After several experimental outings this summer, former Gov. William Donald Schaefer is tackling a new challenge on a regular basis: talk radio.
"I've given a lot of thought to it. I hope to change the format of call-in," Mr. Schaefer said this week, on the eve of the debut of "The Don Schaefer Show," his weekly program scheduled from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays on WCBM-AM (680).
"I hope to provide a positive program, setting forth the good things happening in the Baltimore region and around the state, and not just dwell on the negative all the time," says Mr. Schaefer, who made a handful of appearances as a host on Hot Talk 680 earlier this summer.
"I've also been advised I won't last three weeks doing just a positive program," he says.
Mr. Schaefer says he is prepared to suffer some slings and arrows regarding his years in public office. He will air solo, without the assistance of Harry Shriver, who appeared with Mr. Schaefer in earlier shows on WCBM.
"I'm going to listen to everybody in Baltimore," he says. "I expect to get a hard time, I expect to be blasted. If you want to call in and do that, OK."
But he hopes that kind of call will die out in a few weeks.
"It's going to be very difficult, I know, because there are so many negatives in Baltimore to talk about. But there are also a lot of positives that never get heard," he insists. "I'm going to be asking people, 'What would you do about the problem?' " he says.
"I also want to be sort of a healing force, because of the racist campaign that was run," he adds, without elaborating on the Democratic primary won by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke over City Council President Mary Pat Clarke.
As an example of positive organizations he'd like to highlight, Mr. Schaefer cites the Signal 13 Foundation, which provides support to the families of police officers. He says he hopes city Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier will be a frequent on-air guest.
"I also want to go to various local places with the show," such as the Museum of Industry or the Walters Art Gallery or the Baltimore Museum of Art, he says.
The WCBM show is a paid job for the former governor -- financial details are not public -- but he says he has no fixed time to make the show a success.
"The agreement is if I'm bad like Chevy Chase was, I'm off. And so be it."
Other office holders
Local radio stations offer periodic platforms for elected officials and former political office holders.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening, for example, can be heard every other Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on "The Dan Rodricks Show" on WBAL-AM (1090). The next scheduled appearance is Oct. 1. After the mayoral election in November, assuming no Republican upset, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will resume alternating appearances with the governor; they were suspended because of his campaign.
Mr. Glendening also is a regular guest at 3 p.m. Wednesdays on "The Cathy Hughes Show" on WOLB-AM (1010). He soon will be a monthly guest of "The Mark Steiner Show" (noon-2 p.m. weekdays on WJHU-FM), although a fixed date has not been set.
Mr. Steiner says he is also planning to have Mr. Schmoke, Baltimore County Executive C. A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger III, Democratic City Council president nominee Lawrence A. Bell and members of the Baltimore area congressional delegation on a regular calendar of appearances.
Former Maryland state Del. Clarence Mitchell 3rd is the host of "The Mitchells of Maryland" show, heard from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays on WOLB-AM, and current state Del. Clarence Mitchell 4th is a frequent guest.
And state Sens. Larry Young of Baltimore and Decatur Trotter of Prince George's County recently launched "Senators Talk," from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays on WOLB-AM.