Robservations: Michael Ferro celebrates 50th birthday in tronc style

Michael Ferro (Photo: Christopher Michel)

Michael Ferro (Photo: Christopher Michel)

Robservations on the media beat:

Michael Ferro, the Chicago media mogul who turned Tribune Publishing into tronc, celebrated his 50th birthday Thursday night with 200 of his closest friends. (No, I wasn’t there.) For the event he reserved the dining room and outdoor patio at Chicago Cut, the LaSalle Street steakhouse in which Ferro is an investor. Crain’s Chicago Business reported the invitation came in a fancy black box. “Inside the box was another hinged black box with a glass top delivering an early party favor — a shiny gold deck of cards emblazoned with a $100 bill, two rows of gold coins and five gold dice (some of which apparently are covered in real gold foil),” Crains noted. Don’t worry if you haven’t bought Ferro a present yet. His actual birthday isn’t until Sunday. Continue reading

ABC 7 promotes Cheryl Scott to 10 p.m. weather forecaster

Cheryl Scott and Jerry Taft

Cheryl Scott and Jerry Taft

Meteorologist Cheryl Scott will move up to the 10 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscast on WLS-Channel 7, the ABC-owned station announced Wednesday.

Scott, 31, who joined ABC 7 in 2014 after three years as weekend weather forecaster at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, will add the 10 p.m. newscast to her duties, starting August 1. She also will appear on ABC 7′s 4 and 5 p.m. newscasts. Continue reading

Robservations: Website kicks off for love of college football

The Media Guides: Chris Dufresne, Herb Gould and Mark Blaudschun

The Media Guides: Chris Dufresne, Herb Gould and Mark Blaudschun

Robservations on the media beat:

Herb Gould

Herb Gould

Herb Gould, who spent nearly four decades as a sportswriter for the Sun-Times, has teamed up with counterparts from two other cities to launch a subscription website devoted to covering college football in all its glory. Calling themselves The Media Guides, Chris Dufresne, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, Mark Blaudschun, formerly of the Boston Globe, and Gould just unveiled TMGcollegesports.com. The founders aim to provide “well-written and well-informed analysis that is increasingly in short supply at newspapers” along with news and insight on hot topics in the college football world. It’s available for $19.95 for the full season (with an early-bird rate of $14.95). “We’re going to have fun with this,” said Gould, who still contributes to the Sun-Times. “We remember when sports was less of a business and more of a game — and as aging baby boomers, we’re going to do everything we can to keep it that way.” Continue reading

New digital program director joins iHeartMedia Chicago

Ashley Trybula

Ashley Trybula

Ashley Trybula, who once worked as a morning show intern at urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5, is returning to iHeartMedia Chicago as regional digital program director.

Trybula, who most recently was regional online editor for Radio One, will oversee digital content strategy and social media platforms for six iHeartMedia stations here — WGCI, urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7, Top 40 WKSC FM 103.5, adult contemporary WLIT FM 93.9, country WEBG FM 95.5, and gospel WGRB AM 1390. Continue reading

Robservations: After 25 years, Catalyst folds into Chicago Reporter

Catalyst Chicago

Catalyst Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Linda Lenz

Linda Lenz

It’s the end of an era for Catalyst Chicago, the highly influential journal on public education and school reform. This week marks its final edition as a print publication. After 25 years of award-winning reporting, it’s merging with The Chicago Reporter, the investigative news organization focusing on race, poverty and income inequality. Both are funded by the non-profit Community Renewal Society. Once the merger is complete in 2017, the Catalyst brand will be retired, according to a statement from the organization, which added: “Thank you all for reading and supporting Catalyst over the years.” The move coincides with the retirement of veteran journalist Linda Lenz, the founder and publisher of Catalyst Chicago. Continue reading

Robservations: Anthony Ponce quits NBC 5

Anthony Ponce

Anthony Ponce

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago television is about to lose one of its Ponces. Anthony Ponce has resigned as reporter and weekend morning news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 to pursue other opportunities outside of TV news. Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said Ponce’s last day on the air will be July 24. “We appreciate all that he has done over the years,” Whittaker told staffers in a memo. Ponce, who joined the station in 2007, recently was passed over for promotion to weekday morning news anchor after the departure of Stefan Holt. Ponce’s brother, Dan Ponce, continues as morning news anchor at Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9. Their father, Phil Ponce, hosts “Chicago Tonight” on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. Continue reading

Paul Rennie named general manager of ‘Chicago’s Very Own’ WGN

WGN TV

WGN TV

Paul Rennie, a veteran of Tribune Broadcasting stations in Indianapolis and Seattle, has been named president and general manager of WGN-Channel 9, the hometown flagship of Tribune Media in Chicago.

Rennie’s appointment, effective immediately, was announced Tuesday by Larry Wert, Tribune Broadcasting’s president of broadcast media. In addition to “Chicago’s Very Own,” Rennie also will oversee CLTV, the regional cable news channel. Continue reading

Following controversy, Joe Walsh expands radio platform

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Days after he was widely criticized for a series of incendiary tweets attacking President Obama and Black Lives Matter, former Chicago area congressman Joe Walsh has carved out a wider berth for his radio rantings.

Walsh announced Monday the expansion of his self-syndicated radio program to Houston, Indianapolis and Birmingham, Alabama, bringing to seven the number of affiliates for his two-hour weekday talk show. It already has been airing on stations in New York, Phoenix, Denver and Dallas. Continue reading

Harvey, Savage to join Eric & Kathy in National Radio Hall of Fame

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Twelve veteran broadcasters were named 2016 inductees to the National Radio Hall of Fame Sunday, including Chicago personalities Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, and nationally syndicated hosts Steve Harvey and Michael Savage.

All 12 will be inducted November 17 in ceremonies at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast and Communications, which has been home of the national shrine to radio’s top performers and programs since 1991. Continue reading