Local radio stations continue to be involved in efforts to provide American troops in Saudi Arabia with some of the sounds of home.
For example, more than 5,000 audio cassette tapes predominantly featuring the "urban contemporary" sound of WXYV-FM 102.7 were to be delivered today to the U.S. Deployment Center in Mechanicsburg, Pa., for forwarding to troops in the Middle East.
V-103's "Operation Desert Sound" was arranged through the efforts of U.S. Rep. Kwesei Mfume, and the tapes came largely from promoters and distributors, according to the station's Jean Ross. Affiliated country music station WCAO-AM 600 was also involved, and local business Jo-Ann Fabrics donated a scroll to which listeners have affixed more than 500 signatures and greetings to the troops.
In a similar vein, oriented toward soldiers with country music tastes, WPOC-FM 93.1 is urging listeners who plan to attend a Nov. 10 Baltimore Arena concert to bring along new or used tapes to send to service personnel, as well as fresh batteries to run the troops' personal tape players.
Barrels staffed by U.S. Army Reserve personnel will be set up at entrances to the Arena beginning at 6:30 p.m. before the concert featuring Conway Twitty, George Jones and Merle Haggard.
The station is also telling listeners who cannot attend that co-sponsor Champion Realty will take tapes at its offices, or the tapes can be taken to WPOC studios at 711 West 40th St. (in The Rotunda).
A BIRTHDAY SALUTE -- Some Baltimore radio listeners may not know this, but the fine National Public Radio show "Weekend Edition," hosted by Scott Simon, is five years old tomorrow.
For some time, local NPR junkies had to tune to Washington's WAMU-FM 88.5 and put up with imperfect reception to hear "Weekend Edition." Thankfully, however, local NPR carrier WJHU-FM 88.1 added the program to its lineup in July. An offshoot from the daily "Morning Edition," the weekend show can be heard on WJHU from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Tomorrow's edition is scheduled to be a retrospective of the first five years, with snippets of Simon's interviews over the years with figures ranging from Mr. Rogers to one of the nation's surviving Fuller Brush men.
NPR says the show -- it premiered Nov. 2, 1985, six years after the arrival of "Morning Edition" -- now boasts about 1.4 million listeners across the nation. About 80 percent of NPR's 400 member stations carry the program, which also includes weekly reports by analyst Daniel Schorr, sports commentary by Ron Rapoport and entertainment reviews by Elvis Mitchell.