Robservations on the media beat:
Twenty-five years after WCIU-Channel 26 shed its affiliation with the Univision Spanish-language network and became fully independent as “The U,” the Weigel Broadcasting station is about to take on a new identity. On Sunday it will become an affiliate of The CW Network and begin carrying the network’s lineup from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Friday. “It was an easy decision to partner with The CW,” said Neal Sabin, vice chairman of the privately owned Chicago-based company. “This gives us the opportunity for CW26 to air original, scripted, primetime programming six nights a week, as well as launching the new daytime talk show, ‘Tamron Hall’ [at 4 p.m. weekdays].” Since 2016 The CW Network has been airing on Fox-owned WPWR-Channel 50. For 10 years before that, CW programming aired on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. The U will shift to Weigel’s subchannel WCUU-Channel 26.2.
Friday will mark the final broadcast of “ABC 7 Eyewitness News on The U,” the 7 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscast produced by ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 for Weigel Broadcasting. The cancellation after four years coincides with the affiliation of The U with The CW Network. It also will mark the end of Hosea Sanders’ 25-year run as a news anchor at ABC 7. But he’ll continue to report stories under ABC 7’s “Chicago Proud” banner and contribute to local programming, including the station’s “Heart & Soul” specials, Bud Billiken Parade and New Year’s Eve “Countdown Chicago.” “On to new adventures!” he wrote on Facebook. Cheryl Burton, who co-anchored with Sanders, will continue to co-anchor ABC 7’s 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts alongside Alan Krashesky.
WAIT 850-AM, the northwest suburban Crystal Lake station, went dark Tuesday following the sale of its transmitter site to McHenry County College. As reported here last week, the college agreed to purchase the adjacent 26.9-acre parcel east of Ring Road for future development. Owner Newsweb Radio continues to hold the broadcast license for WAIT, but it’s uncertain when or if the station will get back on the air. Until July WAIT had been broadcasting the time-brokered Spanish-language Christian format “La Promesa.”
It’s a homecoming — and a bit of musical chairs — for Jon Manley, who’s just been hired as assistant program director, music director and evening host at Cumulus Media alternative rock WKQX 101.1-FM. Until April the Chicago native worked at KNDD in Seattle after stints at KXTE in Las Vegas and KEDJ in Phoenix. “Jon epitomizes the type of talent we were looking for,” said Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago. “He’s smart, has an outstanding knowledge of music, and is a Chicago guy coming home who knows exactly what the audience wants.” At 101 WKQX, Manley succeeds Walter Flakus, who left in July to take Manley’s old job in Seattle.
Kim Bellware, a reporting resident for City Bureau, the non-profit civic journalism lab on the South Side, has been hired as a general assignment reporter at The Washington Post. Starting September 9 she’ll cover breaking news and write enterprise stories. The Valparaiso University graduate previously was a reporter and editor for the Huffington Post and a staff writer for Chicagoist.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Dan Haley: Forty-plus years ago I did an internship at WBBM Newsradio 78. Worked in the editorial/opinion department. They actually ran daily editorials, read on the air by William C. O’Donnell, the GM. I spent most of my days clipping and filing newspaper articles. That’s where all the ideas and the facts for the editorials came from. Made my choice to go to work in community newspapers a lot clearer.