Robservations on the media beat:
The only broadcast outlet for live coverage of Chicago’s 47th annual Pride Parade Sunday will be WCPT AM 820 and WCPT FM 92.5, Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk station. An overlay of this year’s LBGT festivities will be the poignancy of the Orlando nightclub massacre just two weeks ago. Airing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, WCPT’s coverage will be anchored by Ellen Miller, co-host of the station’s weekly “Out Chicago” show, who’ll be joined the first hour by “Out Chicago” host Scott Duff and WCPT afternoon personality Wayne Besen, and later by Robert Cornelius, a member of Poi Dog Pondering (and nephew of the late “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius). “We are the primary station that the gay community looks to,” said Charley Gross, president of Newsweb Radio. “The day after the parade we’re there, and our commitment continues throughout the year.” Newsweb Radio is owned by Fred Eychaner, the Chicago media magnate and prominent contributor to liberal candidates and causes.
For the 13th consecutive year, a one-hour taped special on the Pride Parade will air at 11:30 p.m. Sunday on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. It will be hosted by morning news anchor Terrell Brown and reporter Janet Davies, with Terri Hemmert, midday personality from CBS Radio adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1. Covering the parade street side will be reporter Rob Elgas. “We at ABC 7 take our own special pride in the fact that we’re the first and only television station in Chicago to broadcast the Pride Parade,” said John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7. “Chicago has a vibrant and thriving LGBT community and we think this is a great way to showcase a community that has contributed so much to our city.”
Preceding ABC 7’s parade coverage will be a special edition of “190 North,” featuring a salute to the late Doug Banks, at 11 p.m. Sunday. Banks, who died April 11 at 57, was a longtime contributor to the ABC 7 magazine show as well as a nationally syndicated radio star and top-rated afternoon host on iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7. The tribute is described as a touching look back at Banks’s funny side along with his own reflections on how his role on the ABC 7 show helped him connect to Chicagoans. “We lost our dear friend and colleague this spring but we shared an incredible ride together,” Janet Davies, host and creator of “190 North,” said of Banks. “Whether interviewing a celebrity or exploring a Chicago neighborhood, he always made us laugh and we will never stop missing him.”
It’s full speed ahead at WGN AM 720, where Todd Manley has signed a three-year contract extension as vice president of content at the Tribune Media news/talk station. “Todd makes it fun to come to work every day,” Jimmy de Castro, president and general manager of WGN, said in a statement. “He’s a content musician that drives our incredible spoken word content across a multitude of platforms.” The new deal will keep Manley in the top programming job through the end of 2019. He previously worked at WGN as production/imaging director and creative director from 1998 to 2008, and has been back as deCastro’s right-hand man since 2013. “I’m in awe of the effort our personalities and producers put forth each day,” Manley said. “They’re each driven to make sure WGN listeners never ever miss a story.”
Judie Garcia, a 20-year veteran of Chicago television news, is heading out west. Garcia, who most recently has been a freelance fill-in news anchor at Tribune Media CLTV, told friends she’s moving to Los Angeles at the end of August to live with her fiancé “as we plan our wedding and the rest of our life together.” A Chicago native, Garcia was a news anchor and reporter for ABC 7 starting in 1996 and also worked for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9.
Dave Berner, the Chicago radio newsman, Columbia College associate professor and acclaimed author, has just released his latest book — a novel about a late-night radio host who “dreams of becoming the next great rock ‘n’ roll radio personality.” Published by Cawing Crow Press and set in Berner’s native Pittsburgh, Night Radio is described as “a love letter to music and rock ‘n’ roll radio of the 1970s, the story of an American boy and an American family, and of dreams just out of our reach.” Berner has been a news anchor and reporter at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9 since 2000. He previously worked at the former WMAQ for 12 years.