Robservations on the media beat:
It’s another dubious ranking of the city’s “most powerful” people from our friends at Chicago magazine. This year they’ve cut the list in half (“The Power 100” is now “The Power 50”). While Rahm Emanuel graces the cover of the March issue, the embattled mayor falls to second place behind Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle (who was No. 8 last year). Once again there’s not a working journalist — print, broadcast or digital — in the bunch, though there are two media moguls: Newsweb Corp. owner Fred Eychaner (No. 36) and newly ensconced Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro (No. 49). “For better or worse, the fate of print journalism in this town rests largely in his hands,” Chicago says of Ferro, whom the magazine once pilloried. Now he’s the publication’s top boss.
Tuesday will mark the last day of full-time work for news anchor and reporter Regine Schlesinger, who’s retiring after more than 42 years at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9. But she won’t be signing off for good. To the delight of countless admirers, Schlesinger will continue anchoring on Sundays and Tuesdays. “It’s great that she’ll still be here on a regular basis,” says Ron Gleason, director of news and programming at WBBM Newsradio. Schlesinger, who began straight out of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 1973, says she’s stepping back to “give younger journalists a chance at the amazing opportunity I’ve enjoyed.”
Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, last heard here on Univision Radio WOJO FM 105.1, is making a comeback on Chicago radio. Starting Monday, his syndicated morning show will air from 8 a.m. to noon weekdays on 97.5 Poder FM via leased translator and HD Radio signal. Launched by Show Time Media, the regional Mexican format replaced 97.5 ESPN Deportes, operated by iHeartMedia Chicago. “I am beyond excited to be back with my friends in Chicago and on the all-new 97.5 Poder FM,” the Radio Hall of Famer said in a statement. “It feels like I’m coming home and I can’t wait to reconnect with my listener family in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Monica Eng and Louisa Chu, who hosted the popular food podcast “Chewing the Fat” at Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, are back together again. Their new weekly podcast, simply called “Chewing,” premiered Friday on iTunes, Soundcloud and other platforms. Eng continues as full-time food and health reporter for WBEZ, while Chu covers food and dining for the Chicago Tribune. “It’s going to be a delicious mash up of WBEZ and Tribune content we are already doing for our main jobs, but that works better as long-form audio,” Eng says. Along with serious reports on science, health and food policy, they’ll continue their “Will She Eat It” segment (where the hosts dare each other to eat strange things), among other treats.
Speaking of podcasts, Garry Meier has announced March 12 as the start date for his return to the microphone. It’s been radio silence for Meier since November 2014 when Tribune Media pulled him off its online stream at wgn.fm and paid him through the remainder of his contract. Before that he was a prominent host on Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720 from April 2009 to May 2014. Meier first publicized plans in December to launch a radio show with former WGN traffic reporter Leslie Keiling as news anchor. “Details coming soon,” Meier told fans last week.
It’s Book No. 12 for George Castle, the veteran Chicago sportswriter and author. Baseball’s Game Changers: Icons, Record Breakers, Scandals, Sensational Series, and More, just published by Lyons Press, expertly explores what Castle considers the 50 most significant turning points and innovations in the game’s history. Among the book’s remarkable illustrations is a 1960 photo of the Cubs’ Ernie Banks and the White Sox’s Nellie Fox (their respective leagues’ 1959 Most Valuable Players) promoting the inauguration of baseball broadcasts in color with WGN announcer Jack Brickhouse. Castle discovered the long-lost original in the archives of an Evanston art gallery and secured permission to use it for his entry about television.