Robservations: WXRT unplugs ‘Jazz Transfusion’ after 43 years

Barry Winograd (Photo: WDCB)

Robservations on the media beat:

“Jazz Transfusion,” a Sunday night staple on WXRT FM 93.1 for 43 years, is vanishing from the Entercom adult album alternative station. This weekend marks the final broadcast of the jazz showcase, which airs from 11 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday. Since 1986 it has been hosted each week by Barry Winograd. “Barry Winograd will always be a part of the WXRT family, and we are keeping our relationship alive to hopefully have Barry return to the airwaves in the future for special features and special programming in the jazz genre,” Greg Solk, operations manager and program director of WXRT, told staffers Thursday. Starting February 11, Sunday nights will be hosted by ’XRT newcomer Don Davis, according to Solk. Said Winograd: “Thirty-two years doing commercial jazz on ’XRT, it’s pretty amazing, I think. It’s been a privilege to present music to people who wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to it any other way.” Winograd, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Evanston, continues to host a weekday jazz show on the College of DuPage’s WDCB FM 90.9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He also hosts “When Jazz Was King” from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturdays on WDCB.

Kerry Lester

Kerry Lester, former political editor, columnist and senior writer at the Daily Herald, is making headlines again. This time it’s for her new book, No, My Place: Reflections on sexual harassment in Illinois government and politics. Self-published this week and available on Amazon Digital Services, the book reveals inappropriate and sexist behavior endured by the state’s most powerful women, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia. “In the more than two dozen interviews I conducted for this book, not a single woman who experienced harassment felt that there were appropriate mechanisms in place to report and address a problem,” Lester writes. “Often, she just put up with it, hoping with time the dynamics would change.” Lester took a buyout in November from the Daily Herald, where she worked since 2006.

Chuck Swirsky

Veteran sportscaster Chuck Swirsky, longtime radio voice of the Chicago Bulls, reacted with cheerful optimism to news that he’s changing channels. Effective Saturday, Bulls broadcasts are moving to Entercom sports/talk WSCR AM 670 from Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890. “The communications industry, as in life, is never a straight line. The challenges, joys and end results make our business fascinating yet unpredictable as well,” Swirsky wrote on Facebook. “A flip of the switch in mid-season may not be unprecedented but in my forty years of broadcasting I’ve never experienced anything like this.” To his new colleagues at The Score, Swirsky added: “I will go through a brick wall for you. You are family now.”

Colin McMahon

Look for several major personnel shifts in the Chicago Tribune newsroom in the weeks ahead under publisher and editor-in-chief Bruce Dold. Among them will be a new role in the tronc hierarchy for associate editor Colin McMahon, who’s been overseeing the Tribune’s entertainment and lifestyle departments as well as its editing and presentation teams since 2015. A tronc spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that McMahon “is working on a variety of projects across the company that will help us accelerate digital transformation and working with product team on ARC [digital publishing platform], while maintaining some near-term role in Chicago Tribune newsroom.” McMahon, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, joined the Tribune in 1987 as a copy editor and later served as a reporter, foreign correspondent, foreign editor, national content editor and cross media editor.

Harvey Wittenberg

The remarkable Harvey Wittenberg, now in his 60th year in Chicago radio, says he’s ready to take a break. He’s stepping down this weekend as senior account manager at Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV FM 97.1, where he’s worked for 17 years. But he insists he’s not retiring. The 81-year-old Wittenberg will continue as press box announcer for the Chicago Blackhawks. “Outside of that, I will keep busy doing some charity work and see where I can be of assistance in other areas,” he added.

Wednesday’s best comment: Mark McDermott: Used to be the common wisdom that sports teams were a bad fit for sports stations because they might be seen as compromising the “journalistic integrity” of those stations. But now with every radio stations’ announcers doing commercial for dollar shae clubs, mattress stores, and the people who painted their house, I guess that’s no longer a concern. “The pitcher pauses to scratch himself under his supporter. This scratch is brought to you by Gold Bond medicated powder . . .”