Robservations: On second thought, Sun-Times brings back TV listings

Chicago Sun-Times (November 6, 2018)

Robservations on the media beat:

Another day, another change at the Sun-Times: Citing phone calls and emails from readers, the Sun-Times has restored the evening TV grid to its pages, effective today. The move follows the return Friday of the paper’s daily crossword puzzle. Both were casualties of cutbacks announced last week. In a note explaining the latest reversal, the Sun-Times said: “Newspapering in 2018 isn’t easy; in rolling out the changes, we noted that newsprint and other production costs have taken their toll on our industry. That hasn’t changed. Paring back some comics and interspersing others through our classifieds space is allowing us to invest in the quality journalism you’ve come to expect.” Lottery results are back at the bottom of the TV grid page, rather than in the sports section, where they’d been running in recent days. And Ziggy? He’s still a goner.

Chicago Tribune Guild

The union representing editorial employees at the Chicago Tribune has appealed to the board of Tribune Publishing to look for more than the highest bidder in finding a buyer for the company. In an open letter published Monday, the Chicago Tribune Guild wrote: “We need someone who cares about Chicago, who understands the vital place that journalism, our journalism, holds in this great city and the communities around it. . . . We need someone who understands that meaningful journalism isn’t accomplished by layoffs and cutbacks, by disregard and greed. All over the country, newspapers are being bought by people who show no evidence that they understand what it takes to run a newsroom, a real newsroom. Their relentless chase for money at the expense of essential journalism has made it hard to do the work required to keep communities healthy. Our newsrooms deserve better. Our readers — yes, our customers — deserve better.”

93.9 Lite FM

Is it that time already? The switch to Christmas music could come any day now at WLIT 93.9-FM. The iHeartMedia adult contemporary station has been teasing listeners online and inviting them to guess when it will flip to round-the-clock holiday music again this year. The festive format has been a favorite of listeners — and a huge ratings boost for the station — since 2000. Last year Lite FM turned on “The Holiday Lite” on November 7. Nearly 500 stations across the country turned all-Christmas last year, too.

Corey B

After two years as evening personality at Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM, Corey Bonalewicz (known on the air as Corey B) has been traded to an Entercom station in New York. Starting later this month, he’ll host afternoons on alternative rock WNYL. Before joining B96 Bonalewicz worked at WEZB in New Orleans and WFLZ in his native Tampa, Florida. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, B96 tied for 12th place in evenings. This week Entercom posted a job opening for Corey B’s replacement at B96.

John von Rhein

John von Rhein, who retired in July after more than 40 years as classical music critic at the Chicago Tribune, will lecture on “Four Decades on the Chicago Classical Aisle: Whither Criticism?” at DePaul University’s Holtschneider Performance Center Sunday. (Here is the link for tickets.) It’s the closing day of “Unveiled,” the 11-day music festival showcasing the school of music’s new performance center. Starting at 2 p.m., Von Rhein will discuss the state of arts criticism before taking questions from the audience.

Mike Parker

Monday’s comment of the day: Jon Kaplan: Mike [Parker] was a beloved fixture in the newsroom. He could make any story memorable. I had the privilege of sitting next to him for many years at CBS2. He epitomized wit and wisdom, and loved sharing his limericks. His stories – whether he told them on air and in person – always made an impression. He was such a professional and made everyone around him look better. But, most of all, I will remember his smile and a laugh that rose up from his soul and made you smile, no matter how your day was going. God bless you, Mike.