Fox 32 to launch 5 p.m. newscast July 5

Jeff Herndon and Dawn Hasbrouck

Jeff Herndon and Dawn Hasbrouck

It’s official: After years on the drawing board and weeks of rehearsals, Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 finally is set to launch a one-hour newscast at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Start date is Tuesday, July 5.

Fronting the show will be four principals of Fox 32’s 9 p.m. newscast — news anchors Dawn Hasbrouck and Jeff Herndon, meteorologist Bill Bellis and sports anchor Lou Canellis. Continue reading

Robservations: WCPT proudly presents parade play-by-play

Chicago Pride Parade

Chicago Pride Parade

Robservations on the media beat:

Ellen Miller

Ellen Miller

The only broadcast outlet for live coverage of Chicago’s 47th annual Pride Parade Sunday will be WCPT AM 820 and WCPT FM 92.5, Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk station. An overlay of this year’s LBGT festivities will be the poignancy of the Orlando nightclub massacre just two weeks ago. Airing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, WCPT’s coverage will be anchored by Ellen Miller, co-host of the station’s weekly “Out Chicago” show, who’ll be joined the first hour by “Out Chicago” host Scott Duff and WCPT afternoon personality Wayne Besen, and later by Robert Cornelius, a member of Poi Dog Pondering (and nephew of the late “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius). “We are the primary station that the gay community looks to,” said Charley Gross, president of Newsweb Radio. “The day after the parade we’re there, and our commitment continues throughout the year.” Newsweb Radio is owned by Fred Eychaner, the Chicago media magnate and prominent contributor to liberal candidates and causes. Continue reading

Sun-Times to reprint Roger Ebert reviews weekly

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

The immortal prose of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert will be appearing again in the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times, his home newspaper for 46 years.

Starting Friday, the Sun-Times will republish a classic piece, billed as “From the Ebert Archive,” in its weekly movie section. First up will be Ebert’s 2½-star review of “Independence Day,” the 1996 film starring Will Smith. Continue reading

Robservations: Telemundo Chicago to add 4 p.m. newscast this fall

Noticiero Telemundo Chicago

Noticiero Telemundo Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Chris McDonnell

Chris McDonnell

Spanish-language news viewers will have an additional choice this fall when Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 debuts a half-hour local newscast at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Chris McDonnell, president and general manager of Telemundo Chicago, confirmed the September 26 launch date but said news anchors and other personnel have not yet been finalized. Noticiero Telemundo Chicago now airs at 4:30, 5 and 10 p.m. Owned by NBCUniversal, Telemundo Chicago was one of 14 stations in the company to announce news expansions Tuesday. Continue reading

Robservations: WCGO back on its game

Daniel French

Daniel French

Robservations on the media beat:

Chuck Duncan

Chuck Duncan

In a rare victory for local ownership, Kovas Communications has pulled the plug on its time brokerage arrangement with Arizona-based Anthem Broadcasting and retaken control of programming on north suburban news/talk and foreign-language station WCGO AM 1590. The deal with Anthem, which had been in effect since January and included a purchase option for the station, was voided by mutual agreement, according to Chuck Duncan, who continues as general manager. Gone is syndicated host Rusty Humphries and the other shows Anthem imported. As of Monday, WCGO’s weekday afternoon lineup features “The Small Business Advocate” with Jim Blasingame from noon to 2 p.m., “The Kate Dalley Show” from 2 to 4 p.m., and Daniel French’s “Everyday with French and Friends” from 4 to 7 p.m. “Our focus remains to build the station’s relevance from the ground floor among the primary communities we serve and continue to expand each adjoining community from there,” Duncan said. Continue reading

Surgery sidelines Score’s Terry Boers

Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein

Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein

As WSCR AM 670 rides the wave of its highest ratings ever, the CBS Radio sports/talk station is about to find itself without the services of veteran afternoon personality Terry Boers for a while.

Boers, 66, told listeners Wednesday that he will undergo surgery for an undisclosed ailment and expects to be off the air for “around two months.” His leave is effective immediately. Continue reading

Robservations: ABC 7’s Judy Hsu, Terrell Brown to anchor at 11 a.m.

Terrell Brown and Judy Hsu

Terrell Brown and Judy Hsu

Robservations on the media beat:

Judy Hsu and Terrell Brown, who co-anchor from 4:30 to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, have been tapped to anchor ABC 7’s new 11 a.m. weekday newscast, starting June 27. They’ll be joined by meteorologist Tracy Butler on the new addition, which bumps “Windy City Live” to 1 p.m. “There’s no doubt our 11 a.m. newscast will be in very good hands with Judy, Terrell and Tracy at the helm along with our experienced production team,” Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director of ABC 7, said in a statement Wednesday. It’s a return to the time period for “Eyewitness News,” which dropped its 11 a.m. newscast, anchored by Linda Yu and Sylvia Perez, in 2013. Continue reading

Legendary TV exec Dennis Swanson retires

Dennis Swanson

Dennis Swanson

Dennis Swanson, a television industry giant credited with discovering Oprah Winfrey and catapulting ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 to the top of the ratings, has called it a career.

“After 60 years in this business today will be my last,” he wrote to friends in an email Friday. He and his wife were in Africa with three of their grandchildren this week and could not be reached for comment. Continue reading

Robservations: Chicago Public Media adds in-house lawyer

Chicago Public Media

Chicago Public Media

Robservations on the media beat:

Cynthia Abbott

Cynthia Abbott

For more than two years WBEZ FM 91.5 listeners have been waiting for new programming from the Chicago Public Media station. Instead they’ve seen reductions in locally produced broadcast content, cancellation of several local podcasts and expansions in the company’s executive ranks. Latest addition is the hiring last week of Cynthia Abbott as vice president and general counsel, a newly created position. Until last December Abbott was senior legal director at Motorola Mobility. “Cindy is uniquely qualified not only to establish this new internal resource but equally to provide superb expertise in legal matters and strategic execution,” Goli Sheikholeslami, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media, said in a statement. “She is exceptionally prepared to take on this role, and is well-positioned to provide an immediate impact as we grow in the midst of a rapidly changing digital and media landscape.” Continue reading