne Roberts, who was the first Western journalist to enter northern Iraq after the Gulf War and who has filmed there the past five years.

The film will look at Iraqi Kurdistan, where Hussein has been waging a genocidal attack using biological weapons. Segaller believes that "in the event of a war with Saddam, the Kurds will be a vital force, perhaps the next Northern Alliance."

The second program will focus on China's economy.

Rubin has served as assistant secretary of state and chief State Department spokesman, a State Department policy adviser and senior adviser, and spokesman for Madeleine K. Albright, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. In those jobs, he spent time in front of television cameras, but not as a journalist.

"For me it's a big challenge," he said. "I've obviously lived and breathed the significance of journalism on policy my whole life. So I hope to hover right in that place where it's a conversation between two intelligent people about why you should care about this."

Rubin lives in London with his wife, CNN and "60 Minutes" correspondent Christiane Amanpour, and their 2-year-old son, Darius John.

Amanpour gave him a few suggestions for his new television job, he acknowledged. "Yes, she's given me some important tips, the most important of which is to be who you are."

(Patricia Brennan, The Washington Post)

Marconi nominees

WAMO-FM (106.7, 107.1) is the sole Pittsburgh station in the running for one of this year's Marconi Radio Awards, which are presented by the National Association of Broadcasters. WAMO was nominated in the urban station of the year category.

Syndicated personalities heard locally who were nominated include Tom Joyner (on WAMO-AM (860)) and Paul Harvey (on WPTT-AM (1360)).

Winners will be announced Sept. 14 and at the NAB Radio Show in Seattle.

(Adrian McCoy, for the Post-Gazette)

Where is he now?

Drew Gordon's voice is familiar to local country radio listeners. He worked at WDSY-FM (107.9) and the former WXRB-FM (The Rebel) here, and also at WANB-FM Waynesburg and WLSW-FM Connellsville.

Gordon, who recently checked in by e-mail, is now news/community relations director for WOWQ-FM in DuBois and also teams with J.D. Ryder in morning drive. The 56,000-watt country station can be picked up in parts of Westmoreland County at 102.1 FM.

(Adrian McCoy)

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