WAMU 88.5 : About

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WAMU 88.5 History


April 7 – Several students and graduates of American University (AU) form what they call an "educational FM committee" to bring educational FM radio to AU.


March 29 - The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution gives Washington, D.C., residents the right to vote for president.

April 3 - The National Educational Radio Network, the precursor to National Public Radio, begins broadcasting on six stations

October 23 – WAMU's first air date: Roger Penn is General Manager; George Geesey, Station Manager; Arnold Shaw, Program Director. Moving from AM to FM, WAMU signs on from the campus of American University at 4 p.m., October 23, using a 4,000-watt transmitter purchased from WGBH Boston. As the sixth member of the Educational Radio Network -- the predecessor to National Public Radio -- WAMU's founding vision is: "WAMU-FM will provide attractive, challenging programming that involves our listeners as completely as possible in the learning experience..."

December 28 – The Woodrow Wilson Bridge, linking Maryland and Virginia south of the District, opens


Kaleidoscope premieres on ERN

WAMU is the only radio station in America to carry the UN debate on Cuban missiles live. WAMU devotes four days to coverage of the Cuban Missile Crisis, supplying fast-breaking news to other ERN stations, and even to the BBC. Coverage proves so professional that the U.S. Army Information Service monitors WAMU exclusively, feeding network and local coverage into Army PXs throughout the Southeast.


WAMU hires its first paid employees -- among them, Susan Stamberg. Armed with equipment secured through donations and scavenges of military surplus stores, WAMU takes on coverage of some of the biggest events of the 1960s.

The station covers President John F. Kennedy's American University commencement address, in which he discusses the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Later in the year, the station signs on three hours early to cover the president's assassination for the nation's capital.

WAMU goes live with coverage of the March on Washington led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., with Susan Stamberg and Nate Shaw as correspondents.

WAMU continues to broadcast Educational Radio Network's Kaleidoscope, one of the first of the new "radio magazine" programs, with George Geesey and Susan Stamberg hosting, and Stamberg producing. The Washington Post calls the show "a week-nightly gaze at the bummer called life...with a pastiche of views, opinions, commentary, conversations, absurd news, consumer information, books, and theater." In August, the last national Kaleidoscope show airs.

September - ERN folds. Due to the "the decision by National Educational Television and Radio Center to concentrate all efforts and energies toward the productions and distribution of a high-quality educational television program service." The inter-connect was stopped, but they continued to mail programs to each other.

Kaleidoscope had been an interconnected show, so it was cancelled as a national show. WAMU continued to produce it as a local show.

Arnie Shaw leaves as program director. He is replaced by Susan Stamberg.

Tysons Corner becomes a business and commercial center.


Washingtonians first vote for president.

WAMU serves as the Washington leg of the Ivy League network for the 1964 presidential election, feeding coverage to more than 50 other college stations.

Recollections, the predecessor to today's The Big Broadcast -- now WAMU's longest running program -- debuts in February, with John Hickman as host. The program features material from the Golden Age of Radio, including broadcasts of The Jack Benny Show, The Lone Ranger and Fibber McGee and Molly.


Capital Beltway completed.

One-third of respondents to a WAMU listener survey say they would be interested in courses for college credit over the air.


Susan Stamberg leaves WAMU for India, where her husband is stationed by the State Department. Judy Frank becomes program director.

During WAMU's 5th anniversary program, the program's host and the former program director, Arnie Shaw, both question whether anyone listens to WAMU. Shaw says "the most evil problem" involved in education broadcasting is that one can "only assume" that people are listening. At the program's conclusion, the host asks listeners to write the station and express their opinions about programming.


Judy Frank leaves WAMU to follow her husband overseas. Liz Young becomes program director.

February 20 – WMATA (Metrobus/ Metrorail) is created

President Johnson signs the Public Broadcasting Act into law, authorizing the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The Act calls on CPB to encourage "the growth and development of noncommercial radio" and to develop "programming that will be responsive to the interests of the people."

WAMU has no news staff and, to compensate, Liz Young creates space in the program day for live-to-tape speeches and press conferences as well as call-in conversations with local newsmakers.

WAMU expands its musical selection, adding "music that wasn't well-represented" according to Liz Young. Previously WAMU carried classical music and one jazz show, Real Jazz (music from the 20s and 30s). WAMU adds Jazz Now (contemporary jazz), and the first bluegrass show, the half-hour Bluegrass Unlimited, with Dick Spottswood as host and Gary Henderson as producer.

The station expands from 13,500 to 31,500 watts.


April 22 - District residents receive the right to elect a Board of Education.

In April, WAMU covers local demonstrations in wake of the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Riots in Washington, D.C., kill several people and destroy areas of the city, including U St., H St NE and Columbia Heights

June –WAMU starts Voices of Poverty, "a series of nightly radio programs designed to give poor people access to communications media." On the program, people attending a multi-week "Resurrection City" encampment on the Mall are interviewed and their complaints are aired on WAMU. Program runs every night for 3 months. Funding for the program comes from a grant to the university through Title I of the Higher Education Act.

WAMU begins the DC Public Schools Project, broadcasting programming directly to Washington, D.C., elementary schools from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., daily. The program is run by Irma Aandahl.


Liz Young leaves WAMU to take a fellowship in New York. Lillian Brown replaces Roger Penn as Broadcast Center Director.

Susan Stamberg resigns, along with Program Director Mike Harris and John Humphreys, host of "Trend-In."

WAMU begins operating in stereo.


On February 24, National Public Radio is founded, with almost 100 public radio stations as charter members. It is the first permanent nationwide interconnection of non-commercial stations, producing as well as distributing programming to member stations.

Washington, D.C.'s population is 756,510

The District receives a non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives

WAMU fully embraces the concept of Classroom of the Air, creating the DC Schools Radio Project. Station begins offering for-credit classes over the radio. Other programs include: Alumni Alert, AU Report, Campus Comment.

For the first celebration of Earth Day, WAMU is there with a special broadcast.


The Home Showdebuts with Irma Aandahl as host.

Jerry Gray joins WAMU as host of The Jerry Gray Show.

May 3 - WAMU broadcasts NPR's fledgling news magazine All Things Considered, hosted by station alumna, Susan Stamberg.

On November 6, WAMU premieres Spirits Known and Unknown, produced by OASATAU, American University's black student union. The program includes a weekly two-hour workshop to train young people how to write news for radio, how to obtain their 3rd Class FCC Radio Licenses, how to interview and how to DJ music.

The first on-air fund-raiser nets $4,000.


Watergate break-in

Washington, D.C., loses Senators baseball team for a second time

China gives America a pair of giant pandas

Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) established


WAMU is the first public radio station to go to 24-hour-a-day broadcasting with Nightwatch, a classical music program hosted by Edward Merritt from 1–6 a.m.

Diane Rehm is asked to assist the station manager in the studio when The Home Show host Irma Aandahl calls in sick. Ten months later, Aandahl hires Diane as an assistant producer.

Stained Glass Bluegrass, with host Gary Henderson, premieres on WAMU in June, its title coined by then-Program Director Craig Oliver.

The station increases power to 50,000 watts. More than 86 percent of WAMU's programs are now being produced at the station.

December 24 - Congress approves the Act which establishes an elected mayor and a 13-member city council for DC


November 5 - General elections are held for Washington, D.C., mayor and Council members

Lee Michael Demsey, moves from student-run WAMU-AM to a job at WAMU-FM.

Bill Cavness reads Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace on the air in its entirety.

WAMU-FM adds a "progressive rock" program, hosted by Mark Farre. "He played a lot of Yoko Ono," according to Neenah Ellis.


WAMU-AM is moved from the WAMU-FM office suite to the back of the Broadcast Building.

A plane crashes into WAMU's radio tower. WAMU goes off the air for 15 minutes, but resumes broadcasting through an antenna farther down on the campus tower.


WAMU listeners respond with their pocketbooks to "their" station's on-air fund-raisers: 40 percent of the budget comes from listeners this year.

WAMU-FM cancels its top-of-the-hour newscasts read by students.

Bluegrass programming expands to 20.5 hours per week, and WAMU celebrates 10 years of bluegrass on its airwaves with a Bluegrass Family Picnic at Wolftrap Farm Park in September.

Fred Fiske joins the station's evening line-up, bringing his popular call-in show from WWDC to WAMU.

Derek McGinty, Wendy Rieger, Tony Perkins, Mike O'Meara, Neil Augustine, and Richard Paul enroll as freshmen at AU and work at WAMU-AM.

WAMU weekend programming includes a Rock and Roll oldies show called The Time Machine, an hour of barbershop quartet music hosted by Ed Clark called Make Believe Ballroom, and a comedy program called The Sealed Beam.


Mid-day classical music program is replaced by Play It Again, Ed – a music show hosted by Ed Walker featuring big band music, pop from the 1950s, and jazz standards.

Jerry Gray becomes co-host of Bluegrass Country in September, sharing duties with Katy Daley.


January 2 - Marion Barry takes office as mayor of Washington, D.C.

Diane Rehm is the winner in a nation-wide search for a new show host when Irma Aandahl announces her retirement from the station. With a debut in August, Rehm combines the newsmagazine/call-in format as full-time host/producer of Kaleidoscope, a day-time reincarnation of the 1960s evening program. Her first interview is with journalist Hobart Rowen.

WAMU holds its first Annual Bluegrass Concert, relying on the efforts of countless volunteers.

The station's fall on-air fundraising campaign surpasses the $100,000 mark for the first time.

November 5 - Morning Edition premieres on NPR.


Washington, D.C., population is 638,333.

WAMU receives grant from CPB and uses it to build a new transmitter and new antenna, and to hire first full-time professional news staff, including Ann Boozell, Tony Zimmer, Matt Coates, Ken Barkus, and Julie McCarthy.

Jerry Gray becomes the station's first full-time bluegrass producer/host. Jerry will host Bluegrass Country, heard on WAMU weekday afternoons, produce bluegrass specials and features, and represent the station at festivals. He continues to host The Jerry Gray Show, featuring country music, songs of the Old West and Western Swing.

WAMU inserts local news in Morning Edition, taking over two nine-minutes segments per day including commentaries by Mark Plotkin, Mathew Watson, and Lanny Davis, and arts reports.

September - Premiere of Hot Jazz Saturday Night, bringing back jazz from the 20s, 30s, and 40s (the subject of Real Jazz in the 1960s), with Rob Bamberger as host.


Diane Rehm hosts her first session of "open phones" when one of her guests fails to show up. Her question -- "Tell me what you do?" -- generates a tremendous response, and a new format is born.


WAMU replaces Ed Walker's mid-day big band music program with three hours of bluegrass. Susan Harmon tells The Washington Post, "The changes are the result of the economic climate. We want to make the station as money-saving as we can."

January 13 - Air Florida flight crashes into 14th Street Bridge

Mark Plotkin first joins WAMU as a part-time commentator.


NPR runs out of money and stages the "Drive To Survive," a national telethon to save the network from bankruptcy.

Lee Michael Demsey's show, Capital Bluegrass, is inserted at noon. It is later renamed The Lee Michael Demsey Show.


Bill Redlin is hired. WAMU news staff, including freelancers, reaches 17 people.

Kaleidoscope is renamed The Diane Rehm Show.


In July, The Dick Spottswood Show debuts on WAMU.

CPB grant runs out. WAMU asks AU to make up the funding. The university declines and most full-time news people at the station are laid-off.

Mike Byres become General Manager.

Ray Davis joins WAMU as one of the hosts of Bluegrass Country.


WAMU has five hours of locally-produced talk programming and is listed among the top 10 public radio stations in the country, with more than 200,000 listeners per week.14,000 members and 300 volunteers support the station's activities.

WAMU adds NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon to the schedule.

Ray Davis receives the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award


F. Kim Hodgson becomes General Manager of WAMU.

Fred Fiske celebrates 40 years in Washington radio and ten years on the air on WAMU with The Fred Fiske Show. A reception and banquet are held in his honor in December. He will go on to host Fred Fiske Saturday, and, from 1996, serve as senior commentator for Metro Connection. Mike Cuthbert takes over the evening talk show.

Marion Barry returns as mayor of Washington, DC


David Giovannoni, et. al., publish "Audience '88," which begins a move toward public radio stations relying on audience research to guide programming decisions.

Decision made to make WAMU a local news presence; feature pieces and commentaries re-introduced in Morning Edition

WAMU celebrates its 25th anniversary; Mayor Marion Barry declares October 23 "88.5 FM Public Radio Day" in Washington, D.C.


Washington, D.C.'s population reaches 606,900.

Mayor Barry arrested by the FBI while smoking crack in a Washington hotel room.

Mark Plotkin becomes a full-time WAMU commentator with his coverage of the local mayoral race in D.C. "Campaign '90," part of the his new "D.C. Politics and Government Hour," is a special segment of The Mike Cuthbert Show.

Campaign coverage establishes WAMU as a prime resource for in-depth news and information about local politics and earns it an Associated Press Chesapeake Broadcasters Award for public affairs coverage.

Sharron Pratt Kelly elected Mayor of Washington, D.C.

John Hickman retires as host of the Sunday night standard The Big Broadcast. Hosting responsibilities are picked up by Ed Walker.

WAMU fund-raisers net more than $750,000.

Mike Cuthbert moves to Boston. Search commences for replacement evening talk show host.

Classic Country and Bluegrass debuts with program host Eddie Stubbs. Later in the year, the show moves to Sunday broadcast and is renamed The Eddie Stubbs Show.


Derek McGinty takes over the evening talk show, replacing Mike Cuthbert.

The station initiates a capital campaign to raise money for new facilities.

NPR creates Talk of the Nation.

Prince George's County becomes majority African-American.

May 5 - riots in Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan cause unrest in city for several days.

April 17 - President Clinton signs the law creating a presidentially appointed DC Financial Control Board and a mayor-appointed Chief Financial Officer.

WAMU's Community Advisory Board is reactivated and reorganized as the WAMU Community Council, whose mission is to act as the station's "eyes and ears" in the Washington, D.C., community.

Lee Michael Demsey is named IBMA's Broadcaster of the Year


WAMU provides extensive presidential election year coverage. The station airs live interviews with members of the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia delegations at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

Political commentator Mark Plotkin joins the Clinton-Gore bus tour, sending back reports from the campaign in Texas and North Carolina.

The Derek McGinty Showmoves into the noon-2 p.m., slot. Mark Plotkin's show, renamed The D.C. Politics Hour, occupies the noon hour every Friday.

WAMU produces a series of special talk shows on one of the year's hottest issues: health care reform.

Construction begins on state-of-the-art facilities at 4000 Brandywine Street, NW. WAMU Development and Business offices move to new facilities in November.


In September, WAMU begins broadcasting from its new studios in the Brandywine Building.

The WAMU Community Council sponsors a series of student forums at area high schools on the subject of violence in our schools. The forums are taped and edited for broadcast.

WAMU ventures into the community: in March, The Derek McGinty Show broadcasts live to a national audience from the National Information Infrastructure Summit, featuring an interview with Vice President Al Gore about the so-called information superhighway. A computer link to the Internet allows listeners to participate electronically.

WAMU's coverage of the D.C. City Council Chairman's race includes a live report of a candidates' forum at Shiloh Baptist church in D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood. These efforts lay the groundwork for WAMU's mid-year election coverage later in the year, setting the standard for a new style of "public journalism" built around citizen participation via community forums. With new leadership about to be elected in DC, Montgomery County and Prince George's County, WAMU creates the Campaign '94 Public Journalism Project. The effort wins the CPB Gold Award for excellence in radio programming and community outreach.


A campaign is launched to bring The Diane Rehm Show to a national audience. The program is transmitted by satellite to a number of public radio shows across the nation.

WAMU launches Metro Connection, a one-hour weekly newsmagazine about people, issues, and events in the Washington metropolitan area, more than doubling the amount of airtime allotted to local news reports and commentary. The show airs in the 1 p.m., Friday slot of The Derek McGinty Show.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton joins Diane Rehm on her June 28 program for a discussion on issues ranging from welfare and health care to the role of first ladies.

WAMU is a sponsor of the American Routes4th of July Celebration on the National Mall. In honor of traditional American roots music reflecting our nation's cultural diversity, the station broadcasts the afternoon concert, emceed by Hot Jazz Saturday Night host Rob Bamberger, as well as the NPR-distributed evening event with Fiona Ritchie of The Thistle and Shamrock.


Eddie Stubbs of The Eddie Stubbs Show moves from Washington to Nashville, where he joins the Kitty Wells Band and takes up announcing at the Grand Ole Opry and WSM radio. Stubbs doesn't forget his loyal WAMU listeners: his Nashville show is still broadcast in Washington on Sunday afternoons.

National Public Radio begins national distribution of The Diane Rehm Show as well as the second hour of The Derek McGinty Show.

Both The Diane Rehm Show and The Derek McGinty Show broadcast live from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

Metro Connection moves to Saturday morning and Kathy Merritt, WAMU's News Director, becomes host of the program.

Eddie Stubbs is named IBMA's Broadcaster of the Year


WAMU launches wamu.org.


Kojo Nnamdi joins WAMU in August, taking over as host of The Derek McGinty Show, which becomes Public Interest with Kojo Nnamdi.

Diane Rehm is named "Washingtonian of the Year" by Washingtonian magazine.

WAMU airs dialogues on Washington, D.C., leadership in May and September, during the city's mayoral election cycle. The station's coverage wins an award for excellence in Journalism from The Society of Professional Journalists and a Best News Series Award at the Annual Achievement in Radio Awards luncheon.

Anthony Williams elected mayor of Washington, D.C.


In its fall fund-raiser, WAMU cracks the $1 million mark for the first time ever.

WAMU begins streaming all of its programs online.

The Society of Professional Journalists awards Mark Plotkin with the Sigma Delta Chi Award and Bronze Medallion in the radio editorial category for "The Man Who Would Be Mayor," which aired during Morning Edition.

Public Interestreceives a Gracie Award in the "national talk show" category from American Women in Radio and Television for its programming on women's issues.

David Furst becomes host and producer of Metro Connection.

Gary Henderson is named IBMA's Broadcaster of the Year


A WAMU-initiated dialogue on the Chesapeake Bay largely concerns public policy issues related to the use of the Bay, and the impact of human use on the Bay's ecosystem. Various WAMU news staff fly over the Bay region and are introduced to numerous contacts who live in, study, love, celebrate, or make their living from the Bay or the Bay region. The resulting series wins the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-TV News Directors Association.

May 10 - Diane Rehm interviews President Clinton in the Oval Office. The President discusses trade with China, the upcoming presidential campaign, and his personal reflections on his time in the nation's highest office.

May 24 - Vice President Al Gore joins Diane and a gathering of Washington metropolitan area residents to talk about Social Security and other major campaign issues. One month later, Diane talks with Madeleine Albright about serving as U.S. Secretary of State.

In October, the Society of Professional Journalists names Diane Rehm a fellow -- the highest honor the Society bestows upon a journalist -- awarded for extraordinary contributions to the profession. Diane also receives the International Matrix Award from the Association for Women in Communication.

The Lynn Morris Band, together with Cliff Waldron and the New Shades of Grass, entertains at WAMU's 15th annual "Pickin' in the Glen" bluegrass concert. WAMU's Ray Davis emcees the concert.

Susan Clampitt joins WAMU as General Manager, with Kathy Merritt as Station Manager.

WAMU celebrates the 20th anniversary of Rob Bamberger's Hot Jazz Saturday Night.

WAMU becomes the first public radio station to devote an entire day to fundraising over the internet.


The Diane Rehm Show begins live remote broadcasts every Friday from the Newseum in Rosslyn, Virginia.

The D.C. Politics Hour also hits the road, broadcasting every other month from a different D.C. ward in a segment called "WAMU in Your Ward."

WAMU's 22nd Annual Bluegrass Concert is held in Fairfax, Va., at the Fairfax High School, featuring The Lynn Morris Band, The James King Band, and Bob Paisley & the Southern Grass, with a special appearance by The Basement Band.

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, WAMU launches BluegrassCountry.org, a 24-hour, high-quality, all-bluegrass radio station on the web.

WAMU changes its programming schedule to include three hours of news and information programming each weekday afternoon. As a part of this change, weekday bluegrass host Ray Davis begins a new weekend show and becomes a regular contributor to on the new 24-hour bluegrass stream BluegrassCountry.org.

On October 23, WAMU celebrates its 40th anniversary, having become the leading public radio station in the greater Washington area with close to half a million weekly listeners.

Eddie Stubbs receives the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award


WAMU expands its news coverage to incorporate newscasts every half hour in the mornings and evenings, and hourly broadcasts during the rest of the day.

In July, Metro Connection host and producer David Furst goes to Japan to cover the Washington National Opera's first international tour in 15 years.

WAMU helps lead the first-ever Public Radio Collaboration to produce an extraordinary week of programming on the anniversary of September 11. One of the programs is a live global call-in show, co-produced with the BBC, which had an estimated 50 million listeners from around the world, one of the largest audiences in radio history.

WAMU establishes an arts unit, led by Peabody Award-winning journalist and Public Radio International Fellow Jacquie Gales-Webb, to produce stories that bring out the richness and variety in the arts and culture of Washington, D.C.

WAMU receives a grant to begin its Youth Voices project, which brings fresh voices to the air through regular workshops held at local schools, youth centers, and the WAMU studios.

Public Interest with Kojo Nnamdi becomes The Kojo Nnamdi Show, providing two hours of in-depth talk on local affairs each weekday.

WAMU wins the 2002 D.C. Mayor's Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.

WAMU 88.5 begins regular Community Minute broadcasts during weekdays to highlight local volunteer opportunities.

WAMU 88.5 and BluegrassCountry.org host Eddie Stubbs is named Broadcaster of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association Music Awards.

Metro Connection receives three "Achievement in Radio" awards and two Associated Press Broadcasters' Association Awards for various segments on local affairs.


WAMU receives an award from Volunteer Fairfax for its long-term commitment to volunteer recruitment through its annual Heart 2 Heart on-air campaign to encourage listeners to volunteer in their communities.

BluegrassCountry.org receives the Fast 50 award from Fast Companymagazine.

WAMU is honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for specials on the Washington National Opera's visit to Japan and a call-in program commemorating 9/11 co-produced with the BBC.

March - The Diane Rehm Show begins broadcasting live from The National Geographic's Newseum Broadcast Studio every Friday morning.

July - Kojo Nnamdi begins a series entitled "Kojo in Your Community" to discuss local issues, featuring monthly broadcasts from neighborhoods in Maryland, Virginia, and the District.


WAMU receives the largest gift in its history – a $250,000 bequest.

Lisa Nurnburger is recognized by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters with a Silver Reel Award in the Local News and News Features category for her story, FBI Iraqi-American Interviews.

June - WAMU formally debuts its HD Radio signal, WAMU-2, with Kojo Nnamdi switching on the signal at a ceremony attended by Congressional representatives of the WAMU listening area, FCC Commissioners, representatives of NPR, and the press.

July - former president Bill Clinton talks about his life before, in, and after the White House and fields questions from callers around the world on The Diane Rehm Show.

The Kojo Nnamdi Show broadcasts live from both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, covering Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia delegates and giving perspective on national issues in the election season.

September 21 - Diane Rehm's birthday, WAMU celebrates the 25th anniversary of The Diane Rehm Show with distinguished guests from the media, government, business, and the arts and raises approximately $150,000 in support of The Diane Rehm Fund for Public Dialogue.

Stained Glass Bluegrass celebrates 30 years on WAMU 88.5 with an "Open House" at the National Cathedral September 25, with longtime host Red Shipley serving as Master of Ceremonies.

WAMU is ranked as having the third-largest public radio weekly audience in the nation.

Caryn Mathes is named as WAMU 88.5 General Manager on December 20. During her first five years in the position, private sector revenue from individual and corporate sponsorship supporting the general operating budget will increase by more than $9.7 million, or 127 percent.


WAMU adds a new on-air weather service through a partnership with NBC 4.

The Youth Voices project receives a national Media Citation Award from the Journalism Education Association.

May - WAMU participates in the annual Public Radio Collaboration by working with America Abroad to tape a live forum at the Ronald Reagan Building to discuss the theme of globalization. The event is co-moderated by Kojo Nnamdi and aired on public radio stations across the country.

Metro Connection, WAMU's local newsmagazine, celebrates its 10th anniversary July 8.

The Dick Spottswood Show celebrates 20 years on WAMU.

November - Hot Jazz Saturday Night and its host, Rob Bamberger, celebrate 25 years on WAMU.

Kojo Nnamdi is named a "Washingtonian of the Year" by Washingtonian magazine.


January - Virginia Governor Mark Warner appears on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Diane Rehm is the inaugural recipient of the Urbino Press Award in Urbino, Italy, which recognizes outstanding work by American journalists.

WAMU debuts a new partnership with traffic service, Traffic.com, to provide listeners real-time traffic reports, a dedicated traffic reporter, and a listener call-in tipline.

April 3 - The Diane Rehm Show begins broadcasting on the new NPR Berlin channel in Germany.

June - recently retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor appears on The Diane Rehm Show.

August - , The Kojo Nnamdi Show features the incoming and outgoing presidents of Gallaudet University, and provides real-time captioning for the deaf and hard-of-hearing to participate in the discussion.

Red Shipley, host of Stained Glass Bluegrass on WAMU and BluegrassCountry.org, is named Broadcaster of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

WAMU begins to identify on-air as "WAMU eighty-eight five" and in print as WAMU 88.5.


April - Diane Rehm receives the Lifetime Excellence Award from American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

May - Diane Rehm receives honorary degrees from American University and Virginia Theological Seminary.

June 7 - WAMU 88.5 General Manager Caryn Mathes receives the Women of Distinction Award from the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders In August, WAMU 88.5 joins the launch of the NPR Mobile Project, which brings local news content to listeners' mobile devices on demand.

September 17 - WAMU 88.5 launches WAMU's Bluegrass Country as a full-time, live-hosted music service on WAMU 88.5-2, and WAMU-3, an all-news and information channel at 88.5-3, using HD Radio digital technology.

September - two long-time WAMU 88.5 hosts celebrate landmarks, with Fred Fiske marking sixty years in broadcasting, and Red Shipley retiring on his 25th anniversary on the air.

September - WAMU 88.5 joins with Radio Netherlands to launch a new program on human rights, The State We're In.

WAMU 88.5 radio personality and Metro Connection editor Peter Fay makes a public transition to life as Colleen Fay.

October 11 - Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley appears on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

October - The Diane Rehm Show was named to Audience Research Analysis' list of the top ten most powerful national programs in public radio – the only talk show on the list.

December - Diane Rehm is awarded the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Palliative Care Award for Media Excellence from The Greater Washington Partnership for Palliative and End-of-Life Care.

WAMU 88.5's Youth Voices program is featured at the Society of Professional Journalists Convention and National Journalism Conference.


January - The Politics Hour expands its coverage to Maryland and Virginia politics.

February - The Kojo Nnamdi Show joins XM Radio's lineup on "The Power."

February 21 - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty appear on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

May 2 - Bluegrass Country host Ray Davis celebrates 60 years in broadcasting.

May - Diane Rehm receives the Distinguished Washingtonian Award from The University Club.

May - WAMU 88.5 launches a social networking site, "The Conversation," for listeners to interact with each other and station staff.

June - WAMU 88.5's Youth Voices receives the Silver Communicator Award from the International Academy of the Visual Arts.

The spring Arbitron ratings shows that WAMU 88.5's ranked fifth in the overall market, second in the morning drive time, and first on Saturday mornings and evenings.

August - The Kojo Nnamdi Show broadcasts live from the Democratic National Convention Denver, Colo., and Republican National Convention Minneapolis, Minn.

November 8 - Diane Rehm receives a Communications and Leadership Award from Toastmasters International District 36, to acknowledge her service and achievements that exemplify the highest standards of communication and leadership.


March - WAMU 88.5 and NPR sign a five-year contract for continued national distribution of The Diane Rehm Show.

WAMU's Bluegrass Country launches the first and only all-bluegrass iPhone application.

April - The Diane Rehm Show was again named to Audience Research Analysis' list of the top ten most powerful national programs in public radio – the only talk show on the list. The program moved up the list from number 10 to number nine.

The Kojo Nnamdi Show receives the My Source Community Impact Award for Engagement from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for its programs on the public schools.

WAMU 88.5 launches The Animal House.

May - Diane Rehm receives an honorary degree from Washington College.

June - Diane Rehm and Kojo Nnamdi were named in Washingtonian's quadrennial issue on top journalists in DC, "Anchors Strong and Steady...12 Washington anchors we trust to give it to us straight."

Katy Daley was awarded "Broadcaster of the Year" by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).

Dick Spottswood received a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).

Dick Spottswood receives the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award

November - Ed Walker, host of The Big Broadcast, was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame for his lifetime of achievements in radio.


March - , The Diane Rehm Show won a Shorty Award in #news for best short, real-time content on Twitter. The show's handle is @drshow.

March - General Manager Caryn G. Mathes was recognized as "One to Watch" in Radio Ink's "Most Influential African Americans in Radio" issue.

May - Diane Rehm received a personal Peabody Award for her more than 30 years as on-air host.

May - The Kojo Nnamdi Show won a James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Audio Webcast of Radio Show."

June - the newsroom won four awards from Public Radio News Directors, Inc.: "Metro Crash" in Breaking News; "A Stingray by Any Other Name Would Taste the Same" in News Feature; "J Street, Traffic Circles, and the Swamp the Never Was" in both Use of Sound and Writing.

June - The Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters' Association presented WAMU 88.5 with four awards at its 2010 banquet in Ocean City: Best Specialty Reporting for Sabri Ben-Achour; Best Public Affairs for Metro Connection; Best Use of Sound for Kavitha Cardoza; and Documentary/In-Depth for Dan Charles, a freelance reporter for Metro Connection.

2011 January - WAMU 88.5 launches a new branding campaign on-air and in external advertisements – "The mind is our medium." The campaign, which includes ads for the station as "Radio without all the noise," "Your daily dose of interesting," and "Point of viewfinder," is a result of a partnership with ArnoldDC, the local office of Arnold Worldwide.

April 7 - Diane Rehm is honored with the Award for Excellence in Journalism from the American New Women's Club at a Roast/Toast & Tribute held at the National Press Club.

The Kojo Nnamdi Show receives a Gracie Award® in the "Outstanding Talk Show – News" category for the program titled, "The Challenges Facing Haiti's Children," which aired on Nov. 11, 2010, while the show was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for a series of live broadcasts following the January 2010 earthquake.

April 9 - Education Reporter Kavitha Cardoza is awarded a Special Citation by the Education Writers' Association as part of its 2010 National Awards for Education Reporting.

Metro Connection receives a 2010 PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) for "Reaching Out to Family Behind Bars," a report on inmates from Washington, D.C., who serve their sentences away from their families because of the city's lack of federal prisons. The report originally aired on WAMU 88.5 on December 12, 2010.

June 3 - Diane Rehm receives the 2011 Voice Education Research Awareness (VERA) Award at the Voices of Summer Gala Concert and Banquet held in Philadelphia. The VERA Award is presented annually to honor individuals selected for unusual interest in, and contribution to the field of voice communication. Past recipients include Dame Julie Andrews, Jack Klugman, and Walter Cronkite.

June 11 - Bluegrass Country holds a 10th anniversary concert at The State Theatre in Falls Church, Va., featuring The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Boxcars, and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen. The concert is hosted by Katy Daley, Lee Michael Demsey, Bob Webster, and Echo.


'The Terror Years' Traces The Rise Of Al-Qaida And ISIS

Lawrence Wright's new book collects his essays for The New Yorker on the growth of terrorism in the Middle East, from the Sept. 11 attacks to the recent beheadings of journalists and aid workers.

Berkeley's Soda Tax Appears To Cut Consumption Of Sugary Drinks

According to a new study, the nation's first soda tax succeeded in cutting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. But there's uncertainty about whether the effect will be permanent.
WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.

WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.