When the new owners of WOL-AM, 1450 on your radio dial, took control of the station in October, they moved out the old and brought in the new. Gone was the hyped jive talk and be-bop music long characteristic of the station.
In its place is a whole new format. Drive time until 3 p.m. weekdays is devoted to telephone call-ins, with music interspersed. During the rest of the day, WOL features a cross-section of modern jazz, rhythm and blues, contemporary gospel and inspirational music.
The station now gives listeners both a forum in which to exchange ideas, and a medium through which they can receive "survival" information, said new owners Dewey Hughes and Cathy Liggins, a husband-and-wife team.
During the radio call-in, listeners hear discussion of wide-ranging topics of particular interest to blacks. Usually, a local authority on a specific issue is interviewed and responds to callers' questions and comments.
On Saturdays, listeners call in less frequently since the emphasis is on more music. Sundays are set aside for inspirational music.
The new disc jockies, or "talk masters," as the new owners call them, are Rudolph Brewington (6 to 10 a.m.), Carlos Giavar (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Deborah Crable (7 p.m. to midnight) and Roy Dackerman (midnight to 5 a.m.). Hughes, who got his initial broadcast training at WOL in 1965 and went on to win several Emmy awards for local TV public affairs programs, is hosting the drive-time shift (weekdays, 3 to 7 p.m.) until he finds the right person to fill the position.
Rudolph Brewington starts the mornings off with upbeat music and lively conversation. Brewington has logged 15 years of professional broadcasting experience in the Washington metropolitan area. After being discharged from the Marines in 1968, Brewington began working at WUST-AM as a reporter and news anchorman. He also trained at the Columbia School of Broadcasting, receiving a certificate in radio in TV in 1970. His next break took him to WOOK-AM where he became news director and reporter.
A year later, he went to the top news station at the time, WWDC-AM, where he stayed about four years. While there, he received several awards, including the 1971 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his documentary on minority health care in the United States. From WWDC, Brewington went to WRC radio and TV where he worked with Dewey Hughes on "The Place," a TV talk show. Leaving WRC in 1978, Brewington co-founded both the Black Agenda Reports syndicated news service and a local public relations firm.
Now at WOL, he says, "I'm right where I want to be. If we can help people share ideas, people will be informed and able to make better decisions in their lives."
Carlos Giavar, a 20-year veteran in broadcasting, is a Brooklyn, N.Y., native. He plays music and churns lively dialogue with his listeners and station guests. Aggressive and cynical, Giavar, 34, says he doesn't mind getting "people fussing or cussing at me" on the air.
In 1970, he completed training at the National Academy of Broadcasting in New York City and recently received his degree in communications from the University of Maryland. He also spent five years in the Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam and handling communications equipment, then got moving as a professional broadcaster in the D.C. area. As a stringer or freelancer, Giavar has worked for WOOK-FM radio, WETA-TV and WRC-FM. Before going to WOL, he worked as a newscaster for National Public Radio (NPR).
An Adams-Morgan resident, Giavar, whose parents migrated from Cuba and Puerto Rico, won the 1979 Ohio State Award for his NPR public affairs program called "Viva Latino." Pointing out that his "roots are in jazz and Latin music and the Hispanic community," Giavar says he hopes "to influence this station's direction while it's in the embryonic stage."
Rookie broadcaster Deborah Crable works the station's evening shift on weekdays. The 23-year-old recent University of Maryland graduate, who can also be heard on Saturdays, says working at WOL is the biggest break of her career. With just a few months of professional experience, the Newport News, Va., native is called the "baby" of the WOL family.
During her first two years out of school, Crable worked for the Kennedy Center's National Committee on Cultural Diversity, screening plays and recruiting minority talent. A District resident for about 10 years, she spent last summer working as a news reporter and announcer for WINX-AM in Rockville.
"I want to help WOL become a catalyst for promoting some changes as well as a provider of entertainment," says Crable, whose vibrant style is marked by straightforwardness and light humor. "If black people don't talk about the issues and start doing something," she says, "then we're part of the problem."
Roy Dackerman, 26, is a Boston native whose interest in radio broadcasting sprouted after many years of singing and playing guitar with a home-town musical group. Though he doesn't sing or perform on the air, Dackerman still considers himself an entertainer.
He got his first opportunity in a major commercial radio station in Boston when he began working as a producer at WBCN-FM, while he was sophomore at Graham Junior College there. After earning his degree in TV and radio in 1974, Dackerman worked at various radio stations in New York and New Jersey.
Having gained hours of experience in radio announcing, as well as commercial and news production, he headed for Washington for new challenges where in June he began working part-time at WWDC-AM. Still working weekends and filling in for absent regulars at WWDC, Dackerman joined the WOL staff on a trial basis early this month.
Though he had never worked under a format similar to WOL's Dackerman, the only white on-air personality, says he feels at home in his new job. "Combining music with a message and discussing spontaneous ideas on the air is pure freedom of expression," Dackerman says, "and that's really what radio should be all about."