Tribune Media communications exec exits under the radar

Christa Robinson

Christa Robinson

While no one was looking, Tribune Media quietly abolished the job of its New York-based chief communications officer.

Christa Robinson, a former CNN corporate communications chief and Clinton White House aide, was hired in November 2013 to help guide senior management through what was called a “transformative” period for Tribune Media.

Her tenure lasted 16 months.

Gary Weitman, senior vice president/corporate relations, confirmed Monday that Robinson’s position had been eliminated and that she left the company more than a month ago. Robinson’s social media pages also reflect her status as former chief communications officer. Continue reading

Karyn Esken joins Tribune Content Agency

Karyn Esken

Karyn Esken

Karyn Esken, former director of Radio Disney Station Group and a highly regarded veteran of Chicago media, has been named vice president for business development at Tribune Content Agency.

In the newly created position, Esken will head sales efforts in traditional markets and will be responsible for developing sponsorships for the rapidly expanding syndication and licensing unit of Tribune Publishing, according to Joyce Winnecke, president of Tribune Content Agency.

The appointment, announced Monday, is effective immediately. Continue reading

J. Fred MacDonald 1941-2015

J. Fred MacDonald

J. Fred MacDonald

J. Fred MacDonald, one of Chicago’s preeminent broadcast historians, is being remembered as an influential teacher, mentor and film archivist.

A professor of history for 27 years at Northeastern Illinois University, MacDonald wrote six books on media history, including One Nation Under Television: The Rise and Decline of Network TV; Blacks and White TV: African Americans in Television Since 1948; Television and the Red Menace: The Video Road to Vietnam; and Don’t Touch That Dial! Radio Programming in American Life from 1920 to 1960. Continue reading

Rahm’s spinmeisters recommend ‘a few reporters’ — and here’s the list

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Shortly before the Chicago mayoral election, the Columbia Journalism Review published a hard-hitting look at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s rocky relations with the local media.

Written by Jackie Spinner, the publication’s Chicago correspondent and an assistant journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago, How Chicago’s press corps is dealing with ‘Washington Rahmrecounted four years of conflict with City Hall reporters. Among those quoted about their difficulties covering Emanuel were reporters Mary Ann Ahern, Laura Washington, Brian Slodysko, Ben Joravsky and Carol Marin and photographer Alex Garcia. Continue reading

WBBM Newsradio hires Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson, who was a star news anchor on Chicago television for three decades, is about to turn up on the city’s top-rated all-news radio station.

The former principal news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 began training this week as a part-time and fill-in anchor at CBS Radio WBBM AM 780 and WCFS FM 105.9. Julie Mann, managing editor of WBBM Newsradio, welcomed Robinson in a memo to the staff Thursday. Continue reading

Tribune makes room for more opinions

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Look for the Chicago Tribune to expand its commentary and opinion section in print and across online and mobile platforms, starting next week.

Tribune editor Gerry Kern announced Thursday the addition of two pages a week to the newspaper’s Perspective section, bringing to four the number of commentary and opinion pages each weekday and five on Sundays. Additional content will be featured on chicagotribune.com/opinion and on the Tribune’s mobile apps. Continue reading

NFL draft draws ‘Mike & Mike’ to town

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic

Coinciding with the first NFL draft in Chicago since 1964, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg will broadcast their ESPN Radio morning show here April 30 and May 1.

They’ll originate their show both days from Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch and the Chicago Sports Museum at Water Tower Place. Doors will open at 4 a.m. for fans to watch the show and gain free access to the museum during both broadcasts. Continue reading

Technical glitch aborts Fox 32 newscast

Larry Yellen and Natalie Bomke

Larry Yellen and Natalie Bomke

Minutes before air time last Saturday, WFLD-Channel 32 canceled its late newscast because of a glitch in an automated operating system, according to multiple sources at the Fox-owned station.

Weekend news anchors Larry Yellen and Natalie Bomke were on the set and ready to go live when the station abruptly aborted the newscast and shifted to entertainment programming. Viewers were given no explanation for the switch. Continue reading

Newcomer Big 95.5 beats US 99.5 in country showdown

Amber "Alabama" Cole

Amber “Alabama” Cole

After only three months on the air, iHeartMedia’s upstart country music station has overtaken CBS Radio’s 33-year country franchise in the latest Chicago radio ratings.

Nielsen Audio figures released Monday show iHeartMedia’s WEBG FM 95.5 beating CBS Radio’s WUSN FM 99.5 among listeners between 25 and 54, the group regarded as most desirable to advertisers. Continue reading