Robservations on the media beat:
Expressing gratitude for “how fortunate I’ve been to work here with these people,” Kathy Brock bade an emotional farewell Wednesday after 28 years as news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Closing out her final 10 p.m. newscast with co-anchor Alan Krashesky, Brock told viewers: “Right now at this moment in time we need smart, objective journalists — a description of my colleagues — and my departure is not going to change that. I leave loving this job, but ready for change.” The sign-off capped a day of tributes and celebrations for her splendid career. Starting tonight Brock will be succeeded on the top-rated newscast by Cheryl Burton, a 26-year veteran of ABC 7.
Chicago radio pro Jeffrey T. Mason has landed part-time at WEBG 95.5-FM, the country music station owned by iHeartMedia. He’ll debut this weekend from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday and from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday on Big 95.5. Mason most recently hosted afternoons and middays at WJMK, the former CBS Radio classic hits station. (Under new owner Entercom, the station switched to classic hip-hop WBMX 104.3-FM in November.) It’s a return to country for Mason, who was assistant program director and music director at WMZQ in Washington, D.C., and on air at KMLE in Phoenix and WKIS in Miami.
Jared Hoffa, a former producer of ABC 7’s “Windy City Live,” has created “Gaming Under the Influence,” billed as the first interactive live-streaming game show to air in arcade and sports bars across the country. Hoffa developed the technology and will serve as host of the weekly show, which will originate from Replay Lincoln Park, starting July 13. Executive producers along with Hoffa are Cindy Patrasso, former supervising producer of “Windy City Live,” and Mary Kathryn (MK) Seipke, former vice president of integrated marketing and sponsorship at Harpo Productions. “Arcade bars are among the hottest growing entertainment sources right now, and our technology connects it all together: the audience, the bars and the advertiser,” Patrasso said. “We also anticipate growth and audience loyalty, with influencer contestants, given the massive retention of their followers.” Viewers in bars, at home or elsewhere watching online can vote in real time for competing contestants. “Gaming Under the Influence” will go live at 9 p.m. Fridays.
It’s full circle for Katherine Kelly Murphy, who’s been named news director at Cumulus Media heritage news/talk WJBC 1230-AM in Bloomington, starting July 9. Murphy began her broadcast career in Bloomington at Illinois State University. Her 16-year run in Chicago radio included positions at CBS Radio country WUSN 99.5-FM, the former FM News 101.1, Oprah Radio and Rivet Radio. “Very excited about the new adventure!” she said.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: John O’Reilly: Neil Steinberg has what every editor wants, as evidenced by all these comments: the public’s attention, loving and hateful. He’ll never be without a forum in this town, no matter how many prayers his many righteous detractors send skyward. Keep those cards and letters coming, kids.