Ken Beatrice, the WMAL sportscaster who began an extended vacation last month, will return to the air with sports commentary at approximately 4:40 p.m. today and will be back in his regular slot on the "Sportscall" show from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the station announced at a press conference yesterday.

Saying he needed time to think about his future and be with his family, Beatrice began the vacation about five weeks ago, shortly before publication of newspaper stories that said he occasionally made factual errors on the air and that some of his claims of past achievements were exaggerated.

Andy Ockershausen, WMAL's executive vice president, said Beatrice's regular work week would be Monday through Friday and that he would only work weekends when the sports seasons demand it, such as during the Redskin football season. "He'll have more time to spend with his family," Ockershausen said. Before his absence, Beatrice was off only on Wednesdays, and he spent most Wednesdays making public appearances, according to Ockershausen.

Beatrice's vacation, according to Ockershausen, was spent reassessing his personal and professional life while keeping in touch with the sports scene.

"We're delighted to have him back. Ken is still Ken, but he has gotten hold of himself now."

Asked about Beatrice's exaggerated claims of past achievements, Ockershausen said, "His whole life style is an exaggeration. If he's the only exaggerator doing sports in Washington, then I'm the king of Saudi Arabia."