Robservations on the media beat:
The latest to join the migration of Chicago radio stations to new studios south of the Chicago River is WDRV 97.1-FM. Last Friday the Hubbard Radio classic rock station left its longtime home at 875 North Michigan Avenue and moved to the 27th floor of One Prudential Plaza, 130 East Randolph Street. Afternoon personality Bob Stroud signed off from the former John Hancock Center and led a double-decker busload of fellow air staffers down Michigan Avenue and into the new studios, where he signed on with the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” The move united The Drive for the first time with the company’s hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM and adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM. “As we had hoped, having the entire Hubbard Radio Chicago staff in one location has been fun and energizing for all,” said Jeff England, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago. Studio renovations are underway for The Mix and SHE 100.3.
Members of the newly formed Chicago Tribune Guild have announced plans to stage informational picketing Friday outside the annual shareholder meeting of Chicago Tribune parent company tronc. According to the union, it’s to call attention to “some of the decisions made by the tronc board that have been good for top executives but bad for the newsroom.” At the top of the list is the $15 million payment to former chairman Michael Ferro, who resigned just before publication of sexual misconduct allegations. The tronc meeting will be at offices of Kirkland & Ellis, 300 North LaSalle Street.
Shae Peppler has moved up to full-time sports reporter and weekend sports anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. The Chicago native and graduate of Indiana University previously worked for “Morning Dose” on CW Network, “Campus Insiders” and Big Ten Network, and has appeared frequently on Chicago television, including “Sports Talk Live” and “You and Me.” Calling Peppler “a stellar and regular contributor to our sports efforts,” Fox 32 news anchor Corey McPherrin tweeted: “The newsroom exploded with applause when the news was announced.”
Doug Hastings, general manager of Moody Radio, has been promoted to vice president of the Chicago-based parent company of WMBI 1110-AM/WMBI 90.1-FM. He succeeds Collin Lambert, who resigned in March after 15 years at Moody Radio to join friends in a restaurant business in Austin, Texas. A Chicago native and graduate of Moody Bible Institute and Columbia College, Hastings began at Moody Radio in 1981 and held positions in marketing, operations and programming. “Doug loves the Lord, is a person of prayer, and brings a ministry mindset and strategic business thinking to Moody Radio,” Greg Thornton, interim president of Moody, said in a statement.
Meghan Markle, the retired actress and Northwestern University graduate who’s marrying Prince Harry Saturday, has a close family connection to Chicago television. Her father, Thomas Markle, worked at WTTW-Channel 11, the Window to the World Communications public television station, as lighting director and designer for 14 years — from 1965 to 1979. After that he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked on “Married with Children” and “General Hospital,” and where daughter Meghan was born in 1981.
Four Chicago radio executives have made this year’s list of “The Best Program Directors In America,” published by Radio Ink magazine. Two are from Hubbard Radio Chicago stations — Rob Cressman of The Drive and Mary Ellen Kachinske of The Mix. Also named were Derrick Brown of iHeartMedia’s WVAZ 102.7-FM, WGCI 107.5-FM and WGRB 1390-AM, and Todd Cavanah of Entercom’s WBBM 96.3-FM and WBMX 104.3-FM. They were among 50 program directors from across the country cited in the magazine’s May 7 issue.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Jim Vail: WGN Radio’s ratings hit the “down” button, but at least their studios are going up!