ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* For an unusual and perceptive assessment of hometown America at war, try to catch tonight's edition of "Soundprint," the radio documentary produced here at WJHU-FM 88.1 (at 6 p.m.) and distributed over the American Public Radio network.
Producers Frank Browning and Gary Covino recently accompanied an Italian television reporting team on an interview trip through the Pacific Northwest, gathering perspectives on the Persian Gulf war. And the view of us through other eyes that resulted is thought-provoking.
The angle for the visitors' story (for a "60 Minutes"-like program in Italy), is a little hokey. It plays off the popularity of the series "Twin Peaks" in Italy, thus explaining the "Soundprint" subtitle, "War Comes to Twin Peaks."
But reporter Enrico Deaglio taps some fundamental things about the conflict when he observes the key question is, "What would be the American spirit after this war?" He suggests most Americans are concerned, "How you will come out from this experience, not how the world is going to change."
He also finds a paradox in the extreme yellow-ribbon patriotism, as illustrated at a Bellevue, Wash., rally for Operation Home Front. He says he felt "there is a sense of loneliness" among the participants, an obsession with anti-war protesters and the unhappy feeling of "Why don't people like us?"
* Also worth a listen on WJHU tonight (at 6:30) is the latest call-in show discussing war coverage, featuring media critic Mark Crispin Miller and WJHU personality Lisa Simeone. The hour-long broadcast is the third such program since the war began, and earlier editions have offered a useful divergence of opinion from the commercial mainstream talk shows.
* As of today, the cable television system serving Baltimore City has a new name. United Cable Television of Baltimore is now United Artists Cable of Baltimore, finally reflecting last year's corporate merger in which the cable arm of United Artists absorbed the United Cable Television Corp.
* The Hunt Valley Inn is home this weekend to especially enthusiastic fans of certain TV shows, in the second annual staging of "FAN-OUT." The three-day convention, a broader version of "Star Trek" conventions that have long occupied Hunt Valley, includes fans of old and new "Star Treks, "Beauty and the Beast" and other sci-fi/fantasy fare.
Featured guests are Denise Crosby (Lt. Yar from "Star Trek: The Next Generation") and Ritch Brinkley (William in "Beauty and the Beast"). For information, call 676-7330.