WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts: ‘It’s truly been a great ride’

Bob Roberts

Friday’s news that Bob Roberts was retiring after an outstanding run as one of Chicago’s premier broadcast journalists elicited an outpouring of accolades here and on social media from friends, colleagues and admirers.

It also prompted this personal message from Roberts himself (aka Robert Rodenkirk), whose last day as a reporter at Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM will be April 16: Continue reading

Robservations: Will CBS 2 ever rise in the morning?

Mike Puccinelli and Erin Kennedy

Robservations on the media beat:

Maybe it’s time to bring back “Captain Kangaroo.” Morning news ratings can’t get much worse for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, which ended another month dead last in the Nielsens from 4:30 to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday. The only thing more dismal than the station’s 0.5 overall rating (16,256 households) was its infinitesimal 0.1 rating among viewers between 25 and 54. Earlier this month CBS 2 abruptly replaced Marissa Bailey with Mike Puccinelli as morning co-anchor alongside Erin Kennedy. But did anybody notice? For the record, Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 and ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 tied for first place with a 2.1 rating (68,277 households) from 4:30 to 7 a.m., but WGN doubled ABC 7’s rating in the money-making 25-54 demographic. Continue reading

New investors Sacks, Wirtz fortify Sun-Times ownership group

Chicago Sun-Times March 28, 2019

With an infusion of new capital from prominent Chicago investors Michael Sacks and Rocky Wirtz, the Chicago Sun-Times is getting a change of control at the top — and what may be a new lease on life.

The deal announced today will shift control of the company from a consortium of organized labor groups to Sacks, Wirtz and Jorge Ramirez, who continues as board chairman. A majority of seats on the board will be held by the new entity, Sun-Times Investment Holdings LLC. The announcement did not disclose financial details. Continue reading

Eddie Arruza leaving WTTW to ‘continue growing professionally’

Eddie Arruza (Photo: WTTW)

Eddie Arruza, the veteran newsman who’s been a capable and well-informed correspondent on “Chicago Tonight” for 15 years, announced he’s leaving WTTW-Channel 11 to pursue new ventures.

Friday will mark his last day at the Window to the World Communications public television station with his final appearance as host of “The Week in Review.” Continue reading

Robservations: Jussie Smollett shocker draws media outrage

Jussie Smollett (Photo: Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times via AP)

Robservations on the media beat:

From Neil Steinberg’s one-word tweet “Wow!” to Roe Conn’s near meltdown on the air, Chicago media figures could not conceal their shock and dismay at the dismissal of charges Tuesday against Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor accused of lying to police about being the target of a racist, anti-gay attack. “WHOA!!! WHAT THE….?” tweeted Dean Richards. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx bore the brunt of the outrage on social media. Ben Bradley tweeted: “If Kim Foxx thinks she can issue a written statement and be done with a case that gave Chicago a huge black eye, she’s mistaken.” Eric Zorn tweeted: “Utterly tone deaf statement on behalf of @SAKimFoxx whose reputation and political future must now be said to be in doubt. And whose relationship with the Chicago Police must now lie in tatters. Sheesh.” Paris Schutz tweeted: “The S.A. Office should at least answer: 1.) Why did they apparently blindsided the CPD with this decision 2.) Why was #Smollett allowed to maintain innocence and not admit to some level of culpability or issue a public apology?” And then there was this from Joe Walsh: “Thank you Chicago Police Department for doing your job. Thank you all you Chicago Cops who devoted huge amounts of time & dedication to this case. I apologize that a few corrupt Cook County/Chicago politicians just shit all over your work. You deserve better.” Continue reading

Robservations: WTTW News branding reflects ‘breadth of coverage’

WTTW

Robservations on the media beat:

Better late than never, here’s noting the rebranding of “WTTW News” on digital platforms and other communications associated with WTTW-Channel 11, the public television station owned by Window to the World Communications. Changes to the station’s website and its email and social media formats were made “to reflect the breadth of news coverage in those spaces,” according to Anne Gleason, senior vice president of marketing and digital media for WTTW, who added: “As we expand to new spaces, we’ll use the ‘WTTW News’ umbrella if/where it makes sense.” Continue reading

Robservations: New radio studio keeps ‘Voice of Lake County’ on track

Round Lake Beach Metra station

Robservations on the media beat:

WRLR

WRLR 98.3-FM, the low-power nonprofit community radio station that bills itself as “The Voice of Lake County,” has a new claim to fame: It boasts the only broadcast studio inside a train depot. Since February WRLR’s Studio B has been located in the Metra train station’s vacant ticket-agent office in north suburban Round Lake Beach. “While the mic is open there is a certain charm to hearing Metra train announcements in the background or the rumble that can be heard and felt, as long lines of CN freight cars frequently go by,” WRLR officials said. “We don’t apologize for these natural special effects.” An open house for the station at 680 East Mallard Creek Drive is being planned for June 29. Continue reading

Robservations: Sun-Times to wrap itself in sports on Saturdays

Chicago Sun-Times Sports Saturday

Robservations on the media beat:

The Chicago Sun-Times is doubling down on sports coverage to fortify its increasingly flimsy Saturday edition. In hopes of boosting weekend readership, a new “Sports Saturday” section will wrap around the regular paper. Starting April 6, the all-sports product will feature in-depth cover stories, expanded sports news and columns, bolder graphics and photos, and other elements designed to “celebrate the teams, players, coaches, rivalries and games that define our city.” “The Sun-Times has always been Chicago’s progressive, independent voice,” editor-in-chief Chris Fusco said in a statement. “Sports Saturday is certainly a bold move, but one that we believe is right for our readers — and our city.” Continue reading

The Score promotes Laurence Holmes to early afternoons

Laurence Holmes

Laurence Holmes, the veteran Chicago sportscaster and evening host at Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, is moving up to a new afternoon shift at The Score.

Starting March 28, Holmes will host solo from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. He’ll also host a daily podcast for Radio.com to be posted after 2 p.m. Holmes’s current shift — from 6 to 10 p.m. weeknights — is subject to frequent preemptions due to play-by-play sports and other programming commitments. Continue reading