Robservations on the media beat:
Tina Sfondeles, a general assignment reporter at the Sun-Times, will be promoted Thursday to full-time political reporter for the paper. Her new role essentially consolidates the duties formerly held by political writers Natasha Korecki, who left for politico.com, and Dave McKinney, who resigned in protest and works for the Midwest bureau of Thomson Reuters. Before joining the Sun-Times in 2007, Sfondeles was a news writer at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780 and a production assistant for “The Steve Dahl Show.” She’s a graduate of Lemont High School and holds degrees from Loyola University and Columbia College.
The original “American Top 40,” the phenomenally popular countdown show created and hosted by Casey Kasem, is coming to WLS FM 94.7. Starting this weekend, it will air from 8 to 11 p.m. Sundays on the Cumulus Media classic hits station. Kasem, who hosted the show from 1970 to 1988 and again from 1998 to 2004, died in 2014. Meanwhile, still no word on a start date for “The Ultimate Party with Tom Kent,” which was to have aired from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturdays on WLS FM. Technical issues have delayed the debut of the live syndicated show from Cleveland.
The man who wrote the book on WKQX FM 101.1 is about to get his own weekly show on the Cumulus Media alternative rock station. Veteran Chicago broadcaster James VanOsdol will host “Demo 312” at 9 p.m. Sundays, starting May 1. The new one-hour show will spotlight the music of Chicago alternative bands, including interviews with artists. VanOsdol, who worked at the old Q101 earlier in his career, continues as newsroom program manager at Rivet News Radio, and also hosts “Car con Carne,” a weekly food podcast recorded in the front seat of his Mazda 3.
Another weekly showcase for Chicago bands is about to mark a milestone. Richard Milne’s “Local Anesthetic,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Sundays on CBS Radio adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1, will celebrate its 25th anniversary April 17. Milne, who’s been a weekend and fill-in personality at the station since 1986, created “Local Anesthetic” in April 1991. In the quarter-century since, there’s never been a substitute host on the show. “That’s a streak unto itself,” he said.
The most successful podcast series of all time just ran into a problem with its own name. “Serial,” hosted by Sarah Koenig and produced by the creators of “This American Life” in collaboration with Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, has been denied a trademark registration. Tom Taylor Now reported that the title “Serial” is simply too generic, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “In the applicant’s industry, a serial is the generic name for an audio program that is broadcast in separate parts over a period of time,” the agency ruled. “Businesses and competitors should be free to use generic language when describing their own goods and/or services to the public.” A lawyer for the show told Law360 the podcast producer would “continue its efforts to protect the ‘Serial’ mark” and would appeal the ruling.