Just Asking: Armando Trull, WAMU’s mouth of the morning


(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
Frances Stead Sellers
Senior writer September 5

Armando Trull, 54 (his Facebook age is 44), is the man many Washingtonians wake up with. He starts his day at 4:30 a.m., covering the morning commute for WAMU (88.5 FM). Trull, who came from Cuba when he was 7, lived all over the States before settling in Washington in 1992. He now lives in Takoma, D.C., where he has built a pizza oven in his back yard.

Given the D.C. traffic, for many people the morning commute is the most frustrating part of the day. Does that affect how you talk to them?

Frances Stead Sellers is senior writer at The Washington Post magazine. She joined the magazine in 2014 after spending two years as the editor of the daily Style section, with a focus on profiles, personalities, arts and ideas. View Archive

I do realize that sometimes people can be not in the greatest mood, so I try to bring a little bit of humor to what I’m reporting on. It appears it’s working: People come up to me and say, “I shower with you every morning.” I’m going to have to start paying more attention when I’m showering! But you feel gratified that people say things spontaneously.

Do you look like your voice?

Oh, no, heavens, no. I’m sorry, I have the face I was born with. I do like my voice. [It makes] people think I’m closer to my Facebook age: younger, slimmer and better looking.

Where did your name come from?

My grandfather was Armando; my father was Armandito (he passed a few months ago); and I am actually “Mandy,” which I would never use in this country. Being bicultural, I have a lot of friends here who are Hispanic, and the ones who know me really well, they started calling me Mandy.

With stories like the border-crossing children, do you find you report differently when you have a personal grasp of the issues?

As soon as I saw that those children were coming from Central America, I realized it was a local story because of the size of the community of immigrants. I spoke to a mother, a fast-food worker, and she spent $12,000 to bring her children, 12, 11, 10, here. You realize the story you can do because of your background.

In addition to your TV and radio reporting, you have a gig doing voice-overs.

A lot of documentaries — for example, Discovery Health — get dubbed into Spanish. So I do some voice-over, and I’ll hire talent depending on the voices needed. I’m really familiar with different accents in Spanish. I can tell if people are not from the country they say.

What’s the most surprising story you’ve covered here?

The Salahis, in terms of doing things that were out there. What surprises me in a constant manner is the things people will tell me in the morning. One lady was sitting in a line of disabled vehicles because somebody lost a load of lumber on the Beltway, and she said, “I really need to get going because I have to pee.”

It’s not only kids that say the darnedest things.

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