Robservations on the media beat:
Anthony Ponce, who quit his job as reporter and weekend morning anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 to become a Lyft driver, is returning to TV news. He’s joining Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, where he’ll anchor “Good Day Chicago” from 4 to 6 a.m. weekdays with Natalie Bomke. Ponce left NBC 5 in 2016 to launch “Backseat Rider,” a podcast in which he interviews his Lyft passengers. He’ll continue to host the podcast and use segments from it on “Good Day Chicago.” A graduate of Indiana University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Ponce will be competing against his brother, Dan Ponce, who’s morning news anchor at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. Their father, Phil Ponce, hosts “Chicago Tonight” on public television WTTW-Channel 11.
Look for Dan McNeil to return to weekday afternoons on WSCR AM 670 as part of a major program realignment to be announced this week at the Entercom sports/talk station. Since January, the Chicago sports radio veteran has been back at The Score hosting a Sunday morning show. He last worked there full-time in 2014 when he chose not to renew his contract. Jason Goff, who has been co-hosting afternoons on The Score with Dan Bernstein, has been sidelined for now. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, The Score tied for 19th in afternoons with a 2.4 percent audience share.
Insiders at WBBM-Channel 2 say they were stunned by the announcement Monday that Marty Wilke was retiring from the top job at the CBS-owned station. Now they’re wondering who will succeed the station’s first female president and general manager, and how much authority the new boss will have to shake things up. Although CBS 2 expanded news by six hours a week under Wilke, it never came close to being competitive in the ratings. Jeff Kiernan continues as vice president and news director — a post he’s held for more than nine years.
Longtime Chicago journalist Andrew Herrmann has been hired as communications director for Friends of the Chicago River, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving and protecting the river system for people, plants and animals. Herrmann, who most recently was a senior editor for DNAinfo.com Chicago, spent 28 years at the Sun-Times, including three years as managing editor. “Thrilled to be joining a great group with such an important ecological mission, particularly at this critical time for the environment,” Herrmann said of his new role.
Monday’s best comment: Mick Kahler: Garry Meier is a man without a radio station, without an audience and without a clue. For years now he’s painted himself into a very unlikeable corner. I don’t know how one returns to anyone’s good graces after acting like a petulant child for so many years. On a side note, does he still have a podcast? If so, is anyone tuned into it?