Robservations on the media beat:
Ten years after the Ricketts family bought 95 percent of the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co. for $845 million, they’ve just acquired the remaining 5 percent. Tribune Media announced that it has sold its ownership interest in Chicago Entertainment Ventures, parent company of the Cubs, for an undisclosed price. The original deal was structured as a leveraged partnership to allow both parties to avoid capital gain taxes. As of Friday, the Ricketts family has taken full ownership, effectively ending the team’s 38-year association with Tribune Media and its Tribune Co. predecessor.
Chicago Reader columnist Ben Joravsky and political reporter Maya Dukmasova have launched “Back Room Deal,” a new podcast series focusing on the February 26 Chicago municipal elections. The first episode offers a close look at mayoral candidates. Additional installments will cover key aldermanic races. (Here is the link.) “We couldn’t be more excited than to bring the insights of Ben and Maya together for this first Reader podcast,” Anne Elizabeth Moore, editor-in-chief of the Reader, said in a statement. “Individually, their coverage of the Chicago political landscape has always been gripping. In conversation, their analysis will prove invaluable to navigating the wide range of races in this complex election season.”
Mike North, the retired Chicago sports talk show host, has announced plans to write his autobiography. He said he’s working on it with Aldo Gandia, former Chicago television producer and North’s partner in a Chicago Bears fan site and podcast platform. “I’m doing this by writing 26 chapters,” North said. “Each begins with a letter of the alphabet. So under ‘A,’ for instance, I will share a part of my life and connect it with the letter ‘A.’ . . . Believe me, this book will be fun, it will be raw and it will be real.”
David Zaslowsky, executive producer of White Sox baseball broadcasts on Tribune Broadcasting WGN 720-AM, has been promoted to manager and executive producer of the WGN Radio Sports Network. In his new role he will oversee relations for the network of 15 affiliate stations, coordinate feature content, and integrate play-by-play talent and White Sox personalities into WGN’s programming. Zaslowsky, a graduate of Niles East High School and Columbia College Chicago, previously was program director of ESPN Radio Network and sports producer at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.
Sorry to note the passing of Steve Bell, former ABC News correspondent and anchor of “World News This Morning” and “Good Morning America.” Bell, 83, died Friday in Muncie, Indiana, where he was a telecommunications professor at Ball State University from 1992 to 2007. While a star graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (Class of 1963), he worked as a news writer for WGN 720-AM. Bell was a member of the Medill Hall of Achievement and the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
Friday’s comment of the day: Bernie Cicirello: Congratulations to Lourdes Duarte for her well-deserved recognition as a top journalist. She is, indeed, one of the best.