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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Satellite to bring local channels home for DIRECTV

A NEW COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE was launched from the oceangoing Odyssey launch platform in the Pacific Ocean last week. Why do we care? Because this is a DIRECTV satellite, and according to the company, it means that DIRECTV will be able to add Spokane’s local broadcast channels to its lineup sometime in June

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The lack of local broadcast channels has put DIRECTV at a competitive disadvantage in the Spokane market. The competing DISH Network has had local stations for more than a year. Cable, of course, has always had local channels.

Bob Ochsner of DIRECTV said this “signals DIRECTV’s intention of targeting Spokane as a key growth market.”

This satellite is not just for Spokane, of course. It will add local programming in 41 other markets as well.

The Civic season

The Spokane Civic Theatre has announced its 2004-05 season.

Here’s the Main Stage lineup:

• “Noises Off,” Oct. 1-23: Michael Frayn’s backstage comedy which has been described, with some justification, as the funniest farce ever written.

• “Seussical,” Nov. 19-Dec. 18: The Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical based on Dr. Seuss, not long from Broadway.

• “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” Jan. 14-Feb. 5: A comedy about letting go by Donald Margulies, one of the finest of contemporary American playwrights.

• “The Diary of Anne Frank,” Feb. 25-March 19: A new adaptation of this powerful play, including passages from the diary that had been previously deleted by Frank’s father.

• “I’m Not Rappaport,” April 8-23: Herb Gardner’s funny and insightful play about two old men who resist being put out to pasture.

• “Hello, Dolly!” May 13-June 11, 2005: The classic Jerry Hermann musical about the incomparable matchmaker, Dolly Levi.

Meanwhile, down in the smaller Firth Chew Studio Theatre in the basement, the lineup includes:

• “The Colored Museum,” Oct. 22-Nov. 13: George C. Wolfe’s satirical look at the myths and madness of African American culture (in collaboration with the Onyx Theatre Troupe).

• An Evening of Avant-Garde Theater, Jan. 28-Feb. 19: Several short pieces, including works by Caryl Churchill and Samuel Beckett.

• “That Championship Season,” March 11-April 2: Jason Miller’s Pulitzer-winning play about five former basketball teammates who get together for a revealing reunion.

• A new play by Bryan Harnetiaux, April 29-May 20, 2005: A new work to be announced by the Civic’s playwright-in-residence.

Call 325-2507 for season ticket information.

Expo memories on radio

Here’s a radio show that will bring back some memories.

KTRW-AM (970) has gained access to the original reel-to-reel master tapes of “Tom Read at Expo ‘74,” a series of five-minute broadcasts aired every day during Spokane’s World’s Fair festivities in 1974

It’s “like a day-by-day walk through history of what was happening each weekday at Expo,” said Read, who runs KTRW and other radio stations in the region. He said that all of the major celebrities were interviewed on the broadcasts, including Jack Benny and Bob Hope.

In celebration of Expo’s 30th anniversary, KTRW will air one program each weekday at numerous times throughout the day and evening, beginning Monday and continuing for six months.

The original show ran the entire six months of Expo, and was heard on virtually every radio station in Spokane as well as stations throughout the Northwest. The tapes were saved in the archives of the Northwest Pioneer Broadcasters.

An emcee for ‘Gimme’

Rob Harder, morning man at KISC-FM (KISS 98.1), has been chosen to emcee “Gimme the Mike,” the local “American Idol”-like contest this summer in Spokane.

Harder will preside over five live broadcasts on KHQ-6 on Sundays at 6:30 p.m. beginning July 11. Winners of those events, plus a sixth, viewer-voted wild card, move on to the grand finale show Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. A three-judge panel is being selected.

Auditions for contestants will be Saturday and next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at KHQ studios in Spokane, 1201 W. Sprague Ave. Check out www.gimmethemike.tv for more info.

‘American Carols’

Do you need an early Christmas present? A really early Christmas present?

The Spokane Area Children’s Chorus and the Spokane Youth Symphony have issued a CD of local composer William Berry’s “American Carols — The Christmas Story Told in American Song,” a 47-minute work presenting 13 lesser-known 19th century songs in modern settings.

The CD is available for $15 from the chorus or the symphony, or at Auntie’s Bookstore. Proceeds will benefit both youth organizations. Call the chorus at 624-7992 or the youth symphony at 326-4442 for more information.

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