440: Satisfaction - In depth
Priscilla Eckman Thomas, remembers her granddad: His career was as colorful as his sweaters he wore but almost every one loved "Choley", "The Coach"! I should know, I'm his only granddaughter. Unfortunately, for Baltimore, his fans, friends and family, Charley "called a cab to heaven" on July 3, 1995, after a hard fought match with cancer. I can still smell his cigar smoke...

As Hal Burdett of the Baltimore News American put it... "As Baltimore as beer and crab cakes, feisty Charley with the tonsils that won't quit is the oratorical equivalent of a bull in a china shop. You've GOT to listen. Maybe it's because he's always belting out a barrage of words that could have been lifted straight from the dialogue of Damon Runyon. "WHAT YOU HEAR- IS WHAT HE IS - energetic, enthusiastic and always a showman."

"Charlie was the biggest personality in Baltimore" said Harry Shriver, general manager of WFBR radio, who hired Eckman in 1970. 'Everybody knew Charlie Eckman...." "He was a free spirit,' says Harry Shriver. "There have been moments when I wanted to strangle him. He's in a business that's heavily regulated and very controllable. Even if Eckman sounded like a loose cannon on the air, he was in command of himself and his, ahem, colorful language."

"Charley told WCBM management to "Call a Cab". At WFBR, Eckman along with the infamous Johnny Walker has as Eckman puts it, "Told it like it is." Eckman berates the cry-babies, exalts the greats of sports and delivers a plug for a team that's five games in the lead. You either "love me or hate me". Howard Cosell, no favorite of Baltimore sports fans, is the constant target of Eckman barbs. Maryland Gazette, Annapolis, MD

August 8, 1971 - News American Magazine, "What advice would you give to young people living in Baltimore? The advice I would give to any young person is that you should get an education, a college degree, if possible. And, secondly, if you can't afford to get it, or if you have conditions similar to mine, where there wasn't any money, I think you should get the most out of your ability, whatever ability you have."

June 11, 1972 - Baltimore Sun Magazine. Story by Frederic Kelly ... "Loud, Brash and Somebody" ... "Charlie announcing on WFBR and WJZ-TV Orioles pre-game show ... Charlie Eckman, the hottest sports broadcasting property in town. He can - and does - talk about anything anyone wants to talk about. More to the point, he talks about anything HE wants to talk about. Not long after he broke into broadcasting with WCBM in 1965 a friend invited him to a Jewish circumcision. That evening he mentioned it on the air noting that it was "the first time I ever saw a clippin' without a 15 yard penalty."

"Loud, brash and flamboyant - he has taken to showing up at WFBR's studios in various colored lounge suits and stunning Italian knit body shirts - Eckman excites the extremes. He amuses some and annoys others. But, then, it has never been his intention to blend in with his environment. "I'm the kinda guy who says what he thinks." "Eckman is one of the few sportscasters in town who does not rely heavily on scripts. He depends instead on his quick wit and knowledge of sports to pull him through."

"The phone began ringing almost as soon as Eckman was off the air. So far on this particular day he had a guy talking about the Colts' quarterback problems, another wishing Earl Monroe was back with the Bullets and now this lady from Roland Park who wanted to know about the third race at Pimlico. "What about it darling?" rasps Eckman. "Did King Flame win?" the lady asks. Ain't no way, sweetheart!" booms Eckman, Then turning solicitous: "Whatzamatter, honey, your old man have a fin on King Flame?"

Raucous laughter. Listening. Grinning. "Sure, darlin', you're welcome." Hanging up only to pick up the phone again and again ... Charley goes on the air giving the race results, breaking for a commercial all the way. "How about it, coach? You thirsty: Well, you sure know what to do about that, don't cha? Get on over there to your favorite waterin' hole for a nice, big frosty glass of everyone's favorite beer. National Bo ... Mmmmmm ... mmmmm! Yes-sir! That's living'.


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