Robservations on the media beat:
Weigel Broadcasting, Chicago-based parent company of WCIU-Channel 26, Me-TV and a host of other broadcast stations and digital networks, just switched on the future of television. On Sunday, Weigel launched “Chicago 3.0,” an experimental next-generation full-power station broadcasting from Willis Tower. Although not yet available to the general public, the ATSC 3.0 technology eventually is expected to allow viewers to watch anything they want, on any device, wherever they are. “We are excited to collaborate with our vendor partners as we explore the viability and the potential opportunities of what the future broadcast standard has to offer for viewers, our affiliate partners and the industry,” Evan Fieldman, Weigel’s vice president of digital, said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing various aspects of our findings with the broadcast community.”
The legendary Tom Joyner, whose syndicated morning show has been off the air in Chicago since June 2017, is coming back. Starting Monday, the Radio Hall of Famer will be heard from 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays on Future Vision Entertainment’s “95.1 FM Clubsteppin’.” “Happy is an understatement,” said LaMont Watts, owner of the new urban adult-contemporary station that airs on a leased HD Radio signal. “Bringing Tom back to Chicago was just as important as the launch of this historic station. Tom is Chicago. The listeners love him and 95.1 is excited to welcome him home.” Earlier this year Joyner announced plans to retire from radio in 2019.
Ed Stetzer, a west suburban pastor and executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, will host a new weekly talk show distributed by Chicago-based Moody Radio. “Ed Stetzer Live” will air at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WMBI 90.1-FM and Moody stations nationwide, starting this weekend. Stetzer will interview guests and take calls from listeners on trends and issues facing the church and Christians. “The program will speak into the cultural moment, with gospel clarity and mission focus, to help us engage the moment well,” Stetzer said in a statement.
Former Chicago radio personalities Bob Sirott and Al Mitchell recall America’s great Top 40 stations in Saturday’s edition of Dave Milberg’s “Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘n’ Roll” podcast series. Included will be jingles from the Top 40 era of WLS 890-AM and the former WCFL. Milberg, a former Chicago broadcast executive and co-author of the two-volume Answer Songs, marks his third year as host of the popular podcast series in December.
Sad to note the passing of Ken Smikle, prominent Chicago marketing executive and journalist, who died of congestive heart failure Wednesday. He was 66. Smikle was arts editor of Harlem’s Amsterdam News and senior editor of Black Enterprise before he founded Chicago-based Target Market News in 1988. As editor and publisher, he developed the publication and website into an authority on marketing, advertising and media aimed at the African-American consumer market. Smikle was married to Renee Ferguson, the former Chicago television news investigative reporter. Together they made quite a power couple in town. “Said goodbye tonight to the love of my life Ken Smikle,” Ferguson wrote on Facebook over a photo of the two holding hands. “We held hands through all of life’s ups and downs. Not sure how to get through life without his beautiful hand to hold.”
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Ron Magers: Rich Hillengas is beyond professional. He not only carried a camera, he sometimes carried the reporter as well. Maybe me a time or two. He has the complete respect of anyone who has ever worked near him.