Robservations on the media beat:
When WLIT 93.9-FM wraps up its annual run as Chicago’s Christmas Lite next week, look for the iHeartMedia adult contemporary station to begin marketing its sound as “Relaxing Favorites.” The move away from “The Best Variety From the 80’s, 90’s and Now for Chicago!” appears to signal a shift to a soft adult-contemporary format — perhaps to compete more effectively against Weigel Broadcasting’s Me-TV FM (the soft-rock oldies and classic hits station at WRME 87.7-FM). In the latest Nielsen Audio survey — before the start of Christmas music — Lite FM tied for 11th place with a 3.2 share. Me-TV FM tied for ninth with a 3.3 share. A spokesman for iHeartMedia Chicago declined to comment on any changes.
Bill Daley isn’t just one of 21 candidates for mayor of Chicago. It looks like he also may be auditioning for a job as a TV news producer. On Wednesday Daley wrote to the news directors of eight Chicago TV stations with his ideas for mayoral debates. “I want to propose that all mayoral campaigns and Chicago media outlets come together to coordinate a series of prime-time television debates for the 2019 Chicago Mayor Election,” Daley wrote. “These debates should be structured and moderated in a way to elevate civic dialogue.” One recipient was amused by the letter, which included Daley’s recommendations on selection of moderators, format, topics and number of debates. Another questioned the feasibility of a live televised debate with 21 candidates.
To mark Tony Sarabia’s farewell broadcast as host of “The Morning Shift” Friday WBEZ 91.5-FM has invited listeners to share their sentiments on social media with the hashtag #ThanksTony or by email at email@example.com. Sarabia is stepping down after 28 years at the Chicago Public Media station to move to Iowa to pursue new opportunities. He’ll be succeeded on the show, which airs at 9 a.m. weekdays, by Jennifer White, who joined WBEZ in 2016 from Michigan Public Media. “It’s odd when I realize I’ve spent half my life at WBEZ, but I can’t think of a finer institution to have laid down roots, grow, learn and contribute,” Sarabia said in a statement. “Having Jenn, with all her talents, take over ‘The Morning Shift’ is a great parting gift.”
Steve Darnall, host of “Those Were the Days,” presents his fourth annual “Xmas Eve with Steve” from 10 p.m. to midnight Monday on College of DuPage’s WDCB 90.9-FM. He’ll feature holidays songs from many eras and across multiple genres — jazz, blues, swing, folk, country and more — that run the gamut of sacred and secular, soft and loud, naughty and nice. “I think it’s safe to say there’ll be something here for nearly every taste, and very possible that everyone listening will hear something new to their ears,” Darnall said.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Dean Richards: No booze-filled “whoo’ing” and making-out sessions for us . . . we’ll be kickin’ it Old School Chicago New Year’s Eve-style with a “Family Classics” Marx Brothers double feature, “Duck Soup” and “Horse Feathers,” 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on WGN-TV.