ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* It is said that the business of business is business -- only now you have to do it faster. That is more or less the message that business author Tom Peters brings to a PBS special tonight.
"Tom Peters' Speed is Life," at 10 p.m. on Maryland Public Television (channels 22 and 67), includes profiles of four companies whose attention to strict time management techniques have trans-lated into increased profits.
Among them is the Cable News Network, where immediacy was the name of the game during the Persian Gulf war. The show includes the discussion leading to establishment of the special phone link that allowed CNN alone to broadcast from Baghdad during the war.
* NBC on Monday is launching a new daytime talk show that seems an attempt to do on television what such magazines as Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle, McCalls and Parents do in print. In fact, those are among a number of periodicals in partnership with the network to create "Cover to Cover," premiering at 11:30 a.m.
But Baltimore viewers will not be seeing the show any time soon, for local affiliate WMAR-Channel 2 is committed to broadcasting "The Montel Williams Show," a test-market syndicated talk show (featuring the Baltimore-area native), in the 11 a.m.-noon slot at least through August.
"Cover to Cover," with hosts Gayle King and Robin Wagner, is being carried on Washington's Channel 4.
* Speaking of Channel 2, the station's decision to begin its morning weekday newscast at 5:30 a.m. in September represents the addition of a full hour of news to the station's wake-up service, not a half-hour as reported yesterday. Currently, the Channel 2 news with Horace Holmes, Jack Dawson and Ken Philips is just 30 minutes, beginning at 6:30 a.m. daily, following a half-hour of NBC News.
* Politicians used to say they did not care what newspapers said about them as long as their name was spelled right -- but what about TV news reports? At least they could get the titles correct.
When Gary Huddles was indicted earlier this week on charges of misusing campaign funds, WBAL-Channel 11 anchor Pat Minarcin reported the charges as being lodged against "the former Baltimore County commissioner."
Huddles, of course, was actually a member of the Baltimore County Council.
* Sometimes good taste prevails. WNUV-Channel 54 last Friday night ended up airing the classic Joan Crawford film "Mildred Pierce." For by a narrow vote of 1,569 to 1,530, viewers in the station's "It's Your Call" telephone poll promotion chose to see the quality movie instead of the gory "Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge."