Robservations: Tariffs on newsprint threaten Illinois newspapers

Newsprint (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Robservations on the media beat:

The future of more than 450 daily and weekly newspapers throughout Illinois may be in jeopardy because of a tariff that could raise the price of Canadian newsprint by as much as 32 percent. A survey by the Illinois Press Association showed that 68 percent of all publishers would be forced to shrink their newspapers and 60 percent would have to reduce staff and not fill open positions if the tariffs become permanent. Some publications will be driven out of business. All 18 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois signed a letter this week urging the International Trade Commission to “take into full consideration the negative impacts of these tariffs on the newspaper industry and other stakeholders in Illinois and throughout the United States.”

Matt Kissane

Chicago comedian Matt Kissane won’t be joining Stormy Daniels onstage after all. He had been asked to play President Donald Trump during the adult film actress’ gig at the Admiral Theatre in Chicago. “I was supposed to appear all three nights of her weekend-long engagement, but was told that Daniels doesn’t want any type of political commentary,” Kissane said in a statement. “I’m OK with their decision, but now I’ll have to scramble to try and fill those openings.” Kissane, who also co-hosts the “Them Two Guys” podcast, recently impersonated Trump on “Windy City Live” on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and at the New Orleans North Fest in Joliet. (Update: Now Daniels and the Admiral Theatre may have canceled her entire run this weekend.)

The Loop

The call letters of Chicago’s fabled WLUP live on — in Cambridge, Minnesota. That’s where Cumulus Media has parked the call sign, replacing that of classic hip-hop WRXP. The Loop vanished from the airwaves in March when Educational Media Foundation bought the legendary classic rocker and transformed it into contemporary Christian music WCKL. Tom Taylor Now notes Cumulus still runs The Loop on the HD2 channel of alternative rock WKQX 101.1-FM, which Cumulus is buying from Merlin Media in an $18 million deal.

Jill Manuel

Former Chicago TV news exec Jill Manuel has launched JCat Group, a Chicago-based consulting firm serving newsrooms and other companies. The new venture will offer “social media strategy, training, and coaching, brand realization, and execution, working with management teams on leadership, culture change and editorial teams on reaching target audiences,” she said. Manuel, who most recently worked for social media monitoring firm TopicPulse in Cleveland, previously was news director of Tribune Broadcasting CLTV and assistant news director of Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. She also was an executive producer at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.

Neil Fiorito

Neil Fiorito has been named the voice of overnight traffic on Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM. The graduate of Illinois Center for Broadcasting and former weekend host for NextMedia suburban stations, has been a part-time traffic reporter since 2009. Saying Fiorito’s “natural and sincere delivery along with his command of the roadways has endeared him to the listeners,” traffic operations director Kevin Scott told staffers: “Neil’s reports are conversational and authoritative, so listeners can trust the information he provides. Behind the scenes Neil has one of the best attitudes ever.”

Thursday’s comment of the day: Herb Gould: So sorry to hear about Dibby [Elizabeth] Brackett. Prayers are with her. Great friend. Great person. Great journalist. Great athlete.