NPR picks up WJHU's 'Soundprint'

AIRCHECK

January 08, 1993|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer

The radio documentary series "Soundprint," produced in Baltimore at WJHU-FM 88.1, has been picked up by National Public Radio. The affiliation sharply increases the number of stations able to carry the program and helps the 5-year-old series overcome a funding crisis.

NPR currently has 464 stations in the United States, carrying the NPR news and public affairs fixtures "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered."

"Soundprint," heard here at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and 7:30 a.m. Sundays on WJHU, previously gained national distribution through the American Public Radio network, with less than half the number of NPR stations.

" 'Soundprint's' resonance with NPR programs will give more stations the opportunity to schedule the series, and we are delighted at the prospect," says Moira Rankin, recently elevated to executive producer of the series, when creator Bill Siemering left to pursue the development of international radio activities.

By way of introduction to NPR listeners, the first six months of 1993 "Soundprint" programs include a retrospective re-airing of its memorable and award-winning editions.

"Soundprint" faced a serious financial threat last fall, when the Corporation for Public Broadcasting did not renew primary funding, said Ms. Rankin.

But continued production has been assured through the NPR affiliation, and from specific programming grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts for the International Collaborative Documentary Series and the Town Creek Foundation (for environmental programs), as well as pledges from seven public radio stations.

Aircheck continues to hear from listeners disturbed by the pending demise of the nostalgia/big band sound from WITH-AM (1230). The station has been sold and by spring will switch to a children's format.

"They have just about all the over-50 audience in town while everyone else seems to be fighting over the rock audiences," writes Raymond J. Gambrill of Baltimore.

"It is almost criminal that we are going to lose that form of musical entertainment in a few short months," complains Richard D. Brow of Glen Burnie, in a letter particularly praising Rick Colom's New Year's Eve show on WITH.

One place listeners can continue to hear at least a weekly dose of big band jazz is provided by John Tegler's "Jazz Straight Ahead" program, from 8 p.m. to midnight Wednesdays on WEAA-FM (88.9).

And Mr. Tegler, whose New Year's Eve broadcast presented classic taped New Year's shows from the past, notes many area listeners may also be able to tune in a powerful new all-big-band station out of Mount Holly, N.J. The clear channel 50,000-watt WWJZ-AM is at 640 on the dial.

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Yes, that is the voice of Jim Epperlein, formerly of the Metro Traffic Report, now being heard as "Spiritman," the host of a weekly gospel program from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturdays on WBGR-AM (860). Mr. Epperlein also does the afternoon news on WJFK-AM/FM (1300/106.7).

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Annapolis-based WXZL-FM (103.1) has begun offering a rare radio voice for National Hockey League fans. Washington Capitals defenseman Al Iafrate joins program director Michael Lee at 6 p.m. Mondays in a live hockey-talk show from Griffins West restaurant in Annapolis.

Aircheck, a column of radio news, appears every other Friday. Send items to Aircheck/Steve McKerrow, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, call (410) 332-6506 or fax (410) 783-2519.

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