Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago television is about to lose one of its Ponces. Anthony Ponce has resigned as reporter and weekend morning news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 to pursue other opportunities outside of TV news. Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said Ponce’s last day on the air will be July 24. “We appreciate all that he has done over the years,” Whittaker told staffers in a memo. Ponce, who joined the station in 2007, recently was passed over for promotion to weekday morning news anchor after the departure of Stefan Holt. Ponce’s brother, Dan Ponce, continues as morning news anchor at Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9. Their father, Phil Ponce, hosts “Chicago Tonight” on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11.
Steve Bertrand, the veteran news anchor, book critic and midday business show host at Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720, will be out on medical leave for a few weeks after undergoing thoracic surgery. The procedure is intended to ease a strain on Bertrand’s heart and improve his breathing. “I asked my surgeon if I should make peace with my enemies before the operation, and he said there was no need,” Bertrand joked. “So I’ve got that going for me.”
Chicago’s seven iHeartMedia radio stations got good news this week with the collaboration announced between the company’s 24/7 News Network and NBC News. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with NBC News in providing our affiliates and listeners with award-winning news coverage along with the global reach of this powerful news organization,” Chris Berry, senior vice president and general manager of 24/7 News Network, said in a statement. The Chicago stations already receive the 24/7 Newswire, with full newscasts airing on urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7. Berry, who runs the Phoenix-based news operation, spent a decade in Chicago at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780, rising to director of news and programming in the ’90s.
Kevin Matthews, the former Chicago radio star, has just written his first book — an inspirational memoir titled Broken Mary: A Journey of Hope. Set for release July 25 by Beacon Publishing, it will be available on Amazon in Kindle and hardcover editions. The book recounts Matthews’ triumphs and challenges, from his early years in radio and huge success in Chicago (with alter ego Jim Shorts) to his struggle with multiple sclerosis. The title refers to a statue of the Virgin Mary Matthews found next to a dumpster that became a metaphor for his spiritual awakening and repair. Matthews continues to host a weekly podcast for the Steve Dahl Network at dahl.com.
It’s a homecoming for longtime Chicago radio executive Terry Hardin, who’s returning to CBS Radio as general sales manager of Top 40 WBBM FM 96.3. The appointment is effective July 25. Hardin, who most recently was local sales manager of Comcast Spotlight Chicago, previously worked for CBS Radio as general manager of the former WCKG. He also served as general manager of WLIT and WNUA under Clear Channel ownership, and briefly ran WLEY under Spanish Broadcasting System.
Could there be a new radio dynasty in the making? Just hired as integrated marketing specialist for iHeartMedia Markets Group in Las Vegas is Max Dyson. He’s the 23-year-old son of the legendary Marv Dyson, former president and general manager of urban powerhouses WGCI FM 107.5 and V103. Max Dyson, who graduated last December from the University of Missouri, spent two summers as an intern for iHeartMedia Chicago. “The Dyson Radio Era is continuing,” declared his dad.