Say so long to Children's Radio Theatre. After 10 years of airing folk tales, stories and original plays on WPFW-FM (89.3), the producers are calling it quits.
The group is most famous for its annual Henny Penny Playwriting Contest, a drama contest for children, and its performance of the winning play at the Kennedy Center.
Part of the reason for the program's demise was lack of money. At one point the group had a budget of $150,000 in grants, but in 1987 it was working with only $70,000. "There doesn't seem to be a market for what it is we do," said David S. Thompson, coproducer, actor and development director for Children's Radio Theatre. "Children do not listen to radio, at least not our kind of radio," he said. "They listen to what their parents and older brothers and sisters listen to -- rock 'n' roll, hootchy-koo, not drama."
Gifts for Givers ...
'Tis still the season for charity. WGMS-AM/FM is in the midst of its month-long fund-raising campaign for Children's Hospital National Medical Center. Woodward & Lothrop has donated a supply of Kringle bears and "Christmas Eve in Washington" cassette tapes to be given away as premiums for listeners who donate more than $50.
If your taste in tapes runs along more of a country line, WMZQ-AM and FM (1390 and 98.7, respectively) is offering "Christmas in Washington" at area Woodies locations. The cassette features the song of the same name, written by MZQ deejay Jim London and sung by Maura Sullivan. The tape goes for $3, which benefits Children's Hospital. And if you're more into rock 'n' roll charity, WCXR-FM (105.9) has released a compact disc of some of its favorite classic rock hits. Apparently they've gone over pretty well, as the station reports the first pressing is sold out and a second has been ordered.
The CDs are available through area record stores, and proceeds (almost $10,000 so far) will benefit the Salvation Army.
WPRW's Country Road
WPRW-AM (1460) in Manassas has forsaken its adult contemporary/top 40 programming for a modern country format. Program Director Scott Gibb said he doesn't see the change as competition with country giant WMZQ-AM (1390). "We don't have the signal or the resources to compete, so we don't consider ourselves competitive."
WAMU's Fred Fiske Salute
We're a little late on this one, but there's only so much space each week (so why waste it on excuses?). WAMU-FM's (88.5) tribute to Fred Fiske was a smashing success, despite the fact that it was held on the same night as the state dinner for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. About 250 people attended the reception for Fiske at the Hotel Washington, and 225 went to the dinner afterward.
The tribute also marked the inaugural presentation of the Fred Fiske Award, which will go each year "to the broadcaster who best exemplifies the professional excellence and concern for the community that have characterized Fred Fiske's career." This year's award went to Fiske, whose more than 40 years of broadcasting in Washington have made him a legend.
Christmas Around the Dial
A quick glance at special Christmas programming: WAGE-AM (1200) presents "A 45 RPM Christmas" Saturday at 7 p.m. with R&B, rock and Christmas novelty songs from 1948-80 ... WDCU-FM's (90.1) "Blues Experience" brings the "Best of the Blues of '87" both this and next Sunday at 10 p.m. ... WWRC-AM (980) features "Ed Walker's Radio Days" at 6 on Christmas morning ... WGAY-FM (99.5) presents 30 hours of uninterrupted music beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday ... On Christmas Day, NPR's "All Things Considered" presents Daniel Schorr and other NPR staffers in the radio drama "Blue Moose" on WETA-FM (90.9) at 5 p.m. and WAMU-FM (88.5) at 6:30 p.m. ... WETA will also air two concerts: one by the Folger Consort and one by the Pomerium Musices, beginning at 8 p.m. Christmas Day ... WBMW-FM (106.7) will feature a commercial-free Christmas beginning at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Presents, Accounted For
On Saturday, Dec. 12, WWRC-AM listeners gave a boost to one of Santa's helpers. The Rev. Joseph Rivers, president of the Orphans Foundation of America, was a guest on Bev Smith's Talk Radio show, and mentioned during the interview that he had taken out a $3,500 loan to purchase Christmas gifts for 200 youngsters for their Dec. 13 Christmas party at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.
An Alexandria listener who wished to remain anonymous called and donated $3,500 to repay the loan, and more than 100 callers contributed presents. In addition, individuals and merchants dropped off donations and presents in time for the party.