Robservations: Fox 32 ties WGN in late-news ratings

Fox 32 Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Propelled by a 50 percent increase in its primetime lead-in ratings, Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 tied with Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 among viewers between 25 and 54 for their 9 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscasts, according to figures released Thursday for the May sweep. Fox 32 was the only station in Chicago to increase its late-news viewership in the key adult demographic. “Our news shows are the most engaging, watchable and best produced product in the market,” Dennis Welsh, vice president and general manager of Fox 32, told staffers in an email. “Obviously, viewers are really starting to notice our great news product with tremendous growth opportunities ahead of us.” It marked the first May tie or win for Fox 32 at 9 p.m. since 2010. Continue reading

Robservations: WXRT promotes Richard Milne to afternoon drive

Richard Milne

Robservations on the media beat:

Jason Thomas

After more than three decades as a weekend and fill-in air personality at WXRT 93.1-FM, Richard Milne has moved up to afternoon drive — from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday — on the Entercom adult album alternative station. Jason Thomas, who’d hosted afternoons since 2006, will shift to weekend and fill-in duty, and continue to host “The Big Beat” from 10 p.m. to midnight Mondays. “Needless to say, I’m thrilled at the prospect of day-to-day communication with WXRT listeners and working full-time alongside an air staff that I’ve long considered the best in radio,” Milne said. “Many great years are ahead for WXRT and I’m proud to have been asked to play a part.” The Addison Trail High School alum, who started in college radio at Southern Illinois University and worked at the former WDEK in DeKalb, joined WXRT in 1986. For 26 years, Milne hosted and produced “Local Anesthetic,” the station’s weekly new music showcase. Continue reading

Robservations: Lite FM turns off Kristina Kage

Kristina Kage

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s over and out for Kristina Kage as morning personality at WLIT 93.9-FM. Friday was her last day on the air at the iHeartMedia adult contemporary station. No comment from station bosses, but insiders said her replacement will be named today. Kage, whose full name is Kristina Zsenyuk, arrived in 2015 from Portland, Oregon, where she previously had worked with Mick Lee, program director and afternoon personality at Lite FM. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Kage’s morning show ranked 12th overall with a 2.9 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 468,000. Continue reading

Robservations: Double duty for new Star 96.7 morning host

Lisa Jordan and Kevin Kollins

Robservations on the media beat:

Star 96.7

Kevin Kollins soon will be working two drive-time air shifts for Alpha Media suburban stations. While continuing to host afternoons at news/talk WJOL 1340-AM, Kollins has been named morning personality at hot adult-contemporary WSSR 96.7-FM. Starting Monday, he’ll join Lisa Jordan from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Kollins, who’s been hosting weekends on Star 96.7 for nearly 10 years, succeeds Josh Cooper, who left in April. “I’m extremely grateful that Alpha Media brought some really innovative minds together to allow me to continue my afternoon talk show at WJOL and to add mornings on Star 96.7,” said Kollins, who previously was senior vice president of promotion for Jeff McClusky and Associates. Continue reading

Robservations: WGN Radio Walk of Fame bows out at Tribune Tower

WGN Radio Walk of Fame

Robservations on the media beat:

For the last time at Tribune Tower, WGN 720-AM will add a new class of Chicago radio veterans to the WGN Radio Walk of Fame. In a live broadcast starting at 10 a.m. Friday, the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station will induct sportscasters David Kaplan and Chuck Swirsky, meteorologist Roger Triemstra, traffic reporter Mary VanDeVelde and the late announcer Pierre Andre. With WGN about to move to new studios at 303 East Wacker Drive, plaques for this year’s honorees will not be embedded in the pavement outside 435 North Michigan Avenue. They’ll be held for installation with the four earlier classes when WGN selects a new site for the Walk of Fame. Continue reading

Robservations: The Drive pulls up to new home at Prudential

The Drive 97.1 (Photo: Hubbard Radio Chicago)

Robservations on the media beat:

Bob Stroud

The latest to join the migration of Chicago radio stations to new studios south of the Chicago River is WDRV 97.1-FM. Last Friday the Hubbard Radio classic rock station left its longtime home at 875 North Michigan Avenue and moved to the 27th floor of One Prudential Plaza, 130 East Randolph Street. Afternoon personality Bob Stroud signed off from the former John Hancock Center and led a double-decker busload of fellow air staffers down Michigan Avenue and into the new studios, where he signed on with the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” The move united The Drive for the first time with the company’s hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM and adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM. “As we had hoped, having the entire Hubbard Radio Chicago staff in one location has been fun and energizing for all,” said Jeff England, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago. Studio renovations are underway for The Mix and SHE 100.3. Continue reading

Robservations: WGN Radio is on the move — 18 stories up

Todd Manley

Robservations on the media beat:

WGN Radio

Workers are still busy building out studios and offices as WGN 720-AM prepares to leave its longtime home at Tribune Tower for impressive new headquarters high in the sky. From the 18th floor of 303 East Wacker Drive, the 16,000-square-foot space provides panoramic views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Highlights include two main showcase studios in the northwest and northeast corners, six podcast suites, a performance studio and stage for live music and dramas, and a central newsroom hub. “An investment like this represents the strength of our brand beyond traditional broadcast,” said Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station. “It recognizes our success on every platform. What an exciting time for this 94-year-old start-up.” News will begin originating from the site at the end of May, and full-time broadcasting will start in June. Continue reading