ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* As a column bonus today, a supplemental linguistics lesson: Do you know the word dowser? That's a person who uses a forked stick, or divining rod, to seek water in the ground. But on tomorrow night's "Carol & Company" (at 10, Channel 2), we will see Dr. Hoogie Dowser, as played by actor Neil Patrick Harris. He's "Doogie Howser, M.D.," of course, from ABC's Wednesday series, and this marks one of those relatively rare crossovers where a star on one network pops up on a rival network show.
* In addition to Eastern Shore residents, Governor William Donald Schaefer seems to be confounding local TV news operations.
First came the problem of how to report his insult to Shore legislators. Newspapers can coyly quote him as saying, "how's that s---house of an Eastern Shore?" and get across the naughty word without actually printing it. But how to do that on TV?
We've heard several reports that substituted the word "outhouse," which may technically be synonymous but fails to convey the vulgarity.
Then on Tuesday, Schaefer told a group of governors in Washington he was considering running for president. And by Wednesday, WJZ-Channel 13 was interviewing people in the street about their thoughts on the prospect of a President Schaefer, and WMAR-Channel 2 had a telephone poll going with viewers.
Surprise! Once again, Schaefer told reporters, he might have been joking -- or maybe not.
* Who says the electronic media have stamped out reading? One mention of a useful book list about the Persian Gulf on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" drew an unexpectedly huge response.
"They thought maybe a couple hundred people might write in," says NPR spokeswoman Connie Hansell, regarding the 18-title bibliography which, on Jan. 22, "ATC" host Linda Wertheimer told readers was available by mail.
Bad guess. More than 4,000 letters with self-addressed stamped envelopes had arrived from across the nation by earlier this week
The free book list is still available. Send your request and self-addressed stamped envelope to: National Public Radio, ATC Book List, 2025 M St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.
* Most adults of a certain age would instantly recognize the voice of June Foray, although they might not know her name. That's because she was the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel on the old "Rocky and His Friends" show. The actress is the scheduled guest this weekend on "21st Century Radio's Hieronimus & Co.," at 8 p.m. Sunday on Annapolis station WNAV-AM 1430.