ODDS 'N' ENDS OFF THE BROADCAST BEAMS:
* Continuing one of the more unusual approaches to teaching reading, a new cycle of reading-by-radio lessons begins this weekend on WCAO-AM 600. "Project L.I.F.E." (for Literacy Is For Everyone) can be heard at 11 a.m. Sundays on the country music station, and also begins a new series Oct. 14 at 6:45 a.m. Sundays on affiliated station WXYV-FM 102.7 (V-103).
Launched on WCAO in February 1989 and adapted from a similar program designed for cable television, the project is the work of Ken Bourne, a professor at Essex Community College who tailored his phonetic reading method to a broadcast format using familiar words to illustrate sounds.
Students listen to the show and also work with packets of home reading material. Brenda Bissett, WCAO's public affairs director, says more than 100 people have participated since the project's radio launch. The program is aimed at funneling participants into additional literacy programs in their communities.
* How do you know when a country music singer is sponsoring a celebrity sporting event? When bass fishing is involved.
Yep, the sometimes competitive angling pastime, pursued professionally and near-religiously in the South, is one of the events of "Kenny Rogers' Weekend Classic," airing at 4 p.m. tomorrow on NBC (Channel 2).
The charity event from Rogers' home in Athens, Ga., is scheduled to include friendly competition in basketball, tennis, golf and bassin' among such celebrities as basketball player Michael Jordan, actors Mark Harmon and Woody Harrelson and golfer Payne Stewart.
* In another weekend sporting event, cable's Nickelodeon network, the service for young people, offers coverage of the "AAU Junior Olympic Games" at 3 p.m. Sunday (with a repeat Oct. 20).
The AAU is the organization through which many future Olympic contenders gain their skills. Its Junior Olympics took place July 28-Aug. 4 in St. Petersburg, Fla., with more than 5,000 athletes 8 to 18 participating.
* The PBS series "Great Performances" launches a new season tonight (at 9, channels 22 and 67) with filmmaker Spike Lee and singer Debbie Allen hosting "Do It a Cappella," a celebration of unaccompanied vocal artistry.
* And rocking around the weekend, the MTV cable network has a couple special theme days ahead: Tomorrow, "Guns 'N Roses Saturday" features a look at the controversial heavy metal group, including steady plays of the band's videos and interview and concert shows. And on Sunday, the focus is "Billy Idol: Flesh and Fantasy," a similar day-long concentration on the punk rocker.