Local broadcasters, led by Andrew Ockershausen, general manager of WMAL-AM (630), have created an avalanche of programs and announcements for National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Week, which starts Sunday. Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters' Alcohol and Drug Abuse Task Force, which was established this year, and a board member of the National Commission Against Drunk Driving, Ockershausen will moderate a two-hour panel discussion and call-in show on WMAL at 12:45 p.m. Sunday.
"We found drunk driving a hideous crime because it was hidden. The enormous number of arrests in Washington became alarming to us," Ockershausen says of his station's interest in the issue. His personal interest in the issue started seven years ago, when a member of a WMAL employe's family was killed by a drunk driver; later, Ockershausen himself was charged with driving under the influence and went to traffic school. "I was surprised at the number of people at the sessions and how they crossed all racial, age and class lines," he says, "and I found out that the problem wasn't driving but drinking."
WAVA-FM (105.1) will air a 30-minute program with news director David Haines on Sunday, at 6 a.m. For two weeks starting Monday, on-air personalities Tom Kent and Flash Phillips will be discussing how teens can address drunk driving at high schools in Maryland and Virginia. And at WGMS-FM (103.5), "Dialogue," the station's daily public service show at 2:55 p.m., will cover issues related to drunk driving.