Robservations on the media beat:
Propelled by a 50 percent increase in its primetime lead-in ratings, Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 tied with Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 among viewers between 25 and 54 for their 9 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscasts, according to figures released Thursday for the May sweep. Fox 32 was the only station in Chicago to increase its late-news viewership in the key adult demographic. “Our news shows are the most engaging, watchable and best produced product in the market,” Dennis Welsh, vice president and general manager of Fox 32, told staffers in an email. “Obviously, viewers are really starting to notice our great news product with tremendous growth opportunities ahead of us.” It marked the first May tie or win for Fox 32 at 9 p.m. since 2010.
Catherine De Orio, who’s leaving after five years as host of “Check, Please!” on WTTW-Channel 11, is in talks with the Window to the World Communications station about a national food and travel show. Calling it “an incredible privilege” to have hosted the local restaurant review series, De Orio said in a statement: “It has been an amazing experience to share stories and laughs with ‘Check, Please!’ fans, who are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable people I have met in my career so far. And I’m really excited about working with WTTW on future projects.” WTTW confirmed a report in Crain’s Chicago Business that Chicago restaurateur and sommelier Alpana Singh will return as host this fall. Singh hosted the show from 2003 to 2012.
After one year as a reporter and fill-in news anchor at ABC affiliate KNXV in Phoenix, Lexi Sutter has been hired as a general assignment reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. She previously worked for KSHB, the NBC affiliate in Kansas City, and WMBD, the CBS affiliate in Peoria. The native of Le Roy, Illinois, and University of Arizona graduate starts here Tuesday.
Benjamin Zamora, news anchor and producer at KINC, the Univision station in Las Vegas, will join Telemundo WSNS-Channel 44 as a general assignment reporter, starting June 11. A graduate of Riverside Career and Technical Center, he started his career as a reporter in Guadalajara, Mexico, and later worked for three stations in his native El Paso, Texas — NBC affiliate KTSM, Telemundo affiliate KTDO and Univision KINT.
Five Chicago area broadcasters made the 2018 “Heavy Hundred,” the annual ranking of the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” selected by the editors of Talkers magazine. They were: Steve Cochran (50); Steve Dahl (64); Roe Conn (72); John Williams (82); and Joe Walsh (95). The top spot went to Sean Hannity, who bumped Rush Limbaugh to second place.
“Sports Medicine Weekly,” previously heard on ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM, has moved to Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, where it will air from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturdays, starting June 2. Hosted by Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole of Rush University Medical Center, the show covers sports injury treatment and prevention, fitness and nutrition. In other changes to The Score’s Saturday lineup, Bruce Levine and Mike Esposito’s “Inside the Clubhouse” will air from 9 to 11 a.m., and Steve Rosenbloom and Mike Esposito will air from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Jeremy Andrews: Dick Biondi is a Chicago legend and a great guy. I was lucky to have met him some 21 years ago when I was only 10 years old. He was nothing short of a gentlemen to me, a little 10 year old radio geek when I talked to him that day. Sad he was unable to go out from WLS-FM in a more graceful manner. I hope he’s well, and I wish him all the best.