Robservations: Eisendrath confirms bidding for Sun-Times, Reader today

Chicago Sun-Times

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. Continue reading

Wendy Rice to exit WXRT’s ‘Saturday Morning Flashback’

Wendy Rice

Wendy Rice, the voice of “Saturday Morning Flashback” on WXRT FM 93.1 for more than 30 years, is stepping down from the CBS Radio adult album alternative station. Rice announced at the end of this week’s show that next weekend’s broadcast will be her last.

Airing from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, the program focuses on the music, movies, pop culture and news headlines of a particular year each week. Rice was onboard at its inception in 1985 and was named sole host and producer in 1991. Continue reading

Dawning on The U: Will viewers toast ‘The Jam’ in mornings?

Hosts of “The Jam” (from left): Jordan Cornette, Danielle Robay and Felicia Lawrence

The hosts have been hired, the set is being built and rehearsals are underway on what Weigel Broadcasting promises will be “a whole new fresh take” on morning television for Chicago.

Sometime later this summer — an exact date has not been announced — WCIU-Channel 26 will launch “The Jam,” a live two-hour morning news show with a decidedly youthful, urban edge. It’s the station’s latest effort to draw the 25-to-54 audience and cash in on the advertising bonanza at sunrise. Continue reading

Robservations: NBC 5 hires new anchor from Kansas City

Patrick Fazio

Robservations on the media beat:

WMAQ-Channel 5 has reached out to Kansas City, Missouri, to beef up the anchor bench at the NBC-owned station. Patrick Fazio, who’s been morning news anchor at NBC affiliate KSHB in Kansas City since 2013, will join NBC 5 as an anchor and reporter, starting July 31. His specific anchor assignment has not been set. “We are pleased to add Patrick to our experienced news team,” Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said in an announcement Wednesday. Fazio, a St. Louis native who previously worked for stations in Terre Haute, Indiana, Springfield, Illinois, and Idaho Falls, Idaho, graduated from Valparaiso University and earned a master’s degree from Indiana State University. Continue reading

‘Eric & Kathy’ still No. 1 — even with Kathy out of The Mix

Melissa McGurren, Brian Paruch, Eric Ferguson, Kathy Hart, John Swanson and Cynthia DeNicolo

Chicago radio ratings released Monday raised new questions about whether Kathy Hart will return to the immensely popular morning show she has co-hosted for more than 20 years.

Hart is in the seventh week of her absence from “The Eric & Kathy Show” on Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9 — with no explanation to her partner, Eric Ferguson, their co-workers, or their vast audience of faithful listeners. Repeated requests for comment from Hart have been turned down. Continue reading

One week to go for Sun-Times bidders

Chicago Sun-Times

June 19 — one week from today — is the latest deadline to submit official bids for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader, parent company Wrapports Holdings LLC announced Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division has been working with Wrapports to solicit qualified buyers for the two publications. Otherwise, the company is expected to be acquired by Chicago Tribune owner tronc, according to a letter of intent signed last month. Continue reading

Robservations: Univision to add ‘Digital Edition’ midday newscast

Enrique Rodriguez and Diana Perez

Robservations on the media beat:

Teri Arvesu

Chicago’s first Spanish-language midday newscast is coming to WGBO-Channel 66. Starting June 26, Enrique Rodriguez and Diana Perez will anchor “Edición Digital” (“Digital Edition”) on the Univision Chicago station at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Patterned after the Univision Network’s “Noticiero Univision Edición Digital,” the half-hour newscast will be simulcast on all digital platforms, including live streaming online and on Facebook. “We have the ability to connect daily with almost every Latino in Chicago via one of our platforms,” said Teri Arvesu, vice president and director of content and news for Univision Chicago Local Media. “This show is a direct response to the changing needs and habits of our our audiences. We must evolve with them.” Continue reading

Craig Wall headed to ABC 7 as political reporter

Craig Wall

Veteran Chicago newsman Craig Wall, who signed off last April after 19 years as a general assignment reporter at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, soon will be joining ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as chief political reporter, sources said Thursday.

Wall is expected to replace Charles Thomas, who retired last February after more than 25 years at ABC 7, including the last eight as political reporter for the top-rated station. Thomas most recently has been co-hosting mornings with Maze Jackson on Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk WVON AM 1690. Continue reading

Robservations: ProPublica Illinois adds three more reporters

ProPublica Illinois

Robservations on the media beat:

Mick Dumke

ProPublica Illinois continued to ramp up Wednesday with the hiring of three more reporters. Latest to join the staff of the independent, nonprofit investigative news startup are Mick Dumke, investigative reporter for the Sun-Times, Logan Jaffe, multimedia producer for “Curious City” at Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, and Sandhya Kambhampati, a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow at Correctiv, a nonprofit newsroom in Berlin. “We’re very pleased to have recruited such extraordinary journalists to our news team,” Louise Kiernan, ProPublica Illinois editor-in-chief, said in a statement. “Their depth and breadth of experience will allow us to soon get up to full speed and begin publishing investigative stories of moral force.” Earlier hires include investigative reporters Jodi S. Cohen and Jason Grotto from the Chicago Tribune and David Eads from NPR Visuals. Continue reading