Robservations on the media beat:
The latest talent overhaul at underperforming WBBM 96.3-FM just took out Nikki Imbracsio after 10 years as midday personality. Friday was her last day on the Entercom Top 40 station. Imbracsio’s departure followed that of Kevin “DreX” Buchar, who was cut as morning personality one week earlier. “I had a solid 10-year run at one of the greatest radio stations in the country, but now my B book has closed,” Imbracsio told All Access. “I feel so blessed for the amazing experience and people.” She previously hosted afternoons on iHeartMedia Top 40 WKSC 103.5-FM. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, B96 ranked 20th in middays with a 2.0 percent share. No word yet on a permanent replacement for Imbracsio.
Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” star who’s under fire for reporting a racial and homophobic attack that he may or may not have staged, has hired Anne Kavanagh to help his management team with media in Chicago. Kavanagh formed Chicago-based boutique media consulting firm MediaPros 24/7 after 23 years as a general assignment reporter at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. She was among the first reporters hired to launch the station’s news operation in 1987. Coincidentally, Fox 32, led by news anchor and reporter Rafer Weigel, has been among the most aggressive local news shops in pursuing the Smollett story.
WBBM-Channel 2 stands to lose some of its most senior producers and other highly experienced employees in a new round of buyouts at the CBS-owned station. CBS 2 officials would not respond to requests for comment, but published reports say CBS has made buyout offers to hundreds of employees nationwide whose years of service and age add up to 80. Those eligible were given until March 31 to reply.
Kim Janssen, who segued from Chicago Inc. columnist to content/audience analyst at the Chicago Tribune last year, is heading out west. Insiders said he’s joining the Los Angeles Times, but Janssen declined to comment on his plans Monday. Before he was hired at the Tribune as a business reporter in 2015, Janssen spent six years as an editor and reporter at the Sun-Times. In 2018 he completed an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a concentration in econometrics and statistics.
Pam Henson, senior vice president of sales at Chicago Tribune Media Group, has joined the Sun-Times as senior vice president of sales and marketing. She previously was regional president for Gannett Wisconsin Media and senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “Pam understands deeply how our brands fit within the publishing industry,” Sun-Times interim CEO Nykia Wright said in a statement. “We are excited to introduce her to our clients.” Henson fills the position previously held by Alison Laffe, who left the company.
Monday’s comment of the day: Mark Mardell: Ken Nordine created phenomenal radio programs that consistently captured my imagination. His style was unique, and he will be sorely missed.