Robservations on the media beat:
Paul Webber, who excelled in a number of key programming, production and marketing jobs over 23 years at Hubbard Radio and its predecessor, was among four Chicago staffers cut this week in layoffs at the company. Webber most recently doubled as direct marketing manager for the three-station group and assistant program director of adult contemporary WSHE FM 100.3 and classic rock WDRV FM 97.1. Colleagues say he’s one of the best in the business. Also cut were the jobs of veteran production director John Siuntres, promotions assistant Ryan Williams and graphic designer Bianca Cordova. Jeff England, newly named vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago, said the layoffs were not tied to a revenue shortfall. “We’re always trying to improve how we serve our listeners, our clients, our community, and operational efficiencies mean trying to do it more profitably,” he said. “But I wouldn’t characterize it as a cut because of disappointing revenue results or anything like that.”
Steve Darnall commemorates the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor with a special edition of “Those Were the Days” this weekend. In the pre-television, pre-Internet era, most Americans relied on radio to learn of the bombing on December 7, 1941, marking the country’s entry into World War II. Darnall’s tribute includes commentator H.V. Kaltenborn’s report on the day of the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “Day of Infamy” speech before Congress and the debate that followed, and his “Fireside Chat” later that week. “Those Were the Days” airs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays on College of DuPage’s WDCB FM 90.9 and streams on wdcb.org.
Comedian and South Side native Pat McGann will host the 58th annual Chicago Emmy Awards ceremony Saturday. The glitzy affair at the Chicago Marriott Downtown will stream live on chicagoemmyonline.org. “The Emmy Awards honor broadcast excellence and the people who take the commitment to heart,” said Steve Novak, president of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. “It’s a great showcase for all of the talent that the Chicago/Midwest area has to offer.”
Kudos to Emily Barr, Chicago-based president of Graham Media Group and former president and general manager of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. In its annual honors saluting the finest leaders in local television, Broadcasting & Cable cited Graham Media Group as “Station Group of the Year.” Barr has headed the five-station group, formerly known as Post-Newsweek Stations, since 2012. Earlier this year Barr was inducted into the Silver Circle of the local chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.