Dawn Wells joins MeTV as ‘marketing ambassador’

Dawn Wells

Dawn Wells

Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann on the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” has been hired by MeTV, the Chicago-based network for classic TV, as its first “marketing ambassador.”

In addition to serving as on-camera host for “The Summer of Me,” the network’s upcoming primetime lineup, Wells will appear in commercials and print ads, participate in special events and make personal appearances around the country to promote MeTV, according to an announcement Wednesday by Weigel Broadcasting, the network’s parent company. Continue reading

Public radio rivals team up to boost WDCB, Vocalo

Vocalo studio

Vocalo studio

Although they’re still competitors, the Chicago area’s two public radio broadcasters have agreed to a “creative collaboration” aimed at increasing audiences for both.

Calling it a win for “everyone who loves public radio,” Chicago Public Media (parent company of WBEZ FM 91.5 and Vocalo) and College of DuPage’s WDCB FM 90.9 this week announced a long-term agreement for WDCB to simulcast its jazz and eclectic music format on WRTE FM 90.7. It formalizes an arrangement that’s been in place since late last year. Before that, Chicago Public Media had been using WRTE to simulcast the programming of Vocalo. Continue reading

Robservations: Heat’s on Ferro to make a deal for Tribune Publishing

Michael Ferro

Michael Ferro

Robservations on the media beat:

Pressure is mounting for Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro to negotiate with Gannett on its unsolicited offer to acquire the company. But Tribune continues to push back, calling Gannett’s campaign “misleading and disingenuous,” adding: “Gannett has no path to control for Tribune Publishing and their tactics clearly demonstrate a desperate and opportunistic attempt to steal the company.” On Monday Gannett went directly to Tribune shareholders and urged them to withhold support for Ferro’s slate of board members at the annual meeting June 2. Said Gannett CEO Robert Dickey: “We intend to give Tribune stockholders the opportunity to send a clear message to the Tribune board that its lack of engagement with our board and management team regarding our highly compelling, premium offer for $12.25 per share in cash is unacceptable.” Also on Monday, Reuters reported that Oaktree Capital Group, Tribune’s second largest shareholder, was pressing Ferro to “actively engage with Gannett and other potential buyers to seek a higher price.” Continue reading

Tribune makes a Splash on Sunday

Splash (May 1, 2016)

Splash (May 1, 2016)

Readers of the Chicago Tribune got their first glimpse of Splash over the weekend. At least subscribers who live in certain neighborhoods did.

Sunday marked the first edition of Splash since the glossy lifestyle, celebrity and fashion magazine was acquired last month by Tribune Publishing from Wrapports, parent company of the Sun-Times. It had been a Sunday insert in the Sun-Times since its inception in 2012. Continue reading

WGN’s Nancy Loo ‘back on track’

Nancy Loo (WGN, April 28, 2016)

Nancy Loo (WGN, April 28, 2016)

Nancy Loo was back on the air Thursday one week after the WGN-Channel 9 reporter and fill-in news anchor was hospitalized for a mysterious medical condition.

Loo, 51, disclosed Wednesday that she had been absent from the Tribune Media station since April 21 for treatment of hypothyroidism, which she said had “zapped my metabolism, caused swelling from head to toe, made my voice raspy and my thinking a bit foggy.” Continue reading

Robservations: Joe Soto holding down afternoons on V103

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Robservations on the media beat:

Until a successor is named for the late Doug Banks, look for Joe Soto to continue filling in as afternoon personality on WVAZ FM 102.7. Soto, a Chicago native and 36-year radio veteran, moved up from the evening shift on the iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary station following the death of the legendary syndicated host April 11. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, V103 ranked No. 1 in afternoons among all listeners. A station spokeswoman said a decision on a permanent replacement is still “a few weeks away.” But Soto would appear to be the odds-on favorite (perhaps reuniting with former co-host Ramonski Luv). In the interim, Chris Michaels is filling in from 7 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday. Also at V103, Troi Tyler has traded “The Quiet Storm” on Sunday nights for fill-in duties. Continue reading

Robservations: Gannett bid refigures Chicago media equation

Tribune Tower

Tribune Tower

Robservations on the media beat:

The Michael Ferro era at Tribune Publishing may be over sooner than anyone could have imagined. Just three months after the tech entrepreneur bought his way in as board chairman of the Chicago Tribune parent company, his exit appears inevitable thanks to an $815 million bid for the company from Gannett, made public Monday. If Gannett succeeds, as most analysts predict, gone would be Ferro’s grandiose pronouncements about saving journalism and reinventing news. Gannett likely would replace words with actions — cutting expenses, slashing staff and operating “more efficiently.” Continue reading