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Thursday, January 10, 2002 Go to: S M T W T F S
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Glenn Beck tops 'PHT's day shakeup

WPHT-AM (1210) is shaking up its daytime lineup. Tampa-based talker Glenn Beck, heard on 50 stations nationwide, will migrate north to use WPHT as his flagship station. His slickly produced Glenn Beck Program will start Monday in the 9 a.m.-to-noon slot. Veteran Dom Giordano, who held down morning after Dr. Laura Schlessinger's show was canned on Sept. 11, will move to 8 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, plus 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

The syndicated Rush Limbaugh has been reupped for noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, and localite Jeff Katz continues from 3 to 7 p.m. Also new to the 'PHT lineup, hosting from 7 to 8 p.m., will be Jim Cramer, whose Wall Street-themed show is called Real Money. (Cramer, the Philadelphia-bred founder of thestreet.com, had the "fortune" of bankrolling the short-lived magazine The Player.)

WPHT vice president Sil Scaglione says Beck's show will be one of the very few Philadelphia-based nationally syndicated shows since 1978, when TV's Mike Douglas pulled out.

Beck is house-hunting here.

Back to Dr. Laura: She's now gone from Philadelphia. She can be heard from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Central New Jersey on WCTC-AM (1450), and from 10 a.m. to noon in Wilmington on WDEL-AM (1150).

More radio

No jolts in the fall Arbitron radio ratings, which came out yesterday. The ratings period was September through November, reflecting the immediate effects of Sept. 11. So it's not surprising that the top station in town among listeners ages 12 and older, in terms of average listening per quarter hour, was KYW-AM (1060) with a 7.9 share. Following KYW in the top 10 were WBEB-FM (101.1), WDAS-FM (105.3), WUSL-FM (98.9), WJJZ-FM (106.1), WIOQ-FM (102.1), WYSP-FM (94.1), WOGL-FM (98.1), WPHT-AM (1210), and WXTU-FM (92.5).

This was the first complete ratings "book" for WMWX-FM (95.7), which flipped to Mix after attempting formats known as Max and Jammin' Gold. While Mix's 1.5 share was as anemic as before, its "cume" - the number of different people listening - was up significantly among the total audience as well as the demos of listeners ages 25 to 54 and those 18 to 34.

Christopher Knight, morning host at WLCE-FM (Alice 104.5) since Glenn Kalina's departure in mid-November, has been made permanent. (Kalina? Doing fine, he reports from home. The departure was "my idea," he says. Kalina said he wanted to turn his attention to his hobby, flying. Now ready to take his pilot's written test, he said he also was about to announce his next career move.) Now doing afternoons at Alice is Danny Wright, newly arrived from WRKR-FM in Kalamazoo, Mich., to become assistant programming director and music director. Afternooner Kenny Walker has moved to nights.

The Bookie's watch

Restaurateur John E. Taxin is not about to put his lobster pots in storage. Taxin, whose family-run Old Original Bookbinder's closed last week after 109 years, says he is fielding serious inquiries from developers and potential partners.

City Commerce Director James Cuorato and City Councilman Frank DiCicco toured the place with Taxin's real-estate broker and lawyer the other day to talk about potential uses for the landmark.

The prevailing idea, he says, is to bring back the restaurant, but on a smaller scale on the first floor. The upper floors would be renovated as offices, condos and/or apartments.

Bookbinder's had meandered over five buildings at Second and Walnut Streets and seated about 900 people. Taxin said it was too much restaurant in the current climate. "My utilities alone were $300,000 a year," Taxin said.

The city got involved for several reasons. "My concern was that it would be an empty business that employed 80 people in my district," said DiCicco, himself a former restaurateur. (About 65 Bookie's vets were represented by Local 274 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union.)

The restaurant also generated tax receipts, including about $76,000 from the liquor-by-the-drink tax last year alone.

After what DiCicco described as "a brainstorming session," "we agreed that [a residential use] made the most sense," said Cuorato, adding that the city could come up with low-interest loans to help finance a project. "We do this all the time." No cost estimates have been tossed around publicly.

No thought was given to tearing down the complex; recall that the Taxin family irked preservationists in the 1980s and 1990s by razing a series of nearby buildings.

"I'd like to have it done tomorrow," Taxin said.

Clearly, it won't be.

In the meantime, Taxin says he and his aunt Sandy are doing something quite rare in the restaurant business: offering refunds to those who have unused gift certificates and banquet deposits. Those owed money can call 215-925-7027 and leave the information on the tape. Taxin promised to issue refunds "in a timely manner." He added that customers should not show up at the restaurant demanding cash on the spot.

The Taxins have an interest in an Old Original Bookbinder's in Richmond, Va., that opened in November 2000. Business there was reported strong, and a new location in Chapel Hill, N.C., was being considered. The Philadelphia restaurant's closing did not affect the prepared-foods operation, which is run by Silver Spring Gardens Inc.

Want some dirt?

It seems like a good fit between the IFMA Freestyle Motocross, tomorrow and Saturday at the First Union Spectrum, and the International Championship Rodeo, at the Spectrum the next weekend. Both events play on dirt. But know that motocross dirt and rodeo dirt are different and must be changed over, much as the conventional floor frequently is changed over to ice. "Motocross needs dirt with more clay, so it sort of sticks together and doesn't kick up much dust," the Spectrum's John Page explains. "Rodeo dirt is softer and is mixed with straw to make it easier on the animals and riders." Page keeps piles of both kinds in storage under I-95.

Shortly noted

South Philadelphia's Christina Pirello of PBS's Christina Cooks will appear on The Other Half with Dick Clark at 11 a.m. tomorrow on WCAU-TV (Channel 10). She does a cooking segment for healthier skin featuring a recipe from her new book Glow, which totally impressed the forever-teenage Clark.

You may have been Mumming or bumming on New Year's Day, but federal Judge Marjorie O. Rendell was in chambers marrying Lynne Beyer Sagalyn, author of Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City, and Gary Arthur Hack, author of Global City Regions and chairman of the City Planning Commission.

Actor Scott Gurney flew into town over the holidays for the TLA film-releasing premiere of The Fluffer. Gurney, whose character is gay-for-pay porn star Johnny Rebel, supped on four-cheese gnocchi at DiPalma and ate Cuban food at Cuba Libre, both in Old City, before a party in his honor at the nightclub Shampoo.

Michael Klein can be reached at 215-854-5514, though preferably at mklein@phillynews.com.