Robservations on the media beat:
WBBM-Channel 2 continues to shrink before our eyes. In the latest retreat, the CBS-owned station is looking to rent out its former street-front studio in the Loop. Once touted as the crown jewel of the building (along with CBS 2’s long-dismantled Jumbotron), it’s become a white elephant for the company. With windows looking on to Daley Plaza, the 3,500 square-foot space at the northeast corner of Dearborn and Washington was used for CBS 2 newscasts from 2008 to 2017. But it’s been gathering dust since the station unveiled a new set in Studio B. So now the old two-story studio is being marketed as suitable for “restaurant/retail users,” according to commercial real estate advisor SVN Chicago. CBS 2 declined to comment.
Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 was the only local station to decline in late-news Nielsen ratings during the just-ended May sweep. All others posted modest increases over last May in overall households and key demographics, led by perennial leader ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. The big winner again in mornings was Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, which widened its considerable lead and posted double-digit gains in key demos over last year. Tweeted “WGN Morning News” anchor Larry Potash: “Most hours, we either tied or beat all four competitors COMBINED.”
Kelley Bowles, a reporter at WHBF, the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities, is coming home to join the Midwest bureau of NBC News in Chicago. A Northwest Side native and graduate of Illinois State University and DePaul University, she began as an intern at WGN and worked with Carol Marin at DePaul’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence. Bowles was hired as a multimedia journalist at WHBF in 2017. “I am incredibly excited for the adventure that lies ahead, but I’ll never forget the incredible people here that shaped me into the journalist I am today,” she wrote on Facebook.
Chicago radio newsman Jim Gudas has been promoted to full-time reporter on the afternoon/evening shift at Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM He succeeds Bob Roberts, who retired in April. Before rejoining WBBM Newsradio as a part-time news anchor and reporter in 2017, Gudas was an anchor and reporter at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. Earlier he was a writer, editor and reporter for the former all-news WMAQ, and an anchor and reporter at news/talk WJOB 1230-AM in Hammond, Indiana.
In a followup to a report here about midday program changes at WBEZ 91.5-FM, Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air” will lose its current time slot at 11 a.m. — but won’t be going away. Under the new lineup this fall at the Chicago Public Media news/talk station, “Fresh Air” will move to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday (and repeat at 8 p.m.) On Fridays, “Science Friday” will continue to air at 1 p.m. The move is prompted by the launch of a new talk show to be hosted by Jenn White from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. Jerome McDonnell’s “Worldview” will be dropped.
Robert J. Herguth is being remembered as a kind, gentle and honest man who was beloved by colleagues and readers alike. In nearly five decades as a reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Chicago Daily News and Sun-Times, he was best known for his columns “Public Eye,” “Chicago Profile” and “Small Potatoes” — and for the sheer joy of his pun-filled writing. “Readers looked forward to the hard-hitting stories in the newspapers, but when they turned the page to ‘Hergie,’ they felt like they were visiting a friend,” wrote Maureen O’Donnell in the Sun-Times. Herguth died Wednesday in Portland, Oregon, at 93. Survivors include his son, Robert C. Herguth, an investigative reporter for the Sun-Times.
Friday’s comment of the day: Richard Rudy: Nielsen is finally being outed as a company clearly coasting on its name and past glory. The private equity firms looking to invest have learned what many of us have found out — the company is horribly managed, they use antiquated technology, and they are just plain cheap. An awful company destined to follow the likes of Sears down the drain.