An old treat for the new year: Phil Wood on Baltimore radio

Media Watch

January 01, 1996|By MILTON KENT

The year 1996 is just a few hours old, and there's already terrific news for Baltimore radio sports-talk fans: Phil Wood is coming back.

After a nearly five-year absence from the city's airwaves, Wood returns tonight, joining Ted Patterson on WWLG (1360 AM) during "SportsNight" at 8 o'clock. The veteran sports talkers will team up for this evening's program, then alternate as hosts of the show each weeknight.

"I had done a show one night as a guest with Ted, and it was a wonderful couple of hours. It was a very easy decision when he asked me if I was interested," said Wood.

The return of Wood, whose last regular Baltimore appearance was on what was then WYST (now WOLB, 1010 AM) in January 1991, was made possible when Spiro Morekas, Patterson's original "SportsNight" partner, joined Mark Mussina in the 10 p.m. slot, left open by the departure of Stan "The Fan" Charles.

Wood, who lives in the Baltimore area, was one of the original hosts at Washington's all-sports WTEM (570 AM). He voluntarily cut back his schedule more than a year ago to spend more time with his wife and two daughters but felt the urge to take on more work as his children grew older.

"Now that my [younger] daughter's walking, and I've been there for all the important early events in her life, I'd kind of like for my children to get a sense of what I do," said Wood, who will continue to fill in on WTEM. "My oldest was born in 1989, and she was too young to connect what I did, and by the time she could, I was leaving Baltimore."

No 'Team' work at WTEM

Because of WTEM's relatively weak signal, most Baltimoreans have a difficult time hearing its programming, save for the simulcast of Washington Bullets and Capitals games on WWLG, and that's mostly a shame, because a good deal of the Washington station's wares are worth sampling.

One notable exception is the mid-morning Tony Kornheiser show. Kornheiser, who doubles as a newspaper columnist, presides over a cutesy three-hour "I'm too clever for the audience" show that apparently aspires to be a copy of the witty Don Imus program but fails miserably under the weight of its host's massive ego.

Kornheiser shamelessly and relentlessly plugs his newspaper and his new book, a collection of his columns, at every opportunity, and his chuckle-bunny sidekicks fall over themselves laughing at his every retort, no matter how unfunny.

The crew took a nasty and uncivil swipe Friday at Ken Beatrice, who does a late-evening show on the station. The Kornheiser bunch ran a tape of Beatrice's monologue from the night before and poked fun at him.

Of course, the fact that the time for Beatrice's show is bought by a third party, former Washington Redskins linebacker and current announcer Sam Huff, and is not produced by the station, might have something to do with what happened on Kornheiser's show.

Granted, on that tape, Beatrice did meander from one topic to the other without a real theme, but whatever happened to the unwritten rule that you didn't publicly knock your colleagues on the air? David Letterman can get away with that kind of stuff on CBS, but Tony Kornheiser is no David Letterman.

On a larger scale, if WTEM management is unhappy with Beatrice's product, it should have the guts to stop taking Huff's money and come up with something else, rather than airing pot shots.

But then, if WTEM management were smart in the first place, it wouldn't rerun Kornheiser's show each day, a mere three hours after it ends, wouldn't let Kornheiser take Thursdays off and wouldn't have let Pam Ward languish in an overnight time slot, then let her escape to WBAL (1090 AM), where she has flourished.

Just a reminder

If you're a Comcast subscriber and you're holding on to a converter box strictly for Home Team Sports reception, you don't need it anymore, as of yesterday, though they are necessary to get pay-per-view movies and sporting events.

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