ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* For the second year, the talk show "CBS This Morning" is scheduled to briefly become a music-variety show Tuesday, as the on-air personnel take up instruments to perform a holiday medley.
Viewers got a preview Friday with taped highlights of a rehearsal. Alas, only co-host/cellist Paula Zahn, and possibly news announcer/pianist Charles Osgood could think about quitting their day jobs for a musical career.
The combo also includes co-host/brass player Harry Smith and weatherman/bell ringer Mark McEwen.
Hmmm, do you suppose Charles Gibson, Joan Lunden and Spencer Christian on ABC's "Good Morning America" and Bryant Gumbel, Katie Couric and Willard Scott on NBC's "Today" should tune up in defense?
Probably not, for the CBS morning show lags well behind those two in the latest weekly ratings. (ABC was on top with a 4 rating, "Today" had a 3.9 and the CBS show scored a 2.6. Each point equals 921,000 homes.
* Big Baltimore booster and former Colt Art Donovan is one of the guests on tonight's repeat of "Late Night With David Letterman," at 7 p.m. (EST) on cable's Arts & Entertainment network.
The show originally aired Chrismas week of 1988.
* And speaking of local alumni, how's this for a far-flung broadcast success story?
Local viewers of a certain age may remember personality Ken Calfee, who went to work in 1950 at WAAM-TV, Channel 13, which later became today's WJZ-TV.
Among other things, Calfee hosted the "Johns Hopkins File 7" program for five years and appeared and co-produced, with wife Lu, a show called "Home Cooking With Mr. and Mrs." After leaving the station, he produced Claster Enterprises' famous "Romper Room" kids' show and started his own company, Stallion Productions, which produced a FRANKIE AVALON show called "Teens 'n' Tens.".
Today, according to recent correspondence, Calfee is on the air as a daily deejay for Radio Thailand, in the city of Chiang Mai. He hosts two programs, "Ken in the Morning" on weekends and "Ken in the Afternoon" on weekdays.
The deejay job arose when a mostly retired Calfee was teaching English to Thai students at the American University Alumni Language center in Chiang Mai. A regular listener to Radio Thailand's English service, he recorded his own audition tape and won a weekend job in October, 1990, and expanded to daily airing just this month.
* Here's a nice radio/TV simulcast. WJHU-FM 88.1 and Maryland Public Television are airing at 11 tonight a one-hour concert, "Newport Jazz '91" from the famous Newport Jazz Festival.