A weekend version of National Public Radio's newsmagazine, "Morning Edition," is scheduled to debut Nov. 2 with veteran correspondent Scott Simon as the host, the network announced this week.
The two-hour "Weekend Edition" will emphasize the life style of the "American weekend," according to NPR. Its several well-known contributors will include: Daniel Schorr on national events, Ira Flatow on science and health, Robert Krulwich on business and "our lives," Elvis Mitchell on entertainment and John Schulian on sports. The Washington-based network received a $624,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the show and is raising the rest of its $790,801 budget from private sources. A Talk With . . .
Allan Klamer, general manager of WMDO-AM (1540), the only Spanish-language station in the area. "In our 3 1/2 years we have crawled, walked and run. And we are still in the crawling stage," says Klamer, a son of Romanian immigrants who had already worked in ethnic radio for years before he started WMDO in December 1981. After an initial shakedown when the station seemed to be strictly a bulletin board and sound-off forum trying to please every musical taste, WMDO has settled on a basic combination of popular music and breaking news. "And we do more with news because we are the only thing around that pays great attention to Latin and South America," says Klamer.
Klamer says there are 300,000 potential listeners from 23 Hispanic countries here for that news. He contends the U.S. Census vastly undercounted the local Hispanic population at 95,000. "Most are first-generation, who have been here only 25 years. Most have the inability to read or speak fluently. And 50 percent cannot go home," he says. A general distrust of surveys, says Klamer, is one reason WMDO does not show up in the quarterly Arbitron ratings, the industry's major audience measurement service. "Hispanics listen for music and news, not for language," he says. "Whenever they want to come home, they listen."
"Radio Today: The Hispanic Listener," a new Arbitron study that did not include Washington, found that 98 percent of Hispanics listen to radio each week, a greater percentage than for Americans as a whole. The study also concluded they listen longer -- 30 hours a week -- compared with the average radio listener's 25.
Sixty percent of WMDO's two weekday 30-minute news blocks is devoted to international events. The reports are assembled by news director Mia Cara, an announcer and reporter from Colombia. WMDO has 16 full-time staff members and only six are non-Hispanic. The station also has a five-minute hourly newscast and recently switched to United Press International's broadcast service because UPI has a partnership with the Spanish government news service. On weekdays at noon WMDO sponsors a talk show, "El Mundo Opina" ("The World Opinion"), which opens its phones Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
One thing that sets WMDO apart is its community service, which Klamer bluntly describes as "advocacy." Twice a day during the week -- at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. -- WMDO has a job bank. It celebrates dozens of national days and does numerous remotes.
This Sunday, WMDO will be at the Mexican-Central American Independence Celebration at 17th and R Streets NW, from 1 p.m. until sunset, when the station goes off the air. Klamer scoffs at the idea of the White House-proclaimed Hispanic Heritage Week that begins Sunday. "It should be around October 12 Columbus Day ," he says.
Klamer says his main challenge in the past was designing a music format that was diplomatic and entertaining. WMDO now features what it calls the "International Spanish Format," a mix of popular music from salsa to merengue in the traditional Top-40 mold. Klamer says the package is being adopted by other Hispanic stations. Now the problem, says Klamer, is trying to educate advertisers about Hispanic consumers. "About two years ago a car dealer said to me they only buy Chevys," says Klamer, looking horrified as he goes on to tell another story about a shoe store that insisted Hispanic women prefer "high heels." Slowly, those stereotypes are breaking down and WMDO now has local and national ads, 60 percent from Anglo-owned businesses and 40 percent from Hispanic-owned ones. In Person
WLTT-FM (94.7) is cosponsoring a paddleboat race at the Tidal Basin tomorrow; registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and the $25 fee goes to the Sunshine Foundation, which fulfills wishes for terminally ill children . . . Kofi Dompere and Kwabena Nkrumah, cohosts of "African Rhythms and Extensions" on WPFW-FM (89.3), will appear at a fundraiser for the newly formed African Heritage Cultural Fund at Crispus Attucks Park, First and U Streets NW, Saturday at 10 p.m . . . WDCU-FM (90.1) will broadcast the D.C. Reggae Festival from noon until it ends Sunday, from the Banneker Recreation Center, Georgia Avenue NW . . . Next Tuesday's reading by Garrison Keillor, host of "A Prairie Home Companion" and author of the best-selling "Lake Wobegon Days," is sold out at Lisner Auditorium. Funds raised at the reading will go to the operating budget of WETA-FM (90.9), which will air the reading in three 30-minute parts Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at noon. Keillor will also be interviewed on "The Diane Rehm Show" show Wednesday on WAMU-FM (88.5) at 10 a.m . . . Charlie and Harrigan, the early birds of WAVA-FM (105.1), will broadcast from the Reston Farm Park Wednesday . . . Jeff Tyson, Marty Dempsey and Jon Murphy of WBMW-FM (106.7) will participate in a "Dynasty" party, where guests are invited to dress like their favorite character from the show, at 7:30 p.m. at the Third Edition in Georgetown . . . Cerphe Coldwell of WWDC-FM (101.1) will join the radio and music industry witnesses next Thursday at a Capitol Hill hearing on the influence of rock lyrics.