The secret's out: Stan 'The Fan' is taking show back to WCBM

Media Watch

January 09, 1996|By MILTON KENT

One of the worst-kept secrets in Baltimore talk-radio circles is now out in the open: After a seven-week hiatus, Stan "The Fan" Charles will return to his 10 p.m to 1 a.m. slot at WCBM (680 AM), effective Jan. 29.

Charles, whose "Baltimore Sports Exchange" left WWLG (1360 AM) in early December after a tumultuous eight months there, returns to the place where his show has been at its best.

"I always thought it was a great home for me, to be at the No. 2 AM outlet and on an all-talk format. I never really wanted to leave WCBM," said Charles of the station where he appeared for three years before going to WWLG last April.

The new "Sports Exchange" will sound a lot like its previous incarnations, airing Monday through Saturday, with longtime Charles collaborators Mat Schlissel, Curt O'Neill, and racing analyst Kim Goodwin joining him.

In addition, Greg Sher, who was with Charles at WCBM before going to Dallas for a year, has returned and will play a larger role with the program, organizing a monthly newsletter and a site on the World Wide Web. The only person not to make the trip is Paul Mittermier, who will remain with WWLG as producer of its sports programs.

Charles, who negotiated his departure from WWLG before his contract expired, is precluded from criticizing station management there, but said he wouldn't even if he could.

"I leave with no ill will toward anybody in management there. That's not my style. My show is about sports and entertainment," said Charles.

In case you're keeping count, this is Charles' fourth station and fifth move in the 13 years he's been on the air (two in the last year), leading some to wonder if the peripatetic host just can't keep still.

Charles doesn't run from the charge, but says the changing nature of the radio industry and the fact that he buys his air time from a station, then sells the commercials within the show, makes it difficult for him to stay in one place.

"I just can't be hired by a station and paid a salary to do sports talk," said Charles. "I've had to come up with a rather innovative way to keep myself and the show marketable. In that sense, I've become more of a businessman than a sports talk host. I honestly think this is going to be the last move I make."

Even with his moves, Charles has always managed to keep a fairly loyal and steady audience, as he generally finishes behind the talk hosts at WBAL (1090 AM) in the local ratings. Whether that happens again remains to be seen.

One more night

The folks at Turner have added a second night of "Inside the NBA," the usually excellent post-game show that airs on Fridays, starting after tonight's San Antonio-Houston game, at around 10:30 p.m.

Hosted by Ernie Johnson, "Inside the NBA" wraps up league action along with features and interviews, with reports from Reggie Theus and Cheryl Miller. The show's ratings are up 20 percent from this point last season, hence the interest in expanding its run from one night to two.

Snowbound

With any luck, the NFL on NBC studio analyst troika of Joe Gibbs, Mike Ditka and Joe Montana will escape New York and the blizzard that shut down the East Coast, including Baltimore.

The three men, who venture in from Charlotte, Chicago and San Francisco, respectively, were trapped in the city when the snowstorm made flights out of the city impossible. Gibbs and Ditka stayed in midtown Manhattan, while Montana was stranded at John F. Kennedy Airport.

"I have found that I am very good at room service," joked Ditka yesterday.

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