Adding Charles makes WJFK more sporting

Media Watch

April 10, 1997|By Milton Kent

With the pending addition of Stan "The Fan" Charles to its nighttime lineup, the folks at WJFK (1300 AM) nudge ever closer to an all-sports format, a first in Baltimore radio history.

It would seem to be a natural for the Infinity outlet, given its status as the flagship station of the Ravens, not to mention the increased presence of NASCAR, college basketball and football and other talk shows, as well as the addition of Sunday night baseball.

But not quite yet, says Gary Balaban, WJFK's operations manager.

"No, it does not [mean all-sports]," said Balaban. "We will stay with our current weekday roster of Howard Stern, G. Gordon Liddy, and Don [Geronimo] and Mike [O'Meara]. Those three shows are very strong for us."

That may be, though the chances of the station getting sued would probably decrease with sports talkers rather than the Terrible Trio. Still, Balaban says the station intends to challenge WBAL (1090 AM) and WWLG (1360 AM) as the city's sports leader, or as Bruce Cunningham has called the station, "Baltimore's new sports address."

For instance, Balaban said WJFK plans to pursue some local college teams for the rights to their broadcasts, and expects that the station's new status as a CBS-owned outlet will bring other portions of the CBS Radio package of baseball and football when they become available.

And then there's Charles, the best sports talker in town, who will be WJFK's sports director and help shape and guide the station's sports strategy, including directing Ravens coverage.

"[Charles] has been in Baltimore for 14 years. He knows the residents, the teams. He knows Baltimore sports history, so he can speak intelligently. He'll be valuable as we expand our product," Balaban said.

For Charles' part, he's not that worried about going head-to-head with most Orioles broadcasts, as he will in his new 7-10 p.m. time slot.

"We intend to be very creative in our pre-game Orioles coverage and we'll give people a reason not to leave at 7: 30," Charles said. "I would probably be a little more concerned if this was still a one-sport town, but now there's competition for the ear and heart of the Baltimore sports fan."

Schedule updates

The Spirit announced yesterday that the matches in its American Conference semifinal series with Cleveland have been switched from WWLG to WITH (1230 AM), because of schedule conflicts.

WITH will air Game 1 of the series at 7: 25 tomorrow night, with Game 2 from the Arena coming at 6: 55 p.m. Sunday. A third and deciding game would air at 7: 25 p.m. Monday from Cleveland. Gary Stein will make the call for all three games.

Home Team Sports, meanwhile, announces that this afternoon's Texas-Milwaukee game, projectiles optional, will air on its signal beginning at 2 p.m. And opening-round coverage of the Masters begins this afternoon at 4 on USA with late-night highlights airing at 11: 35 p.m. on Channel 13.

Torn from the pages

The inaugural edition of Sports Illustrated: Women/Sport, which hits the newsstands April 21, is an interesting blend of the expected, the fresh and the curious.

For instance, the 170-page magazine contains a probing look into allegations of sexual misconduct by an Illinois volleyball coach, a solid profile of speed skater Kirstin Holum and her mother and former Olympic champion, Dianne, a moving first-person book excerpt from softball star Dot Richardson about the stereotyping of female athletes as lesbians and other noteworthy stories.

But the whole thing is almost scuttled by an allegedly humorous piece where former "Saturday Night Live" writer E. Jean Carroll writes on the differences between "good guy" Grant Hill and "bad boy" Dennis Rodman. One read of the story explains why "SNL" has been in a critical slump for years. Another edition of the magazine will be published this fall, toward a goal of a monthly launch next year.

Meanwhile, everybody's favorite matinee-idol, center fielder Brady Anderson, is the subject of a story in the regular SI issue that will hit stores and mailboxes, starting today.

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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