Robservations on the media beat:
Monday marks the start of a 4 p.m. weekday newscast on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, increasing NBC 5’s output to 41 hours of local news each week. Marion Brooks will anchor the additional half-hour, with co-anchor duties shared by Rob Stafford and Dick Johnson (similar to the lineup for the 4:30 p.m. newscast). “Our new 4 p.m. newscast will expand our local news commitment and offer our viewers even more of what they’re looking for,” David Doebler, president and general manager of NBC 5, said in a statement. The move, announced last April, puts NBC 5 on equal footing with ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, which long has started its afternoon news block at 4 p.m., and Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9, which added a 4 p.m. newscast in September 2014.
Thanks to Peter Bowen, vice president and Chicago market manager of Cumulus Media, for an early tour of his four stations’ new state-of-the-art studios at NBC Tower, 455 North Cityfront Plaza Drive. The multi-million-dollar buildout features dazzling new digs for news/talk WLS AM 890, classic hits WLS FM 94.7, classic rock WLUP FM 97.9 and alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1, and separate, dedicated studios for Mancow Muller and Jonathon Brandmeier, each equipped with multiple video cameras. It also includes special facilities for Steve Dahl’s radio show, podcast and staff, and a live performance venue able to accommodate a large audience. With nearly two dozen on-air and production studios, there’s more than enough room for future expansion. Cumulus Media’s long-planned relocation from 190 North State Street, already underway, should be completed this week.
Doug Plank, the former Chicago Bears safety, debuts Monday as weekly football analyst on Justin Kaufmann’s evening show on Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720. He joins WGN’s roster of NFL alums, including Dan Hampton, Ed O’Bradovich and Glen Kozlowski, who’ll return to host their three-hour postgame show following every regular season Bears game, starting September 11. “We’ve gathered the most passionate team of football storytellers and story chasers,” Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at WGN, said in a statement. “It’s a collection of personalities for every generation of Bears fans.”
As Moody Bible Institute celebrates the 90th anniversary of Christian broadcasting Moody Radio, its Chicago flagship WMBI FM 90.1 welcomes a new station manager. Matt McNeilly, who most recently was program director and morning co-host at WREH in Miami, signed on August 1 at Moody Radio. He previously managed Christian stations in Chico, California, and Madison, Wisconsin. McNeilly succeeds Roy Patterson, who was named special assistant for community relations to Dr. Paul Nyqvist, president of Moody Global Ministries. “I am very excited to join the team at WMBI,” McNeilly said in a statement. “It is quite an honor to be joining such a legacy in not only Chicago, but Christian radio as a whole.”
Patrick McGroarty has been named deputy bureau chief in Chicago for the Wall Street Journal. He most recently worked in the Africa bureau, where he “covered elections, insurgencies and fallout from the global commodity crash in nearly two dozen countries from Angola to Zimbabwe,” according to Chicago bureau chief Joanna Chung. Also new to the Journal’s bureau here, via Talking Biz News, are reporters Heather Haddon, who previously covered New Jersey politics and earlier worked for the New York Post, and Andrew Tangel, who previously covered transportation and earlier was a national business correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.
Candace Rogers, platform manager and 6 p.m. news producer at NBC 5, resigned Friday after more than 20 years at the station to spend full time with her family. She and her husband, veteran NBC 5 reporter Phil Rogers, are parents of a young daughter. “Over the years, you watched her terrific work in every setting, at 10 p.m., 5 p.m., and most recently at 6,” Phil Rogers told Facebook friends. “From breaking news to sports championship celebrations, she was the steady hand in the control room making it all happen. But best of all, 16 years ago, she became my wife! And today, Candace transitions to full-time mom.” Natalie Templeton, who split 6 p.m. producing duties with her, will be in charge five days a week, according to Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5.