Robservations on the media beat:
WYCC-Channel 20 will cease broadcast operations November 24 — one month later than announced — while the City Colleges of Chicago public television station pursues a channel sharing agreement with fellow pubcaster WTTW-Channel 11. “Assuming a channel sharing agreement is reached, WYCC will continue to broadcast normally until November 24, 2017, at which time WTTW will assume control of WYCC’s channels and WYCC will no longer broadcast,” Juan Salgado, chancellor of City Colleges, told employees in a letter Friday. “Viewers may see a combination of WYCC and WTTW brands and programming after that date, depending on the final agreement. All such programming . . . will be run out of WTTW’s operations.” WYCC agreed to vacate its frequency after netting $15.9 million in the FCC spectrum auction.
The man who brought White Sox baseball and Bulls basketball to news/talk WLS AM 890, is out. Peter Bowen was released last week after less than three years as vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media Chicago. He also headed classic hits WLS FM 94.7, classic rock WLUP FM 97.9 and alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1. “Peter Bowen has left the company and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” a company spokesperson said. “The open market manager role in Chicago is a priority for us and we are working to find the right leader for this important market as soon as possible.” No comment from Bowen. Until a replacement is named, Dave Milner, executive vice president of operations for Cumulus Media, will oversee the Chicago stations.
Chicago broadcast legend Steve Dahl has signed on for three more years with WLS AM 890. The Radio Hall of Famer will continue to hold forth weekday afternoons with Dag Juhlin and Brendan Greeley. “When I signed with Cumulus in 2014, my dad was passing away in Los Angeles,” Dahl said. “Three years later, Janet and I are expecting our ninth grandchild. Life is a roller coaster, and so is a career in radio. I’m proud of the work Dag, Brendan and I are doing every afternoon for WLS AM 890, and gratified that they like it too. The show is funny, informative and apolitical. We could still use a little marketing, however, so I am currently in negotiations to buy the ‘Kathy’ half of the Eric and Kathy billboards.”
“Local Anesthetic,” the long-running Sunday night showcase for new music and artists from the Chicago area, is being put to sleep. Host and producer Richard Milne announced he’ll close out the series on CBS Radio adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1 with his 26th annual holiday spectacular December 24. “‘Anesthetic’ simply requires more time than I have right now,” he said. “93XRT is letting me wrap things up on my own terms and for that I’m grateful.” Greg Solk, operations manager and program director of WXRT, praised Milne for his “amazingly deep dedication to his show and craft.” Milne will continue hosting Sunday afternoons and filling in during the week, including an expanding role on “Saturday Morning Flashback.”
Astrid Greve Spencer, a former producer at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, has joined Heron Agency as vice president. The Chicago-based firm specializes in public relations, social media, marketing, advertising and events. She most recently worked at KemperLesnik, where she served as a senior account supervisor, and previously worked as a news producer for stations in Ohio, Missouri and Oregon. Greve Spencer holds masters degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Maryland University College, and also studied at the Sorbonne in France.
Colleagues are mourning the passing of Alan Bickley, who was a respected news anchor for 24 years at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780. He was 83. Bickley also was an instructor at DePaul University School for New Learning, where he taught a course he created entitled “Deciphering The News.” Chris Berry, former director of news and programming at WBBM Newsradio, remembered Bickley as “the intellectual in the newsroom — thoughtful and deliberate with a powerful and resonant voice.” A native of Ponca City, Oklahoma, and graduate of the University of Tulsa, Bickley retired to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1993.