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'Soundprint' launches global venture


Radio can help span cultural differences, suggests a new project launched by the Baltimore-based documentary program "Soundprint."

Broadcasters from five English-speaking nations -- the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia and Canada -- met in Washington recently to lay the groundwork for "Crossing Boundaries," a series of documentaries scheduled to air in each country beginning this fall.

Each participant will produce three programs, according to Moira Rankin, executive producer of "Soundprint," which recently affiliated with National Public Radio. The show can be heard at 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 7:30 a.m. Sundays on WJHU-FM (88.1).

"The hope is to tell people in other countries something that would be new to them," she said after the three-day gathering at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting last month.

Broadcast groups represented at the meeting, in addition to "Soundprint," included the British Broadcasting Corp., Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio Telefis Eireann of Ireland.

"American public broadcasting has always helped various cultures understand one another. This sharing of cultures through broadcasting should be a global process," said Richard Carlson, president of CPB.

The collaborators are discussing story projects and have agreed that one of each country's three contributions will be devoted to issues about differences between generations.

* In a somewhat similar vein, listeners scanning the AM dial who have unexpectedly encountered the Russian language should know that local station WERQ-AM (1010) carries a weekly program aimed at the area's Russian immigrants.

"Zvezda Davida" (Star of David), with hosts Inna Giller and Albert Plaks, began as a half-hour show in mid-1991 and can be heard from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sundays, mixing news from Russia with features, interviews music and local Jewish community news.

* The studios of WIYY-FM (97.9) play host tomorrow night to the syndicated live weekly show "Pirate Radio With Lonn Friend."

The show airs from 7 p.m. to midnight and will include an in-studio appearance by the band Great White, prior to the group's scheduled appearance at Hammerjacks. Portions of the show will also originate from the downtown club.

* Play ball! The first Orioles spring training game airs today on WBAL-AM (1090), as the Birds play the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. The pregame show begins at 12:35 p.m.

* And speaking of the Orioles, talk show host Larry King heads to the Land of Spring Training this weekend and will air interviews with manager Johnny Oates, outfielder Mike Devereaux and other Birds in several of his programs next week. Air dates are not set.

Still, "The Larry King Show" cannot be heard on a local Baltimore station, since its February move to afternoon hours. Some area listeners report halfway decent reception of the 3 p.m. weekday show from Washington's WWRC-AM (980).

"I don't know what's wrong with the stations in Baltimore," said King producer Pat Piper yesterday, reporting no progress toward gaining a Baltimore air platform.

* NUMBERS NOTE: The trade journal Inside Radio reports 1992 produced the greatest number of radio stations in U.S. history.

The nation's 11,334 licensed stations included 4,961 commercial outlets, 4,785 commercial FMs and 1,588 non-commercial FMs.

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