Mancow drops lawsuit against Loop boss

Erich Mancow Muller

Veteran Chicago radio personality Erich Mancow Muller has dropped the lawsuit he filed against his boss, saying the two had agreed to put past differences behind them and work together amicably.

On his first day back from vacation as morning host at Cumulus Media classic rock WLUP FM 97.9, Muller confirmed Wednesday that he withdrew the suit after meeting last month with Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago. Continue reading

Robservations: WKQX breaks up morning team

Brian Phillips and Lou Lombardo

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s splitsville for Brian Phillips and Lou Lombardo as the morning duo at WKQX FM 101.1. In a realignment at the Cumulus Media alternative rock station, Lombardo has moved to evenings, replacing Josh Marconi, who was cut two weeks ago. Lombardo also assumes Marconi’s former duties as digital content captain. Phillips now hosts mornings solo. Walter Flakus has been renewed as afternoon host, assistant program director and music director. Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago, said the moves were intended “to make us more efficient and effective to maximize our skill sets at each position.” Continue reading

ABC 7 rings in new year with top ratings

Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies

Just as they’ve been doing for 17 years, Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies rang in another New Year with style, humor and their trademark smooch at midnight.

One gag this year had the camera cut away to a test pattern just as the two sexagenarians went in for a lip lock. Another running joke involved the gaudy brooch Davies was wearing. She said it was an iguana, then a fox, but to many tweeters it resembled a rodent. Continue reading

Robservations: Reese Marcusson named acting CEO of WTTW, WFMT

Reese Marcusson

Robservations on the media beat:

Reese Marcusson has been named acting chief executive officer of Window to the World Communications, parent company of public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical music WFMT FM 98.7. James Mabie, chairman of the board of trustees, announced the appointment this week while the board narrows its search for a permanent successor to Dan Schmidt, who retired as president and CEO. Marcusson, 59, joined the company as vice president/controller in 1990 and headed operations and planning before being named executive vice president and chief financial officer in 1998. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2015. Mabie also announced that Renée Weingard has retired after 36 years as assistant to the president and secretary to the board of trustees. Continue reading

Robservations: Ratings soar for Lite FM, 104.3 Jams

Lite FM

Robservations on the media beat:

104.3 Jams

Nonstop Christmas music for the 16th year in a row again paid off for WLIT FM 93.9. The iHeartMedia adult contemporary station shot to the top of the ratings, according to Nielsen Audio figures released Tuesday. Lite FM was No. 1 (up from 11th place) with an 8.5 percent audience share and a cumulative weekly audience of 2,390,700. The other big winner was WBMX FM 104.3 (formerly WJMK), which Entercom switched to a classic hip-hop and R&B format last month. Right out of the box, 104.3 Jams jumped from 18th place to fifth with a 4.4 share and 1,483,200 weekly cume. The latest ratings survey ran from November 9 to December 6. Continue reading

Our top stories: Chicago media in review — 2017

Steve Harvey (Photo: Willy SanJuan)

One last look back at the biggest stories of the year on the Chicago media beat:

After five years in Chicago Steve Harvey packed up his syndicated talk show in May and headed out to Los Angeles. But not before I posted an embarrassing email Harvey had written earlier to his staff, warning them not to approach him. “My security team will stop everyone from standing at my door who have the intent to see or speak to me,” it read in part. “Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly. . . . Do not wait in any hallway to speak to me. I hate being ambushed. Please make an appointment. I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me.” Harvey never apologized for the memo, which immediately went viral and prompted a torrent of tweets mocking him. Headlined the New York Post: “Steve Harvey is pretty much a jerk.” Continue reading

‘Chickenman’ Dick Orkin 1933-2017

Dick Orkin

Over a groundbreaking 68-year career in radio, Dick Orkin was the comic genius behind “Chickenman,” the phenomenally popular serial spoof hatched at Chicago’s WCFL in the 1960s, and later some of the funniest and most memorable commercials ever heard.

Orkin died Sunday in California after suffering a stroke. He was 84. Continue reading