Robservations on the media beat:
Brian Peck signs on today as midday personality at WJMK FM 104.3, the CBS Radio classic hits station. Also at K-Hits, Jeffrey T. Mason shifts from middays to afternoons, replacing Gary Spears, who left last month to move to Florida. Dave Fogel continues in mornings. “Adding Brian to K-Hits gives us a unique opportunity to reset our on-air lineup with three veteran Chicago voices, all perfectly suited for their dayparts,” Greg Solk, program director and operations manager, said in a statement. “Brian is a great fit for K-Hits and Chicago listeners will be thrilled to have him back on the air.” Peck, who’s been on Chicago radio since 1992, hosted mornings on Hubbard Radio adult contemporary WSHE FM 100.3 until late last year. “I cannot wait to get back on the air and reconnect with this magical city’s radio listeners,” he said. “They are the best anywhere.”
The always engaging Jeanne Sparrow, who spent eight years as co-host of “You & Me,” the former morning show on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26, is returning to radio. Starting this weekend, she’ll turn up from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays on iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7. The Louisiana native started in radio at Northwestern University’s WNUR FM 89.3 and was a longtime host on iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5.
A tip of the hat to Mike Imrem, who retired last week as sports columnist for the Daily Herald. “Thinking back 39 years, what strikes me is I was a know-it-all who knew it all, making it natural to fire coaches, tell general managers whom to trade and counsel billionaire owners on how to manage their money,” Imrem wrote in his farewell column. “As time passed, I came to realize that I knew what I knew but didn’t know what I didn’t know.” Imrem, a Chicago native and University of Illinois graduate, joined the Daily Herald in 1978 after eight years at the Rockford Register-Star. Daily Herald editor John Lampinen called him “a legend and a class act.”
Remember 976-1313? Forty years ago this week Chicago fans first dialed up Sports Phone, the score update service that gave many Chicago sportscasters their start. “The impact it had was enormous, particularly to gamblers who spent a lot of money calling us every 10 minutes,” recalled George Ofman, now sports anchor at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9. The original group included Ron Gleason, Fred Huebner, Les Grobstein, Pat Benkowski and Ofman (who started on Christmas Eve). Among other alums are David Schuster, Jeff Joniak and Lou Canellis. Added Ofman: “You used to get your scores dialing the phone. Now you get them looking at it!”
On the one-year anniversary of the 2016 presidential election, three Washington bureau chiefs — all graduates of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism — will return to their alma mater. Headlining a panel on “The Insiders: Covering Washington Since Trump’s Election” will be Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times, Susan Page of USA Today and Julie Pace of the Associated Press. Moderator will be Tim Franklin, Medill senior associate dean and professor. Open to the public, the free event will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday at McCormick Foundation Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive in Evanston. To register see medill.school/one-year-election-panel-nov7.
Friday’s best comment: Shane Gericke: I call bullshit on [Joe] Ricketts’ “explanation.” The workers’ vote to unionize did not cost him one thin dime, because not one single word of a labor contract had even been mentioned, let alone negotiated. He shut down operations out of meanness and spite, not for financial reasons related to unionizing.