Robservations: Ben Hollis feels ‘confident’ about brain surgery

Ben Hollis

Ben Hollis

Robservations on the media beat:

Ben Hollis, the Chicago television treasure who hosted “Wild Chicago” and “Ben Loves Chicago,” among other classic shows, is characteristically upbeat about upcoming brain surgery. Hollis, 61, will undergo procedures Monday and Tuesday for arterial venous malformation, a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. “I want to be open to whatever support the universe has open to me in terms of good will and good wishes,” he told friends on Facebook. “I feel amazingly calm and confident.” Continue reading

Crain’s managing editor to join ESPN’s ‘The Undefeated’

Steve Reiss announced his resignation Tuesday as managing editor of Crain’s Chicago Business to join ESPN for the highly anticipated relaunch of its digital property focusing on sports, race and culture.

Starting in late February, Reiss will serve as deputy editor of The Undefeated, where he will oversee narrative and enterprise reporting for the ESPN spinoff, which had a rocky startup under former top editor Jason Whitlock. Continue reading

Robservations: Connor McKnight on deck for WLS, White Sox

Connor McKnight

Connor McKnight

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago radio sportscaster Connor McKnight is about to sign on with Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890 as host of pre-game and post-game shows for Chicago White Sox baseball. The deal will include appearances on all four of the company’s stations here. “Connor is our guy,” said Peter Bowen, vice president and Chicago market manager of Cumulus Media. “He will play a big role in the rebuild of our legendary property WLS 890 with the White Sox, as well as be our live and local sports insider across the cluster on WKQX, WLUP and WLS FM.” McKnight currently reports sports for Roe Conn’s weekday afternoon show and co-hosts “The Beat” Saturday afternoons on Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720. He joined Tribune Media in 2014 as host on its short-lived FM sports station, The Game, after five years at CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, McKnight was working as a Comcast SportsNet intern when he won The Score’s first “American Idol”-inspired talent search in 2009. Continue reading

ABC 7 meteorologists open Sun-Times weather front

Cheryl Scott and Jerry Taft

Cheryl Scott and Jerry Taft

Chicago television’s continuing weather wars are about to begin a new battle — with Jerry Taft and Cheryl Scott on the front line.

Starting Friday, the Sun-Times will expand its daily weather coverage with a full page of “forecast content” provided by ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and spotlighting Taft, the station’s chief meteorologist, and Scott, the station’s rising star (and heir apparent to Taft).  Continue reading

Cancer surgery to sideline Terri Hemmert

Terri Hemmert (Photo: Abel Uribe)

Terri Hemmert (Photo: Abel Uribe)

Terri Hemmert, the Radio Hall of Famer and revered Chicago broadcasting treasure, said Thursday she’ll be sidelined from WXRT FM 93.1 to deal with cancer surgery and treatment.

Hemmert, 67, now in her 42nd year at the CBS Radio album adult alternative station, told her midday listeners she recently was diagnosed with an early stage of cancer she chose not to specify. After Friday’s show, Hemmert said she expects to be out for four to six weeks. Continue reading

Phoenix exec replaces Zimmerman at CBS Radio Chicago

Rod Zimmerman and Mark Day

Rod Zimmerman and Mark Day

CBS Radio has tapped its market manager from Phoenix to succeed Rod Zimmerman as senior vice president and market manager of the company’s seven-station group here.

Tim Pohlman, who has led the Phoenix market for CBS Radio for six years, was introduced to Chicago staffers Thursday hours after news broke here about the ouster of Zimmerman and Mark Day, vice president and director of sales. No replacement for Day was named. Continue reading

Illinois Public Media taps Niala Boodhoo for new talk show

Niala Boodhoo

Niala Boodhoo

Niala Boodhoo, former host of “The Afternoon Shift” on Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, has been hired as host and executive producer of a new one-hour Monday-through-Friday talk show for downstate Illinois Public Media.

“The 21st” will debut March 14 on WILL in Urbana and WUIS in Springfield, and will be available for simulcast on other public radio stations throughout Illinois. Airing at 11 a.m. weekdays, it also will be accessible via WILL’s streaming services and mobile app. Continue reading

Rod Zimmerman out in management shakeup at CBS Radio Chicago

Rod Zimmerman

Rod Zimmerman

In a stunning management shakeup, the longtime boss of CBS Radio Chicago and his top sales director have been forced out in the wake of revenue declines at the seven-station group they headed, sources confirmed Thursday.

Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio Chicago and a 38-year veteran of the company, was ousted along with Mark Day, vice president and director of sales for CBS Radio Chicago. Continue reading

WLS names co-host for Brant Miller’s morning show

Kim Berk

Kim Berk

Kim Berk, who was one-half of a long-running New York radio team, is about to join Brant Miller’s morning show on Cumulus Media classic hits WLS FM 94.7.

Berk, who debuts Thursday as Miller’s co-host and news anchor, will work from studios at 190 North State Street, while Miller will continue to broadcast from home. Marti Jones will continue as traffic reporter on the show, airing from 5:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Continue reading