Robservations: Rance Crain exits family business

Crain Communications

Robservations on the media beat:

Rance Crain

While Crain’s Chicago Business has been without a publisher since David Snyder resigned last November, the publication’s parent company just underwent a seismic change at the top. Rance Crain last week sold his 50 percent stake in Crain Communications to his brother, Keith Crain, and stepped down as president, editorial director and member of the board. “Now it’s time for me to open another chapter of my life, and I look forward to the challenge and opportunity,” said Rance Crain, a 57-year veteran of the company and the man who created Crain’s Chicago Business in 1978. The move gives Keith Crain and his children full control of the company founded by patriarch G.D. Crain Jr. 101 years ago. The Detroit-based publisher owns 55 business, trade and consumer brands in North America, Europe and Asia.

Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall, the former morning news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, is getting her own daytime talk show. Hall, who resigned last February from MSNBC and NBC News after losing her 9 a.m. “Today” slot to Megyn Kelly, has signed with producer Harvey Weinstein to develop a new series. Confirming the news on Instagram, Hall wrote: “When the right call comes.” Shot in front of a studio audience, the talk show will focus on “current events, human-interest stories and interviews with celebrities and newsmakers,” according to Variety. Hall spent 10 years at Fox 32 before joining NBC News in 2007.

Kimberley Egonmwan

The newest voice on WVON AM 1690 is Kimberley Egonmwan. The Chicago policy attorney and activist won the competition to become a weekly commentator at the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station. She succeeds Maze Jackson, who was promoted to morning host. Egonmwan will make her first appearance as co-host from 6 to 9 a.m. this Monday. Her past radio credits include a production job with “The Wise Guys” Mike North and the late Doug Buffone on CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670.

Maggie Carlo

Maggie Carlo has resigned as a per diem reporter at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 to return to KOCO in Oklahoma City as morning news anchor. She previously worked at the ABC affiliate from 2005 to 2008. Carlo was on her second stint at WGN. After an initial six-year run as an anchor and reporter at WGN and CLTV, she returned in 2016 with the launch of “WGN Morning News” on Saturday and Sunday. “We will miss all of our Chicago friends, but we will be back to visit,” she wrote on Facebook.

WCFL

The acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times by a coalition of labor unions and other investors isn’t the first time the Chicago Federation of Labor has owned a major media outlet here. For 52 years, it was the namesake of WCFL, the “Voice of Labor” in the Midwest. Billed as the first labor owned and operated radio station in the world, the 50,000-watt AM station (now ESPN’s WMVP AM 1000) was founded in 1926. Despite a storied history, including the golden era of Top 40 in the ’60s, the station was sold to Mutual Broadcasting System in 1978. (h/t Alan Mutter and Robert Channick)

Quote of the week: “So when the big guy decided to eat the little guy one more time, we stood up and said no.” — Edwin Eisendrath, CEO of ST Acquisition Holdings LLC, new owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader.

Last week’s heavy rains and flooding knocked two Waukegan radio stations off the air for several days. Alpha Media hot adult-contemporary WXLC FM 102.3 and Spanish sports/talk WKRS AM 1220 had to power down operations after sustaining 8 inches of standing water in their building, which was surrounded by a lake. “We’re Underwater!” they declared. “It is our No. 1 priority to get back on the air and back to serving our community, so we will be working tirelessly to control the damage.”

WXLC/WRKS (Photo: Janelle Rominski)