ABC 7 dresses up for November battle

ABC 7 studio

ABC 7 studio

WLS-Channel 7 goes into the November sweeps with a fancy new studio and a decidedly uphill battle for the late-news viewers that translate into advertising dollars.

Although the ABC-owned station held the lead at 10 p.m. weekdays in total households, Nielsen numbers for October show that it fell farther behind NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 among viewers between 25 and 54. It marked the sixth straight month that NBC 5 beat or tied ABC 7 in the vital “money demo.” Continue reading

Tribune sportswriter Fred Mitchell ending ‘terrific run’

Fred Mitchell

Fred Mitchell

Legendary sports reporter and columnist Fred Mitchell is stepping down after more than four decades at the Chicago Tribune.

Mitchell, 67, confirmed Wednesday that he has applied for a buyout under the voluntary staff reduction plan offered by Tribune Publishing. He may be the best-known personality among dozens of Tribune editorial employees who are believed to have opted for buyouts. Continue reading

Philadelphia sportscaster says ‘Hello, Chicago’ to Comcast SportsNet

Leila Rahimi

Leila Rahimi

Comcast SportsNet Chicago completed its talent roster Wednesday with the hiring of Leila Rahimi as a full-time anchor/reporter. She most recently worked for Comcast SportsNet operations in Philadelphia and Houston.

Starting Thursday, Rahimi will appear on “SportsNet Central,” the regional sports network’s nightly sports news program, and contribute to its digital initiatives on CSNChicago.com. Continue reading

WGN’s Justin Kaufmann acknowledges ‘lapse in judgment’

Justin Kaufmann

Justin Kaufmann

Justin Kaufmann, the WGN AM 720 evening host who’s been off the air while dealing with what he called “a private and personal matter,” released a statement Tuesday that appears to pave the way for his return.

In an open letter to friends and family, Kaufmann apologized for a “lapse in judgment” in his personal life. “I made a mistake,” he wrote. “As a husband, I let my wife and my family down. And I will also tell you that this issue is between me and my wife.” Continue reading

ESPN 1000 boss John Cravens out

John Cravens

John Cravens

John Cravens, a 40-year radio veteran who began his career as an intern at WLS AM 890, is out after 10 years in top management positions at ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP AM 1000, sources confirmed Monday.

Cravens was named vice president and general manager of ESPN 1000 in 2009 after four years as general sales manager. Since 2013 he also held the title of vice president of local revenues for ESPN Radio’s three owned stations and websites. Continue reading

WBBM, V103 tie for first place in ratings

WBBM broadcast booth at Wrigley Field

WBBM broadcast booth at Wrigley Field

On the night the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the National League wild-card game, 28.5 percent of all Chicago area radio listeners were tuned to the play-by-play.

According to Nielsen Audio figures released Monday, that pivotal game on October 7 drew an astonishing 23.4 share for the local broadcast on CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780 and an additional 5.1 share for the national broadcast on ESPN Radio WMVP AM 1000. Continue reading

Robservations: Familiar name comes to Weigel Broadcasting

Jenniffer Weigel

Jenniffer Weigel

Robservations on the media beat:

More than 50 years after John Weigel put WCIU-Channel 26 on the air, another Weigel is about to turn up on Chicago’s first UHF station. Jenniffer Weigel, granddaughter of the late founder (and daughter of the late Chicago sportscaster Tim Weigel), has been tapped to host a holiday-themed shopping special. Titled “A Gift for U,” the half-hour special will air multiple times between Thanksgiving and Christmas on The U and The U Too, according to Steve Farber, senior vice president of operations at Weigel Broadcasting. “I’ve known Jen for years and I’m a fan of hers,” Farber said. “If we can find additional programming to develop, that would be great.” A longtime Chicago broadcaster, Jenniffer Weigel most recently was a video reporter/columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Weigel Broadcasting was acquired in the 1960s by the late Howard Shapiro, whose family still owns and operates the company. Continue reading

WDCB jazz host John Burnett retires

John Burnett

John Burnett

John Burnett, veteran morning personality at WDCB FM 90.9, announced his retirement Thursday after 19 years as jazz host at the College of DuPage public radio station.

Burnett, 76, who’s known to his audience as “Your British-American Buddy,” will host his last morning show Thursday. At least through the end of the year, WDCB music director Paul Abella will succeed Burnett from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Leslie Keros will continue from 6 to 10 a.m. Fridays. Continue reading