By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  April 11, 2003 at 6:00 PM
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Michael W. Smith has done it again, walking off with major kudos at the Dove Awards in Nashville. The members of the Gospel Music Association voted Smith the Best Artist award at the 34th annual celebration of Christian music. Smith also won the Best Male Vocalist award and two other honors. But the big winner of the night was Nichole Nordeman. She won seven awards, including Songwriter of the Year. The sponsoring organization, on its Web site, says that Group of the Year honors went to Third Day. That band urged the audience to show its support for the troops in Iraq. New Artist of the Year honors went to the Paul Colman Trio. The program was hosted by Steven Curtis Chapman and Cece Winans. The broadcast was taped by PAX TV which will broadcast the Dove awards on April 19.


Media magnate Rupert Murdoch has won control of the satellite-delivered TV network DirecTV. According to the BBC, Murdoch wrested control from General Motors, the actual owner of the system through its Hughes Electronics arm. Murdoch's News Corp. company will shell out billions for the satellite system. The news maven has been trying to enter the American satellite market for over a decade. DirecTV has been "on sale" for about a year. But there is an economic downside for Murdoch's interest and for Fox Communications, the assumption of billions in debt with the deal. At one time SBC Communications, the telephone giant, was also vying for control of the network. There is a chance, though, that several regulatory agencies, including the FCC, may want assurances that Murdoch will not use DirecTV to shut out its competitors. Through all of this, Murdoch continues to buy up international media outlets and become an increasingly potent voice in worldwide communications. His holdings include radio, TV, sports, advertising and film companies.


Ralph Vigoda, for decades one of the most respected name in newspaper reporting in Philadelphia, has died. The Philadelphia Inquirer, his longtime paper, says that Vigoda died of a heart attack. Co-workers and readers have been quick with their praise for the reporter. Over the years he gained a reputation of being super quick in his work and being able to condense difficult and complicated stories into readable form, and often in few words. One of the highest honors bestowed on Vigoda was the decision by his paper that it should be he who would craft the Inquirer's lead story on the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. The publication says that his last story was a report on a state audit of Pennsylvania's Parole Board. Vigoda was able to condense the condents of a 200-page report into an easy-to-read story; he did the work in less than four hours. Concise, speedy-but-accurate, crack journalist Robert Vigoda was only 53.


Look for yet another exposé on pop legend Michael Jackson, this time at Fox. The network confirms for media that "the gloved one" is allowing his massive collection of home movies and videos to be used in the broadcast on his personal life. The program is scheduled for April 24. Fox has promised a broadcast that is culled from an extraordinary look at many hours of footage that have only been seen, to this point, by family members. This will be the second Fox special in recent months in which Jackson participated. Last year the network let the colorful star use its airwaves to rebut the accusations made in two other television segments. One was broadcast on NBC, the other was produced by a Briton, journalist Martin Bashir. Both shows garnered huge audiences. So did Jackson's rebuttal via Fox the night it was aired.


Today we are asking: "Rank the weekly news magazines in the order of your preference. We present them in alphabetical order ... Newsweek, Time, US News and World Report." Put UPI-MAG in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked: "What product have you purchased recently solely on the strength of its advertising?" Here is what our random check of the inbox found: CathyW says she bought a vacuum cleaner that was advertised on TV. She purchased it by calling an 800 number. BPrice reports she bought Dove Shampoo and Conditioner solely on the strength of its advertising. She likes the product and says it smells good, too. Our Canadian friend Pat bought a Koolatron counter-top oven that more than met her expectations. (Pat, tell us more about it.) BrendaT didn't fare as well, buying a product called Orange-Glo that she didn't like. Other advertising-generated purchases include a Q-ray bracelet bought by MargaretC and a book on anger management by our mild-mannered engineer friend RobertTM. NEXT: More than you can imagine. GBA.

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