WJHU Lets News, Information Lead Way Dennis O'Shea -------------------------------- Homewood News and Information WJHU-FM, the university's radio station and Baltimore's only National Public Radio affiliate, is switching its weekday daytime programming to an all-news and information format. The station is now airing 15 1/2 hours a day of world, national and local news and features, arts and cultural coverage and call-in programs, in a solid block from 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The move brings most area listeners their first opportunity to hear programs such as the Diane Rehm Show, a Washington-based call-in on national and world issues that recently went into national syndication. The new lineup also includes NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, an award-winning daily radio magazine on culture and the arts, and Monitor Radio's Monitor Midday. WJHU is also expanding by one hour one of its most popular current programs, NPR's Morning Edition. That show will now air from 6 to 10 a.m., WJHU general manager Dennis Kita said. Beginning Sept. 11, the station also will air the Monday through Friday editions of its most highly rated show, NPR's All Things Considered, at 4 p.m. instead of the current 5 p.m. "We're responding to the enthusiasm of our current listeners and members for our information programming," Kita said. "We're pleased that we can now offer more of that kind of programming throughout the day, not just during a block of time in the morning and a block of time in the afternoon." "For almost 10 years, WJHU has been successful as the sole Baltimore outlet for NPR news programs," Kita said. "We want to build on that success." WJHU, which broadcasts at 88.1 on the FM dial, had been broadcasting classical music between Morning Edition and All Things Considered. "Our mission in public radio is public service," Kita said, adding that he, community affairs director Nan Rosenthal and program director Chris Wienk had spent "many months looking at how we can best perform that mission." "The question, in a market where there are as many as six classical music signals on the air during weekdays, is whether we can contribute more during those hours with classical music or with news and information programs that other Baltimore stations don't offer," he said. "We feel strongly that the new programs will provide WJHU members and listeners with even more reasons to enjoy the station." As part of its format change, the station also will strengthen its emphasis on local and regional public affairs, arts and culture, Kita said. The Marc Steiner Show, WJHU's locally produced call-in, will remain in the evenings for now, but will move to afternoons in September and expand to 10 hours a week. Tom Olson, WJHU's morning announcer and newscaster, will produce local features. Lisa Simeone, a longtime WJHU announcer and interview program host, is developing a new weekend interview program. Kita also said that WJHU will continue a number of weekend classical music programs that listeners cannot hear elsewhere. The station will produce the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's broadcasts of its performances in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. It will also air announcer Bob Benson's Saturday and Sunday programs based on his extensive personal classical music archives. In fact, WJHU's evening and weekend lineups are largely unaffected by the changes in weekday programming, Kita said. The station will continue to air jazz weeknights, with Andy Bienstock's very successful show Monday through Friday evenings from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Weekend news and information programs-- such as Weekend Edition and Weekend All Things Considered--along with entertainment programs such as Cartalk, Whad'ya Know, Thistle and Shamrock, Music from the Hearts of Space and Echoes also will continue.
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