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Friday, September 15, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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T-Man Predicts He'll Be No. 1 In The Morning

There's a giddy buoyancy to the voice of Mariners radio play-by-play legend Dave Niehaus. TV commentator Ron Fairly can't stop smiling. Call our stadium the Zingdome.

Why, if it weren't for the small (shame on us all) Kingdome crowds and, as usual, the best weather of the year, you'd hardly know it was September.

But believe it or not, there's more happening in town than baseball.

1st inning: The batter is Rob Tepper!

Better known as the high-energy T-Man, he's quite certain he'll be the No. 1 personality in Seattle radio now that he is moving, on Monday, from sports-talk KJR-AM (950), where he quickly made a name for himself at night, to the morning-drive slot on sibling Top 40-rhythm KUBE-FM (93.3).

"I know I can do this," he said during batting practice. "I wouldn't put myself in a situation if I thought I could fail. I plan to be No. 1 in this city within one year. That's a safe estimate. I'd be upset if it didn't happen in six months."

Sounds like a guy with playoff experience. But Tepper, 26, has about 10 months under his belt as a sports-talk host - and zero experience as a DJ who will have to speak to a significant female audience on a music station.

And to be No. 1 in the morning, Mr. T will have to knock off Bill Yeend, Jane Shannon and Wayne Cody on the home of the Mariners, news-talk KIRO-AM (710).

"This is right out of the book of `Don't Do This,' " concedes Michael O'Shea, the manager of KUBE, KJR-AM and '70s-hits KJR-FM (95.7). "He was getting job offers. He was being courted by (sports-talk) WFAN-AM in New York City."

So a few weeks ago, Tepper was offered KUBE's morning shift. It's a high-paying job opening created by a longtime plan to have Charlie Brown, Ty Flint and Mary White do their morning show solely on KJR-FM. They had been "doublecasting" on both KUBE (their home for 14 years) and KJR-FM, but the '70s format of the FM is better suited to their generation and style.

Tepper was a communications major at the University of Hartford and came up through the WFAN farm system, doing game reports by phone.

Last fall, he went to Las Vegas for his first real radio job, as a host - for a few months - on the SportsFan network. Then, major-league stations including KJR-AM called.

"This is something I could have never expected," Tepper said of the KUBE offer. "I've done sports all my life. But they said to me, `Even though you know sports, your most-compelling moments on the radio are when you're talking about people's lives.' "

And as we all know, sports is simply a metaphor for life.

2nd inning: The batter is Barry Mitzman!

After summer hiatus, the locally produced programs of the Friday information block on public KCTS-TV (Channel 9) return tonight.

"Serious Money," at 8 p.m., is a Northwest version of "Wall Street Week" and, thanks to host Mitzman, is far less stuffy than the national PBS program, which follows at 8:30.

At 9 p.m., Mitzman also hosts "Friday," the descendant of "Seattle Week in Review" and a must-see regional-issues program for the civic-minded and the cynical.

Tonight, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is the principal guest on "Serious Money," and the "Friday" wonks and wags will bandy about Tuesday's election regarding a proposed increase in Seattle grasslands.

3rd inning: The batter is Rick Van Cise!

The longtime bright voice on news-talk KIRO-AM (710), who left Seattle last year for KFBK-AM in Sacramento, is back in town as program and news director at news-talk-music KOMO-AM (1000). Before his brief time in the California League, Van Cise worked for a few months as producer for KOMO morning host Larry Nelson.

4th inning: The batter is Nanci Donnellan!

The Fabulous Sports Babe, who used to work at KJR-AM, is still doing her national show at ESPN Radio (carried by KJR). But now you can watch her do the radio program on the ESPN2 cable channel, weekdays at 10 a.m.

5th inning: Game called due to rain.

TV-Radio Beat appears every Friday in The Seattle Times. Electronic-media reporter Chuck Taylor can be reached at (206) 464-8524 or on the Internet at ctay-new@seatimes.com.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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