Robservations on the media beat:
As expected, the ongoing impasse between CBS and AT&T is wreaking havoc on WBBM-Channel 2’s already low ratings. The blackout of CBS 2 on DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse cable systems appears to have cost the CBS-owned station more than a quarter of its viewership. Nielsen household ratings dropped an average of 28 percent around the clock last week, with some time periods (including CBS 2’s 10 p.m. newscast) down as much as 33 percent. Chicago is one of 17 cities where CBS programming has been blacked out since July 20 when the company’s retransmission agreement expired. AT&T U-verse and DirecTV customers can receive a one-time credit of $15 by calling (800) 288-2020.
A three-part series exploring North American dinosaurs and other prehistoric life in the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming will be produced by Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11 for airing on PBS stations nationwide next year. “Prehistoric Road Trip” will be written, hosted and executive produced by Emily Graslie, chief curiosity correspondent at Chicago’s Field Museum and creator of the popular YouTube series “The Brain Scoop.” Said Sandra Cordova Micek, president and CEO of WTTW: “With this new miniseries, we hope to foster scientific curiosity while inspiring people of all ages to set off on their own adventures.”
Since February “The Ben Joravsky Show” has been streaming live from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays on the websites of the Chicago Reader and Sun-Times. Now the longtime Reader political writer is expanding the reach of his podcast. Starting Monday, “The Best of Ben” will air at 8 a.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Tuesdays on WRLR 98.3-FM, the community radio station that bills itself as “The Voice of Lake County.” It will feature highlights of the show, which originates from Sun-Times studios in the West Loop. “Many residents of Lake County are transplanted Chicagoans and a large number of them work and play in Chicago,” said WRLR president Bish Krywko. “The topics and guests on Ben’s show can be interesting really to anyone living in the surrounding suburbs.”
Chicago radio listeners know Mariam Sobh as evening news anchor at Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM. But Sobh’s other talents will be on display when she debuts her one-woman show next month. “Headscarf Above Water,” a monologue about her identity as an American woman who happens to be Muslim, will be presented at 9 p.m. August 3 and 10 at Judy’s Beat Lounge, 230 West North Avenue. (Here is the link for tickets.) It’s her first solo performance as a graduate of the Second City Training Center. Before joining WBBM Newsradio, Sobh worked as a reporter for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM and Illinois Radio Network.
Actress Jessica Harper recalls her North Shore upbringing and family’s secrets in “Winnetka,” a 10-part podcast series she created, produced and narrated. (Here is the link.) Since its premiere in February, the free series has received critical acclaim for Harper’s candor and that of her family members, who offer their own takes on the events of their lives. “On the surface, Winnetka seemed as scenic and vibrant a home town as there ever was,” Harper says. “But sometimes that surface would crack, revealing darkness below. And it wasn’t until after my father’s death [in 2013] that I learned just how deep that darkness went.”
Monday’s comment of the day: Donna Lake: As someone who lives in the suburbs and often wasn’t home in time for the 6 p.m. newscast, I loved being able to watch “ABC 7 Eyewitness News on The U” at 7 p.m. I understand the change, but will miss the convenience of catching up with the day’s news at 7 p.m.