Robservations: Fox 32 anchor moves raise questions

Robin Robinson and Darlene Hill

Robservations on the media beat:

The Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists is questioning the termination of two African-American female news anchors at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. Sources said leadership of the group this week called for a meeting with station bosses to discuss the handling of Darlene Hill, whose contract recently was not renewed after 23 years, and Robin Robinson, who was forced out in 2014 after 27 years. At issue is whether they were treated differently than white male counterparts. Dennis Welsh, vice president and general manager of Fox 32, did not respond to a request for comment Monday. There’s been no acknowledgement of Hill’s absence from Fox 32’s “Good Day Chicago” morning show since late September.

Eric Ferguson

All hail Eric Ferguson, king of Chicago radio. Nielsen Audio ratings released Monday show WTMX FM 101.9 No. 1 among all listeners in October, boasting its largest audience share in more than four years. Leading the way at the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station is Ferguson’s morning show, which continues to grow in popularity since longtime co-host Kathy Hart left. (The show has been renamed “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip.”) The Mix also tied for first place in middays with Lisa Allen and afternoons with Kevin “Koz” Koske.

Carol Fowler

Now that Carol Fowler has been named senior vice president of digital news products at the Sun-Times, she’ll set aside her outside businesses. The tech entrepreneur and former Chicago television news exec said Monday she’s stepping away from TheSocReports, the consulting firm she founded in 2015. She’s also turning over KloboMedia, her social media management and strategy agency, to her daughter, Christine Bergjans, and her husband, David Klobucar. “For more than a decade, the Sun-Times and many other newspapers have anxiously watched revenues decline – like air slowly escaping a balloon,” Fowler wrote of her new role. “But working 24/7 as a tech entrepreneur after a career in TV news has given me the needed perspective to tackle the challenge head on.” She previously served as news director of Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and Fox 32.

Linze Rice

Linze Rice, a reporter/producer who covered Chicago’s Far North Side Rogers Park/Edgewater neighborhoods for DNAinfo.com Chicago, has resigned to join River Strategies, a Chicago-based public relations firm headed by Tracy Slutzkin and Hayley Burns. Before joining DNAinfo as a reporter and photographer in 2014, Rice was a writing and social media consultant for Curiosity.com, and editor and publisher of American Chamber of Commerce Resources. She’s a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Mike Adamle

Mike Adamle, the longtime Chicago sports anchor who retired in March from NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, will be inducted in the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He’ll be among the 2017 honorees November 18 at the Westin Chicago River North. Emcees will be Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and New York Mets announcer Wayne Randazzo. For information see niashf.org. Adamle, 68, retired after he was diagnosed with dementia, believed to be the final stage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), resulting from his years as a pro football player.

Mark Jacob

Credit Chicago Tribune metro editor Mark Jacob with tracking down an astonishing video showing Chicago from the air in 1914. The incredibly rare footage was shot from a dirigible as part of an eight-minute tour of the city. Jacob obtained the film from the National Archives and matched it with contemporary scenes shot from a helicopter by Tribune photographers Christopher Walker and Alyssa Pointer. It’s a stunning look at the city a century ago. (Here is the link.)

Monday’s best comment: Dwayne Thomas Wong: Congrats Chris [Fusco]. I know you’ll do well in your new role. It’s good to hear the paper will be led by someone who really cares about doing accurate and balanced journalism.