- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Do you have two minutes and a tape recorder? If so, you might be the next great public radio host.

Starting Monday, the Public Radio Exchange is inviting people to participate in the “Public Radio Talent Quest” by submitting two-minute demos of talk, entertainment or music through May 14. In true reality-TV fashion, entries will then be voted on by the public, whose online votes will help a panel of judges pick the winners.

The prize: funding and an opportunity to produce a pilot public radio show.

“There is an incredible opportunity for public radio to succeed by becoming more public,” said Jake Shapiro, executive director of the Public Radio Exchange, a nonprofit agency that distributes, reviews and licenses content for public radio.

The nationwide contest is sponsored by the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Washington-area public radio outlet WAMU-FM (88.5) is one of several contest partners helping to publicize it and recruit contestants.

Just what are they looking for?

People who are “engaging, smart, curious, surprising, honest, intriguing” … the list goes on, and “experience” is not on there.

Ten finalists will be announced on June 4. In late September, three winners will be awarded $16,000 each to produce their pilots, which will be voted on by the public and submitted to the CPB.

For more details and official contest rules (as there are too many to list here), visit publicradioquest.com.

WAMU lineup shuffle

Speaking of WAMU: The station will start airing the National Public Radio Sunday morning news show, “Weekend Edition Sunday,”on April 22, causing a schedule shake-up.

“Weekend Edition Sunday” runs from 10 a.m. to noon, bumping “The Ray Davis Show” to the noon-3 p.m. slot. In addition, “The Dick Spottswood Show” moves to 3 p.m., and “American Routes” returns to the station at 4 p.m. after being cut in January to make room for Mary Cliff’s “Traditions.”

The change means saying goodbye to “The Eddie Stubbs Show,” which started on WAMU in January 1990. The station will air a special goodbye edition of Mr. Stubbs’ country music show this Sunday at 3 p.m.

Topper on lady bugs

In recent weeks, Channel Surfing has noticed several red-and-black speckled creatures hanging out near the window sill. According to Topper Shutt, chief meteorologist at WUSA-TV (Channel 9), a call to the exterminator isn’t necessary.

“Winter is over and they are trying to get back outside after wintering somewhere in your house,” Mr. Shutt explains in a recent posting on his WUSA blog (prompted by a request from his daughter to retrieve one from her bathroom). “They are completely harmless, but can be a nuisance.”

But beware of how you dispose of these small interlopers.

“You do not want to smash them or some discoloration may occur on your wall, curtain, or wherever you swatted them,” he warns. “They can secrete a yellowish fluid before dying.”

Imus-free zone

That’s right — no Don Imus items.

Channel Surfing runs on Wednesdays. Call 202/636-3130 or e-mail [email protected] tontimes.com.

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