Help wanted: New boss for WGN-TV

Steve Farber

Steve Farber

After one year as acting general manager of WGN-Channel 9, Steve Farber is moving back to a corporate job with Tribune Broadcasting. And the search for a new boss of “Chicago’s Very Own” goes on.

Larry Wert, president of Tribune Broadcast Media, announced Wednesday that he has appointed Farber senior vice president/operations, overseeing the company’s digital networks, Antenna TV and THIS-TV, and “The Bill Cunningham Show” in syndication. Before he was named acting general manager of WGN in September 2012, Farber had been vice president of programming operations for Tribune Broadcasting.

“With the growth of our television group and the increasing volume of operational opportunities, Steve’s new role is incredibly important,” Wert said in a  statement. “He is talented, innovative, and he has an innate understanding of our broadcast operations — Steve is a great fit for this role.”

Few expected Farber to get the top job permanently when he was tapped by Wert’s predecessor to step in for Marty Wilke, who left to become president and general manager of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.

Wert, who took over as president of Tribune’s expanding station group last February, has ties to numerous past and present broadcast executives who no doubt would jump at an offer to run the company’s flagship in Chicago. No word on a time frame for filling the vacancy.

When it came to hiring a new president and general manager for news/talk WGN AM 720 last May, Wert reached out to his longtime friend and radio mentor, Jimmy deCastro, who’d been away from broadcasting for more than a decade. “I can’t imagine a better person to join our team,” Wert said at the time.

Farber, 44, who grew up in north suburban Highland Park and graduated from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., joined Tribune Co. in 1995 as a producer at CLTV. He moved up to news director and general manager of the cable news operation before he was named vice president/operations at WGN in 2010.

The move comes one day after Wert announced the retirement of Joe Young after 18 years as vice president and general manager of Tribune Broadcasting’s KDAF-TV in Dallas.