Robservations on the media beat:
Good news: Shia Kapos, one of Chicago’s premier journalists on the celebrity beat, is bringing her newsy “Taking Names” column to the Sun-Times, where it will run twice a week, starting June 20. The move will coincide with the launch of her independent blog, also called “Taking Names.” Content for Kapos’s print column will be aggregated from her blog posts, according to Jim Kirk, publisher and editor of the Sun-Times. “It will be personality-driven,” Kapos said of her new blog and column. “I’ll be looking at what people do away from the office. You’re going to see more stories about the intersection of business and politics . . . and more scoops.” Until last March, Kapos was a fixture at Crain’s Chicago Business, where she spent 10 years as senior reporter and columnist. Before that she was Midwest correspondent for People magazine, staff reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a contributor to the New York Times.
All journalists working for the company soon to be known as tronc will be getting raises. That was one of the messages from Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro in a head-scratching interview Monday on CNBC. “When we came in, the first thing we did as a team is we’ve taken out 20 million of costs,” he said. “We’re going to take out almost 50 million this year of costs while raising journalists’ salaries. That’s been announced across the board.” What Ferro didn’t say was how many journalists would be laid off to achieve those projected savings before the raises kick in. Ferro also defended changing the corporate name to tronc, saying: “In fact, we don’t even own the Tribune Publishing name. We have a license to it [from Tribune Media], but we can’t use the name Tribune. I’ve been reading [about it] a lot. It’s been fun to read the Twitter feeds. . . . Most people don’t know this, but we can’t use the name [Tribune].”
Two new signature voices have been added to CBS Radio stations in Chicago. Chris Corley, known for countless movie trailers and commercials, has been hired as the promotion and imaging voice of Top 40 WBBM FM 96.3. Based in Fort Myers, Florida, he replaces Dave Kampel, who joined B96 from competitor Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia) in 2009. Also adding its first outside promotion and imaging voice is adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1. He’s Steve Stone (no, not the baseball broadcaster), a busy voiceover specialist from Pittsburgh.
Jerry Rose, a Christian broadcasting pioneer who put Chicago’s WCFC-Channel 38 (now WCPX) on the air in 1976 and ran the Total Living Network here, has stepped down as president and CEO of Total Living International after four decades of television ministry. Rose, 74, will continue as the company’s board chairman and as host of his weekly interview show “Significant Insights.” In 1999 Rose was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
It’s a reunion for Big John Howell, morning host at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890, and his former technical producer at WIND AM 560. Bryan Biggs, who last worked with Howell at the Salem Media news/talk station, has been hired as executive producer of Howell’s morning show at WLS, starting June 13. Biggs, who also worked as executive producer for Steve Cochran and Joe Walsh at WIND, exited the station last October. Since then he has been working weekends as a part-time assistant producer for CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9.