Robservations: WBBM Newsradio starts beaming from Bloomingdale

Dismantled WBBM transmitter tower in Itasca (Photo: Brian Hill)

Robservations on the media beat:

WBBM transmitter site (Photo: Scott Fybush)

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. Continue reading

New morning show taking shape at country music US99

Jason Pullman

Two and a half months after WUSN 99.5-FM dropped the morning team of Doug Stylz and Justin Roman, the Entercom country music station is about to name their replacement.

Jason Pullman, former morning personality at WUBL in his native Atlanta, is expected to sign on at US99 early next month, according to insiders. Before his 10-year run in Atlanta, which ended in January, he was on the air in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis and San Francisco. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

ABC 7’s Alan Krashesky documents survivor’s ‘Return to Auschwitz’

Alan Krashesky, Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall and Cardinal Blase Cupich at Auschwitz (Photo: ABC 7)

Over his 37 years as a news anchor and reporter for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, Alan Krashesky has traveled the world more times than he can recall. But few assignments affected him as deeply as his journey earlier this month to the Auschwitz death camp with Holocaust survivor Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall.

Fritzshall, 90, a Buffalo Grove resident and president of the board of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, invited Krashesky to witness what was expected to be her last visit to the Nazi concentration camp where she was imprisoned as a 13-year-old girl. Continue reading

Robservations: Mancow to raise cash for Roger Stone

Roger Stone

Robservations on the media beat:

Mancow Muller

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.” Continue reading

Robservations: WFMT drops noon news for ‘Music in Chicago’


Robservations on the media beat:

Lisa Flynn

Without fanfare, WFMT 98.7-FM canceled its long-running noon newscast earlier this month, replacing it with “Music in Chicago” on the Window to the World Communications classical music station. At noon each weekday, midday host Lisa Flynn presents a selection that celebrates the music community in Chicago. “It could be a recording of a recently-performed concert in Chicago, a historical recording from Chicago, previewing an upcoming Chicago concert, or featuring a Chicago artist,” according to the station. Back on WFMT’s schedule is “Live from Carnegie Hall” at 10 p.m. Thursdays. Syndicated by the WFMT Radio Network, the series features performers and ensembles in a range of styles, from early music to solo recitals to orchestral performances. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: The Mix and The Drive take it to the top

Hubbard Radio Chicago

Hubbard Radio Chicago delivered a one-two punch in the Nielsen Audio survey, with two of its powerhouse stations leading the market in ratings released Wednesday.

WTMX 101.9-FM, the hot-adult contemporary station known as The Mix, finished first for the third consecutive month, followed this time by WDRV 97.1-FM, the classic rock station known as The Drive. Continue reading

Robservations: White Sox ratings at seven-year high on NBC Sports Chicago

Jose Abreu (Photo: NBC Sport Chicago)

Robservations on the media beat:

June ratings for Chicago White Sox broadcasts on NBC Sports Chicago hit their highest level in seven years. Compared to this time last season they’re up a whopping 36 percent. What’s behind the resurgence? “It really boils down to the young core of this team, who have been developing in the minors over the past few years and are finally making their way to the big league club,” said one network insider. “It’s a solid group of players who we have been educating the viewers about for a long time now. Hopefully, this is the start of something good.” Just before Tuesday’s All-Star Game, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who’s in the final year of his contract, told NBC Sports Chicago: “We’re going to be very, very good. That’s why I’m telling you guys that if the White Sox don’t sign me, I’m going to sign here anyway. I’m going to sign myself here. I’m going to be here, believe me. I’m going to be here. I don’t want to miss this, I don’t want to miss what is coming, and I’m going to be here.” Continue reading

New Eastland documentary recalls ‘Chicago’s Deadliest Day’

Eastland Disaster 1915 (Photo: Eastland Disaster Historical Society)

One of the worst days in Chicago history is the subject of a great new documentary.

“Eastland: Chicago’s Deadliest Day,” produced and written by Harvey Moshman and Chuck Coppola, tells the tragic but little-known story of the steamship that capsized while docked at the Chicago River on July 24, 1915, killing 844 people onboard. Continue reading