Robservations: Moody Bible Institute selling AM radio stations

Site of original WMBI transmitter in Addison (1927)

Robservations on the media beat:

Moody Chicago

WMBI 1110-AM, the radio flagship of Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute since 1926 and one of the oldest noncommercial Christian radio stations in the country, is on the block. It’s one of three AM stations being sold as the religious broadcaster focuses on expansion of its FM network and digital platforms. Also up for sale are WDLM in East Moline, Illinois, and WGNR in Anderson, Indiana. Greg Thornton, senior vice president of media for Moody Radio, said the decision reflects “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including the limitation on many AM stations to only broadcast in the daytime, as well as the dramatic rise in digital/online/mobile listening.” He added: “Listeners in these cities will still hear Moody Radio broadcasting 24 hours a day on our strong FM signals.” (Here is the link to Thornton’s full statement.) In Chicago Moody Radio continues to operate Christian ministry WMBI 90.1-FM. No buyer has been identified for the AM stations, according to a spokesman.

Weigel Broadcasting

Broadcasts of Illinois High School Association Championship Football and Basketball have a new home in Chicago. Under an agreement announced Monday, IHSA Championship Network will air this fall on Weigel Broadcasting stations WMEU-Channel 48.1 (“The U”) and WCIU-Channel 26.2 along with “Game of the Week” high school sports. “I don’t think it is an overstatement to say it will provide the largest statewide TV audience access to IHSA State Final broadcasts since the games aired nationally in the 1970s,” Craig Anderson, executive director of the IHSA, said of the new broadcast partnership with Qunicy Media. IHSA championship games previously ran on NBC Sports Chicago.

Gene Farris

Gene Farris, who’s been a digital producer and editor in the sports department of the Chicago Tribune since 2013, is joining the Sun-Times as digital sports editor. He previously worked for USA Today and the Akron Beacon Journal. It’s a return to the Sun-Times for Farris, who supervised the sports copy desk from 1993 to 2002. “In his new role here, he’ll be helping manage our team of sports beat writers and columnists, and work alongside other editors and the newspaper’s audience team to make sure the most people possible are viewing our sports staff’s award-winning content,” said Sun-Times editor-in-chief Chris Fusco.

Rahm Emanuel

It’s official: Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has joined ABC News as a contributor. His hiring, first reported in May, was confirmed on the air Sunday during an appearance on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Emanuel, a North Side Democrat who earlier served as a U.S. congressman and President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, also is a contributing editor for The Atlantic. He is represented by William Morris Endeavor, the talent agency where his brother Ari Emanuel is co-CEO.

Tony Lossano

Tony Lossano, the prolific producer of radio shows and podcasts, is going back to his roots. Starting Monday he’ll relaunch “Nude Hippo: The Podcast.” Ryan Chiaverini of “Windy City Live” will be Lossano’s first guest for the new series of one-on-one interviews. The new format is billed as “more intimate and memorable” than his previous broadcast ventures, including “Nude Hippo: Your Chicago Show” and “Lossano and Friends!” Lossano should have no trouble lining up guests. Over the years, he’s been a producer for such radio legends as Dick Biondi, John Records Landecker, Bob Sirott, Robert Murphy and Melissa Forman.

Monday’s comment of the day: Stephanie Zimmermann: I caught the news story about Alan Krashesky’s upcoming report on the weekend ABC 7 news and it was deeply moving. Like another commenter here, I was reminded of visiting Dachau outside Munich and being confronted with that horror. Thank you, Alan, for bringing Fritzie Fritzshall’s story to a wider audience at a time when people need to be reminded of the perils of nationalism.

P.S. Not sure why Robert’s post about a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor’s last visit to Auschwitz has elicited comments attacking the mainstream media. (Google “Lügenpresse” and think about attacks on a free press in Germany before and during WWII.) Though perhaps those comments illustrate why Fritzie’s story is so important.