The great 3 stampede takes another turn for the hilarious


January 11, 1995|By DAN RODRICKS

Remember how some people went bonkers last week to get 3-cent stamps to go with their leftover 29-cent stamps to meet the new 32-cent price for first-class postage? Long lines were reported all over. Now I hear that people bought so many sheets of 3-cent stamps they're back this week looking for more 29s.

Jake's brainchild

I'm getting some good buzz from musicheads in the Annapolis-College Park-Baltimore triangle about WRNR-FM (103.1), the progressive free-form rock station that is the brainchild of Jake Einstein, at 77 "the oldest hippie in America" and the man who enjoyed the status of radio cult god as creator of the old WHFS. Back in the 1960s, then Bethesda-based WHFS (some believe the call letters stood for "We Have Frank Sinatra") shocked easy-listeners everywhere and won over intelligent rock lovers by going overnight with the progressive format. The station played music you couldn't hear anywhere else -- at the time, artists such as Joe Cocker, Van Morrison and Frank Zappa. For years, HFS fought the onslaught of what Einstein calls "robot rock," music selected by consultants and based on marketing surveys. "When your music airs in a rotation and your play list is maybe 30 to 35 pieces, that's corporate rock," says Einstein, who sold WHFS in 1988 and bought his new FM station in late 1993. "And corporate rock goes to the bank. But we're gonna go to the bank, too. I never say what we do is better. I say what we do is different. . . . If we play an album, we play it deep. We don't play the emphasis cuts. I don't like hype. If something becomes too hot, we drop it. The music is everything. The people on our air know music down to its roots." Einstein's deejays -- among them his 44 year-old son, Damian, and John Hall, formerly of HFS -- pick the music they play; they talk about what they air. And what comes out of WRNR is unpredictable -- blues, jazz, progressive rock, reggae, zydeco, folk -- and features new artists and old artists. You might hear Sonny Landreth, Victoria Williams, Tom Petty or Nirvana unplugged, maybe Cab Calloway or James Brown, Velvet Crush, Laurie Anderson, Seal, Keb' Mo', Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell. Twice a week the station offers a Dead hour. A friend tuned in one day and heard a concert recording of a Bruce Springsteen tribute to Harry Chapin, and talked about it for days. "Somebody called here and said they had just heard a song they had never heard before," Einstein says. "And I said, 'Well, you might not hear it again!'" Einstein is in partnership with Dick Winn, of Vision Broadcasting, Philadelphia; Kenny Kandell, and Jim Fox, once of B-104. "This is the antithesis of overproduced, overslick radio," says Kandell. "We're getting calls all the time from people who understand we're not doing conventional radio kinds of things. People are discovering us."

End of the rainbow

The boys basketball team of Archbishop Curley High played Friends School Friday night -- on two courts. A leak in the old Friends gym put some water on the floor so, with the scored tied at the half, the teams moved to another court to finish the game. Curley won, 57-50.

Believing is everything

So is it a coincidence that the new "Get Smart," starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon, goes on the air (Channel 45, Sundays, 7:30 p.m.) at the same time Ellen Sauerbrey's challenge of the November gubernatorial election goes to trial? I'm thinking about Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, who had a trademark way of overstating things: "Chief, we've documented 40,000 fraudulent votes! . . . Would you believe 5,000 incorrectly registered voters? . . . Would you believe two guys who signed their names in esperanto?"

Where it happened

After getting a half-dozen different reports about the whereabouts of Don MacLean's New Year's Eve fight -- the one that left the Washington Bullets' third-leading scorer with a busted right thumb -- confirmation is ours. Police at Baltimore's Southeastern District released details of a complaint filed against MacLean by a 24-year-old Pennsylvania guy who says the 6-foot-10 basketball player slugged him outside Bohager's Bar & Grill. The complainant, Matthew Bernhard, claims he was asked to take photographs of MacLean and his girlfriend but, afterward, the two men "had some words." Bohager's bounced Bernhard but, once outside the popular bar -- there were 1,500 people in the place that night -- he ran into MacLean again. "Do you want some, do you want to go?" he claims MacLean asked. Bernhard alleges MacLean punched him in the left eye. The police report says he received seven stitches at Mercy Medical Center. Bohager's bouncer gave the Washington Times a different story, claiming that Bernhard had been badgering MacLean and his date "all night," and that Bernhard waited for MacLean 45 minutes in the bar's parking lot. Unless dropped or otherwise settled, this one will probably go to court in early February.

You figure it out

Last year, Brian Scally, who works in the adjustments department of a Baltimore investment house, ended up owing the state $140.05 in income taxes. But, when he wrote a check, he dropped the nickel. His check to the state was $140. OK, so he shorted us. But a couple of weeks ago, Brian gets a bill -- for $24.73 in late fees, interest and penalties. Something's got to be wrong here. "Crazy," Brian says. "I'd like to know where you can invest 5 cents and get a return like that." You, me and Orange County, too.

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