A humbled Danny Mac: ‘I’m a suspect’

Dan McNeil

Dan McNeil

Moments after Dan McNeil returned to WSCR AM 670 with an extraordinary apology to listeners Friday, the great Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper tweeted that it was “the most honest and self-aware segment you’ll ever hear on the radio.”

Kasper was right. With the possible exception of Steve Dahl, no Chicago radio personality had ever bared his soul as fully as McNeil in confessing his addictions and seeking forgiveness from his audience, telling them: “I know I’ve let a lot of you down.”

Just out of rehab and back after eight weeks away from his midday show on the CBS Radio sports/talk station, McNeil, 52, spoke bluntly about his addiction to prescription narcotics, his dependence on marijuana and his crippling battles with depression. (Read the transcript of his comments below.) Continue reading

ABC 7 reinforces Goudie’s I-Team

Jason Knowles

Jason Knowles

Chuck Goudie’s formidable I-Team at WLS-Channel 7 is about to get some additional firepower.

Jason Knowles, who’s been a general assignment reporter at the ABC-owned station since 2009, is joining Goudie’s unit as a full-time investigative reporter, starting Jan. 20.

“We have been looking forward to having a consumer reporter join the I-Team for several years,” Goudie told me Thursday. “Jason knows his way around Chicago, has experience on the consumer beat and is an avid member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors Association. He makes a great addition to our team.” Continue reading

Radio superstar ‘cared about people’

Larry Lujack (1967 photo)

Larry Lujack (1967 photo)

Larry Lujack would have hated the vast public outpouring of love and affection that followed news of his death Wednesday after a very private, yearlong battle with esophageal cancer.

And he would have hated stories like this that called him one of America’s greatest radio personalities of all time and Chicago’s preeminent disc jockey for the ages.

Because true as it was, that’s not what mattered to him. Continue reading

WBEZ staffers approve union

WBEZEmployees at Chicago Public Media, including reporters, hosts and producers at WBEZ FM 91.5, have agreed to unionize for the first time.

By a 40-7 vote Wednesday, staffers authorized SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) to represent them in negotiating their first contract with the board of nonprofit Chicago Public Media. The election was supervised by the National Labor Relations Board after a petition signed by 39 employees was filed in late September. Continue reading

CSO raises curtain on digital stage

Orchestra Hall (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

Orchestra Hall (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

As an editor at the Sun-Times for more than three decades, Laura Emerick was at the heart of the paper’s coverage of movies, theater, dance and classical music. An old-school journalist in the best sense, she earned the respect and admiration of the paper’s writers and arts critics, including Roger Ebert, who relied on her as his primary editor for 20 years.

But even old-school journalists can learn new tricks, and last August Emerick left the Sun-Times to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association in the newly created position of digital content editor.  Just as the CSO was reinventing its content marketing efforts from top to bottom, Emerick was reinventing herself, too. Continue reading

Changing weather front at ABC 7

Tracy Butler, Jerry Taft, Mike Caplan and Phil Schwarz

Tracy Butler, Jerry Taft, Mike Caplan and Phil Schwarz

After 30 years at WLS-Channel 7, chief meteorologist Jerry Taft remains as solid as ever on Chicago’s top-rated 10 o’clock newscast. At age 70, the former U.S. Air Force combat pilot shows no signs of cutting back.

But whenever that rainy day comes, bosses of the ABC-owned station want to be ready with more than just an umbrella. So they’re turning to a select group of Chicago area viewers to aid in formulating a long-range weather plan. Continue reading