Robservations on the media beat:
Even Chicago’s No. 1 television station isn’t immune from industrywide pressures to cut costs. Sources said WLS-Channel 7 has eliminated “about half a dozen” jobs as part of a restructuring and reallocation of resources throughout Disney/ABC Television Group. No full-time anchors or reporters were affected by the layoffs, which were said to involve several departments. Overall the company was reported to have cut between 100 and 200 positions, mostly in non-content and operational areas. John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, could not be reached for comment.
“I’m putting in my two-year notice.” That’s how Tom Joyner phrased it Tuesday when he announced his plan to retire as the culmination of celebrating his 25th year in syndication. He broke the news after confirming that he’d signed a new two-year agreement with Reach Media to host his Dallas-based morning show through December 31, 2019. “It’s been a good ride. But like everything, it comes to an end,” said the Radio Hall of Famer who catapulted to stardom as Chicago’s legendary “Fly Jock” in the 1980s. To the dismay of fans here, Joyner has been off the air in Chicago since June when he was dropped by Crawford Broadcasting urban adult-contemporary WSRB FM 106.3 in favor of Mike Love’s local morning show.
“Saturday Night Live” alums Nora Dunn, Tim Kazurinsky, Tim Meadows, Julia Sweeney and Michael McCarthy are expected to attend the gala opening party Friday of Saturday Night Live: The Experience! at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the museum and the Murray Bros. Foundation helping first responders. The 12,000 square foot exhibit opens to the public Saturday, featuring more than 500 authentic artifacts, including iconic costumes, original sets, props and scripts. It chronicles the history of the show while taking visitors through a typically hectic weekly schedule.
Newest studio analyst at NBC Sports Chicago is former Chicago Bulls great Horace Grant. According to an announcement Tuesday, he’ll join host Mark Schanowski and former Bulls Kendall Gill and Will Perdue on the network’s “Bulls Pre/Postgame Live” team for a number of select games this season. Grant, a 17-year veteran of the NBA, played a key role in the Bulls’ Threepeat Championship run from 1991 to 1993. The Bulls open the 2017-18 season Thursday against the Toronto Raptors with expanded, day-long multi-platform coverage on NBC Sports Chicago.
Coming home to join ABC 7 as a per diem reporter is Megan Hickey, who most recently was a reporter for WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland. She replaces Laura Podesta, who’s leaving this week to accept a job at CBS NewsPath in New York. Hickey, a Hinsdale native and graduate of Georgetown University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, earlier worked for WNDU, the NBC affiliate in South Bend, Indiana.
Tuesday’s best comment: Matt McGill: Darlene Hill should be on tv in Chicago. Trust in news is all about relationship building, she has done that over the years. Diversity in media should be valued considering how racially nuanced our news stories are these days. When you consider the news impact of the upcoming elections in the next couple of years, her experience would be an asset to any news organization.