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.

Cliff Kelley

To mark the final week of broadcasts for afternoon personality Cliff Kelley, Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk WVON 1690-AM has begun airing special messages every other hour from friends, colleagues and politicians as well as current and former contributors to his show. Kelley is signing off Friday after 25 years as the self-styled “Governor of Talk Radio.” No word yet on a replacement for Kelley, who’s expected to continue at WVON as “community ambassador” and a regular fill-in host. The former Chicago alderman hosted mornings for 13 years before moving to afternoons in 2007.

Connor Jenkins

Don’t even think of calling Nancy Loo when “The Bachelorette” is on. When the show returns for its 15th season on ABC May 13, her son, Connor Jenkins, will be a contestant. “I just hope that this is a good, positive experience, and that he does find someone,” Loo, a reporter and fill-in news anchor at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, told her colleagues. “He just hasn’t met ‘the one,’ and maybe ‘The Bachelorette’ is ‘the one,’ and if it’s not, then I hope he finds ‘the one,’ out of the experience.” Jenkins, 28, who grew up in the northwest suburbs and graduated from Barrington High School, lives in Newport Beach, California.

Peter Bowen

It’s over and out for Peter Bowen after 10 months as director of sports sales for Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. The former vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media Chicago previously was director of sales in Chicago and Los Angeles for Entercom predecessor CBS Radio and general manager of Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM. “It was an honor and a pleasure to work with everyone over the past 10 months,” Bowen told colleagues in an email. “It was great to reunite with so many familiar faces and friends . . . and it was awesome to meet so many new people.”

Leti Aguilera

Leti Aguilera, former regional vice president of Spanish Broadcasting System and general manager of regional Mexican WLEY 107.9-FM, has been hired as general sales manager of Cox Media Group’s station cluster in Houston. She’ll be working with Mark Krieschen, former vice president and general manager of Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM, who now heads the Houston market for Cox. Aguilera most recently has been a sales account executive for Entercom classic hip-hop and R&B WBMX 104.3-FM. “I am extremely excited and honored to join the [Cox Media Group] family,” Aguilera said in a statement. “CMG values integrity, strong character and innovation and I’m proud to have the opportunity to be part of such a talented team.”

Bernie Tafoya

Friday’s comment of the day: Bernie Tafoya: This is not necessarily an endorsement of those TV one-man-bands, as they’re known. I’ve been covering stories by myself in Chicago for 35+ years. I’ve driven in marked station vehicles a number of those years, have carried recorders, microphones, laptops and more. Not once have I been mugged, attacked or threatened as I’ve worked in just about every neighborhood in Chicago at all hours of the day and night. (The last 20+ years have been in the morning drive hours.) People have asked me if I’m afraid to go into “bad” neighborhoods and I tell them there’s no such thing as a bad neighborhood. Communities are mostly made up of good people who want the same things for themselves and their families as you and I. It’s just the small minority of knuckleheads who make it bad for those who live there. Do you have to be street smart and watch your surroundings? Of course. But as a now-former city kid from the Southeast Side, I do that everywhere I am.