Robservations on the media beat:
Radio Hall of Famer Garry Meier will soon be heard again on WLS 890-AM, the Cumulus Media news/talk station. This time Meier will appear as a guest on Mancow Muller’s morning show June 21 and then fill in for Muller the full week of June 24, according to Stephanie Tichenor, program director of WLS. Quoth Mancow: “Radio’s greatest second-banana lands the greatest honor of his career — filling in for me. . . . This is very big for him!” Meier, who worked with Steve Dahl at WLS in the ’80s, spent eight years as Roe Conn’s afternoon co-host there before he quit in a bitter salary dispute in 2004. He’s been gone from terrestrial radio since 2014 when his five-year run ended at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. In 2016 Meier launched a subscription podcast.
A major technical glitch Monday night at the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center printing plant wreaked havoc on delivery of Tuesday’s Tribune, Sun-Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other newspapers produced there. In a note to readers, Bruce Dold, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Tribune, attributed the snafu to an unspecified “electrical problem,” and invited readers to access digital replicas of the editions online. “We apologize for the delay in delivery. Thank you for your patience,” Dold added. Wrote Chris Fusco, editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times: “We value your readership and apologize for any inconvenience.”
Congratulations to John Idler, president and general manager of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, on his election as chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Association. He’ll be installed June 13 at the IBA’s annual conference in Springfield. “I am honored to serve as the Illinois Broadcasters Association incoming chairman,” he said. “I look forward to supporting an aggressive agenda that highlights the value Illinois radio and television stations bring to the communities we serve.” Idler has headed top-rated ABC 7 since 2012.
Ace communications executive Dominic Calabrese will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday from the Publicity Club of Chicago, the nation’s largest independent public relations membership organization. Calabrese, who recently completed his second term as president, will be honored at the group’s 60th annual Golden Trumpet Awards dinner at the Palmer House Hilton. Since 2004, Calabrese has been senior vice president of public relations for the nonprofit Chicago Lighthouse.
Andrew Schroedter, a former investigative producer at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, is joining the investigative unit of Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 in the same role. “He is a true Chicago journalist who began his career learning the city and court system by working for the City News Service,” said Jennifer Lyons, news director of WGN. Schroedter most recently has been senior strategist for Chicago-based Taylor Johnson Public Relations. Earlier he worked as a senior investigator at the Better Government Association and contributing writer for Crain’s Chicago Business.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Thomas L. Weinberg: Dan Soles is not the problem. Simply replacing him isn’t likely to change much of anything. Only when the 48 member board and CEO commit to new local programing that reflects the public of Chicago and suburban communities can [WTTW-Channel 11] become a vital force. It involves taking and tolerating risks and reallocating more of the $40 million annual budget to on-air and digital local content. The only viable choice is to reach its potential as a 21st century community media resource. At a time when we need it most, WWCI and Channel 11 need to embrace and grow the talents of underrepresented sources of local production. Technology exists to change the equation to becoming more inclusive. Dan Soles could never overcome the underlying organizational culture of isolation that has become the norm in his years there. All who care can only hope that his departure signals a new and revitalized era of local public broadcasting responsibility. It can be done.