Robservations on the media beat:
If you didn’t read Barry Rozner’s column in the Daily Herald Tuesday, don’t miss it. (Here is the link.) His extraordinarily sensitive and insightful report on the real reason sportscaster Peggy Kusinski stepped away from NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 has drawn an overwhelming response online and on social media. How did it come about? “Peggy had asked me to come on her podcast not long after my brother had passed and I said I just didn’t have any desire to talk about anything,” Rozner told me. “I was really struggling after losing my dad and my brother two months apart. A couple weeks later I ran into her at the BMW Media Day at Medinah and I apologized for blowing her off. She asked me what happened, but I couldn’t talk about it without breaking down. That’s when she began to tell me about her sister and the Patrick Kane question, and I instantly went from tears to work mode. I told her that’s a story that needed to be told. That’s what we do, right? It’s our job to tell stories. She agreed and not long after we sat down to talk.” Added Rozner: “I’d like to believe the empathy and emotion would have come through had nothing bad happened [to me] this year. I’m also not foolish enough to believe that my 2019 had no impact, or foolish enough to claim with certainty whether it did one way or another. Right now, I don’t think I’m capable of differentiating.”
Mitch Rosen, program director of Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, has taken on additional responsibilities as program director of WSSP, the Entercom sports/talk station in Milwaukee known as The Fan. He succeeds Tom Parker, who is retiring. Rosen told staffers at The Score that he plans to spend a day and a half each week in Milwaukee under the new arrangement. “The company asked for my help and I was happy to jump in,” he said. As senior vice president and market manager of Entercom Chicago, Jimmy deCastro also oversees Milwaukee and Madison. Rosen has been program director of The Score since 2005.
A minor meltdown at WGN 720-AM knocked the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station out of commission just before high noon Tuesday. A router crash at WGN’s 303 East Wacker Drive studios resulted in 10 minutes of dead air at the end of Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder’s midday show. That was followed by “emergency fill audio” of old content that originated from the station’s transmitter site in Elk Grove Village. A second incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. when the station replayed part of Roe Conn’s Monday afternoon show while engineers completed a system reboot, according to Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content at WGN. It’s still not clear what caused the snafu, which also knocked out the studio’s phone lines and Internet access.
WBEZ 91.5-FM, the Chicago Public Media news/talk station, has run out the lease on its Northwest Indiana bureau and studio in Crown Point after seven years. Reporter Michael Puente will continue to cover the region from new space at Lakeshore Public Media, the home of Lakeshore PBS and Lakeshore Public Radio in Merrillville. Before joining WBEZ in 2006, Puente worked for the Daily Herald and the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana.
It’s a return engagement for Garry Meier on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. The former Chicago radio personality will fill in Thursday and Friday on Mancow Muller’s morning show. He previously subbed for Muller for one week in June. Meier, who worked with Steve Dahl at WLS in the ’80s, spent eight years as Roe Conn’s afternoon co-host there before he quit in a bitter salary dispute in 2004. He’s been gone from terrestrial radio since 2014 when his five-year run ended at WGN. In 2016 Meier launched a subscription podcast.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Albert Balcer: Welcome to the era of corporate arrogance. Businesses are emboldened by Trump’s tax cuts, keeping more money for their stockholders. Whatever the issues these days, consumers here are left holding the remote. AT&T leads the way in arrogance.