Robservations on the media beat:
It was hardly a surprise that Garry Meier was missing from The Loop’s four-hour star-studded send-off Friday, hosted by Steve Dahl and simulcast on Cumulus Media’s WLUP FM 97.9 and WLS AM 890. Dahl told listeners he made numerous efforts to get Meier to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime broadcast. Although it’s been 25 years since the breakup of Steve & Garry, Meier apparently remains as bitter and angry as ever. (Here is the link to Dahl’s show.) What was a surprise was that Meier backed out of a well-publicized agreement to appear on David Plier’s tribute to The Loop early Sunday morning on Tribune Broadcasting’s WGN AM 720. A couple of hours before the taping, Meier texted Plier that he was canceling, Plier said. (Here is the link to Plier’s show.) Meier could not be reached for comment.
History will note the final song that aired on The Loop Friday night was AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” just as Steve Dahl suggested. That was preceded by Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” and Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast.” Cumulus moved up the hand-off to Educational Media Foundation, which launched its K-Love Christian music format straight up at midnight — 24 hours earlier than announced.
Mary Datcher was terminated as managing editor of the Chicago Defender last week after it was reported that she received a $10,000 payment from Dilara Sayeed, a Democratic candidate for the Illinois House. One day after the payment was made to Datcher’s marketing company, the Defender published a positive story about Sayeed’s campaign, according to the Chicago Crusader. Calling Datcher’s action a “violation of company policy and procedures,” the Defender said in a statement: “It is imperative that we maintain the highest level of integrity and credibility.” Datcher denied wrongdoing, saying: “The Dilara Sayeed campaign retained my services outside and separate from my duties as managing editor at the Chicago Defender to provide field marketing work for two months. . . . I stand firmly on my reputation and creditability [sic] in this business for nearly 30 years.”
Four months after WBMX FM 104.3 signed on, the Entercom classic hip-hop and R&B station just hired its first full-time on-air personality. Joining 104.3 Jams as host from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday is Julian Jumpin Perez, a veteran of Entercom Top 40 WBBM FM 96.3 in the ’90s and a founding member of the B96 Street Mix. He also was a member of the Hot Mix Five on the original WBMX in the ’80s. Perez starts the evening shift Thursday, according to music director Erik Bradley. Additional talent will be announced in the coming weeks. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, 104.3 Jams ranked No. 1 in the 25-to-54 demographic and other key demos.
Also at 104.3 Jams, Leti Aguilera, former vice president and general manager of Spanish Broadcasting System’s regional Mexican WLEY FM 107.9, has been hired as an account executive. It’s a return to the station group for Aguilera, who previously worked as an account exec at B96. Before she was named general manager of La Ley in 2015, Aguilera was local sales manager and director of marketing and promotion. Aguilera began as a promotions and morning show assistant at iHeartMedia Top 40 WKSC FM 103.5.
The historic rivalry between the basketball teams of Marshall High School on Chicago’s West Side and New Trier High School on the North Shore in the ’60s is the subject of a new documentary from Weigel Broadcasting. Narrated by longtime Chicago sportscaster and New Trier alum Chet Coppock, “GameChangers” reunites players from the 1965 and 1966 teams and features 8mm film footage of the super-sectional playoff matchups in Evanston. It will premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday on The U Too, a digital subchannel of Weigel’s WCIU-Channel 26. “This story is unique in many ways, as it is rare to bring two teams back together 50 years to the day after a contentious rivalry,” said filmmaker Joe Dondanville. “What has transpired over the last couple of years while we were making this film is nothing short of magical.”
Friday’s best comment: P.J. Bednarski: Has there been anyone in the history of Chicago media who has done more to cause unhappiness to media consumers than Randy Michaels? If you look at his hand in ruining Chicago radio AND the Tribune, the damage has been stunning. Financially. Creatively. Artistically. He cost good people their jobs. He has been a one-man crusader for dumbing-down Chicago media.