Charles to follow Aparicio, giving WWLG 1-2 punch


January 11, 1995|By MILTON KENT

It's not exactly Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth following each other in the New York Yankees' lineup, but WWLG (1360 AM) will have an interesting 1-2 sports talk punch, now that Stan "The Fan" Charles has agreed to bring his show over to follow "Nasty" Nestor Aparicio.

Charles, who announced last month that he will leave WCBM (680 AM) in late March, yesterday unveiled plans to shift his 10 p.m. to 1 a.m program up the dial, beginning Opening Day (April 3), assuming, of course, there ever is another baseball season.

Charles' show, which has aired on three stations during the past 12 years, has a chance to be syndicated, if Harry Shriver, Charles' former boss at WFBR and a WWLG vice president and part-owner, can put together an attractive package.

A still-to-be determined two-hour show will bridge the gap between Charles and Aparicio, giving WWLG, which airs Big Band music during the day, a seven-hour nighttime sports talk block from 6 p.m. -- when Aparicio goes on the air -- to Charles' sign-off.

"I wouldn't have come over to this station if it wasn't an all-sports situation," said Charles. "Sports fans really have a place to turn."

Aparicio and Charles, who have been competitors, now view themselves as a tandem poised to challenge the 50,000-watt sports behemoth of WBAL (1090 AM), and talkmeister Josh Lewin.

"We want to be identified as a team. We want to be the place where people come both before and after the game," said Aparicio, adding that each will make appearances on the other's show from time to time.

CNN pulls a shift

CNN has moved its often off-beat sports talk show, the appropriately named "Calling All Sports," up 90 minutes to 11:30 p.m., effective tonight, teaming it up with "Sports Tonight."

The move coincides with the network's new schedule and planned coverage of the O. J. Simpson double-murder trial, and likely will stay in effect until after the trial has been completed.

A matter of faith

If the intent of ESPN's current college basketball promo campaign, linking the network's coverage with gospel music, was to shock, then Dr. Frank M. Reid III believes it has succeeded.

Reid, the pastor of Baltimore's Bethel A.M.E. Church, one of the city's largest African-American congregations, has seen many of the promos, in which players are passing and dunking and shooting against a musical backdrop of such traditional spirituals as "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," "Steal Away," and "Morning Train," and he doesn't think much of them.

"For the secular world, gospel music may be seen as a form of entertainment, but for those of us who are sincere about our faith in Jesus Christ, we recognize that it [the music] is not entertainment but sacred," said Reid.

The spots, produced for ESPN by Wieden & Kennedy, a Portland, Ore.-based advertising firm that did the network's hockey promos last year, ran in a lighter rotation in November and December, but have picked up now that ESPN airs college basketball virtually all week.

A network spokesperson said last month that the music was chosen because it was "uplifting," and that it "captured the passion and fervor of college basketball," with no malice intended.

Nonetheless, Reid, who is sharply critical of college athletics in general, believes the promos are, at the least, insensitive, and portray sports as a "secular religion," in which athletes are worshiped as deities.

"Sports in America have become a new form of religion and now people have become so bold as to use sacred music to promote this so-called religion.

"During his time at the top of the sports world, Michael Jordan was held by some in the same esteem as Jesus," Reid added. "What we have in these ads is a logical extension of that kind of attitude."

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