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WAMU: Wikis


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City of license Washington, D.C.
Broadcast area Washington, D.C.
Frequency 88.5 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)
88.5 HD-2 for Bluegrass
88.5 HD-3 for WTMD Towson University & other NPR/BBC programs
First air date July 28, 1951
Format Public radio/NPR
ERP 50,000 watts
HAAT 152 meters
Class B
Facility ID 65399
Callsign meaning AMerican University
Affiliations National Public Radio
Owner American University
Webcast Live stream

WAMU is a public radio station that services the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The station broadcasts on 88.5 FM, online at, 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 Bluegrass Country, which is also available at and on-air in northern Virginia at 105.5 FM; WAMU-3 broadcasts content from WTMD, an AAA station in Towson, Maryland, as well as other NPR and BBC World Service programming. This change became effective on September 17, 2007.


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

For many years, WAMU was supported by a loyal base of bluegrass listeners. Each day, the station played the Lee Michael Demsey 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 Alison Krauss, 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.

On January 22, 2007 at 8:00 p.m., WAMU became Washington, D.C.'s only full-time NPR news station, when WETA (located across the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia) changed to an all-classical music format, filling the void left by WGMS.


WAMU 88.5 is a National Public Radio affiliate, carrying content from NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International and the BBC World Service. In addition, WAMU 88.5 produces its own call-in talk shows, The Diane Rehm Show and The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and music and entertainment programs, including Hot Jazz Saturday Night, and The Big Broadcast, which originated in 1964 as Recollections, hosted by John Hickman. Hosted since 1990 by Ed Walker, himself a storied Washington broadcaster, the program features rebroadcasts of drama, comedy, and variety programs from the "golden age of radio", including The Jack Benny Show, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, The Great Gildersleeve, Lux Radio Theater, and Philco Radio Time with Bing Crosby.

WAMU's Bluegrass Country produces live and original bluegrass music programs, including Stained Glass Bluegrass, The Ray Davis Show, and Mornings with Katy Daley, and The Lee Michael Demsey Show.

Other programming includes The State We're In, a coproduction with Radio Netherlands which airs documentary reports about "human rights, human wrongs and how we treat each other".

External links

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