Time’s up for Marker, Biondo

om Marker (Photo: Kurt Swanson)

Tom Marker (Photo: Kurt Swanson)

CBS Radio is closing out the year by parting company with two veteran Chicago radio personalities — Tom Marker of WXRT FM 93.1 and Trish Biondo of WUSN FM 99.5.

Marker’s position as WXRT’s evening personality and “Blues Breakers” host is being eliminated after 33 years at the adult album alternative station, according to insiders. Details of his separation agreement are being negotiated. Continue reading

A 30-year look back at ‘Radio Wars’

Here’s a blast from the past: A 1983 look at Chicago radio stars Steve Dahl, Jonathon Brandmeier and the late Bob Wall as they battle for young adult listeners.

It’s the third installment of a three-part sweeps series on “Radio Wars in Chicago: Jockeying for Your Morning” by Bob Sirott on WBBM-Channel 2. Just three years earlier, Sirott had left a successful career as a disc jockey to become a reporter for the CBS-owned station. Continue reading

‘Midnight Special’ going like 60

Mike Nichols (1953)

Mike Nichols (1953)

In 1953, a 22-year-old announcer named Mike Nichols started “The Midnight Special,” a weekly program of folk music on WFMT FM 98.7, originating from the ballroom of the shabby Hotel Guyon in West Garfield Park.

Nichols went on to become half of a legendary comedy duo (with Elaine May), an Academy Award-winning director, and the husband of ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. And “The Midnight Special” went on to become a broadcasting treasure. It’s still going strong, from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturdays on the Window to the World Communications classical station. Continue reading

‘Tribune of the future’ takes shape

Tribune Co.With completion Friday of its $2.7 billion acquisition of Local TV Holdings, Tribune Co. begins the new year as the largest independent broadcast group and content creator in the United States.

The Los Angeles Times, also owned by Tribune Co., called the move “an important first step in the company’s evolution from a company dependent on dwindling revenue from its newspapers and into a formidable broadcast group that reaches an estimated 50 million U.S. homes.” The company plans to shift its newspaper unit, including the Chicago Tribune, to a separate company in 2014. Continue reading

Media in memoriam — 2013

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic whose life was more inspiring than any movie he reviewed to a Radio Hall of Fame disc jockey who redefined the medium for a generation — a photo gallery remembering 10 Chicago media luminaries who left us in 2013.

Click on the arrows to advance the photos:

Also gone but not forgotten on the Chicago media beat:

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Sun-Times sells Joliet Herald-News

Herald NewsThe parent company of the Sun-Times announced the sale Monday of the Joliet Herald-News to Shaw Media for an undisclosed price. The deal is expected to close by the first week in January.

“We are excited to bring the Herald-News into our established, and growing, family-owned media portfolio,” Shaw Media president John Rung said in a statement. “We expect to maintain the storied tradition of serving Joliet with a high quality, community-oriented newspaper.” Continue reading