I'm having issues with fonts in CS6. Some issues I see are
Am I the only one having font issues?
Usually, if you don't see a font family listed when you have text selected, it's because you have multiple different fonts in use in the selected text. Upon selecting the Type tool, you should already see a font selected, which will be the last font used. If you just place the prompt in the line of text is should display the font of the character immediately to the left, is the font family still blank?
On the second item, with the above info, if you select text that uses mulitple fonts, causing the font family to go blank, it will not be filled with a font again until you select text that uses a single font family. Use the suggestion above about just placing the type prompt next to a single character to display just that one font.
Also, for your workaround, why choose a random font? Why can't you just go straight to the font you want?