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O'CONNELL HELPS DESCRIBE TELETHON FOR LISTENERS

How do you do radio play-by-play of a telethon?

Very carefully, says Channel 2's chief weather anchor Kevin O'Connell, who also was once a rock disc jockey at the old WYSL-AM in Buffalo.

Last Friday, the national telethon "America: A Tribute to Heroes" was shown on 35 separate broadcast and cable networks.

It was also broadcast nationally on a special radio network for vision-impaired people by RP International. RP stands for retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease which affects nearly 3.5 million people worldwide. The network's programming can be picked up using specially equipped radios.

RP International is located in Woodland Hills, Calif., and headed by Helen Harris, who formed it in 1974. The organization has raised more than $8 million in the past two decades.

Harris helped put together the special radio broadcast and O'Connell had worked with her charity when he was on television on KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. She called him last week to provide East Coast commentary for the telethon, so visually impaired people would have a sense of what it looked like.

After taking on the assignment,O'Connell said, "I was a little nervous about this. It was on live and you had to react fast. I tried to be as descriptive as I could."

He spoke in a low-toned voice, just above a whisper, trying not to interfere with the performers' music.

For example, O'Connell said he described Bruce Springsteen this way: "Bruce Springsteen, wearing a black shirt and black pants, steps to the microphone with his guitar and harmonica. Members of the E-Street band are standing behind him as they sing. Candles are glowing throughout the room."

O'Connell said he was happy to be involved.

"I've never done anything like this before, but if it helped people visualize what was going on, I feel good about it."

Another 'Mole' on ABC

NEW YORK (AP) -- Fourteen players compete for up to $1 million in the second season of "The Mole," debuting 8 p.m. Friday on Channel 7.

"The Mole II: The Next Betrayal," filmed in Switzerland and Italy, gives contestants various physical and mental challenges -- while the mole in their midst tries to sabotage their efforts.

At the end of each episode, the player who has learned the least about the mole is ejected from the game.

The stakes are high in the debut episode: Players taking part in a memory game have to get the answers right, or risk seeing their luggage tossed into a bonfire.

Anderson Cooper is the host.

e-mail: aviolanti@buffnews.com

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