Robservations: WYCC gets reprieve to November 24

Juan Salgado

Robservations on the media beat:


WYCC-Channel 20 will cease broadcast operations November 24 — one month later than announced — while the City Colleges of Chicago public television station pursues a channel sharing agreement with fellow pubcaster WTTW-Channel 11. “Assuming a channel sharing agreement is reached, WYCC will continue to broadcast normally until November 24, 2017, at which time WTTW will assume control of WYCC’s channels and WYCC will no longer broadcast,” Juan Salgado, chancellor of City Colleges, told employees in a letter Friday. “Viewers may see a combination of WYCC and WTTW brands and programming after that date, depending on the final agreement. All such programming . . . will be run out of WTTW’s operations.” WYCC agreed to vacate its frequency after netting $15.9 million in the FCC spectrum auction. Continue reading

Robservations: ‘60 Minutes’ starts ticking for Oprah

Oprah Winfrey (Photo: Oprah Winfrey/Instagram)

Robservations on the media beat:

Sunday will mark Oprah Winfrey’s debut as a special contributor to “60 Minutes,” coinciding with the 50th season premiere of the CBS newsmagazine show. Her first segment will examine America’s political divisions through a panel of ideologically opposed citizens, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “At a time when people are so divided, my intention is to bring relevant insight and perspective, to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds,” Winfrey said in a statement announcing her hiring. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended its 25-year syndicated run in Chicago in 2011. Continue reading

Robservations: WYCC signing off the air October 25


Robservations on the media beat:


After 34 years as the City Colleges of Chicago’s public television station, WYCC-Channel 20 will be going off the air. But it’s no surprise. The decision was prompted by the sale of its broadcast license in the FCC spectrum auction in April. Since then, City Colleges has eliminated most of the station’s staff. Ron Schofield, executive director of WYCC, confirmed in a letter to contributors that the station will “cease broadcasting services” on October 25. “Please know that you still have an option for PBS and public media programming and we encourage you to tune to WTTW [Channel 11] and visit,” he wrote. Continue reading

Robservations: Broadcast museum celebrates 35th

Bruce DuMont

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago television luminaries gathered Saturday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The gala fundraiser on the top floor of the museum at 360 North State Street was emceed by Bob Sirott and featured personal tributes from Janet Davies, Judy Hsu, Dick Johnson and Paul Lisnek along with video retrospectives. Museum chairman Larry Wert saluted founder and president Bruce DuMont for his vision and dedication to preserving broadcasting’s legacy. Radio also was well represented at the event, including two National Radio Hall of Famers — Paul Harvey Jr. and Chuck Schaden. Continue reading

Robservations: Weigel buys stations in L.A., St. Louis

Weigel Broadcasting (Photo: Google Maps)

Robservations on the media beat:

Weigel Broadcasting

Weigel Broadcasting, Chicago-based owner of WCIU-Channel 26, Me-TV and a host of other Midwest stations and national digital networks, is adding TV stations in Los Angeles and St. Louis to its expanding portfolio. The company this week announced plans to acquire KAZA in L.A. for $9 million from SCTV Inc., and KNLC in St. Louis for $3.75 million from New Life Evangelistic Center. “Weigel was presented with opportunities that will allow us to expand distribution of our networks and other activities,” Norman Shapiro, chairman of the privately held company, told employees in an email. Both deals are pending FCC approval. Last month Weigel picked up KCSG and two low-power stations near Salt Lake City for $1.1 million from West American Finance Corp. Continue reading

Robservations: How Chicago magazine scored Blago cover shot

Chicago magazine (October 2017)

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago magazine editor and publisher Susanna Homan calls it “our biggest story of the year,” and that’s no exaggeration. Contributing writer David Bernstein’s exclusive interview with former Governor Rod Blagojevich in Chicago’s October issue includes the first published photo of him in the federal penitentiary in Englewood, Colorado. “The prison wouldn’t allow us to send in a photographer to shoot Blagojevich, so for the cover shot, he went to the prison commissary, rented a camera, and had someone shoot it on the prison grounds,” Homan said. Bernstein began pursuing the interview three years ago with Blago’s lawyer, his wife Patti and ultimately Prisoner 40892-424 himself. Added Homan: “We were surprised at how candid the former governor was in their conversations.” (Here is the link.) Phil Rogers of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 also has a three-part exclusive interview with Blagojevich through Wednesday at 10 p.m. (Here is the link.) NBC 5 will air a half-hour special at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Continue reading

NBC 5 still has a date for New Year’s Eve

Chi-Town Rising (2017)

“Chi-Town Rising,” Chicago’s answer to New York’s Times Square celebration on New Year’s Eve, won’t be back this year. But that isn’t going to stop NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 from ringing in 2018 anyway.

Arena Partners, organizers and promoters of the first two outdoor parties, did not cite a reason for pulling the plug, but sources said the “Chi-Town Rising” events in 2016 and 2017 were not profitable. Continue reading

So long, Kathy: The year that rocked The Mix

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart in happier days

The dismissal of Kathy Hart last week — and the demise of the phenomenally successful “Eric & Kathy” brand after 21 years on Chicago radio — culminated a tumultuous year for WTMX FM 101.9.

Eric Ferguson, who’s been hosting solo since Hart went on leave from the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station in late April, officially carries on without her now. Continue reading