Robservations: The Mix renews morning stars Eric & Kathy

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago radio’s favorite morning couple have renewed their pact with their loyal audience. Hubbard Radio Chicago announced Tuesday that Radio Hall of Famers Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart have signed multiyear agreements to continue hosting mornings at hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9. Now in their 20th year at The Mix, Eric & Kathy are still No. 1 among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old adults. Both are Chicago area natives. “I’m excited to continue to call The Mix and Hubbard Radio home,” Ferguson said. “After so many years of great support, I could never imagine being anywhere else. I’ve been with Drew Horowitz since my first day in Chicago, and getting the opportunity to work for Ginny Morris, Dave Bestler and the entire Hubbard family has been a blessing. Please let them know I’m planning on doing 20 more years.” Continue reading

Robservations: As RedEye blinks, Sun-Times and Tribune move closer

RedEye and Sun-Times (Photo: Tony Lossano)

RedEye and Sun-Times (Photo: Tony Lossano)

Robservations on the media beat:

The decision to cease Monday-through-Friday publication of RedEye after 15 years and convert the spunky tabloid into a weekly dining and entertainment guide effectively ends the Chicago Tribune’s grand experiment to convert 18- to 34-year-olds into daily newspaper readers. The immediate impact will be the loss of untold editorial and production jobs when the cutback takes effect February 3. But sources say it also could signal renewed interest in a merger involving the Sun-Times and the Tribune. Former Sun-Times owner Michael Ferro, who now runs Tribune parent company tronc, long has hoped to bring both papers under his control. The Sun-Times already relies on tronc for printing and distribution. Now with RedEye no longer competing against the Sun-Times for tabloid-reading commuters (and with Gannett out of the picture), insiders say it’s a “logical next step” — assuming Ferro can get around antitrust issues. Continue reading

The Score moves Goff to afternoons, hires newcomer Parkins for middays

Jason Goff

Jason Goff

Following the retirement last week of 25-year veteran host Terry Boers from WSCR AM 670, the CBS Radio sports/talk station is shifting Jason Goff from middays to afternoons alongside Boers’s former partner, Dan Bernstein.

Replacing Goff alongside Matt Spiegel in middays will be newcomer Danny Parkins, a Chicago native who joins The Score from KCSP, a sports/talk station in Kansas City. He currently hosts a top-rated afternoon show there. Continue reading

Robservations: WLS FM hires Ron Parker as afternoon host

Ron Parker

Ron Parker

Robservations on the media beat:

Just in from New York, radio veteran Ron Parker hits the air today as new afternoon personality on WLS FM 94.7, the Cumulus Media classic hits station. The Bronx native most recently worked for Sirius XM Radio and at WNSH and WCBS FM in New York. Previous markets included San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and Tallahassee. “Ron is one of the premier talents of the classic hits format and has always achieved ratings success,” Brian Thomas, program director of WLS FM, said in a statement. The two worked together earlier at WNSH and WCBS. Hosting from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays, Parker replaces Robert Murphy, who signed off December 30 after his contract was not renewed. Continue reading

Marty Zivin 1956-2017

Marty Zivin (Photo: Bart Shore)

Marty Zivin (Photo: Bart Shore)

Marty Zivin loved radio more than anyone I ever knew.

From the time he was a kid growing up in the suburbs, he was mesmerized by the medium. He loved programming radio. He loved designing radio. He loved broadcasting radio. And always, he loved talking about radio. Continue reading

Robservations: Tammie Souza takes ‘dream job’ in Philly

Tammie Souza

Tammie Souza

Robservations on the media beat:

Here’s hoping it’s always sunny in Philadelphia for meteorologist Tammie Souza, who’s just been hired by NBC-owned WCAU there. Souza will sign off at the end of February after six years at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. “A once in a lifetime opportunity was offered to me several months ago and after deep prayer and much family discussion I have accepted a dream job as a meteorologist on NBC10 in Philadelphia,” she told friends on Facebook. “My bosses at Fox have been supportive and the decision to leave was entirely mine.” This was Souza’s second stint in Chicago, following a six-year run at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and two years at Fox 32. She returned to Fox 32 in 2011. Continue reading

Ben Bradley joins WGN as investigative reporter

Ben Bradley

Ben Bradley

Chicago news veteran Ben Bradley, who chose not to renew his contract last October after 14 years at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, has joined Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 as an investigative reporter.

Bradley, 41, signed a multiyear contract Wednesday to join the “WGN Investigates” team, working alongside news anchors Mark Suppelsa and Lourdes Duarte and producer Marsha Bartel. Sources said the deal also calls for Bradley to take on a Monday-through-Friday anchor role sometime in the coming months, confirming an earlier report here. Continue reading

Feder flashback: The day Chicago woke up to The Score

Tom Shaer at The Score

Tom Shaer at The Score

Twenty-five years ago today, Chicago awoke to The Score — a new kind of radio station airing hosts, guests and callers talking about nothing but sports.

WSCR debuted on 820 AM, a daytime-only frequency that had been acquired two years earlier for $650,000 by Diamond Broadcasting, parent company of album rock WXRT FM 93.1. Seth Mason doubled as general manager of both stations.

“It was so innocent back then,” veteran sportscaster Tom Shaer, The Score’s original morning host, recalled the other day. “There were very few all-sports radio stations in the country. Seth told me: ‘We don’t have to hit a homerun; we’re just looking to hit a clean single and combine the audience with WXRT for a strong combo entity.’ In less than a year, it was clear The Score would be just fine as a standalone.” Continue reading

ABC 7 rings in New Year back on top

Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies

Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies

Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies regained their throne as Chicago’s king and queen of New Year’s Eve on Saturday — with perhaps an assist from Cheryl Scott in a sensational red dress.

Straight up at midnight, “Countdown Chicago 2017” on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 had a 12.3 rating and 31 share, while “Chi-Town Rising” on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 had a 9.7 rating and 25 share, according to Nielsen overnight ratings. Continue reading