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View from Wells Fargo Tower of Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center

Roanoke’s public television station is turning to viewers like you for help with its upcoming Hotel Roanoke documentary.

Executive producer Lisa Fenderson is seeking photographs, memorabilia, stories and other historical items from Roanoke’s landmark for “Hotel Roanoke: The Grand Old Lady on the Hill,” a one-hour documentary scheduled for an August broadcast on Blue Ridge Public Television (WBRA-TV, Channel 15).

The show will chronicle the hotel’s history from its beginnings in 1882, when the village of Big Lick became the railroad boomtown of Roanoke, through the golden age of the early 1900s all the way to the 1990s renovation that saved the place and kept it alive as an enduring city symbol.

“We couldn’t be more excited to see the story of the rich heritage of the Grand Old Lady detailed and celebrated in this important documentary,” Brian Wells, general manager of The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, said in a news release. “It is a chance for all Hotel Roanoke fans to share special memories they have or ones that have been passed down in generations for all to enjoy.”

The deadline for submitting Hotel Roanoke artifacts is July 26. Fenderson can be reached at 983-1780 or lfenderson@blueridgepbs.org.

Baum retires from PBS

Blue Ridge PBS recently announced that station president and CEO James Baum retired June 20 after 12 1/2 years as the station’s boss.

The station received four regional Emmy Awards during Baum’s tenure, which included “JobQuest,” a show that highlighted job openings in 2009 and 2010 during the Great Recession.

Baum helmed the station during a perilous financial period that included not only the economic recession but also the loss of state funding for all public broadcasters in 2011.

William Anderson, the station’s longtime vice president, has been named interim president and CEO.

Channel changes

By now, radio listeners in the Roanoke Valley have noted all the station switches that have unfolded across the dial this summer. Here is a rundown:

Steve FM moved from 106.1 FM to 104.9. Contemporary hit station WJJS switched from 104.9 to 93.5. Both stations are owned by iHeartMedia.

The changes bring to an end a long, convoluted business and governmental process that began more than a decade ago. iHeartMedia agreed to sell the stations it owned at 106.1 and 101.7 due to FCC ownership rules. In 2008, when iHeartMedia was known as Clear Channel, the company was acquired by private investment firms. The FCC determined that a privately owned Clear Channel exceeded the number of stations it was allowed to own nationwide, including in the Roanoke-Lynchburg market. Clear Channel placed some stations in a trust and agreed to sell them. Finally, 11 years and a corporate name change later, that sale finally happened.

The 106.1 and 101.7 frequencies are now owned by Educational Media Foundation, which is broadcasting contemporary Christian format K-Love.

In other local radio news, The Mountain (102.5 FM) moved its broadcast studio from the Patrick Henry building on Jefferson Street to a new facility at the Lancerlot Sports Complex in Vinton. Oldies 101.5 has also relocated to the Lancerlot studios.

Ralph Berrier Jr. has worked at The Roanoke Times since 1993, was the paper’s music reporter from 2000-2007 and he currently writes the Dadline parenting column and is a general assignment features reporter.

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