Infobox Radio Station

name = WAMU
airdate = July 28, 1951
frequency = 88.5 (MHz) HD Radio
88.5 HD-2 for Bluegrass
88.5 HD-3 for WTMD Towson University & other NPR/BBC programs
city = Washington, D.C.
area = Washington, D.C.
format = Public radio/NPR
owner = American University
erp = 50,000 watts
haat = 152 meters
class = B
facility_id = 65399
webcast = [http://www.wamu.org/listen/ Listen Live]
website = [http://www.wamu.org/ www.wamu.org]
callsign_meaning = AMerican University
affiliations = NPR

WAMU is a public radio station that services the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The station broadcasts on 88.5 FM; online at wamu.org; and on HD Radio at 88.5, Channels 1, 2, and 3. WAMU is on-air 24 hours a day. It is licensed to American University and its studios are located near the campus in northwest Washington, D.C. WAMU's HD Channel 2 broadcasts WAMU's BluegrassCountry, which is also available at bluegrasscountry.org.; Channel 3 broadcasts content from WTMD, an AAA station in Towson, Maryland as well as other NPR programming and BBC World programming. This change became effective on September 17, 2007.

WAMU is a National Public Radio affiliate, carrying content from NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International and the BBC World Service. In addition, WAMU produces its own interview and bluegrass music shows, including "The Diane Rehm Show", "Hot Jazz Saturday Night", "The Kojo Nnamdi Show", and "Bluegrass Overnight".

For more than four decades WAMU has aired rebroadcasts of drama, comedy and variety programs from the "golden age of radio." The Old Time Radio program now known as "The Big Broadcast" originated in 1964 (as "Recollections," hosted by John Hickman). Since 1990, the program has been hosted by Ed Walker, himself a storied Washington broadcaster. In its current Sunday evening incarnation "The Big Broadcast" features four hours of various programs heard during radio's early days – from roughly the mid-1930s through the 1950s – typically including programs such as "The Jack Benny Show," "Dragnet," "Gunsmoke," "The Great Gildersleeve," "Lux Radio Theater," and "Philco Radio Time" with Bing Crosby.

WAMU-AM was a carrier current student radio station with limited range. It was only available on campus. The call letters of this station were changed to WVAU.


WAMU made its first AM broadcast on July 28, 1951, and the first FM broadcast was on October 23, 1961.

For many years, WAMU was supported by a loyal base of bluegrass listeners. Each day, the station played the "Lee Michael Dempsy Show" and the "Ray Davis Show". Saturday afternoons had another "Ray Davis Show" as well as the "Jerry Gray Show". "Mountain Stage" from West Virginia Public Radio played Sunday afternoons. Each spring, the station hosted a bluegrass concert at Fairfax High School. It featured performers such as Allison Krause, Tony Rice, the Gibson Brothers, the Lewis Family, Hot Rize, and Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. Pickin' in the Glen was another musical event hosted by WAMU. Currently, WAMU broadcasts bluegrass on its HD2 channel and on a dedicated Internet audio stream.

In 2004, the prominent Washington journalist Ellen Wadley Roper left WAMU a $250,000 bequest.

As of January 22, 2007 at 8:00 PM, WAMU became Washington, D.C.'s only full-time NPR news station, when WETA, also in Washington, D.C., changed to an all classical music format, filling the void of WGMS.

External links

* [http://www.wamu.org/ WAMU Website]
* [http://www.wamu.org/programs/messages/07/09/02.php WAMU HD-channels Programming Change Announcement]

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