Robservations on the media beat:
The last straw for Patti Vasquez turned out to be an accidental F-bomb that dropped during her show on WGN 720-AM earlier this month. Vasquez was fired Monday after five years as late-night host at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station, although neither she nor the company would say why. Here’s the scoop: A live newscast was airing on her show when another microphone was inadvertently switched on and picked up some unidentified voices. One of the voices is heard clearly saying: “F— you.” News anchor Roger Badesch then says: “Guys, your microphones are on in there, I do believe. Can we turn those microphones off?” After multiple suspensions for previous infractions, Vasquez’s failure to report the incident to her bosses apparently proved to be her final offense. Now Vasquez says she’s planning to run for the Illinois State Senate.
ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM may be fighting an uphill battle with Nielsen Audio when it comes to its overall ratings, but veteran Chicago sportscaster David Kaplan is right where he wants to be. For the second straight month, Kaplan’s ESPN 1000 midday show decisively beat the competition in their target male demographics. In one key demo, Kap & Company finished third, while Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight, midday duo on Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, ranked 18th. “We’re pretty happy that the younger audience continues to stick with us,” said Adam Delevitt, senior program director of ESPN 1000.
The outlook isn’t quite as bright at ESPN Deportes Radio, the network’s Spanish-language radio division. Airing on Alpha Media’s north suburban WKRS 1220-AM, the sports/talk format will be shutting down on September 8. “Hispanic audience consumer habits are changing rapidly and this requires ESPN to evolve as well,” the network said in a statement. “It’s no secret Hispanic fans skew heavily on digital and social [media], which is why we made the decision to discontinue ESPN Deportes terrestrial radio.” No word yet on what will replace the format on WKRS, which is licensed to Waukegan.
Former Chicago Tribune sportswriter Chris Kuc has joined the Chicago Blackhawks as senior writer on its digital platform. He’ll work with former Tribune columnists Bob Verdi and Fred Mitchell as a contributor to Blackhawks.com. “Chris is a talented, respected hockey writer who has a deep connection to the Blackhawks franchise and our fans,” Adam Kempenaar, the team’s vice president of digital content, said in a statement. Kuc, who was laid off in 2018 after 35 years at the Tribune, most recently worked as a senior NHL writer for The Athletic. He’s the son of veteran Chicago sportscaster Jerry Kuc.
Remembered as an esteemed reporter and editor, Bernie Judge died Friday at his home in Chicago months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 79. Born and raised on the South Side, Judge began his career as a copy boy at City News Bureau of Chicago in 1965 and went on to guide a generation of journalists as an editor at City News, the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer. He was inducted in the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame in 2000. Mass will be at noon Saturday at St. Giles Catholic Church, 1025 Columbian Avenue in Oak Park.
Monday’s comment of the day: James McKay: I too have a great deal of respect for Crain‘s Chicago Business, but I am disappointed in this [“40 Under 40” nomination] fee. As a university faculty member, I would occasionally prepare and submit nominations for former students whose careers were ascending but needed more recognition and encouragement than perhaps their bosses were willing or able to give them. The fee creates an extra hurdle for this sort of support, especially when the nominee is part of a not-for-profit field. It increases the likelihood that such nominations only come from organizations that already recognize the employees.