Robservations on the media beat:
Like everything else at WFLD-Channel 32, even the launch of a new Monday-through-Friday news show is done in stealth. Mum’s the word, but rehearsals have been underway for weeks on a hybrid news-and-talk show set to air at 4 p.m. weekdays on the Fox-owned station. Tentatively titled “Studio 32,” it’ll be fronted by Jeff Herndon and Dawn Hasbrouck, who already anchor Fox 32’s 9 p.m. newscast. Insiders describe the format as heavy on social media and chitchat — and light on news. While awaiting approval for the format from Fox bosses in New York, the station continues to list “TMZ Live” at 4 p.m. on its schedule. So much for debuting in time to counter Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, which starts its expanded afternoon newscast at 4 p.m. on Monday.
Chicago Journalists Association will present its 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award to Terry Savage, the nationally known expert on personal finance and the economy. The former Sun-Times columnist and veteran broadcaster will be saluted at the group’s 75th anniversary dinner October 17 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. Among others honored will be Crain’s Chicago Business political columnist Greg Hinz as Chicago Journalist of the Year and Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Michael Phillips as recipient of the Daniel Pearl Award. Emcee will be David Plier, weekend and fill-in host on WGN AM 720 and CEO of Retail First Corp.
There were a few double-takes over the weekend when folks at Crain’s Chicago Business saw the half-page ad in Saturday’s Chicago Tribune promoting the Trib’s Blue Sky Innovation platform. Over the caption “where innovation meets inspiration” was a photo of several buildings, including most prominently the Crain Communications office tower at 150 North Michigan Avenue. Quipped Crain’s publisher David Snyder: “We’re flattered — and could not agree more with the Trib marketing department.”
Kudos to Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, top-rated morning team on WTMX FM 101.9, on the spectacular success of their 15th annual radiothon Friday for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. In just 14 hours on the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station, they raised $1,403,229.61, bringing their 15-year total to more than $26 million. “Eric and I are blessed to have the best listeners in the world,” Hart said before the duo unveiled the giant check.
Good news for Kurt Hanson’s AccuRadio, which just got a $2.5 million infusion of capital to expand the Chicago-based personalizable online radio service. The Series A venture capital funding came from Los Angeles-based NantWorks LLC. “We see a great opportunity in accelerating AccuRadio’s leadership position by enabling new means of engagement among music-lovers through the AccuRadio platform,” said NantWorks founder Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. For visionary CEO Hanson and chief operating officer John Gehron, it was long awaited. Said Hanson: “We’re delighted to finally be able to bring PR and marketing support to our product. . . . With the help of this funding, we believe we can really take the brand to the next level.”