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Thank you for recognizing the importance of WAMU’s The D.C. Politics Hour with Mark Plotkin (Loose Lips, 11/6). It has indeed become “the savored main course on the Friday luncheon menus of the District’s political cognoscenti.” In 1989, WAMU took the bold step of focusing on D.C. politics because this city desperately needed such a forum. Today, this program is not only popular among the political cognoscenti but is listened to by nearly 30,000 people throughout the metro area every Friday at noon. Much of its success lies with Mark Plotkin, who, for the last nine years, has done a lot more than show up every Friday. Mark lives and breathes the political life of this city. It has been his passion for this city which has made this weekly hour so important.
This is not to say that your criticism of Mark should be dismissed. He can and does get carried away on some “hot button” issues, like the fact that 550,000 people living in this city do not have voting representation in Congress.
Where the criticism doesn’t ring true is with respect to the role of the producers and Kojo Nnamdi, the host of Public Interest. Senior producer Elaine Bole and Producer Graham Griffith work hard every week to make sure a broad list of issues is discussed by Kojo, Mark, and a guest commentator. Mark does not set the agenda, nor does he get to handpick the guest commentators.
It should also be noted that Mark Plotkin was among the strongest advocates of hiring Kojo Nnamdi as host when Derek McGinty left the program. Kojo was hired because of his overall knowledge and ability as an interviewer. He most assuredly was not hired because he would “keep Mark Plotkin in check,” even though that may have been an inside joke.
Can the program get better? Of course it can, and we will work to make it as good as we can. But because of Mark Plotkin and the staff of Public Interest, thousands of residents of the District and surrounding areas are better informed about the problems facing this city.
WAMU Program Director