Robservations on the media beat:
Daily Herald sports columnist Barry Rozner may be calling it quits after 10 years as a prominent weekend and fill-in personality at Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. Rozner told Mitch Rosen, operations director of The Score, that he does not expect to be back as host of “Hit & Run,” which airs from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays during baseball season. “We’re still communicating and we’ll see what comes of it, but I don’t — at this moment — see a path to returning,” Rozner said Sunday. “No hard feelings. No one to blame. There’s just no role there for me comparable to the last 10 years, when I hosted nearly 1,400 shows. If it’s over, I will miss ‘Hit & Run’ more than I can properly express. It was a great run and I’m grateful for the opportunity Mitch gave me.” Rozner has filled in for weekday hosts on The Score more often than anyone else, but he’s been passed over for promotion to a full-time position three times. Rosen, who was out of town, said he plans to meet with Rozner when he returns. “Barry has been a great team member on ‘Hit & Run’ and a terrific fill-in host loved by all,” Rosen said. “I hope he continues.”
“Public Official A,” a true crime podcast that examines the rise and fall of Rod Blagojevich, has just been released by Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM. Marking 10 years since the former Illinois governor was arrested for corruption, the podcast draws on six hours of conversations with his wife, Patti Blagojevich, as well as interviews with former top aides, FBI agents, and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. Additional episodes will be released every Friday on WBEZ’s website and app, Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts and other podcast platforms. (Here is the link.) The series is hosted by Dave McKinney, state politics reporter for WBEZ, who covered Blagojevich as Springfield bureau chief and political writer for the Sun-Times. It’s produced by Colin McNulty. “Rod Blagojevich is one of the most complex, charismatic and flawed figures in contemporary American politics, and his rise and fall contains all of the echoes of a Shakespearean tragedy,” Steve Edwards, vice president and chief content officer of WBEZ, said in a statement. “It’s not just a behind-the-scenes story about an impeached and indicted ex-governor from Illinois. It’s a universal story about public officials and the lengths some of them will go to succeed at the highest level of politics.” Blagojevich, who was convicted in 2011, is serving a 14-year sentence in federal prison.
Two new reporters have been hired at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 — and both happen to be graduates of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Starting Monday is Tara Molina, just in from WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, where she specialized in “topical investigative reporting.” Molina previously worked at WFTX, the Fox affilliate in Ft. Myers, Florida. Joining CBS 2 next month is Mugo Odigwe, a freelance reporter at KOVR, the CBS-owned station in Sacramento, California. She previously worked for KMOV, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis, and KGAN, the CBS affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Audrina Bigos, who’s been missing in action as a reporter at CBS 2 since November, has broken the silence on her absence. “I’m currently on a medical leave and look forward to returning to the station in the future, in good health,” she said in a statement. “I am extremely grateful for my CBS family supporting me during this time.” No additional information was disclosed. A station spokeswoman declined to comment. Bigos joined CBS 2 in 2015 from WCCB, the CW affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she was a reporter and weekend news anchor.
Jimmy Novak is out as morning personality at WXLC 102.3-FM, the Alpha Media hot adult-contemporary station in Waukegan. His last day on the air was Friday. The move follows the ouster in October of Haynes Johns as operations manager, program director and afternoon personality. “The old building and loan has decided to cut ties with me as morning show host,” Novak wrote on Facebook. “It’s been a fun decade of shows and I feel lucky to have worked with some incredible people. I’m truly blessed with great memories and I look forward to new challenges and staying up past 7:30.” No word yet on his replacement. Novak started his career at WKRS 1220-AM and later worked at The Blaze, The Loop and WIIL 95.1-FM.
Wayne Randazzo, the former Chicago area sportscaster who’s been hosting pregame and postgame shows for the New York Mets since 2015, has been promoted to a full-time play-by-play role on WCBS, the team’s new radio flagship. He’ll continue to host Mets postgame coverage as well. A graduate of St. Charles East High School and North Central College, Randazzo began as a sports intern at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM, and later worked for Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, sports/talk WSCR 670-AM and the Big Ten Network. He also served as announcer for the Kane County Cougars. In 2017 he was inducted in the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
Harvey Wells, the longtime Chicago radio executive, has resigned as general manager of Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s four-station cluster in Springfield, Illinois. Wells, who oversaw WMAY, WNNS, WUSW and WQLZ for the company, previously managed numerous stations here for CBS Radio, Newsweb Radio and others. Saying he was returning to Chicago for personal reasons, Wells added: “I cannot say enough good things about Mid-West Family Broadcasting, and feel fortunate to have spent two-plus years at an employee-owned company. It truly makes a difference when you walk in the door and your fellow workers also have an ownership interest in the company. However, the one family that has to come before the Mid-West Family is my own.”
Jerry Kupcinet, who began his TV career in Chicago and became an Emmy Award-winning director and producer in Los Angeles, died Sunday from complications of surgery. He was 75. Kupcinet’s credits included directing such shows as “Judge Judy,” “Judge Joe Brown,” “20/20,” “Home,” “That’s Incredible!,” The Live Aid Concert, “The Dating Game,” “The Richard Simmons Show” and “Entertainment Tonight.” He was the son of Irv and Essee Kupcinet, the legendary Chicago media power couple.
Friday’s comment of the day: Eric In The Morning with Melissa & Whip: Melissa [McGurren] isn’t going anywhere. Her new role on the show will be to come up with more funny bits.