Weigel to launch Start TV digital network with CBS Television Stations

Start TV

From the folks who brought you Me-TV, H&I and the Decades Network, now comes Start TV, a new digital network featuring “strong and resourceful female leading characters” in a lineup of procedural dramas.

Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting unveiled plans for the new network Wednesday in conjunction with the CBS Television Stations, including WBBM-Channel 2 in Chicago. Start TV will debut September 3 on CBS 2’s digital tier along with stations covering 42 percent of U.S. households. Continue reading

With WGN back in, Sinclair revises Tribune deal again

WGN TV

While the future of “Chicago’s Very Own” WGN-Channel 9 and WGN 720-AM hangs in the balance, Sinclair Broadcast Group isn’t giving up yet.

The Maryland-based broadcaster still hopes to salvage its $3.9 billion agreement to acquire Chicago-based Tribune Media, parent company of WGN and 41 other stations nationwide, despite a move to derail the long-delayed deal Monday by the Federal Communications Commission. Continue reading

Robservations: ‘Deception’ cited in pushback to Sinclair/Tribune deal

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s not clear what prompted FCC chairman Ajit Pai to derail the $3.9 billion acquisition of Chicago-based Tribune Media by Sinclair Broadcast Group. But in raising “serious concerns” about the deal Monday, Pai threw the future ownership of “Chicago’s Very Own” WGN-Channel 9, news/talk WGN 720-AM and 41 other Tribune stations up in the air. According to Reuters, a draft of the FCC’s order said Sinclair’s actions “potentially involve deception” and possible “misconduct.” Sinclair responded that it was “shocked and disappointed” by the setback and denied any “misrepresentation or lack of candor” involving its plans to divest 21 Tribune Media stations — including WGN. “At no time have we misled the FCC in any manner whatsoever with respect to the relationships or the structure of those relationships proposed as part of the Tribune acquisition,” the company said. Tribune Media stock fell nearly 17 percent to $32.12 on Monday’s bombshell news. Continue reading

FCC throws Sinclair/Tribune deal in doubt

Sinclair Broadcast Group

In a stunning move, the Federal Communications Commission appears to have put the kibosh on the controversial sale of “Chicago’s Very Own” WGN-Channel 9, news/talk WGN 720-AM and the other 41 Tribune Media stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group.

FCC chairman Ajit Pat said Monday he has “serious concerns” about the $3.9 billion merger, which would have created the country’s largest television station monopoly. Continue reading

Robservations: ABC 7’s Cheryl Scott engaged ‘on top of the world’

Cheryl Scott and Dante Deiana (Photo: Cheryl Scott/Instagram)

Robservations on the media beat:

Dante Deiana and Cheryl Scott

A romantic sunset atop a Hawaiian volcano was the setting of a marriage proposal over the weekend to Cheryl Scott, 33, meteorologist at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Chicago DJ Dante “Dante the Don” Deiana, 35, popped the question at the summit of the Haleakala volcano on Maui. “THIS MOMENT!! Makes me feel like I’m on top of the world!” Scott posted on Instagram along with photos of the couple. “Are you kidding me??? 10,000 feet high . . . above the clouds . . . at sunset! A dream for anyone but especially for this Meteorologist!” Calling it the “best day of my life,” Deiana wrote: “It all came together on top of a volcano above the clouds at sunset with the girl of my dreams.” Continue reading

Tribune backs ex-reporter fired by Washington Post

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune editors say they “found no problems” after reviewing the work of an award-winning former reporter who recently was fired after eight months at the Washington Post.

Marwa Eltagouri was dismissed in late June before completing the Post’s nine-month probation for new employees, according to the newspaper, after it discovered evidence of “lax attribution” in at least a dozen stories aggregated from other news sources. Continue reading

Robservations: ABC 7’s Hosea Sanders recovering from abdominal surgery

Hosea Sanders

Robservations on the media beat:

Hosea Sanders is spending his 61st birthday at home today recovering from what he called “serious abdominal surgery.” The longtime news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 has been off the air since June 19. Sanders said Wednesday he feels “blessed to be on the other side of surgery and on the way to healing — with the encouragement of the many who have shown how much they care.” Last year Sanders underwent surgery and lengthy treatment for prostate cancer. Along with Cheryl Burton he co-anchors the 7 p.m. weeknight newscast produced by ABC 7 for Weigel Broadcasting’s WCIU-Channel 26. Continue reading

Evanston buzzer beater up for ESPY Award

An Evanston Township High School basketball player’s miraculous game-winning shot from 80 feet away is a finalist for national honors in the 2018 ESPY Awards.

Freshman Blake Peters’ one-handed buzzer-beater gave Evanston a one-point victory over Maine South High School on January 26. The video, first seen on Weigel Broadcasting’s The U Too “Game of the Week,” went viral. (Here is the link.) Continue reading

Robservations: New owners plan ‘more diverse’ Reader

Dorothy Leavell (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago Reader

The new owners of the Chicago Reader hope to expand the alternative weekly’s distribution and advertising beyond the North Side and lakefront, while retaining its investigative reporting and coverage of culture and entertainment. That’s the word from Dorothy Leavell, who heads the group that brought the Reader last month from the Sun-Times. “It’s going to be more diverse in its circulation especially,” Leavell told Phil Ponce on “Chicago Tonight.” “There are many of our communities — African-American communities — on the South Side and the West Side that you can’t get a Reader. So we’re No. 1 going to be expanding its reach.” Leavell, who also publishes the African-American Chicago Crusader and Gary Crusader, said she plans to develop a “full-scale sales team” for the Reader. “We don’t expect any real earth-shattering things from the beginning. . . . There may be some other areas people would like to see us focus on. We’re going to listen to them before we make any real changes.” Continue reading