In its campaign to shape an upscale, international image, WASH-FM (97.1) is hosting one American and one Russian in "The Great Caviar Tastov" Monday at the Embassy Row Hotel. Arthur Crofton and Linda Sherman, cohosts of "Continental Breakfast," will do their entire show from the hotel, with the "all-they-can-eat" competition starting at 8 a.m. The morning show is currently getting the promotional rush in newspaper ads and a television commercial. The TV ad, filmed at the headquarters of the Columbia Historical Society on New Hampshire Avenue NW, has the butler bopping down the hall listening to his transistor and serving breakfast in bed to two gleeful listeners. The man in the bed jacket is Tom Tradup, new executive producer of the show. WASH solicited the caviar contestants, as well as volunteer nurses, in a series of newspaper ads. Rep. Manuel Lujan (R-N.M.) is expected to be the coach for the American side, and his Russian counterpart is Count Serge Tolstoy, the great-grandson of the author. Morning Melodies

In another slice of the morning scene, Brute Bailey, program director of urban upstart WDJY-FM (100.3), is now directly challenging WKYS-FM (93.9) by playing "Jesus Is Love" as his sign-off. For the last 4 1/2 years Donnie Simpson has been signing off with the Commodores' song. Now Bailey is playing the song not only before his 10 a.m. sign-off, but also right after 7 a.m. "Being a competitive person I thought that is one of the things he had going for him. There's nothing I don't do to go up against the competition," says Bailey. WDJY also has designed three slogans that mention WKYS. A sample: "Coming to get a kiss . . . you can run but you can't hide." At first, Simpson says, he was flattered but then he got "bothered." He started playing the song, he says, because of its message. "I thought the music comes from the black church and the church is a significant part of all our lives. I think Bailey is just playing it as a programming gimmick." NPR Plan

In a major change for the way public radio is financed, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has approved giving $42 million directly to stations in fiscal 1987, bypassing National Public Radio and other program producers and making the stations responsible for buying news, public affairs and entertainment programs. Of the $42 million, $10 million will be earmarked for national-program production and acquisition grants; another $3 million will be set aside by CPB for innovative-programming grants. NPR, which wanted greater financial independence for its members, initiated the plan. The CPB board will work out the final details at its next meeting in January. By next September NPR hopes to finish paying its debt of $7 million to CPB, which helped bail it out from a deficit in 1983. Evening Addition

Herman Washington, an award-winning newsman and veteran of several newsrooms around town, will become the anchor Monday of "The Daily Drum," the weekday news hour at 6 p.m. on WHUR-FM (96.3), the station announced this week. Suburban Power

Starting Monday WAGE-AM is boosting its power to 5,000 watts and changing dial position to 1200. Currently the Loudoun County station airs until midnight and plays a personality-oriented adult-contemporary format. When it goes 24 hours a day next month, WAGE hopes to carry "The Larry King Show" from Mutual Radio Network. Fund-Raising Efforts

The seasonal effort of the Temporaries Food for Christmas Drive reaches its peak next week with three days of entertaining and collecting at International Square, 18th and K streets NW. Bill Trumbull and Chris Core of WMAL-AM (630) will be on hand Monday, and then Bill Mayhugh helps out Tuesday and Frank Harden and Jackson Weaver Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. . . . The jocks from WWDC-FM (101.1) will be collecting food Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Bentley's in College Park. Specials

WGMS-AM/FM (570/103.5) is running a four-hour "Met Marathon" tomorrow from 2 to 6 p.m. The program includes highlights from 15 works of Giuseppe Verdi that the Metropolitan Opera has performed. This is a warm-up for the opening broadcast of the Met's 46th consecutive season, which WGMS will carry Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. . . . WXTR-FM (104.1) is preempting Wolfman Jack tomorrow night to present a six-hour look at the history of "American Bandstand." It starts at 6 p.m. . . . WMAL is sponsoring a round table Sunday on the problems of drunken driving and substance abuse from 1 to 2:45 p.m. Andrew Ockershausen, general manager of WMAL, will lead the discussion . . . On Monday WPKX-FM/AM (105.9/730) starts carrying "Country Comments," a series of interviews and factoids from Mutual . . . WTOP-AM (1500) is repeating all 10 segments of "Year-End Tax Planner," a series prepared by Paul Hencke of the Research Institute of America, this weekend and next.