Robservations: WGN leads parade for Cubs celebration

Mark Suppelsa and Micah Materre (WGN, November 4, 2016)

Mark Suppelsa and Micah Materre (WGN, November 4, 2016)

Robservations on the media beat:

Forget that nonsense about “five million people” attending Friday’s parade and rally to celebrate the Chicago Cubs victory in the World Series. Though many in the media were quick to report the city’s estimate as fact, others pointed out how grossly inflated it was, defying both the laws of physics and common sense. (“There’s civic boosterism — and then there’s rank stupidity,” sniffed Poynter’s Jim Warren.) The real number of note Friday was the 5.4 Nielsen rating garnered by Tribune Broadcasting flagship WGN-Channel 9 for its live coverage of the five-hour event. Anchored by Mark Suppelsa and Micah Materre, the hometown independent dominated six other outlets in households and adult demographics. “After decades together, it’s wonderful to see the fan base tune in to follow ‘Chicago’s Very Own’ World Championship Cubs coverage on WGN 9,” said Larry Wert, president of broadcast media for Tribune Broadcasting. (It also may have marked a turning point for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 after decades as the ratings leader for live events and breaking news.) WGN’s entire broadcast is still available on demand at wgntv.com.

Barbara Popovic

Barbara Popovic

After 30 years as executive director of Chicago Access Network Television, Barbara Popovic has announced plans to retire at the end of the year. As head of the independent nonprofit agency, she’s been a guiding force in expanding public participation on cable — free of commercials, filters and censors. CAN TV is celebrating its move to impressive new headquarters in the Illinois Medical District at 1309 South Wood Street. “We’ve fought many a battle to protect this place; it’s nice to be celebrating for a change,” Popovic said, adding: “I’m excited about a new person taking this mission forward.”

Harvey Wells

Harvey Wells

Harvey Wells, the prominent Chicago radio executive who managed numerous stations for CBS Radio, Newsweb Radio and other companies, is headed to Springfield, Illinois. He’s been named general manager of the four-station cluster there owned by Mid-West Family Broadcasting. Starting November 28, Wells will oversee WMAY, WNNS, WUSW and WQLZ. He said he plans to wind down Radio Program Reps LLC, his broadcast consulting service, between now and then. A graduate of Niles East High School in Skokie and Southern Illinois University, Wells began as a weekend overnight disc jockey at WXRT FM 93.1 in 1975 before shifting to sales and management.

Doug Ray

Doug Ray

Paddock Publications, northwest suburban-based owner of the Daily Herald, continued its expansion downstate this week with the acquisition of four weekly newspapers in Virden, Girard, Farmersville and Palmyra and a printing plant in central Illinois. The deal with Gold Nugget Publications, expected to close within the next few weeks, will bring to 16 Paddock’s titles outside the suburban core market. “All this is in keeping with Paddock’s strategic plan to grow the business in new and different ways,” said Doug Ray, publisher and CEO of Daily Herald Media Group. “While we see widespread cuts and general downsizing at newspapers across the country, Paddock’s plan for growth and prudent expense controls have set us apart as an industry success story.”

Renzo Heredia and Maria Esther

Renzo Heredia and Maria Esther

Listeners to Univision Radio WPPN FM 106.7 woke up to a new morning show Monday on the Spanish adult-contemporary station. Replacing the syndicated Alex “El Genio” Lucas from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays is another syndicated show, the duo of Renzo Heredia and Maria Esther. Renzo y Maria Esther is described as “a friendly and positive morning show created to inform, entertain and empower adult audiences and families.” In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, mornings on Amor 106.7 FM tied for 24th with a 1.8 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 229,700.