Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago Public Media, parent company of WBEZ FM 91.5, put up more than money to acquire the license of WKCC FM 91.1, the public radio station formerly operated by Kankakee Community College. In addition to paying $250,000 in cash and $100,000 in underwriting announcements to air over the next five years, the company promised to hold annual seminars conducted by WBEZ reporters and producers on the Kankakee Community College campus for five years. Documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission show Chicago Public Media also agreed to “programming coverage of local news and cultural events in the area in and around Kankakee,” periodic visits by station personnel, and establishment of a web page, toll-free phone number and email address to “permit the public to reach the WKCC studios without charge.” Since Saturday, WBEZ has been simulcasting full time on WKCC, adding a potential audience of 200,000 listeners in Kankakee and Iroquois counties.
As expected, producers at WTTW-Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” have approved the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists as their union. In balloting supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, the 13 full-time and part-time producers voted 7 to 3 in favor of the union (with three ballots challenged). “Producers at ‘Chicago Tonight’ look forward to exercising the same rights to collective bargaining currently enjoyed by other union members already working at WTTW, including the on-air talent, engineers and directors,” the producers unit said in a statement. No comment from WTTW owner Window to the World Communications.
The New York Post is pulling the plug on its latest effort to win readers in Chicago. Just three months ago it began a distribution deal with Chicago Tribune Media Group to deliver the paper to retail locations. “Chicago Tribune Media Group is proud to be a distribution partner for the New York Post,” Tribune publisher Tony Hunter said at the time. But Chicagoans apparently weren’t interested in Rupert Murdoch’s Big Apple tabloid at $2 a copy. It wasn’t the first time he tried to peddle the Post here. (And who can forget his ill-fated ownership of the Sun-Times from 1984 to 1986?)
Chicago’s radio community is mourning the loss of Timothy Jones, the respected and influential WGCI FM 107.5 personality known as DJ Timbuck2. Jones, who died of cancer Saturday at 34, was remembered as a gifted talent who championed the local hip-hop scene and toured with such artists as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Common. Derrick Brown, program director of the iHeartMedia urban contemporary station, called Jones “a premier turntable technician. His creativity and ear for music was unparalleled. Tim loved Chicago and was an ambassador around the world for our music. He leaves a huge void that will be extremely difficult to fill.”
Amy Carr, former executive editor of Time Out Chicago (and my ex-boss), has been named associate managing editor of features at the Chicago Tribune. Carr, who joined the Tribune as development editor in 2013, now oversees entertainment, lifestyle, food and dining, books, events and development. “Amy has distinguished herself as an innovative, creative editor who cares deeply about our audience and our journalism,” Colin McMahon, associate editor of the Tribune, said in a memo announcing the promotion. “She is a tireless advocate for producing journalism that captures the Chicago experience, fuels conversation and helps people navigate their daily lives.” Before joining Time Out Chicago at its inception in 2004, Carr spent 15 years at the Daily Herald, where she rose from reporter to assistant features editor.
Exiting the Tribune after more than a decade is Jim Webb, who has spearheaded some of the newsroom’s biggest projects as editor, government investigations and enterprise. Starting January 4, he joins Serafin and Associates, the Chicago-based communications and public affairs strategies company, as director of operations. “We are very fortunate to have Jim join our firm,” founder and CEO Thom Serafin said in a statement. “His experience is comprehensive, his talent is vast and he is the perfect example of human relations.” Before joining the Tribune as Illinois political editor in 2005, Webb worked 18 years as a reporter and editor for The Associated Press.
Randy Hano, former publisher of Chicago Magazine and Time Out Chicago, has been promoted to group publisher of Modern Luxury Chicago, including CS magazine, Men’s Book Chicago, Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago, NS magazine, Modern Luxury Brides Chicago and Charity & Social Datebook. In his new role, he succeeds John Carroll, who resigned for health reasons after 11 years. “We are delighted to promote Randy to lead the business in our largest market where our company was founded more than two decades ago,” CEO Michael Dickey said in a statement. Before joining Modern Luxury as associate publisher in September, Hano was senior vice president of integrated sales for Sun-Times parent company Wrapports LLC, and executive vice president of sales for iMoneza, a cloud-based payment gateway.
Steve Darnall, host of “Those Were the Days,” presents his second annual Christmas Eve music extravaganza. Airing from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday on College of DuPage’s WDCB FM 90.9, “Christmas Eve with Steve” will feature holiday music “from all eras, from all genres, for all moods.” Adds Darnall: “It’s my guess that whatever sort of music people enjoy the most, they’ll hear it on this show.” It also will be streamed on Christmas Day at nostalgiadigest.com.