Ailing Dick Biondi assures fans he’s eager to return

Dick Biondi

Radio legend Dick Biondi, who’s been missing in action since early April, said he’s looking forward to getting back on the air as soon as his doctors get him “back into fighting shape.”

Biondi, 84, was said to be recovering from a leg ailment for which he was hospitalized earlier this month. No other details have been disclosed.

“I want nothing more than to get back to entertaining the greatest radio audience in the greatest city in the world!” Biondi said in a statement released Saturday by Scott Miller, his longtime friend and former producer. Continue reading

NewsBlues editor takes parting shot at ‘unhealthy transformation of TV news’

With the subtlety of a thermonuclear blast, Mike James signed off Friday after 19 years as the self-styled “surly editor” of NewsBlues.com, the daily subscription newsletter on the local television news business.

James is retiring, but NewsBlues will continue under the new ownership of Rick Iler, a former news director and media investor. Iler said he plans to introduce a “new aggressive look, style and feel” to the TV news insider website “while staying true to its iconic, subversive brand.” The new era starts Tuesday. Continue reading

Boomer-friendly Me-TV FM to roll out in national syndication

Me-TV FM

The “timeless and memorable music” of 87.7 Me-TV FM is going national, Chicago-based owner Weigel Broadcasting announced Thursday.

Launched in 2015 on a low-power leased signal at WRME LP 87.7 and immediately embraced by a large and loyal audience of baby boomers, the station has signed with Cleveland-based Envision Networks to syndicate the soft rock/oldies format under the Me-TV FM brand in cities across the country. Continue reading

Robservations: Nielsen keeps Kenosha on radio ratings map

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s official: Kenosha stays. Nielsen Audio announced Wednesday that it won’t be eliminating Kenosha County, Wisconsin, from the Chicago metro market. A vote among Chicago area broadcasters failed to achieve the required three-fourths majority to approve the change. It’s a huge victory for Hubbard Radio, which would have seen its ratings decimated for classic rock WDRV FM 97.1 (since The Drive simulcasts on Zion-based WWDV FM 96.9). “It is gratifying to see the majority of Chicago radio ownership groups pull together to ensure we serve, and can measure, as many listeners as possible,” Jeff England, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago, said in a statement. Continue reading

Robservations: ABC 7 may be dancing to 10 p.m. news victory

ABC 7 News

Robservations on the media beat:

Rob Stafford

Thanks in part to a boost from retired Cub David Ross on “Dancing with the Stars” as a lead-in, it looks like ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 will score another win for its 10 p.m. newscast in the May rating sweep, which ends Wednesday. Barring a miracle, ABC 7 also is poised to beat NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 among viewers between 25 and 54 — the group most sought by advertisers. NBC 5, which led in the key Nielsen demo in recent years, has been challenged by the absence of a key player. Principal news anchor Rob Stafford has been out since March on medical leave for a bone marrow transplant and treatment of amyloidosis, a rare blood disease. Continue reading

ProPublica Illinois hires Tribune investigative reporters

ProPublica Illinois

Two of the Chicago Tribune’s premier investigative reporters were among the first journalists to be hired Monday by ProPublica Illinois, the independent, nonprofit investigative news startup.

Jodi S. Cohen, an investigative reporter and editor and former higher education reporter during her 14 years at the Tribune, and Jason Grotto, an investigative reporter at the Tribune for 10 years, have joined ProPublica’s Chicago-based newsroom as reporters. Both have won numerous regional and national awards. Continue reading

Madeleine Doubek joins BGA as policy chief

Former Daily Herald executive editor Madeleine Doubek has been hired by the Better Government Association to oversee policy and civic engagement for the nonprofit watchdog organization.

Doubek most recently was publisher of Reboot Illinois, the website and subscription newsletter covering state and local government and politics, which she helped launch in 2012. Her depature last month was tied to changes under new ownership, including the elimination of original content on the site. Continue reading

Robservations: ESPN Radio breaking up ‘Mike & Mike’

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic

Robservations on the media beat:

The long-rumored breakup of ESPN Radio morning hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic after 19 years is official. Greenberg will be leaving to host a new morning show for ESPN TV, starting in January. Joining Golic this fall on the radio show, which airs here on sports/talk WMVP AM 1000, will be ESPN’s Trey Wingo and Mike Golic, Jr. Greenberg, a Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism graduate, got his start in Chicago as a radio and TV sportscaster. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, ESPN Radio 1000 tied for 22nd in morning drive with a 1.8 percent audience share. Continue reading

Reader staffer’s shot at tronc bosses comes and goes

Chicago Reader

A Chicago Reader story that harshly criticized the proposed sale of the alternative weekly to Chicago Tribune parent company tronc suddenly disappeared Thursday after one day on the Reader’s website.

Under the headline “Can the Reader survive a second helping of Michael Ferro?” the story by social media editor Ryan Smith took personal aim at tronc chairman Ferro, who previously owned Wrapports, parent company of the Reader and the Chicago Sun-Times. Continue reading