Kxly Anchor Pete Fretwell Gets Dropped

Pete Fretwell, one of the best-known names in Spokane radio, has been gone from KXLY-AM since last Monday.

The station chose not to renew his contract. Fretwell has been a morning anchor and talk show host at KXLY-AM for seven years.

Station manager Brian Paul said only that “it is time to do something different with morning drive.” He didn’t specify exactly what that would be, although he did say the station will probably bring in somebody from outside.

In the interim, Mike Fitzsimmons and Jason Brooks will be handling the morning drive time slot.

Fretwell said the station’s decision was not a surprise. He said he felt the station was moving in a new direction which was not suited to his style.

“I saw the handwriting on the wall months ago,” he said.

Fretwell said he hopes to stay in Spokane. He is looking for a new position in radio, or possibly in corporate communications, corporate development or in community relations. He and his wife have one daughter in college and another headed there.

Big Fourth of July plans

Remember the Spokane American Music Festival, which replaced Neighbor Days last year as Spokane’s Fourth of July celebration at Riverfront Park?

Well, it’s coming back, bigger than ever. This year, the event will be a four-day event, climaxing with a free Fourth of July evening concert featuring Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (“Heat Wave,” “Quicksand,” “Dancin’ in the Street”) and the XXXSpokane Jazz OrchestraXXX . The 2,350-piece fireworks display will be the largest Spokane fireworks display ever, according to organizers.

Music will be almost continuous in Riverfront Park July 3-6. Other major acts will be Lydia Pense and Cold Blood on July 3, 7:30 p.m.; Clarence Clemons (from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band) on July 5, 8 p.m.; and Too Slim and the Taildraggers, July 6 at 5:30 p.m.

There will also be a 20-restaurant food court, and an arts-and-crafts fair.

The whole thing is organized by Six Bridges Arts Association and Burke Marketing and Promotions.

The Interplayers lineup

The Interplayers Ensemble, Spokane’s resident professional theater, has announced its 1997-98 season:

“The Importance of Being Earnest” - Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, Sept. 19-Oct. 11.

“Travels With My Aunt” - An adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel about a trip across Europe. Oct. 24-Nov. 15.

“A Tuna Christmas” - A Christmas show featuring the Texas nut-cases from “Greater Tuna.” Nov. 28-Dec. 20.

“The Gin Game” - D.L. Colburn’s Pulitzer winner about two elderly people who find companionship in cards. Jan. 30-Feb. 21.

“The Woman in Black” - Stephen Malatratt’s ghost story set in the foggy English countryside. March 6-28.

“The Fourposter” - Jan de Hartog’s romantic comedy, which follows a couple through 35 years of marriage. May 15-June 6, 1998.

In addition, there will be play to be announced for the dates of April 10-May 2.

Call 455-PLAY for subscription details. A subscription to Interplayers is one of the best theater deals you’ll ever find, but that’s just my opinion.

‘Mama Drama’ fund-raiser

Speaking of good theater deals, the Spokane Civic Theatre is hosting a benefit performance of “Mama Drama” on June 1 at 7:30 p.m. at The Met. Tickets are $5, festival seating, available by calling 325-2507.

“Mama Drama” has been selected as the Northwest regional winner in the national community theater competition, and this performance will raise funds to send the cast and crew to the national finals in Grand Rapids, Mich., in mid-June.

Following the performance at The Met, there will be a Tony Awards viewing party in the lobby from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a no-host bar and refreshments.

A Telly for Gibby

The 51-minute promotional video, “Experience Spokane, You’ll Love It Here,” has won a national Telly Award, presented to the best in film and video production.

The video takes viewers on a tour of Spokane and the Inland Northwest, and is often used as a way to introduce people and businesses to the Spokane area. It was produced by Lon Gibby Productions Inc. of Spokane.

TV and radio awards

Spokane TV and radio stations did well in two recent Society of Professional Journalists contests. In the Pacific Northwest regional contest, competing against stations in Seattle, Portland and Tacoma, Spokane TV stations had three first-place winners: Tricia Manning-Smith of KREM-2 for breaking news (“Colfax flooding”; Scott Charlston, Duane Regehr and Sean Lyon of KREM for general news (“Sins of the fathers”); and the staff of KXLY-4 for documentary (“Return of the Gray Wolf”)

KPBX-FM won several first-place awards in the regional contest in the radio division (three or fewer news staffers): Lakshmi Singh in the health-science division (“Magic Touch”); and Patrick Heald in both the documentary category (“Domestic Violence”) and the commentary category (“Welfare Confession”).

In the Inland Northwest contest of the Society of Professional Journalists (a smaller regional contest), KPBX-FM won the radio general excellence award and numerous other awards.

Spokane TV stations won most of the awards in the TV division. In the most prestigious category, KHQ-6 won the best newscast award, followed by KREM-2 in second place.

A nice paycheck

KZZU’s Breakfast Boys, Dave Sposito and Ken Hopkins, presented a $10,000 check to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery on Thursday.

The money came from sales of their CD, “DK2: In Dave Ken Dence Day,” which was sold over the Christmas holidays.

Free theater tix

Here’s a deal: Volunteer to be an usher at the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre and receive vouchers for two free tickets to any production (that’s $40 worth of tickets).

The theater needs seven to 10 volunteers per performance. Call (208) 769-7780 for details.

, DataTimes MEMO: To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

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