Eric Ferguson to have spinal surgery

Eric Ferguson

Eric Ferguson

Eric Ferguson, Chicago radio’s biggest star, will undergo elective surgery on his spine Friday to relieve numbness in his arms and hands.

One-half of the top-rated morning team of Eric & Kathy on WTMX FM 101.9, Ferguson, 46, said he’d been putting off the procedure for years. “It’s just gotten to a point from a comfort level that I want to get it done and get it over with,” he told me Thursday. Continue reading

Sportscasters bet on restaurant game

Ryan Baker

Ryan Baker

Three Chicago sports anchors are teaming up on a River North restaurant to open in the shadow of the Sun-Times headquarters.

ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com reports Ryan Baker of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, Lou Canellis of Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and Kip Lewis of Comcast SportsNet Chicago are partners in a venture to launch “something between a sports bar and a fancier restaurant” in an 8,000-square-foot space at 414 North Orleans Street. Continue reading

Stop the presses: Layoffs hit Tribune

Tribune TowerNearly 700 layoffs hit Tribune Co. newspapers Wednesday, as CEO Peter Liguori announced a sweeping reorganization of the company’s publishing business, resulting in consolidation of advertising sales, consumer marketing, digital media and other areas.

Sources said the layoffs include about a dozen editorial positions at the Chicago Tribune — although none of those affected will be reporters or photographers. Continue reading

Listen up, Kevheads: Matthews gives voice to WGN.FM

Kevin Matthews

Kevin Matthews

The man of a thousand voices is bringing them all to WGN.FM.

Chicago radio veteran Kevin Matthews is forming a creative alliance with Tribune Broadcasting to serve as the imaging voice and overall spirit of WGN.FM, the online content portal associated with WGN AM 720. Known informally as “The G,” the site is being developed to incorporate audio, video and social media components.

“We really want to give Kevin a fun platform for all of his characters — hopefully to do things he’s never been able to do before,” said Todd Manley, vice president of creative content at WGN. “And he’d done some pretty cool, crazy stuff.” Matthews will work from his home studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Continue reading

NBC 5 research chief ‘thrilled’ to join Tribune Broadcasting

Toni Falvo

Toni Falvo

Toni Falvo, the dean of Chicago television station ratings and research analysts, is joining Tribune Broadcasting as senior vice president of research.

In the newly created position, Falvo will reunite with Larry Wert, president of broadcast media for Tribune Co. The two previously worked together at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, where Falvo has been vice president of research, programming and press. Until he joined Tribune Co. last February, Wert was president and general manager of NBC 5.

Earlier, the two worked together at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, where Falvo was director of research and Wert was local sales manager. Continue reading

Mobile app ‘frees news from the clock’

Charlie Meyerson

Charlie Meyerson

From the old dog/new tricks file today comes Charlie Meyerson, the veteran Chicago radio newsman, digital editor and consultant.

Meyerson is one of the forces behind HearHere Radio, a Chicago-based startup that’s about to launch a mobile app offering customized audio news content.

Billed as an Internet news radio station, H2 Radio will debut next month as a free app on the iPhone, with plans to expand to other platforms, including Android and automotive, in 2014. Its content will originate from studios at 300 West Adams in the Loop. Continue reading

Jacobson’s JFK regret: ‘I wish I had refused’

Walter Jacobson

Walter Jacobson

On the early afternoon of Friday, November 22, 1963, Walter Jacobson, a 26-year-old reporter and news writer for WBBM-Channel 2, was having lunch at the Chicago Press Club in the Hotel St. Clair when his conversation with executive producer Dick Goldberg was interrupted by news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas.

Almost at once, Jacobson, Goldberg and the 25 or 30 other reporters, producers and writers in the room got up and left. Continue reading

Rare break for ABC 7 newcomer

Tanja Babich

Tanja Babich

It seems like Chicago news anchors come and go all the time — except at WLS-Channel 7.

The ABC-owned station is such a bastion of stability that it’s been seven years since anyone from outside joined the anchor team (Ravi Baichwal in 2006), and 10 years since a new anchorwoman was added to the lineup (Karen Jordan in 2003.) Continue reading