Robservations: WBEZ reporting project tackles gun violence

“Every Other Hour” (WBEZ)

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“Every Other Hour” has been a yearlong enterprising reporting project on Chicago’s gun violence epidemic, produced by Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5. (The title refers to the frequency of shootings in Chicago over the past two years.) The series will culminate October 12 with a community event at the Renaissance Collaborative in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Young Chicagoans affected by gun violence will share the stage with local artists who’ll tell their stories. The event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. also will stream live on WBEZ’s Facebook page. “This project has reinforced that young people are at the heart of the good coming out of the same communities where we see much of this violence taking place,” editor Cate Cahan said in a statement. “They have real ideas that can spark meaningful change. We wanted to provide an opportunity for engaged Chicagoans to be able to listen to and learn from them.” (The Daily Herald periodically runs stories from the WBEZ gun-violence series. Monday’s piece is about keeping kids safe and employed by hiring them during the summer to help fix rundown school auditoriums.) Continue reading

Robservations: Steve Cochran hits 1,000 ‘without being fired’

The Steve Cochran Show (from left): Steve Grzanich, Mary Van De Velde, Mike Jacobsen, Andrea Darlas, Steve Cochran, Mary Sandberg, Orion Samuelson, Dave Eanet and John DaCosse

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Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran will celebrate his 1,000th show as morning personality on WGN AM 720 with a live broadcast event from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday from the Blackhawks Store at 333 North Michigan Avenue. The Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station will feature a multitude of on-air giveaways and “special surprises” throughout the show. “Cubs win, Trump wins, I go 1,000 shows without being fired,” Cochran said of the milestone. “A very strange time, but I’m honored to sit where Wally Phillips, Bob Collins, and Spike [O’Dell] sat and mostly just appreciative and humbled by the audience support.” In the latest ratings Cochran’s show tied for fourth place with a 4.5 percent audience share. Continue reading

Robservations: Kathy Hart to guest host ‘Good Day Chicago’

Kathy Hart

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In her first broadcast appearance in five months, Kathy Hart will turn up Wednesday as guest host of “Good Day Chicago,” the morning show on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. It’s not likely she’ll talk about her breakup with 21-year morning partner Eric Ferguson (she’s been under a “no comment” order from her former bosses), but it will be the first time fans will see or hear from Hart since she went on leave from “The Eric & Kathy Show” in late April. Earlier this month Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9 officially dropped her from the show and retitled it “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip.” Hart won’t be a free agent until her contract with The Mix expires in December. Continue reading

Robservations: WYCC gets reprieve to November 24

Juan Salgado

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WYCC

WYCC-Channel 20 will cease broadcast operations November 24 — one month later than announced — while the City Colleges of Chicago public television station pursues a channel sharing agreement with fellow pubcaster WTTW-Channel 11. “Assuming a channel sharing agreement is reached, WYCC will continue to broadcast normally until November 24, 2017, at which time WTTW will assume control of WYCC’s channels and WYCC will no longer broadcast,” Juan Salgado, chancellor of City Colleges, told employees in a letter Friday. “Viewers may see a combination of WYCC and WTTW brands and programming after that date, depending on the final agreement. All such programming . . . will be run out of WTTW’s operations.” WYCC agreed to vacate its frequency after netting $15.9 million in the FCC spectrum auction. Continue reading

Robservations: ‘60 Minutes’ starts ticking for Oprah

Oprah Winfrey (Photo: Oprah Winfrey/Instagram)

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Sunday will mark Oprah Winfrey’s debut as a special contributor to “60 Minutes,” coinciding with the 50th season premiere of the CBS newsmagazine show. Her first segment will examine America’s political divisions through a panel of ideologically opposed citizens, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “At a time when people are so divided, my intention is to bring relevant insight and perspective, to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds,” Winfrey said in a statement announcing her hiring. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended its 25-year syndicated run in Chicago in 2011. Continue reading

Robservations: WYCC signing off the air October 25

WYCC

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WYCC

After 34 years as the City Colleges of Chicago’s public television station, WYCC-Channel 20 will be going off the air. But it’s no surprise. The decision was prompted by the sale of its broadcast license in the FCC spectrum auction in April. Since then, City Colleges has eliminated most of the station’s staff. Ron Schofield, executive director of WYCC, confirmed in a letter to contributors that the station will “cease broadcasting services” on October 25. “Please know that you still have an option for PBS and public media programming and we encourage you to tune to WTTW [Channel 11] and visit wttw.com,” he wrote. Continue reading

Robservations: Broadcast museum celebrates 35th

Bruce DuMont

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Chicago television luminaries gathered Saturday to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The gala fundraiser on the top floor of the museum at 360 North State Street was emceed by Bob Sirott and featured personal tributes from Janet Davies, Judy Hsu, Dick Johnson and Paul Lisnek along with video retrospectives. Museum chairman Larry Wert saluted founder and president Bruce DuMont for his vision and dedication to preserving broadcasting’s legacy. Radio also was well represented at the event, including two National Radio Hall of Famers — Paul Harvey Jr. and Chuck Schaden. Continue reading

Robservations: Weigel buys stations in L.A., St. Louis

Weigel Broadcasting (Photo: Google Maps)

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Weigel Broadcasting

Weigel Broadcasting, Chicago-based owner of WCIU-Channel 26, Me-TV and a host of other Midwest stations and national digital networks, is adding TV stations in Los Angeles and St. Louis to its expanding portfolio. The company this week announced plans to acquire KAZA in L.A. for $9 million from SCTV Inc., and KNLC in St. Louis for $3.75 million from New Life Evangelistic Center. “Weigel was presented with opportunities that will allow us to expand distribution of our networks and other activities,” Norman Shapiro, chairman of the privately held company, told employees in an email. Both deals are pending FCC approval. Last month Weigel picked up KCSG and two low-power stations near Salt Lake City for $1.1 million from West American Finance Corp. Continue reading