Robservations on the media beat:
Listeners aren’t likely to tell the difference, but all-news WBBM 780-AM began broadcasting Thursday from a new radio tower just off Army Trail Road in Bloomingdale. In a move that took nearly two years to complete, the Entercom all-news station dismantled its former transmitter a few miles east in Itasca and sold the property to a developer for $46 million. (Here is the link to the video.) The nondescript white brick bunker and 680-foot radio tower in Itasca had been beaming WBBM’s signal since 1942. In Bloomingdale, the station now shares a transmitter site with Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. To comply with FCC requirements, the former 50,000-watt WBBM Newsradio has dropped to 35,000 watts during the daytime and 42,000 watts at night. No significant reduction in signal coverage is expected, according to the station.
On the eve of his induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame, White Sox legend Harold Baines will be the subject of two Chicago TV specials this weekend. Chuck Garfien will host “Harold Baines: Welcome to Cooperstown” at 9:30 tonight on NBC Sports Chicago (with rebroadcasts at 11 a.m. and 4 and 9 p.m. Sunday); and Dan Roan will host “Harold Baines: A Hall of Fame Tribute” at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. Another inductee, former Cubs relief pitcher Lee Smith, will be profiled in “Lee Smith: A Hall of Fame Tribute,” also hosted by Roan, at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WGN.
After narrowing a wide field of candidates, Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications is expected to name a new executive director any day now. The post has been vacant since Julian Jackson resigned after one year in March to accept a new position with Freeman Exhibit Solutions in Schiller Park. In the interim, operations at the museum have been overseen by Justin Kulovsek, vice president of innovation, while strategic planning and fundraising have been headed by board member Carol Summerfield.
Four Chicago radio stations were among finalists named Thursday for 2019 Marconi Radio Awards by the National Association of Broadcasters. They were: Janda Lane’s “Behind the Song” on Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM in the Best Radio Podcast of the Year category; Hubbard Radio adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM in the AC Station of the Year category; iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI 107.5-FM in the Urban Station of the Year category; and Univision regional Mexican WOJO 105.1-FM in the Spanish Station of the Year category. The awards, named for wireless telegraphy inventor Guglielmo Marconi, will be presented September 26 at the NAB’s 2019 Radio Show in Dallas.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Bruce DuMont: I remember Sam Alex as an energetic MBC [Museum of Broadcast Communications] volunteer who seemed focused and ready to learn. His success pleases me but does not surprise me.