Robservations on the media beat:
On the eve of what would have been Walter Cronkite’s 101st birthday, the Decades Network will premiere an original documentary that couldn’t be more timely. “Eye on the World: The Rise of Walter Cronkite and The Evening News” is a masterful account of the legendary anchorman’s career at CBS News, culminating in his acclamation as “The Most Trusted Man in America.” With a wealth of footage from the network’s archive and interviews with colleagues, scholars and admirers (including yours truly), it chronicles a golden era of broadcast journalism before media fragmentation and allegations of “fake news” took hold. The two-hour documentary, produced and directed by Billy Miossi, airs at 7 p.m. Friday (repeated at 7 p.m. Monday) on Decades Network, the digital channel of CBS and Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting. It’s seen here on Comcast Channel 338. Don’t miss it.
Just in time for his induction tonight in the National Radio Hall of Fame, John Records Landecker has released an updated edition of his excellent 2013 autobiography, Records Truly Is My Middle Name. The revised Hall of Fame limited edition features 70 additional photos and four new chapters, including Landecker’s reflections on the business since he quit WLS FM 94.7 in 2015. It’s published by Eckhartz Press, whose co-founder, Rick Kaempfer, served as producer of Landecker’s morning show on WJMK FM 104.3 and co-wrote the book.
How confident is Tribune Media that its sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group will go through? Bruce Karsh has resigned as board chairman — and Tribune Media said it won’t replace him. “Given the overwhelmingly successful shareholder vote and the continued progress being made toward the company’s merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group, now is the right time for me to step down from the board,” Karsh said in a statement. Sinclair’s $3.9 billion deal to acquire the parent company of WGN-Channel 9 and WGN AM 720 is awaiting FCC approval.
Marj Halperin, the strategic communications consultant and political analyst for WGN Morning News, has merged her public relations firm with Chicago-based Hawthorne Strategy Group. “I’ve worked the PR industry from all sides,” Halperin said in a statement. “This diverse experience translates into an emphatically proactive approach to client needs. My work is fully in synch with the Hawthorne brand and I’m thrilled to join the team.” A former deputy press secretary for Mayor Richard M. Daley and president of the League of Chicago Theatres, Halperin also was a reporter for WXRT FM 93.1. She founded Marj Halperin Consulting in 2005.
The latest advertiser to sing the praises of Chicago radio is Arlington Heights auto dealer Bob Rohrman. He’ll appear in a one-minute promotional interview to air simultaneously on more than 40 local radio stations at 4:29 p.m. Tuesday. “Bob Rohrman has been investing in Chicago radio for decades,” Matt Scarano, chairman of Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland committee and president of iHeartMedia Chicago, said in a statement. “Mr. Rohrman’s long-term radio strategy is a testament to the results radio delivers and the role our industry plays in building a powerful brand.”
Wednesday’s best comment: Ken Dietz: Can it get any worse for these stations [WLUP, WKQX, WLS AM, WLS FM]? I suppose the White Sox could help WLS ratings if the team pans out as some say it will with all the young new talent but the Bulls should be a drag for some time to come. I do love the Mancow quote.