Laurie DeYoung's big television break is actually a little break -- a 30-second introduction to a station break, in fact, on Sunday night's NBC music series, "Hot Country Nights" (at 8 p.m. on Channel 2).
"But it is national TV," says Ms. DeYoung.
The morning disc jockey on Baltimore radio station WPOC-FM 93.1 and the host of Maryland Public Television's Saturday night show "New Country Video" is the network show's guest DJ this week.
She'll be seen sitting with the studio audience, sending the show to a commercial while identifying her home station and highlighting upcoming guests, including Hal Ketchum and Mickey Gilley. The spot was taped Jan. 7 on a brief overnight trip to NBC studios in Los Angeles.
"It was just a quickie," says Ms. DeYoung, laughing. But she did get to chat with co-producer Dick Clark, and was surprised that the venerable TV-music figure was present to supervise the taping sessions.
In fact, he told her to stop moving her leg.
"I didn't mess up on the words," recounts Ms. DeYoung, but her spot did require a second take.
"You're supposed to be high energy, so I was really enthusiastic, and I guess I was swinging my leg as I talked. Dick came over and said, 'Laurie, watch the leg.' "
The second take was a wrap.
She says Mr. Clark "is a very warm person," and also noted, "I think they realize the importance on a show like this of tying it in to radio stations."
"Hot Country Nights" is NBC's attempt to capture the nation's apparently growing audience for country music. The most recent previous attempt was ABC's expensive bomb "Dolly," with Dolly Parton, a few seasons back.
Ms. DeYoung says she won the guest spot through her own initiative. Before the show even premiered in November, she had heard it would somehow involve radio DJs from across the country each week, and sent in a tape of her work.
"I guess that is what did it. I'm not sure they'd ever heard me, really," says the announcer.
She adds, "I am the first female announcer to be guest." And she says that many of the production people on the show are also women who indicated, "they were all kind of rooting to get a woman on the show."
Ms. DeYoung can be heard on WPOC weekdays from 5:30 to TC a.m. and seen on MPT's "Hot Country Nights" at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays.