Robservations on the media beat:
Edwin Eisendrath confirmed Sunday that he will submit a formal offer for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader before the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and owner Wrapports Holdings LLC at 5 p.m. Monday. The Chicago Federation of Labor and a consortium of other investors has joined the effort by Eisendrath, an international consultant and former Chicago alderman. With encouragement from the Justice Department, they’re offering an alternative to a plan by Chicago Tribune owner tronc to acquire the daily Sun-Times and weekly Reader, under a letter of intent signed last month. Eisendrath declined to comment further or identify other investors in his group.
The 17th annual Eric & Kathy Charity Golf Outing last Thursday went off without a hitch — and without namesake Kathy Hart. Host Eric Ferguson explained to the crowd at Willow Crest Golf Club that his partner was on “unexpected leave” and had not been heard from, adding: ”There’s nothing we can really say because we don’t know and haven’t been told.” It was the latest wrinkle in Hart’s absence from the top-rated morning show on Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9 since late April. What else is new? Ferguson’s contract gives him every Friday off during the summer — to play golf.
There will be more of Michigan Avenue magazine to go around next year. The upscale monthly will return to publishing eight issues a year in 2018 (after cutting back to six in 2016). The move coincides with the acquisition of parent company GreenGale Publishing by Modern Luxury, owner of CS (Chicago Social). “As we enter our 10th year of publishing Michigan Avenue magazine, we’ll be more competitive than ever,” said publisher Dan Uslan. “I feel fantastic that Modern Luxury is investing back into the brand with increased frequency and more than doubling the size of our team. We’re making magazines great again!”
It’s official: Craig Wall starts Monday on the political beat for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, confirming an earlier report here. Wall, who spent 19 years as a general assignment reporter and substitute news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, replaces Charles Thomas, who retired last February as ABC 7’s political reporter. “I’m thrilled to have a reporter of Craig’s caliber joining our team and continuing our fine legacy of political reporting,” Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director of ABC 7, told staffers in an email. “He’s equally excited to join Eyewitness News and sink his teeth into the political beat.”
Another new face turning up on ABC 7 Monday is Kristin Byrne, who’ll be filling in as morning traffic reporter while Roz Varon is on vacation. (Reporter Diane Pathieu also will continue to fill in for Varon from time to time.) Until last January Byrne had been traffic reporter for WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland. A Miami native and graduate of Florida International University, she previously worked at WBAY, the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Byrne told friends on Facebook: “I’m super excited to work with and learn from the BEST in the business.”
Funeral services will be Tuesday for George Collias, founder and president of Chicago-based Century Broadcasting, which owned radio stations in nine cities. Collias died last Tuesday in north suburban Deerfield at 89. With first partner Howard Grafman, Collias formed Century Broadcasting in 1964 and amassed an empire of major market FM stations. The company’s last station, Chicago’s WPNT (now WSHE FM 100.3), sold for $77 million in 1996. Grafman died in 2016. Collias, a Chicago native and former U.S. Army paratrooper, graduated from Northwestern University and Loyola University School of Law.