Robservations: Chicago Public Square marks 5 years; NBC’s Kevin Tibbles retires; Roy Gregory joins River Country

Charlie Meyerson

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago Public Square

It’s been five years since veteran Chicago journalist and digital news innovator Charlie Meyerson launched the free daily email news briefing Chicago Public Square, providing curated links to significant stories of the day. Since then it’s become a must-read every weekday morning for thousands of subscribers. To celebrate the milestone, Meyerson has devised a 50-question, chronological, multiple-choice news quiz, drawing on his more than 1,200 editions of the newsletter. (Here is the link.) Chicago Public Square caps will go to the 10 highest scorers. “This has been a great and rewarding mission for someone who, like me, will always be a newscaster at heart,” Meyerson said of his award-winning enterprise. “I’m tremendously grateful for all the readers who’ve given it their time, attention and financial support.” Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: Lite FM sets record with Christmas music

Mick Lee, Edison the Reindeer, Melissa Forman, Robin Rock and Jim Gronemann

More than 2.5 million listeners in the Chicago area tuned to WLIT 93.9-FM in the final weeks of 2021 as the iHeartMedia adult contemporary station culminated its 21st consecutive year as “The Holiday Lite.”

As expected, Lite FM swept the ratings by a huge margin, according to Nielsen Audio figures released Tuesday for the so-called holiday book, covering the period from December 9 to January 5. Around-the-clock Christmas music began airing November 3. Continue reading

WDCB station manager Dan Bindert keeps the faith with jazz fans

Dan Bindert (Photo: WDCB)

As a mainstay of public radio in the Chicago area for more than two decades, Dan Bindert has worked to keep the sounds of jazz in the air with the passion of a true fan.

Since 2013 he’s been station manager of WDCB 90.9-FM, the noncommercial public station licensed to the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. There he has expanded jazz programming dramatically and championed an array of outdoor jazz concerts, jazz and blues nightclub events and a jazz documentary film series. Continue reading

NBC Chicago News launches around-the-clock streaming channel on Peacock

NBC Chicago News

From the NBC Tower studios of WMAQ-Channel 5 a 24/7 local news streaming channel branded as NBC Chicago News premieres today on Peacock.

Available free to users of the streaming service, the new channel will provide Chicago news, weather, sports, investigative reporting, lifestyle content and storytelling, according to the company. It will feature simulcast and encore news programming, along with breaking news and original content produced by NBC 5. Continue reading

Robservations: Sabrina Franza joins CBS 2; Emily Barr retires from Graham Media; Dan Hampton gets one-year probation

Sabrina Franza

Robservations on the media beat:

Just in from New York, Sabrina Franza has joined CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 as its newest general assignment reporter. “I can’t wait for this next chapter, adventure, challenge,” she wrote on Instagram. “Change is hard but change is good! God is good! Hyped to make a home and to tell stories in this amazing city.” A native of Oceanside, New York, and graduate of New York University, Franza most recently was a reporter for News 12 The Bronx, a cable news service owned by Altice USA. Earlier she worked as an intern for CBS News and a college associate for Fox News. “We’re excited to have an accomplished multi-skilled journalist join the team,” said Jennifer Lyons, president and general manager of CBS 2. Continue reading

Bill ‘BJ’ Jackson 1935-2022

Bill “BJ” Jackson

As the creative genius behind such beloved children’s shows as “Cartoon Town” (aka “The BJ and Dirty Dragon Show”) and “Gigglesnort Hotel,” Bill “BJ” Jackson will always hold a warm spot in the hearts of countless fans who grew up in Chicago in the ’60s and ’70s.

Jackson died Monday at his home in Paso Robles, California, after a recent illness. He was 86.

“He was the most creative and versatile person ever in Chicago kids’ TV and certainly one of the most creative people I have ever known myself,” said Jim Engel, children’s television curator at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications. Continue reading

Chicago Public Media approves ‘historic partnership’ for WBEZ, Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ Chicago

The parent company of public radio station WBEZ 91.5-FM is moving forward on plans to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times — a merger designed to assure survival of the money-losing newspaper while creating one of the nation’s largest nonprofit local news organizations.

The board of Chicago Public Media voted Tuesday to approve the deal, which was first disclosed here in September. The merger is expected to be finalized by January 31. Continue reading

The Mix taps Chris Petlak to replace Eric Ferguson in mornings

Chris Petlak

Chris Petlak, a northwest suburban native who’s been co-hosting afternoons at WTMX 101.9-FM since 2020, is moving to mornings, the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station announced today.

Starting Monday, he’ll join regular contributors Nikki Chuminatto, Brian Paruch and Violeta Podrumedic and executive producer John Swanson on the show, which airs from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays. Continue reading

Chicago media colleagues share fond memories of ‘The Grobber’

Les Grobstein

The death of veteran Chicago radio sportscaster Les Grobstein elicited an outpouring of tributes and recollections from media colleagues Monday.

Grobstein, 69, who died Sunday at his home in Elk Grove Village, was remembered for his five-decade career on the air here, including the last 12 years as overnight host on Audacy sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. He also was remembered for a lot more.

Among hundreds of comments on this blog and various social media platforms, here’s a sampling of reactions from Grobstein’s colleagues: Continue reading

Les Grobstein 1952-2022

Les Grobstein (Photo: 670 The Score)

Les Grobstein, a hometown original whose career as a Chicago radio sportscaster spanned more than 50 years, was known as a hard-working reporter with a phenomenal memory and a loyal following among night owls.

He was found dead Sunday afternoon at his home in Elk Grove Village, according to Mitch Rosen, operations director of WSCR 670-AM, the Audacy sports/talk station where Grobstein hosted overnights. He was 69. Continue reading