Robinson’s radio roles up in the air

Robin Robinson at WVON

Robin Robinson at WVON

How long can Robin Robinson work as a no-nonsense news anchor on one radio station and as an opinionated talk show host on another? We’ll soon find out.

The Chicago broadcast news veteran started this week as a part-time host on urban news/talk WVON AM 1690. Her “Robin’s Nest” talk show airs from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays under an arrangement that allows her to sell advertising sponsorships, according to Melody Spann-Cooper, president and general manager of the Midway Broadcasting station.

Details of the agreement are still being worked out, Spann-Cooper said, but Robinson has the option to buy the weekly three-hour slot and retain all advertising revenue from it.

Robinson’s debut on WVON closely followed her hiring as a part-time and fill-in news anchor at WBBM AM 780 and WCFS FM 105.9, the CBS Radio all-news station. She has been training overnights on the anchor desk in preparation for regular duties.

“Robin Robinson respects WBBM as the No. 1 station in town and is thrilled with the opportunity,” said Robinson’s agent, Andrew Stroth. “At the same time, Robin has an authentic and natural connection to the African-American community and WVON.”

For now Robinson calls working at both stations “the best of both worlds,” but it remains to be seen whether CBS Radio will regard it as a conflict either journalistically or competitively. Ron Gleason, director of news and programming at WBBM Newsradio, declined to comment on whether the station approved of Robinson’s role on WVON.

While Midway Broadcasting is responsible for programming and sales on WVON, the station’s license is held by iHeartMedia, which owns seven other stations in Chicago.

If Robinson receives an offer to expand her role at WBBM Newsradio, as many expect, Spann-Cooper predicted Robinson would step down from WVON. “I don’t think Robin would jeopardize a stable opportunity with a company like WBBM to do a show on ’VON,” she said. “Her heart may be to do that, but I wouldn’t even want her to. As a business person, I would advise her against that.

“I would love to see her get a full-time gig. Who wouldn’t? She put in a lot of time in the marketplace, her reputation is great, she’s a great brand, and I cannot offer her that opportunity. I don’t have space for Robin in a full-time capacity. So if ’BBM comes along and offers her that kind of opportunity, she won’t have to quit. I’ll let her go. How about that?”

A star news anchor on Chicago television for three decades, Robinson, 57, signed off last year after a 27-year run at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.