Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago radio’s favorite morning couple have renewed their pact with their loyal audience. Hubbard Radio Chicago announced Tuesday that Radio Hall of Famers Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart have signed multiyear agreements to continue hosting mornings at hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9. Now in their 20th year at The Mix, Eric & Kathy are still No. 1 among advertiser-coveted 25-to-54-year-old adults. Both are Chicago area natives. “I’m excited to continue to call The Mix and Hubbard Radio home,” Ferguson said. “After so many years of great support, I could never imagine being anywhere else. I’ve been with Drew Horowitz since my first day in Chicago, and getting the opportunity to work for Ginny Morris, Dave Bestler and the entire Hubbard family has been a blessing. Please let them know I’m planning on doing 20 more years.”
Some familiar Chicago voices are now being heard along with Alexa, Amazon’s voice recognition platform. Amazon Echo users who set Chicago as their preference now get updates in “Alexa flash briefings” directly from news anchors at WGN AM 720, the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station. “Our goal is to have WGN in every media eco-system,” said Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at WGN. “I’m just grateful the digital team Larry Wert has assembled is so relentless when it comes to that mission.” Wert oversees WGN as president of broadcast media for Tribune Broadcasting.
Big changes are in the works for Newcity, the venerable alternative weekly arts and public-affairs magazine and website. Editor and publisher Brian Hieggelke is telling friends he plans to announce “an evolution in our format” to coincide with the upcoming 31st anniversary edition of the publication. Hieggelke, who’s been running Newcity since he founded the weekly with his wife Jan in 1986, spent much of last year working on production of “Signature Move,” an indie romantic comedy set in Chicago. The film will make its world premiere this March at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.
Veteran Chicago journalist Tom Corfman, who led coverage of government and politics as assistant managing editor for Crain’s Chicago Business until he was laid off last November, has joined the staff of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas as spokesman. Corfman first joined Crain’s in 1997 and returned in 2006 after six years at the Chicago Tribune, where he covered commercial real estate.
Chicago winters apparently weren’t cold enough for Alexx Dupri, who signed on Monday as morning host at KFAT in Anchorage, Alaska. Most recently heard in San Francisco, the Chicago native worked for iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5 and Top 40 WKSC FM 103.5, and for Crawford Broadcasting urban contemporary WPWX FM 92.3 and urban adult-contemporary WSRB FM 106.3. “I’m so honored to be one of the extremely few women in this industry to lead her own morning radio show,” Dupri said of her new gig. “While I’ve been a morning co-host in both Chicago and San Francisco, this goes beyond taking it to the next level.”
Darlene Hill, “Good Day Chicago” morning news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, is expected back on the air by month’s end, according to station insiders. Hill has been out since before Christmas dealing with an undisclosed health issue. But she hasn’t been completely silent. On January 10 Hill introduced President Barack Obama for his farewell address at McCormick Place.
After 23 years of marriage, it’s splitsville for Allison Rosati, longtime news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, and Dr. Lee Dennis, a diagnostic radiologist. The couple has four children. Rosati joined NBC 5 in 1990 and has been anchoring at 10 p.m. since 1997, making her the longest tenured late-news anchor in Chicago. Efforts to reach Rosati were not successful, and a representative declined to comment.