Robservations: Retiring ‘Fly Jock’ Tom Joyner comes home to Chicago

Tom Joyner

Robservations on the media beat:

On the eve of his retirement, Radio Hall of Famer Tom Joyner is taking a victory lap in Chicago. He’ll be the guest of honor Saturday at “The World’s Largest Day Party” at Chicago State University’s Jacoby Dickens Center, 9501 South King Drive. The event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. is hosted by 95.1 FM Clubsteppin Chicago, which airs Joyner’s syndicated morning show. The pioneering urban radio personality skyrocketed to fame as the legendary “Fly Jock” in the ’80s and ’90s at WGCI 107.5-FM. “Yes, there’s no way I was going to retire and not come back to the city that gave me all of the love and support over the years . . . and for the food,” he said in a statement. Culminating his 25th year in syndication, Joyner, 70 will retire later this month, turning over his Dallas-based show to Rickey Smiley, the comedian, reality-show star and radio personality.

Block Club Chicago

Block Club Chicago, the nonprofit subscription-based digital news site founded by former editors of DNAinfo Chicago, will expand coverage into Lakeview/Boystown/Lincoln Park early next year. The new position — Block Club’s 10th full-time reporter — will be funded in part by a $20,000 grant from the Report for America program. “Our goal is to embed full-time reporters in all neighborhoods across the city, and we’re thrilled with our reader support and Report For America’s support that allows us to expand,” said editor-in-chief Shamus Toomey, who launched the nonprofit newsroom in June 2018 with Jen Sabella and Stephanie Lulay. “Chicago needs more reporters in the neighborhoods, and we’re being careful to expand at a pace we can sustain.”

Susanna Homan

It’s still a year off, but look for Chicago magazine to celebrate its 50th anniversary in grand style. Susanna Homan, editor-in-chief and publisher of the city monthly, told the Publicity Club of Chicago Wednesday that plans are in the works for a big blowout to mark the golden milestone in December 2020. Chicago Guide originated as programming listings for classical station WFMT 98.7-FM in 1952, but dates its founding as a magazine to December of 1970. (It was renamed Chicago in 1975.) Homan appeared on a Publicity Club panel assessing PR hits and misses of 2019 with Maze Jackson of urban news/talk WVON 1690-AM and Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business, moderated by Charlie Meyerson of Chicago Public Square. The year’s most surprising hit: The election victory of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Bruce DuMont

Bruce DuMont, host of “Beyond the Beltway,” is appealing to listeners to help keep his syndicated weekly political talk show on the air. Last week he relaunched a GoFundMe campaign to defray satellite uplink services for the show, soon to mark its 40th year on radio. (Here is the link.) “I need your help to keep ‘Beyond the Beltway’ going strong in 2020 for the historic presidential campaign,” DuMont wrote. “I’m trying to keep both the radio and YouTube and Facebook options going.” The weekly broadcast originates from Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications, where DuMont is founder and former president.

Mark Caro

Mark Caro, the longtime arts and entertainment writer and former Chicago Tribune staffer, has transformed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into a thrilling page-turner. The result is The Special Counsel: The Mueller Report Retold, set for publication Tuesday by Mulholland Books and available in paperback, e-book and audio book on Amazon. “I rewrote the Mueller Report in novel form so everyone can read and understand what happened,” Caro said. “What’s there is jaw-dropping. I was afraid this book might not be relevant by the time it came out. Ha. This puts the impeachment hearings, Ukraine and Russia into context.”

John Dodge

Wednesday’s comment of the day: John Dodge: Mr. Feder is a smart man, and he knows that anchor changes don’t move ratings in just a few months. Of course, he’s also right, CBS is in last place. What is left unsaid here: CBS Chicago recently won 12 Emmys for their journalism, including best morning and evening newscasts. We hear a lot about how CBS Chicago is an “out of town” newscast. It’s simply not true. What do Ryan Baker, Megan Glaros, Dave Savini, Dorothy Tucker, Pam Zekman, Dana Kozlov, Charlie DeMar, Jermont Terry, Mike Puccinelli, Chris Tye, Tim McNicholas, Megan Mawicke, Megan Hickey, Vi Nguyen and Eric Cox have in common? They were all born or raised in the Chicago area. Erin Kennedy, Tara Molina, Matt Zahn and Brad Edwards have spent a significant amount of their careers in the Midwest.