WGN’s Nancy Loo ‘back on track’

Nancy Loo (WGN, April 28, 2016)

Nancy Loo (WGN, April 28, 2016)

Nancy Loo was back on the air Thursday one week after the WGN-Channel 9 reporter and fill-in news anchor was hospitalized for a mysterious medical condition.

Loo, 51, disclosed Wednesday that she had been absent from the Tribune Media station since April 21 for treatment of hypothyroidism, which she said had “zapped my metabolism, caused swelling from head to toe, made my voice raspy and my thinking a bit foggy.” Continue reading

Robservations: Joe Soto holding down afternoons on V103

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Robservations on the media beat:

Until a successor is named for the late Doug Banks, look for Joe Soto to continue filling in as afternoon personality on WVAZ FM 102.7. Soto, a Chicago native and 36-year radio veteran, moved up from the evening shift on the iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary station following the death of the legendary syndicated host April 11. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, V103 ranked No. 1 in afternoons among all listeners. A station spokeswoman said a decision on a permanent replacement is still “a few weeks away.” But Soto would appear to be the odds-on favorite (perhaps reuniting with former co-host Ramonski Luv). In the interim, Chris Michaels is filling in from 7 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday. Also at V103, Troi Tyler has traded “The Quiet Storm” on Sunday nights for fill-in duties. Continue reading

Robservations: Gannett bid refigures Chicago media equation

Tribune Tower

Tribune Tower

Robservations on the media beat:

The Michael Ferro era at Tribune Publishing may be over sooner than anyone could have imagined. Just three months after the tech entrepreneur bought his way in as board chairman of the Chicago Tribune parent company, his exit appears inevitable thanks to an $815 million bid for the company from Gannett, made public Monday. If Gannett succeeds, as most analysts predict, gone would be Ferro’s grandiose pronouncements about saving journalism and reinventing news. Gannett likely would replace words with actions — cutting expenses, slashing staff and operating “more efficiently.” Continue reading

Tribune ‘obligated to evaluate’ Gannett’s offer

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Faced with an unsolicited offer from Gannett Co., Tribune Publishing confirmed Monday that it is “thoroughly evaluating the proposal in consultation with our independent financial and legal advisors.”

The Chicago-based parent company of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and nine other dailies across the country said it has hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Lazard as financial advisors and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as legal advisor. Continue reading

Gannett deal for Tribune could affect USA Today ties with Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Monday’s stop-the-presses news that Gannett Co. wants to buy Tribune Publishing isn’t the first foray of the Virginia-based media giant into the Chicago newspaper market.

In addition to distributing its flagship USA Today on newsstands here, Gannett has a comprehensive editorial partnership agreement with the Sun-Times.

USA Today

USA Today

Since March 2015 Gannett has provided at least 10 pages of USA Today-branded editorial content each day in the Sun-Times. The arrangement substantially increased the paper’s coverage of national and international news, business and sports.

The Gannett deal with Sun-Times parent company Wrapports LLC was negotiated under Michael Ferro, then chairman of Wrapports, and Timothy Knight, former CEO of Wrapports. Since last February, Ferro has been chairman of Tribune Publishing.

According to Gannett, Ferro and Tribune Publishing CEO Justin Dearborn have refused to begin formal negations so far on Gannett’s offer. Gannett has offered to pay $12.25 per share, which represents a 63 percent premium to Tribune’s closing stock price or a total of about $815 million, for the company, which includes Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and nine other dailies across the country.

Jim Kirk, editor and publisher of the Sun-Times, declined to comment on how Gannett’s acquisition of Tribune Publishing would alter USA Today’s deal with the Sun-Times.