Robservations on the media beat:
A Chicago filmmaker who’s been working for three years on a documentary about Radio Hall of Famer Dick Biondi is seeking help to reach the finish line. Pamela Pulice has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 to complete production of “The Dick Biondi Film.” Billed as “the story of a rebel disc jockey who changed how a generation listened to the radio,” it features interviews with more than 50 friends and fans of “The Wild I-Tralian,” and chronicles the unparalleled career of one of the most influential radio personalities of all time. Fifty-seven years after he first took Chicago radio by storm, the beloved Biondi, 84, is still riding the airwaves — from 6 to 10 a.m. Saturdays and 7 to 10 a.m. Sundays on Cumulus Media classic hits WLS FM 94.7.
Friday marked the debut of “Ask the Governor,” a live monthly Q&A with Governor Bruce Rauner on Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5. Hosted by Tony Sarabia, anchor of “The Morning Shift,” the segment invites listeners to submit questions by calling in or posting to WBEZ’s Facebook page. Friday’s opener included questions about the state’s long-running budget stalemate, President Donald Trump’s travel ban and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s lawsuit to stop paying state workers. “We’re pleased to have the governor at WBEZ to connect him with the public for what we imagine will be very substantive, meaningful conversations,” Ben Calhoun, vice president of content and programming at Chicago Public Media, said in announcing the initiative.
Although he bombed out the last time Salem Media Group expanded his platform, Joe Walsh is going national again. The former northwest suburban congressman turned conservative radio talk show host will join Salem Radio Network’s syndicated lineup, starting February 20. His new show, which will air from 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern Time, won’t be heard in Chicago. But Walsh will continue to hold forth locally from 5 to 7 p.m. on Salem Media news/talk WIND AM 560, his Chicago broadcasting base since 2013. Credit or blame for the move goes to Phil Boyce, senior vice president of Salem. “We have been watching Joe work locally in Chicago and have seen outstanding development,” Boyce said in a statement. “Joe is a courageous and fearless warrior on the conservative side, who encourages his audience to take a strong stand for what is right.”
Chris Rongey, who signed off last month after 14 years at CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670, has returned home to St. Louis as afternoon co-host at WXOS, the ESPN sport/talk station. Rongey had served as pregame and postgame host for White Sox broadcasts on The Score (before they moved to Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890). In addition to working as an update anchor for the station and occasional fill-in announcer for the White Sox, Rongey also was a baseball columnist for the Daily Herald and a reporter for Total Traffic Chicago. “Goodbye, Chicago,” he tweeted. “Thank you for having me.”
Moving up at Window to the World Communications classical WFMT FM 98.7 is Michael San Gabino. After two years as a production assistant, he’s been named associate producer. His wide ranging duties include hosting “Introductions,” the weekly showcase for pre-college classical musicians, and producing special events, series and other programming. “Since he joined us about two years ago, Michael has become an integral part of our team and it now would be hard to imagine the station without him,” WFMT program director David Polk said in announcing the promotion. “It’s a testament to his character and attitude at work that he’s able to work with anyone and everyone, and anyone and everyone enjoys working with him.” San Gabino, who grew up in Park Ridge, is a graduate of Maine South High School and Northwestern University, where he was the Wildcat Marching Band drum major.