Robservations: How Chicago magazine scored Blago cover shot

Chicago magazine (October 2017)

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago magazine editor and publisher Susanna Homan calls it “our biggest story of the year,” and that’s no exaggeration. Contributing writer David Bernstein’s exclusive interview with former Governor Rod Blagojevich in Chicago’s October issue includes the first published photo of him in the federal penitentiary in Englewood, Colorado. “The prison wouldn’t allow us to send in a photographer to shoot Blagojevich, so for the cover shot, he went to the prison commissary, rented a camera, and had someone shoot it on the prison grounds,” Homan said. Bernstein began pursuing the interview three years ago with Blago’s lawyer, his wife Patti and ultimately Prisoner 40892-424 himself. Added Homan: “We were surprised at how candid the former governor was in their conversations.” (Here is the link.) Phil Rogers of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 also has a three-part exclusive interview with Blagojevich through Wednesday at 10 p.m. (Here is the link.) NBC 5 will air a half-hour special at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Continue reading

NBC 5 still has a date for New Year’s Eve

Chi-Town Rising (2017)

“Chi-Town Rising,” Chicago’s answer to New York’s Times Square celebration on New Year’s Eve, won’t be back this year. But that isn’t going to stop NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 from ringing in 2018 anyway.

Arena Partners, organizers and promoters of the first two outdoor parties, did not cite a reason for pulling the plug, but sources said the “Chi-Town Rising” events in 2016 and 2017 were not profitable. Continue reading

So long, Kathy: The year that rocked The Mix

Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart in happier days

The dismissal of Kathy Hart last week — and the demise of the phenomenally successful “Eric & Kathy” brand after 21 years on Chicago radio — culminated a tumultuous year for WTMX FM 101.9.

Eric Ferguson, who’s been hosting solo since Hart went on leave from the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station in late April, officially carries on without her now. Continue reading

‘Eric & Kathy’ kaput: The Mix fires Kathy Hart

Kathy Hart

Kathy Hart, one-half of the most successful morning team in Chicago radio history, has been handed her walking papers from WTMX FM 101.9.

Hubbard Radio, owner of the hot adult-contemporary station known as The Mix, announced Thursday that it has severed ties with Hart, who’s been missing since late April from the top-rated morning show she co-hosted for 21 years with Eric Ferguson. Continue reading

Editorial uses Fox 32 staffers to prop up the boss

Dennis Welsh

Dennis Welsh is at it again.

The last time we looked in on the vice president and general manager of WFLD-Channel 32, he was seated on a throne while lecturing viewers about the evils of nepotism in Illinois and Chicago politics.

In his latest editorial on the Fox-owned station, Welsh has a new gimmick: He punctuates his commentary on the state’s “insane unfunded pension debt” with video inserts from seven unidentified taxpayers. (Here is the link.) Continue reading

Museum to bring ‘Saturday Night Live: The Experience’ to Chicago

Saturday Night Live: The Experience

Saturday Night Live: The Experience, an immersive multimedia exhibition taking visitors behind the scenes of the late-night comedy series and celebrating its phenomenal success over more than four decades on NBC, is coming to Chicago.

Steve Martin’s King Tut headdress, Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Robinson cardigan, Dana Carvey’s Church Lady dress, Bill Murray’s lounge singer jacket, the Coneheads, the Killer Bees and many other iconic costumes will be on display along with hundreds of other original sets, props and scripts. Continue reading

Robservations: New podcaster Dan McNeil comes out swinging

Dan McNeil

Robservations on the media beat:

“Dan McNeil: Unsupervised” premiered right on time today. The twice-weekly podcast for Chicago-based Radio Misfits Podcast Network marked the return of the outspoken Chicago radio personality. McNeil minced no words in recounting his ill-fated tenure as morning host at Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV FM 97.1. Calling his former program director at The Drive “Hamster Vomit,” he said of Rob Cressman: “He had no major market experience. It was all flash over substance with this Rob guy. He looked like a hamster and made you want to vomit. . . . This was the first program director I neither respected nor liked.” Cressman declined to comment. Continue reading

Tronc buys New York Daily News

New York Daily News

Chicago-based tronc may have struck out in its bid for the Sun-Times eight weeks ago, but it just picked up a bigger tabloid newspaper in the Big Apple.

In a stop-the-presses surprise that rocked the media world, the owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times has acquired the New York Daily News. The news was first reported late Monday by the New York Times and later confirmed in a press release. Continue reading