Robservations on the media beat:
Roger Stone, the Republican operative and former adviser to President Donald Trump, is getting a big boost from Mancow Muller, morning host on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. Stone was indicted in January by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on five counts of lying to Congress, as well as witness tampering and obstruction of justice. To raise funds for Stone’s defense, WLS will host “Stone Free: Mancow & Roger Stone Uncensored,” a dinner July 21 at Maggiano’s in Schaumburg. Tickets range from $100 to $500. Separately, Muller is hosting a sold-out private dinner for Stone at Marchesa Chicago. At $1,000-a-plate, all proceeds are going to Stone. Although Stone has been a guest on his show, Muller said they’re not friends. “I always stand with those that stand against big government,” Muller told me. “Politics have nothing to do with this. Free speech — my life’s work — does. Roger Stone is being crushed by an out-of-control weaponized judiciary and we are showing mercy to the oppressed.”
Bill Moller, one of the genuinely good guys in Chicago journalism, is leaving for Philadelphia. “I will miss the many professionals I’ve worked with as I leave an industry that is struggling to find its place in an accelerating digital age,” he told me. “My feelings about its future are unsettled. The media are no longer a universally recognized source of truth as people are turning to dubious and biased sources of information. Yet, an informed citizenry is the backbone of a democracy and I worry that the Constitutionally-protected profession of journalism is being fragmented, dismissed and maligned to the nation’s peril.” Moller joined CLTV, the Tribune Media cable news channel, at its inception in 1992 and spent 14 years there as a news anchor and host. He also anchored “First Business” for Weigel Broadcasting and worked as a talk show host for two news/talk stations — WLS 890-AM and WGN 720-AM. He’s now a writer and training coach for an international business consulting firm. Why Philadelphia? “I’ve always liked the industrial corridor of the Northeast and my wife and I both have family in the region,” he said. “And Broadway is less than two hours away by train!”
Tony Hunter, former publisher of the Chicago Tribune, has been named board chairman of Revolution Enterprises, a cannabis company based in Elmhurst. “Over the past two decades, I have seen firsthand the benefits of alternative medicine for people suffering from chronic health conditions, including many of my loved ones,” Hunter said. “I’m grateful to partner with a company whose mission I deeply believe in and am excited for what Revolution will accomplish in the health and wellness sector.” During a 22-year career at the Tribune, Hunter rose from circulation manager to publisher and chief executive officer. He stepped down as president of national revenue and strategic initiatives for Tribune Publishing in 2016.
Former Chicago radio personality Rick Hall is returning to become manager of digital radio for Chicago-based Moody Radio. He’ll oversee the daily operation, scheduling, growth and outreach of Moody’s online stations, including Praise and Worship, Urban Praise, Radio Moody, Proclaim and Majesty. Hall most recently was program director and morning host at WAWZ in New York. Earlier he held several on-air shifts at Entercom country WUSN 99.5-FM and the short-lived adult contemporary “Fresh 105.9” format at WCFS 105.9-FM.
Jon Van, a distinguished reporter for the Chicago Tribune who covered science during most of his 34 years at the paper, died Wednesday of complications from Parkinson’s disease in Elmwood Park. He was 75. The native of Des Moines and graduate of the University of Iowa worked for the Des Moines Register before joining the Tribune as a metro reporter in 1973. “He was somebody who really understood the intricacies of technology and science and could explain them in a clear and concise fashion,” former Tribune managing editor Jim O’Shea told writer Bob Goldsborough. Van retired in 2008.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Dan Miller: I haven’t missed WFMT’s noon news, because I don’t look for news on WFMT. Besides, WBBM’s Noon Business Report does an excellent job covering business and non-business news throughout the hour.