McReynolds sports ‘positive attitude’

Kenny McReynolds

Kenny McReynolds

Thirty-five years as a sportscaster in Chicago have taught Kenny McReynolds a thing or two about overcoming obstacles on and off the field. They’re valuable lessons as he faces serious health issues of his own.

McReynolds, veteran sports director and host of a weekly talk show for Weigel Broadcasting, has been on the disabled list since May. Last weekend, he missed the first season opener of Chicago high school football in nearly 15 years on the sports beat for Weigel’s stations. Continue reading

Cochran defies odds with WGN comeback

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran

When Steve Cochran was unceremoniously dumped after 10 years at WGN AM 720 in 2010, he made no secret of his contempt for the station’s Tribune Co. bosses, calling them “the worst kind of management” and lambasting them by name.

After that, the chances of Cochran ever being allowed to set foot in Tribune Tower again — much less work for the news/talk station he labeled a disaster — were pretty close to zero.

Fast forward to today and Cochran, 52, is not only happily ensconced as WGN’s morning personality, but he’s a major figure in the management team that’s remaking the station from top to bottom. “Imagine the money you could have made if Vegas had taken bets on that,” the Chicago radio veteran told me Sunday. Continue reading

Eric & Kathy win radio’s top honor

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, the most successful morning team in Chicago radio history, just took home their industry’s highest honor.

The top-rated stars of hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9 were named Major Market Personalities of the Year in the 2013 Marconi Radio Awards. Both were on hand to receive the award Thursday at the National Association of Broadcasters’ Radio Show in Orlando. Continue reading

WLS newcomer Jacobson: ‘Radio is a pleasure’

Walter Jacobson

Walter Jacobson

Tracy Slutzkin started her career as an intern for Walter Jacobson at Fox Chicago. Now she’s his boss at WLS AM 890.

As program director of the Cumulus Media news/talk station, Slutzkin officially welcomed Jacobson to his new job as a commentator Thursday. “We look forward to Walter Jacobson bringing his unique ‘perspective’ on Chicago to 89 WLS,” she said. “We are thrilled to have the legendary newsman joining our team.”

Jacobson’s “Perspective” commentaries will air at 9:56 a.m. Thursdays during John Kass and Lauren Cohn’s show as part of a commercial endorsement agreement with Hartland Mortgage Centers. At the end of each commentary, Jacobson reads an ad for the company’s reverse mortgages. Continue reading

Ratings cast shadow over ABC 7’s morning glory

Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner

Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner

For more than 25 years, the sun rose over WLS-Channel 7. But now the ABC-owned station’s dominance of Chicago viewership from dawn to high noon may be slipping away.

“ABC 7 News This Morning” has fallen out of first place from 5 to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday in overall audience and, more significantly, among adults between 25 and 54. In addition, the move earlier this month of “Windy City Live” to 11 a.m. in order to make room for “Live with Kelly and Michael” at 9 a.m. has cost the station viewership in both time periods. Continue reading

Reality show removes ‘the Mancow mask’

Mancow Muller

Mancow Muller

The season finale of Mancow Muller’s reality show airs at 9 tonight on the History Channel. Plans for a second season of the breakout hit are already in the works.

In case you’ve missed it (or never knew it existed) “God, Guns and Automobiles” has been airing weekly since July. It fits right in on the channel once known for serious documentaries but now the home of “Pawn Stars,” “Ice Road Truckers,” “Top Gear” and similar fare.

“God, Guns and Automobiles” revolves around the Muller brothers — Mark, a retired entrepreneur and consultant from Kansas City, and younger brother Erich, familiar to Chicago radio listeners as the provocateur Mancow. Together they own an auto dealership in rural Butler, Missouri (population 4,209). Mark plays the heartland version of a good ol’ boy who runs the business, and Mancow is the urban hot shot who hangs around a lot. Continue reading

TV’s original Svengoolie, Jerry G. Bishop: ‘A great, great talent’

Jerry G. Bishop as Svengoolie

Jerry G. Bishop as Svengoolie

Jerry G. Bishop traveled the country with the Beatles, worked as a major market radio and television personality over five decades, and created the original character of Svengoolie out of his fertile imagination.

But he always considered himself a Chicago kid at heart, proud of his roots in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. He even modeled his two restaurants in San Diego after his favorite hometown dining spots.

Word that Bishop died Sunday at 77 evoked memories of his unforgettable run as morning star of the former WCFL during the golden era of Top 40 radio in the ’60s.  “He was a great, great talent,” Bob Sirott recalled. “Those WCFL shows he did were very clever.” Continue reading

Will CBS 2 mornings fall into place?

Marissa Bailey

Marissa Bailey

As WBBM-Channel 2 prepares to boost to its Sunday morning newscast to two hours, the CBS-owned station enters the fall season without a permanent anchor team in place on its Monday-through-Friday morning lineup.

It’s been four months since Susan Carlson was cut from the 4:30-to-7 a.m. weekday newscast, leaving weekend anchor Marissa Bailey and midday anchor Roseanne Tellez to fill in alongside co-anchor Kris Gutierrez. CBS 2 bosses never cited a reason for dropping Carlson after 10 years at the station, but their delay in naming a replacement suggests they had no plan other than to save money. Continue reading

Journalists to honor fired Sun-Times photogs

JohnHWhite

(Correction: The original version of this post contained an incorrect age for Ann Gerber. I regret the error and apologize for the mistake.)

The 29 photographers who were fired by the Sun-Times last spring will be honored as Chicago Journalists of the Year by the Chicago Journalists Association.

The group also will present longtime Chicago gossip columnist Ann Gerber with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its 74th annual awards dinner Sept. 27.

In a move that was widely condemned, Wrapports LLC, parent company of the Sun-Times and its sister publications, laid off its entire photography department on May 30. Senior among them was Pulitzer Prize winner John H. White, a 44-year veteran of the paper. Sun-Times reporters were directed to begin mandatory training on “iPhone photography basics.” Continue reading