- The Washington Times - Friday, October 26, 2001

There was no question that WAMU-FM (88.5), the American University-based radio station, would go ahead with its 40th-anniversary celebration Tuesday, 40 years to the day since its founding.
A sober printed message was sent out with invitations alluding to these sorrowful times, but the event itself, a rip-roaring, upbeat black-tie blast complete with Willard Scott as master of ceremonies and a 14-piece band, went on in grand style for 500 guests in the Ritz-Carlton hotel ballroom.
Only Kojo Nnamdi, the station's on-air host of "Public Interest," spoke solemnly in remarks from the podium when he heralded "the end of ideology" and called for an end to poverty. The genial Mr. Scott, of Delaplain, Va., one of the original Joy Boys, along with his friend of many decades, Ed Walker, host of "The Big Broadcast," wore a red, white and blue bow tie with 13 stars as he stood beside WRC-TV's Wendy Rieger (another early WAMU staffer) cajoling attendees to up the ante for the live auction.
Not bad for a station that, in the words of Executive Director and General Manager Susan Clampitt, "began with a few students just imagining what it would be like to be on the radio." Most of WAMU's most illustrious graduates turned up, including National Public Radio's Susan Stamberg, Lynn Neary and Nina Totenberg, as did three District mayors: Anthony A. Williams, Marion Barry and Sharon Pratt.
There had been a 30th-anniversary party as well, recalled Fred Fiske, 81, senior commentator for WAMU's "Metro Connection" program, "but it wasn't anything like this."
Tables were decorated with attenuated wire replicas of broadcasting antennae, mimicked at dessert by miniature models in chocolate. Microphones decorated the silent-auction tables. Memories of times good and bad were volunteered by still-active WAMU old-timers, who were joined by such loyal listeners as Debbie Dingell, head of the General Motors Foundation and wife of Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat. "It's the one station John and I can agree to listen to in the car," she said. "You really get to know what people are thinking."

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