Robservations on the media beat:
Jorge Barbosa, one of Chicago’s premier Spanish-language broadcast journalists for more than three decades, is stepping down as 5 and 10 p.m. news anchor at Univision WGBO-Channel 66. His last night on the air will be Friday, according to Doug Levy, senior vice president and general manager of Univision Local Media Chicago. No successor has been named. His departure comes as parent company Univision Communications is undergoing a major restructuring. Barbosa, 66, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, and graduate of Northwestern University, spent 10 years as a news anchor and reporter at former Univision affiliate WCIU-Channel 26 before launching Noticias Univision Chicago at WGBO in 1995. In 2012 he was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Today could be a critical day in the long-running saga of Sinclair Broadcast Group and its troubled $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media, Chicago-based parent company of WGN-Channel 9 and WGN 720-AM. According to the agreement, either company can walk away from the deal without penalty if it hasn’t closed by August 8. Since the FCC shunted the application to an administrative law judge last month, it’s been all but doomed. Under CEO Peter Kern, senior executives of Tribune Media, including Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert, stand to lose as much as $41 million in bonuses and other compensation if the Sinclair deal collapses. Nothing is official, but it’s assumed Tribune Media would put its stations back on the market.
Chicago radio legend Tommy Edwards has signed with Rick Kaempfer and David Stern’s Eckhartz Press to publish his memoirs. Set for release next year, the yet-untitled book will feature untold stories about Lil’ Tommy’s “Animal Stories” partnership with Larry Lujack as well other radio adventures. He’ll also recount his long run as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. Edwards retired as midday host at the former WJMK in 2014, capping a 54-year career as a major market star. Eckhartz Press has published books by radio veterans John Records Landecker, Bobby Skafish, Mitch Michaels, Chet Coppock, Dobie Maxwell, Rich King and Kipper McGee.
Scott Krus, station manager of Christian ministry WCRF in Cleveland, has been promoted to general manager of the Chicago-based Moody Radio Network, starting September 1. He succeeds Doug Hastings, who was named vice president of Moody Radio in May. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our teams and energized by the challenge of navigating this ever-changing landscape of media ministry,” said Krus, as 27-year veteran of Moody Radio. “I believe that Moody is strategically positioned to expand on its role as a leader in the industry and uniquely equipped to inspire listeners to take that next step in their walk with Jesus Christ. I am looking forward with great excitement to all that God will do in the days to come.”
Dave Newbart, who recently wrapped up a five-month stint as interim executive editor of the Chicago Reader, rejoined the Sun-Times Tuesday in a full-time role. Sun-Times editor-in-chief Chris Fusco told staffers Newbart initially will work on the city desk, “helping ensure that our stories meet our readers’ expectations.” Newbart began his first run at the Sun-Times in 1992 as assistant to columnist Michael Sneed and later was a reporter and assistant metro editor. In 2012 he left to help start up DNAinfo Chicago, where he was a senior editor overseeing coverage of schools, crime, politics, development and new businesses.
Headlining today’s monthly luncheon of the Publicity Club of Chicago will be the stars of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7’s top-rated 10 p.m. newscast — anchors Alan Krashesky and Cheryl Burton, meteorologist Cheryl Scott and sports anchor Mark Giangreco. I’ll be moderating the discussion. Starting at noon, the event will be at Maggiano’s Chicago, 516 North Clark Street.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Robert Jordan: Jennifer [Lyons] was the producer of the weekend news for Jackie Bange and me decades ago. Even then, she showed strong potential and excellent understanding of news. Over the years, she only got better and sharper. One of Jennifer’s strongest talents was being able to work with people. Being a mom of six children gave her the experience of being patient – to hear everyone out and make everyone’s problems important and worthy of being heard. She is a kind, gentle soul who will be missed so much by anyone who got to know her. I wish her and her lovely family the best. They are the real beneficiaries of her reduced work load, fewer late night phone calls and not nearly as many viewer headaches in the future.