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Network Piggybacks On Our Very Own Fox

The United Paramount Network (UPN), one of the new contenders for America’s fifth TV network, launches this week.

Will Spokane get UPN? Yes and no.

Spokane won’t have a UPN affiliate to call its own, due to the fact that all four of Spokane’s broadcast stations are already affiliated with other networks. UPN is hooking up with independent stations in most markets.

However, in a creative bit of maneuvering, all of UPN’s five new series will be carried on Spokane’s Fox affiliate, KAYU-Channel 28 (channel 3 on Cox Cable).

The only catch is that these shows will be shown strictly on the weekends, when they won’t conflict with the regular Fox lineup.

UPN is scheduled to begin broadcasting Monday, but here that means programming will actually begin next weekend.

The first show will be UPN’s showcase series, “Star Trek: Voyager.” It kicks off on Saturday at 6 p.m. with the two-hour season premiere (repeated at 10 p.m. Jan. 22). After that, “Star Trek: Voyager” will be a regular one-hour show every Saturday at 6 p.m. The other UPN series:

“Marker” - A drama set in Hawaii starring Richard Grieco. Runs Sundays at 5 p.m.

“The Watcher” - A drama set in Las Vegas. Runs Saturdays at 10 p.m.

“Platypus Man” - A sit-com based on the comedy of Richard Jeni. Runs Sundays at 11 p.m.

“Pig Sty” - A sit-com about five guys sharing an apartment in New York. Runs Sundays at 11:30 p.m.

This Fox-UPN partnership is not exclusive to Spokane. UPN is piggybacking onto Fox in a number of cities, mostly in the smaller markets.

A UPN sneak preview

You can catch an early glimpse of UPN today at 10 p.m., when KAYU airs “Star Trek: Inside the New Adventure” a “making of” special about “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Powerful Fox

By the way, you might have noticed that KAYU is coming in stronger lately.

That’s because the station has doubled its power. It now transmits at 110 kilowatts, according to general manger Bob Hamacher.

Non-cable viewers are the most obvious beneficiaries, but the increased power should also mean that outlying cable companies can pick up the signal better.

What about Warner?

The other new network starting up is the Warner Brothers’ network, WB.

Will we be getting that one in Spokane? The answer is much simpler: No. Not yet at least.

They’re talking ‘bout Spokane

Spokane talk radio has received some national attention in the last month.

When the PBS news show “The McNeil-Lehrer Report” decided to do a story about the impact of talk radio on the elections, they came to Spokane. The broadcast, which aired on Dec. 27, included this exchange:

McNeil-Lehrer reporter: “Back in Foley’s hometown of Spokane, the airwaves were dominated by a sea of conservative voices, urging voters not to send Foley back to Washington. In the morning drive time, it was Todd Herman of KSBN who ridiculed the Speaker of the House.”

Herman: “Courtesy of the odious, odious eared one, the most corrupt man in the United States of America, Thomas S. Folly, the current sphincter of the House.”

The show also aired tape of KGA-AM’s Richard Clear asking Foley the following question on the air:

Clear: “People have stated even on this program that you are a homosexual. Would you like to address that?”

Foley: “That’s ridiculous! I mean I think that’s really bringing the campaign down to a pretty low level. I mean, the fact of the matter is, there is absolutely no truth to any of those terrible and slanderous suggestions.”

Talk radio was also the topic of a recent segment of “Spokane This Week,” a local public affairs show hosted by Hugh Imhof on KSPS-Channel 7. Four of Spokane’s talk radio hosts were guests, and that Clear-Foley exchange was the subject of some heated debate.

KXLY-AM’s Pete Fretwell jumped on Clear for that question and said it was “egregiously out of line.”

Clear defended the question as “absolutely fair.”

“What is more fair than asking him directly, on the program, to respond to charges that other people have made about him?” said Clear.

Try this on for fair

So here’s a question for Richard Clear:

“Mr. Clear, we’ve heard that you knock the crutches out from under little old ladies on the street and then stand over them ranting loudly about the ‘Clinton Chronicles’? How do you respond?”

Hey, we’re just trying to clear up those rumors.

Gay on the brain

Some of Clear’s listeners seem to have homosexuals on the brain. When fellow columnist Doug Clark and I guest-hosted Clear’s radio show on Dec. 23, one caller accused Clark of being a “gay Democrat.”

Hey, that’s slander, buddy. Especially that part about being a Democrat. Clark’s wife called in to say that, to her knowledge, Doug is neither gay nor Democrat.

The real Maria

With “The Sound of Music” wowing them at the Opera House this week with the sweet and spunky Marie Osmond playing Maria, I thought I’d share reader Kersten Anne Conrad’s reminiscences of the real Maria Von Trapp, who Conrad met in Stowe, Vt., in 1962. Her family spent a Christmas with the Von Trapps.

“Maria was tall, heavy-set, had a face not unlike a horse and did not seem to enjoy children very much,” said Conrad, who was 11 at the time. “There was no singing, and we were sent off to bed very early every night. She spanked me once when I didn’t want to go to bed.”

Once again, art and reality diverge.

Will he win?

Thomas Hampson has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Classical Album. The album is “Barber: Secrets of the Old - The Complete Songs,” a collaboration with Cheryl Studer.

Hampson, from Spokane, has been nominated several times but has never won a Grammy.

Two new KPBX programs

Archie Chen, Mead High School’s young piano prodigy, will be the focus of a new KPBX-FM performance series beginning Monday at 8 p.m. Chen will perform in-studio for the Concert of the Week, in a program of French chamber works.

Chen will be featured every two months until next fall. Bob Redmond of Valley Mission Home Care Pharmacy, a fan of Chen’s talent, is underwriting the program.

Also, check out the new KPBX show, “Johnson’s Improbable History of Pop,” Saturdays at 11 p.m. Next week’s show will feature unreleased Rolling Stones music. John Johnson is the host.