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. Continue reading

New Sun-Times owners promise no union interference

Jorge Ramirez and Edwin Eisendrath

The new owners of the Chicago Sun-Times vowed Thursday to maintain the journalistic integrity of the newspaper without interference from labor unions or other investors.

Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, who will serve as chairman of the Sun-Times, said the unions will not be involved in any coverage of the news nor in the paper’s process of endorsing political candidates. Continue reading

Sun-Times sale — from start to finish

Chicago Sun-Times

An investor group headed by Edwin Eisendrath and a coalition of Chicago labor unions completed the purchase Wednesday of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader. The agreement culminated eight weeks that shook local media and changed the course of Chicago’s history as a two-newspaper town.

Here is a timeline of events leading to the sale, as reported on this blog. To read the full posts, click on the headlines: Continue reading

Done deal: Eisendrath beats tronc to buy Sun-Times, Reader

Chicago Sun-Times

In the end, one man made all the difference.

Edwin Eisendrath, the former Chicago alderman who ran losing campaigns for governor and congressman earlier in his career, just won the most unlikely challenge he’d ever undertaken: He kept the Chicago Sun-Times independent and out of the clutches of Chicago Tribune owner tronc.

“It was bashert,” Eisendrath told me, using the Yiddish word for “destiny.” How else to explain the odds he overcame to make it happen? Continue reading

Robservations: Telemundo Chicago adds weekend newscasts

Noticiero Telemundo Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

In the latest expansion of local Hispanic media, Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 will launch 30-minute newscasts at 5 and 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, starting July 22. Weekend editions of Noticiero Telemundo Chicago will feature news anchor Hernan Fratto, weather anchor Jessica Delgado, sports anchors César Rodríguez (on Saturdays) and Rodrigo Arana (on Sundays), and reporters Angélica Gómez and Jorge DeSantiago. “This local news investment delivers on the commitment we have to our viewers to give them the most up-to-date information across all platforms no matter the day of the week,” David Doebler, president and general manager of Telemundo Chicago and WMAQ-Channel 5, said in a statement. Both stations are owned by NBCUniversal. Rival Univision Chicago WGBO-Channel 66 has been airing local news seven nights a week for years. Continue reading

Kirk tries to allay ‘uncertainty and concern’ at Sun-Times

Jim Kirk

With the future of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader in the balance, anxious employees received a message of support from their boss Tuesday.

One day after a group led by Edwin Eisendrath and a coalition of labor unions secured financing to purchase the publications from Wrapports Holdings LLC, staffers got a pep talk in the form of an email from Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times. Continue reading

Eisendrath confirms cash for Sun-Times deal: ‘I’m truly grateful to everybody’

Chicago Sun-Times

Edwin Eisendrath and a coalition of labor unions made good on their promise to secure funding to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader, the former Chicago alderman confirmed Monday.

With more than $11.2 million placed in escrow, Eisendrath and his group met the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division to complete the transaction with Wrapports Holdings LLC. Continue reading

Robservations: Eisendrath says he’ll ‘close the deal’ for Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Robservations on the media beat:

Edwin Eisendrath

A confident Edwin Eisendrath said Sunday he will make good on his bid to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader, keeping both publications out of the hands of Chicago Tribune owner tronc. Monday is the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division for Eisendrath’s group to secure funding in order to complete the transaction with Wrapports Holdings LLC. “Everybody is committed,” he told me. “I expect us to be able to move forward and close the deal.” Even if the money is in place Monday, however, it’s unclear whether Eisendrath will be able to finalize the full agreement by the end of the day. Backing the effort are unions affiliated with the Chicago Federation of Labor and “less than 15” individual investors, he said. Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, told staffers: “Management and the Wrapports board continue to work hard to make sure that the Sun-Times will thrive under new ownership which has resulted in thorough due diligence on all sides. The top priority is to make sure the company is healthy and able to flourish going forward.” Continue reading