For immediate release
May 25, 1999


Washington, D.C. -- For the fist time in station history, WETA 90.9 FM will offer a block of news programming during morning drive-time and on weekend mornings. Beginning June 1, WETA 90.9 will carry National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" from 6 until 9 a.m. weekdays and "Weekend Edition" at 8 a.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays. Preceding "Morning Edition" will be "World Update," a BBC-produced look at overnight news developments airing at 5 a.m.

"We're adding 'Morning Edition' to make WETA a full-service public radio station," said Arthur Cohen, vice president and general manager of WETA 90.9 FM. "During my eighteen-month tenure here, I've become convinced by the large number of our 'All Things Considered' listeners that this change will best serve our expanding regional audiences. The change is also designed to attract new listeners who tune into our morning news to our classical music service as well."

"WETA's decision will bring 'Morning Edition' to 300,000 new listeners in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia a very welcome extension of NPR programming," said Kevin Klose, president and CEO of National Public Radio. "Audience research in other cities suggests that this change can strengthen public radio service across the Greater Washington area."

WETA 90.9 FM will continue to offer top-notch, noncommercial classical music, with 15 hours or more of classical music broadcast every weekday and at least 10 hours broadcast each weekend day.

"Morning Edition," hosted by Bob Edwards, is celebrating its 20th season of providing an in-depth roundup of what made news overnight and what important stories will unfold with the day. Correspondents include senior NPR news analyst Cokie Roberts, business correspondent Jack Speer, political analyst Kevin Phillips, television and film critic Tom Shales, sportswriters John Feinstein and Frank Deford, "Why Things Are" author Joel Achenbach, and cowboy-poet Baxter Black.

The one-hour "World Update," hosted by Vicki Barker, follows the overnight developments of domestic and international stories, including breaking news and world events. The series is produced in London but designed for American listeners.

"Weekend Edition Saturday," hosted by Scott Simon, is a two-hour wrap-up and perspective of the week's events combined with lighter weekend topics such as gardening, sports and entertainment. Regular commentators and critics include veteran journalist Daniel Schorr, entertainment critic Elvis Mitchell, sports columnist Ron Rapoport and gardening guru Ketzel Levine.

"Weekend Edition Sunday," hosted by Liane Hansen, features a mix of authors, commentators, musicians and poets. Regular contributors to the two-hour broadcast include Schorr, "New York Times" puzzle master Will Shortz, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page, and commentator Fred Barnes of "The Standard."

Other weekend schedule changes include the addition of the landmark "Great Pianists of the 20th Century," a one-hour, weekly series slated to begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 6. The series presents piano masters, such as Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, John Ogdon and Rosalyn Tureck, in their best-recorded repertoire, examining both their lives and work. Returning to WETA schedule are "Schickele Mix" at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and "Sound & Spirit" at 10 p.m. on Sundays.

With over 425,000 listeners in the Washington/Baltimore community, WETA 90.9 FM consistently maintains the largest market share of any public radio station providing classical music in the top ten markets. WETA 90.9 FM, serving the Washington metropolitan area, and WETH 89.1 FM, serving the Cumberland Valley, broadcast 24 hours a day.

WETA TV 26 and 90.9 FM are public broadcasting stations serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational, informational, cultural and entertaining programming and related services. WETA is the third-largest producing station for public television. WETA 90.9 FM's radio productions include "The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Casual Concerts," "The Discovery Series at The Barns of Wolf Trap" and "Music from Washington." See the WETA Web site at for more information on WETA and its services. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA. National Public Radio, a membership organization of 608 public radio stations across America, is radio's leading provider of high-quality news, information and cultural programming. NPR is the producer and distributor of award-winning programs such as Morning Edition®, Talk of the Nation®, Performance Today® and CarTalk.