Robservations: WBBM Newsradio contract talks heating up

WBBM Newsradio

Robservations on the media beat:

Employees of WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM are getting support from fellow union members in their contract negotiations with parent company Entercom. Writers Guild of America plans to rally at noon today outside the Prudential Building studios of WBBM Newsradio. At issue are raises for the station’s eight assistant producers, who now earn minimum hourly wage. “It’s a real shame,” said Patrick Barrins, one of the assistant producers. “Bottom line, Entercom and WBBM need to pay for the experience and expertise they require to create a quality product. The work done by assistant producers is crucial to the success of the newsroom. It should be compensated as such.” Entercom officials said they’re continuing to negotiate. WBBM Newsradio is Chicago’s top-rated and top-billing station with revenue of $39 million in 2018.

Doug Stylz and Justin Roman

The abrupt ouster of Doug Stylz and Justin Roman as morning co-hosts on WUSN 99.5-FM Friday prompted an outpouring of support and good wishes from their legion of fans. In the end, their move to the Entercom country music station from Top 40 sister station WBBM 96.3-FM in 2016 proved to be a less than perfect fit. “Thanks to both our B96 and US99 families for all the love! But most of all, thanks to YOU for listening over the past 15 years!” the duo wrote on Facebook. Added Roman: “Fifteen years. Two legendary stations. Relationships that will last forever. Not bad for a kid born and raised in Chicago with ZERO radio experience! Thank you to everybody who reached out . . . the love and support has been beyond overwhelming!”

Richard Marx

Grammy-winning singer Richard Marx and his wife, Daisy Fuentes, added a touch of glamour and star power to Chicago’s 2019 Silver Circle Honors Dinner Friday at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. Marx was on hand to accept the posthumous induction of his father, Dick Marx, the famed jazz pianist, arranger and composer who created some of TV’s most popular advertising jingles. Terry Savage, a 2018 Silver Circle inductee, did a superb job as host of the event, presented by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In addition to saluting this year’s 11 honorees, Savage paid tribute to the recent passing of sportscaster Chet Coppock.

Steve Dahl

Tickets will go on sale this week for a special live appearance and podcast recording by Steve Dahl. The Chicago broadcast legend and Radio Hall of Famer will be joined onstage by co-hosts Dag Juhlin and Brendan Greeley June 5 at Evanston Rocks, 1012 Church Street, Evanston. Starting at 7:30 p.m., they’ll hold forth with a freewheeling evening of “in-the-moment observations, fan interaction and fun.” (Here is the link for tickets.) Dahl uploads his podcast daily on the Steve Dahl Podcast Network at dahl.com.

Bob Secter

Bob Secter is leaving the Better Government Association after three years as senior editor and director of investigations. His last day with the government watchdog organization will be June 30. Secter came out of retirement to join the BGA after taking a buyout as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He previously worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Friday’s comment of the day: Ken Soens: It’s sad that we have two country music stations in this town and not one of them plays any of the old classics. Both stations sound the same and play all the same artists. [No] wonder why MeTV FM is doing so well because they play a variety of music not the same 10 power hits in a row. I say you bring back the old WMAQ format and mix in the new artists with the classic artists [and] let’s see what happens.