In the age of the image in living color, radio stars are disembodied voices. They are called air personalities. The timbre of their voices has natural resonance; their diction is enviable. But they are celebrities never recognized at the checkout counter.
The 30 Washington area broadcasters in this gallery were interviewed on the telephone; their photographs are the images as seen by the stations and supplied by their publicity departments. CAPTION: Picture 1, "I make people feel they have a friend," says Beverly Fox, 30, WLTT's midday disc jockey. "Radio never stops, come holidays or snowstorms. And when there is no one else to turn to, there is this...voice...on the radio."; Picture 2, "I want my audience to live in their past," says John Dowling, 36, rock oldies host on WPGC. "I'm not just turning on oldies like a faucet. Memories are what my show is about. I help people to take refuge from the present."; Picture 3, At 39, Bill Hamlin is WLTT's music host. "To keep people tuning in, you have to surprise them every once in a while," he says. "And we have to make the music flow, put it together better than people can do it in their own homes."; Picture 4, "Urban contemporary" is the label Chuck Davis uses for the music he hosts on WKYS" midday program. "I like to come across as somebody about whom listeners would say "I know what he means' or, "Why didn't I think of that?"..."; Picture 5, "My chance to grab folks is the dinner hour," says Candy Shannon, 31, of WKYS. "It's a lyrical show. I like to bring up listeners and then take them down. Pump them up with fast-paced music and then cool them out with slow dance music."; Picture 6, Night Flight 93 is WKYS" late evening show, with Captain Paul Porter, 25, cruising and taking listeners to new destinations. "I like nighttime," he says. "Nighttime folks are into their radio. They have time to listen."; Picture 7, Mike Cuthbert, 43, runs WRC's Cuthbert and Company. "It's news and information for four hours, then a call-in hour.... We call Paris and London all the time, and get Moscow direct and live. Wherever it's happening, we are in touch."; Picture 8, "We are not elevator music," says Bob Cummings, 34, morning dee-jay for WLTT. "The posture of the station is light rock and less talk. I interject the important things: time, temperature, traffic reports, news. And at 7:40, a trivia question."; Picture 9, WHFS has been the Washington homeland of progressive rock, and David Einstein, 38, is its best-known prophet. "I present music that will be or should be popular," he says, "and play songs that are happening in local dance clubs."; Picture 10, "Sometimes I fell like a psychiatrist," says Linda Kelly, 27, WMZQ dee-jay. "People call all the time -- people with problems. . People think I am blond and have blue eyes. But I have green eyes and brown hair. Radio is a fantasy medium."; Picutre 11, "For some reason people listen to me," says Donnie Simpson of WKYS. "I am just being myself." Simpson is 29, easygoing, cool. "A lot of guys prefer to be called air personalities," he says. "It's still a disc jockey to me."; Picture 12, Jim Elliott, left, and Scott Woodside, both 33, have been together for five years and are WRQX's morning team. "We are the best of friends," Woodside says. "The morning show is the most important show," Elliott says. "It's like a quarterback in football: the fulcrum of the station. It is also the biggest revenue earner. For radio, it's the best time slot. There are very few people in this world who can look into the mirror and say, "I enjoy what I am doing." It's what I have always wanted to do."; Picture 13, The Greaseman, Bronx-born, is WWDC's flagship of the rare and unusual. (He keeps his real name a secret.) "You don't have to shock an audience with unnatural acts," he says, hissing and chortling."I have a craft. I am an actor."; Picture 14, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a fitness voice, is on WRC five nights a week. "When I get on the air, people ask me anything: neurosugery, arthritis, diabetes, pediatrics, weight reduction. I work seven days a week. I am beginning to talk to myself."; Picture 15, Cerphe Colwell, 25, runs the afternoon show at WAVA he defines as "album rock," from the mid-60s to the present. "I own 28,000 records and I listen to everything from Rachmaninoff to the Rolling Stones. Whatever my mood is."; Picture 16, WHUR's Melvin Lindsey is 27. His program is called "The Quiet Storm." "I do mellow rhythm and blues. I wanted to be a reporter, but I'm not sorry I'm a deejay. It's a pleasure to know that I make so many people happy."; Picture 17, Diane Rehm is producer and host of WAMU's "Kaleidoscope." "People respond to information," says Rehm. "We take listener's call-ins and invite people to talk once a week. You never know what to expect."; Picture 18, In his third year with WRC, Joel A. Spivak does a fast-moving, with-it talk show. "I used to think the great issues would be decided on radio and on my show. Not any more. But I enjoy talking to people, and it's hardly ever boring."; Picture 19, "Radio is an illusion," booms Felix Grant of WMAL, in a stentorian bass that has been on the air for 38 years, 29 of them as spokesman for jazz and blues. "Mine is the longest-running program of its type in the history of broadcasting."; Picture 20, "Radio is the only thing I have ever done," says Jamie Bragg, an anchor with all-news WTOP since 1951. "It's an exciting business. I have to be more careful than I would in other cities: most all newsmakers are right here in this city."; Picture 21, "On TV you address the masses, on radio you talk to a person," says WWDC's Eddie Gallaher. His baritone has graced the airwaves for 38 years, including 13 years on TV and 23 years with WTOP. "Radio is much more intimate."; Picture 22, "My music is never rock and roll. It's easy-listening, casual, laid-back," says Bill Mayhugh, velvet-voiced veteran of 30 years with WMAL. "I pause more than anybody else on the air. I leave plenty of time for people to think."; Picture 23, Classical music siren Renee Channey has been with WGMS since 1970. "I want to be a friend of the listener, not a pompus person who can pronounce composers' names. Why intimidate people? Classical music is for everyone."; Picture 24, Jerry Gray is a guitarist who has run WAMU's afternoon show since 1971. "It's a mix of traditional country, western and western swing. I play those records that are not usually played. If I couldn't play records, I'd go out and play music."; Picture 25, "People like little vignettes and stories about the artists and I like to pass them along," says Ed Walker of WMAL's afternoon program of nostalgia and big band. He also does voice impressions. "If it comes off, you have fun."; Picture 26, Frank Harden, left, and Jackson Weaver of WMAL have the most popular morning drive show in town. They've been in radio since their teens. "We are radio announcers who do it in a humorous vein," Weaver sasy. "We have a rapport with our audience," Harden says. "We impart critical knowledge...what time it is, if schools are open, what the weather will be," Weaver says. "We don't let it go dry and stodgy. We keep it loose, laid-back. We don't want anybody's headache from last night to get any worse."; Picture 27, Fred Fiske of WAMU, once a child actor, who's been in Washington since 1947, calls himself the granddaddy of talk-show hosts. "People are much more open," he says. "We have sex experts on the radio now -- unthinkable a few years ago."