Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 22, 1997

Keillor Joins
WJHU's New Weekend

The popular Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor will be one of eight new national programs and two new locally produced programs added to the WJHU-FM 88.1 weekend program schedule this fall, general manager Raymond G. Dilley announced today. The public radio station, a service of The Johns Hopkins University, also will produce new call-in programs for weeknight broadcast, Dilley said.

The new shows will expand the station's already solid offerings of news and public and cultural affairs programming. Measuring both numbers of listeners and their financial support, the news and information format has proven successful since it debuted in June 1995.

The new schedule, which will continue to feature favorites like Car Talk, Whad'Ya Know and Weekend All Things Considered, will be on the air starting the weekend of Sept. 27 and 28.

"Weekends on public radio are considered the last programming frontier," said Dilley, who was named general manager this past January. "Saturday and Sunday are now known for their tremendous audience potential, which has previously never really been met in Baltimore. And we're so pleased to have Prairie Home Companion in our new schedule because it serves as a signature program that adds a certain legitimacy to any public radio station."

Now heard on 402 stations, PHC will be rebroadcast on WJHU on Sundays at 10 a.m.

"Another station in town broadcasts the show live on Saturday nights, but research shows that Sunday repeats actually attract more listeners," Dilley said. "The program almost never splits its live and repeat broadcasts between different stations, so this is a unique arrangement and a real benefit for the audiences of both stations."

Dilley adds that PHC is just one of the programs he hopes will keep people tuned in all weekend. Baltimore listeners also will have the opportunity for the first time to hear other popular shows like World Cafe and Living on Earth. The schedule also features new programs like Weekend Fresh Air, with Terri Gross, and The Savvy Traveler.

One of the most exciting programs Baltimore listeners will now have a chance to hear is This American Life.

"This is a quirky, entertaining show that is really hard to describe and almost impossible to turn off," Dilley said. "You have to listen to it to fully appreciate it."

The one-hour show, hosted by Baltimore native Ira Glass, tells stories of life in this country, taking long looks at people we might otherwise never hear about. The show mixes documentaries, fiction, comic and personal essays, and "found tapes."

"The best way to describe it is to say it is real radio about real people," said program director Terry Trouyet. "It's what's happening right now."

The station hopes to offer similar lively and timely programming with two of its own new offerings. American Songbook, hosted by the station's jazz specialist, Andy Bienstock, will air on Friday evenings and will focus on the great popular songwriters and their songs sung by classic pop and jazz singers.

The Media Connection will be the Sunday afternoon edition of locally produced talk shows airing at 4 p.m. and complementing the successful daytime talker, The Marc Steiner Show. Listeners of The Media Connection will have the opportunity to join in as Baltimore Sun television columnist David Zurawik and media critic Sheri Parks look at how the press is covering and shaping the Baltimore region.

"Obviously we're excited by the prospect of strengthening our news and information presence in Baltimore, even though it means we have to say goodbye to some programming that listeners have enjoyed over the years on WJHU," Dilley said. "But public radio is changing--has been changing--and every station that hopes to stay on the air is more firmly becoming identified with a particular format. Our format is news and information.

"I think this new schedule puts us ahead of the curve, which is great for our listeners."

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