CBS 2 news director Jeff Kiernan bails out for Milwaukee

Jeff Kiernan

It’s back to Milwaukee for Jeff Kiernan after nine years of dismal ratings as vice president and news director at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.

Kiernan announced Thursday that he’s leaving to rejoin WTMJ, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, as senior director of local content. A graduate of Marquette University, Kiernan began his career in radio news in Milwaukee and joined WTMJ in 1990, where he rose from news assignment manager to news director during 13 years there. Continue reading

Robservations: Tribune layoffs cost White Sox, Blackhawks coverage

Chicago Tribune (Photo: Stephen Battaglio)

Robservations on the media beat:

If you’re wondering how the Chicago Tribune will continue to cover the White Sox and the Blackhawks without dedicated beat writers, you’re not alone. As part of the latest wave of editorial job cuts at the newspaper, the layoffs of sportswriters Chris Kuc and Paul Skrbina leave the two teams without a full-time Tribune reporter assigned to travel with them. So what’s the plan? I tried to ask Tribune managing editor Peter Kendall, associate managing editor for sports Joe Knowles, and sports editor Tim Bannon, but couldn’t get an answer. I did receive this statement from a tronc spokesperson: “The Chicago Tribune is fully committed to covering the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Blackhawks. We value and understand the importance of covering sports both for fans and our readers.” Hope that clears everything up. Continue reading

Robservations: It’s home on the radio for Dr. Laura Berman

Dr. Laura Berman

Robservations on the media beat:

Dr. Laura Berman, Chicago’s famed love, sex and relationships expert, has just landed a suburban outlet for her syndicated radio show. “Uncovered with Dr. Laura Berman” debuted this week from 9 p.m. to midnight weeknights on Waukegan-based WXLC FM 102.3, the Alpha Media hot adult-contemporary station. “Chicago has been my home and where I’ve raised my family for 15 years,” she said in a statement. “I am beyond thrilled about joining the WXLC family to bring my best voice and my best advice about love and relationships to my hometown.” Continue reading

Robservations: Michael Ferro exits tronc ahead of sexual misconduct claims

Michael Ferro (Photo: Christopher Michel)

Robservations on the media beat:

#MeToo, Michael? Now we know the real reason Michael Ferro retired Monday as chairman of tronc, parent company of the Chicago Tribune. Hours after his announcement, Fortune published allegations by two female entrepreneurs that Ferro had made inappropriate sexual advances toward them. (Here is the link.) Fortune also quoted former Sun-Times staffers who recalled Ferro making “sexual comments about women’s clothing and appearance” during the time he owned the paper. For a man who had done so much to undermine two Chicago news organizations (including the elimination of more than 1,125 newspaper jobs companywide in the last two years), it seemed fitting that Ferro would be brought down by the power of journalism. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: ‘Me-TV FM’ hits it bigger than ever


Days after parent company iHeartMedia filed for bankruptcy protection, urban adult-contemporary powerhouse WVAZ FM 102.7 remained firmly entrenched as the top-rated radio station in the Chicago area.

But far bigger news in the Nielsen Audio survey released Monday was the growth of Weigel Broadcasting’s WRME FM 87.7, the soft-rock oldies station known as Me-TV FM. Jumping from 21st place to sixth in one month, it delivered its highest total audience share ever. In middays the station ranked No. 2 overall — behind only V103. Continue reading

Robservations: Tronc execs get richer while Tribune cuts staff

Tribune Tower

Robservations on the media beat:

Chris Kuc

One day after the Chicago Tribune axed a dozen journalists, parent company tronc disclosed raises and bonuses for chief executive officer Justin Dearborn and chief financial officer Terry Jimenez. The notice in the company’s annual report Friday followed the award of a $15 million consulting contract to Merrick Ventures, another company owned by tronc chairman Michael Ferro. Tronc still won’t confirm the names (or even the number) of Tribune employees who lost their jobs Thursday. But sources said there were 12, including sports writer Chris Kuc, who tweeted that he learned his fate while covering a team on the road. Kuc, the son of veteran Chicago sportscaster Jerry Kuc, began working at the Tribune while in high school at Hinsdale South. Among others laid off were Washington correspondent Kathy Skiba, education reporter Diane Rado, artist Phil Geib, visual editor Michael Zajakowski, and copy editors Jason Morris and Mark Misulonas. Continue reading

Robservations: TV news goes live with NU false alarm

Chuck Goudie, March 14, 2018 (Photo: ABC 7)

Robservations on the media beat:

Northwestern University tweet

Chicago television stations broke into their regular afternoon programming Wednesday for live coverage of the lockdown at Northwestern University. It began after Evanston police received a call about a shooting at a graduate residence hall and dispatched a SWAT team to search the campus. With their helicopters in the air, TV newsrooms augmented sketchy reports with calls from NU students and staff members, who vividly described their experiences during the harrowing two-hour ordeal. One Medill senior told NBC 5’s Dick Johnson she had “confirmed information” that shots were fired in the area. To his credit, ABC 7’s Chuck Goudie raised serious doubts early on about whether there was any gunman at all. By 4:30 p.m., police determined there was no shooter and the initial call was a hoax. Continue reading