Robservations on the media beat:
It’s official: Ed Lover, one of the original hosts of “Yo! MTV Raps,” will debut Thursday as morning personality on WBMX FM 104.3, the Entercom classic hip-hop and R&B station. Lover, whose real name is James Roberts, also hosted Sirius XM’s Backspin classic hip-hop channel, and most recently worked in Atlanta for Radio One and Reach Media syndication. “Hold on to your britches, ladies and gentleman, ’cuz ‘The Ed Lover Morning Show’ will be the premier morning destination for Chicagoans’ daily dose of nostalgic throwbacks and so much more,” he wrote in a note to colleagues. “All I do is great radio and I am so excited to share my love for music with the great people of Chicago.” Lover’s co-host from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays will be Jennifer “Jen BT” Farina, former programming assistant at iHeartMedia Chicago and assistant program director at the former WNUA. The Chicago native most recently worked as executive assistant to the CEO and president of CEDA, the non-profit community action agency of Cook County. Airing without on-air talent since its inception in November, mornings on 104.3 Jams currently rank fourth among listeners between 18 and 34, according to Nielsen Audio.
With revenue estimated at $40 million, the Entercom all-news combo of WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9 was the country’s ninth highest-billing radio station in 2017, according to BIA Advisory Services. It again was the only Chicago station to make the top 10. But it was down 11 percent from the previous year when WBBM Newsradio ranked fifth nationally with billing of $45 million. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP in Washington, D.C., retained the top spot with $67.8 million.
Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 appears to be taking aim at WGN-Channel 9 with a new slogan branding news anchors Corey McPherrin and Dawn Hasbrouck “Chicago’s Home Grown News Team.” With Tribune Media poised to be taken over by Sinclair Broadcast Group, WGN’s status as “Chicago’s Very Own” may be in jeopardy. For the record, McPherrin grew up in south suburban Markham and Hasbrouck grew up on the South Side. At WGN, Chicagoan Micah Materre soon will be joined by co-anchor Joe Donlon, a St. Louis native who spent the last 21 years in Portland, Oregon.
Dane Placko, the veteran investigative reporter for Fox 32, has a harrowing vacation story to tell. While in London with his daughters over spring break he suffered a detached retina and lost vision in his left eye. After undergoing emergency surgery, he was warned not to fly home for at least four weeks or the gas jelly holding his retina in place could explode. “I went to London and became a middle-aged pirate,” Placko told Facebook friends. “How to describe the experience? I felt like the astronaut rushing through the tunnel of psychedelic lights in the movie ‘2001.’”
Goli Sheikholeslami, CEO of Chicago Public Media, has been appointed to the board of Patreon, a membership platform that connects content creators with their biggest fans and enables them to become patrons of their favorite creators. Launched by YouTube musician Jack Conte in 2013, the platform now benefits more than 50,000 creators. “Patreon’s model of connecting content creators with new fans is a dynamic way of building a community of digital consumers for the next generation,” Sheikholeslami said in a statement.
Longtime play-by-play announcer Joe McConnell, whose illustrious career included notable runs in Chicago as the voice of White Sox baseball and Bears football, died after a long illness Sunday in Indianapolis at 79. McConnell also broadcast Northwestern football, and DePaul, Illinois, Notre Dame and Northwestern men’s basketball. Before retiring in 2009, he served 15 seasons announcing Purdue football. In 1981 he was named lllinois Sportscaster of the Year. “Joe was one of the best in the business,” tweeted sports reporter Cheryl Raye Stout. “A pro’s pro.”
The working men and women of Chicago journalism lost a passionately devoted champion with the death of Jerry Minkkinen, who served 32 years as executive director of the Chicago News Guild. Minkinnen, 74, died Friday at his home in Hoffman Estates after a recurrence of esophageal cancer. “Jerry was a fierce advocate for all Guild members,” said Craig Rosenbaum, who succeeded Minkkinen as executive director in 2009. “He was my mentor, and I am indebted with gratitude for what he taught me.” Minkkinen most recently was executive director emeritus.
What happens when a newspaper cuts back on editors? In Saturday’s Chicago Tribune a statue of Bobby Hull is misidentified as Stan Mikita:
And in Saturday’s Sun-Times, the headline of a story about Chicago’s Water Management Department calls it “Waste Management”:
Saturday’s comment of the day: Burt Levy: Perhaps it’s God’s way of letting “management” know that maybe bringing [Dan] McNeil back wasn’t the best idea or very well thought out.