Current pledge drives, the local public...

DURING THEIR

March 13, 1993

DURING THEIR current pledge drives, the local public television stations are appealing to the Baby Boom crowd by airing specials on Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Elton John.

No doubt these programs draw more than the usual number of boomer viewers, but the stations often shoot down their own aspirations to hipness with the in-studio folks who host the drives.

Last Tuesday night, for example, while WETA in Washington showed a concert honoring Bob Dylan's 30 years in the music biz, the irritatingly frequent pledge breaks included a young man trying to coax viewer donations by offering an Eric Clapton album as a premium.

Repeatedly, this young man referred to Clapton's greatest and most famous composition, "Layla," as "Lilah." Later, after the fifth or sixth "Lilah," he corrected himself. (We can only hope this was the result of an angry viewer's phoning to ream the guy out.)

Regular watchers of WMPT in Owings Mills might remember a similar incident of several years ago, when a pledge drive host kept referring to that epoch-marking 1969 event as "Woodstack."

So, some advice to public TV stations: If you want to go beyond the usual stuffed-shirt material, fine. But if you plan to act hip, at least try to have pledge-drive hosts who speak the lingo.

And now we return to tonight's special broadcast of "Woodstack," featuring Eric Clapton in a performance of his classic "Lilah."

* * *

REAR ADM. Thomas Lynch, superintendent of the Naval Academy, came by to lunch with a group of editorial writers the other day.

He was a little glum about the prospect of a 300-ship Navy, a 4,000-middie academy and other expected results of downsizing, but the admiral was optimistic about one thing:

The Navy football team, which has just had two consecutive 1-10 seasons, will beat Army in 1993, he vowed.

Admiral Lynch has good reason to remember the glory days of Navy football. He was the center and captain of the 1963 team, which went 10-1 and was rated No. 2 in the nation in the end-of-season Associated Press poll.

In that era Navy played the University of Maryland, and it also occasionally played games in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Admiral Lynch says he expects both those traditions to be resumed soon, perhaps in combination.

We'd love to see a Navy-Maryland game here. Or Navy-Air Force or Navy-Notre Dame or even -- in fact, especially -- Navy-Army.

Navy ought to play a "home" game here every season. There is not another stadium in the country that could match the size of the pro-Navy crowd it would get at Memorial Stadium, whether it was a 10-1 team or a 1-10 team.

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