D.C. mayor to deliver weekly radio address

Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Vincent Gray

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will on Sunday begin delivering a weekly radio address.

Gray is scheduled to deliver his first address, slated to run about three minutes, at 10:05 a.m. on WNEW-FM.

Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Gray, said the speeches were just another way for the mayor to reach out to residents.

"It's an opportunity for him to speak directly to District residents about the issues they care about," Ribeiro said.

Gray is unlikely to command a significant audience for his weekly speech -- WNEW recently placed 22nd in the area's radio ratings -- but Robert Sanchez, the station's program director, said he thought the speeches would help 99.1 FM to build an audience.

"It creates an appointment for our listeners to come to us at a specific time," Sanchez said. "And as a new radio station, we're always trying to come up with ways to create awareness of our brand. What we've found is that when people discover us, they like what they hear."

But Sanchez also said the station, which went live with an all-news format in January 2012, saw the speeches as an extra opportunity for local journalism.

"It's a public service because it allows the mayor an opportunity to speak directly to the residents of Washington, D.C. on a variety of topics important to the communities we serve," Sanchez said. "And if people don't like what he has to say, we'll definitely hear about it and we'll cover that too."

Sanchez said WNEW approached Gray about making weekly addresses.

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