Robservations on the media beat:
Sinclair Broadcast Group has finally closed the book on its bungled attempt to take over Tribune Media. In 2017 Sinclair sought to buy Tribune Media’s 42 television stations and other properties for $3.9 billion before the deal ran afoul of the FCC for what was called “misrepresentation and/or lack of candor.” The Chicago-based parent company of WGN-Channel 9 and WGN 720-AM eventually was acquired by Nexstar Media Group, but a breach of contract lawsuit Tribune Media filed against Sinclair remained in effect. In a settlement announced Monday, Sinclair will pay Nexstar $60 million and transfer control of WDKY, a TV station in Lexington, Kentucky. “Neither party has admitted any liability or wrongdoing in connection with the terminated merger; both parties have settled the lawsuit to avoid the costs, distraction, and uncertainties of continued litigation,” the companies said in a regulatory filing.
It’s over and out for Jason Thomas after more than 13 years at WXRT 93.1-FM. Monday marked his last night at the Entercom adult album alternative station as host of “The Big Beat.” He resigned his part-time position to accept a new job outside of the market. “Thank you for making my time at XRT so memorable,” he said. “I’ll always have a huge spot in my heart for the station, the city, and the people.” Thomas, who signed on as afternoon host in 2006, was cut back to weekends and fill-in in 2018. Starting next week, Ryan Arnold will host “The Big Beat,” which loses an hour and moves to a new time — from 11 p.m. to midnight Mondays.
Val Warner, co-star of “Windy City Live” on WLS-Channel 7, will host a half-hour special on the colorful world of graffiti in Chicago with author, poet and street-art authority Kevin Coval. “Word on the Street” will air at 11:30 p.m. Sunday on the ABC-owned station. The special will highlight the works of Chicago artists Sam Kirk, Max Sansing, Penny Pinch and Kane One, with visits to the South Loop, Wicker Park, Pilsen and South Side neighborhoods.
Kelley Kitley, a Chicago psychotherapist, women’s health expert and author, has launched “She-Cago Women,” a new podcast in partnership with Hubbard Radio adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM. Billed as a showcase for “inspiring stories from inspiring women,” the series features Kitley in conversation with women of notable achievement. Her first guest is Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens. (Here is the link.)
Monday’s comment of the day: Al Greer: Syndication and automation is killing local radio. To say that “Keith Sweat is one of the most creative, prolific, and emotional entertainers I’ve known” is a slap in the face to Chris Michaels’s father, the late Richard Pegue. Mr. Pegue was one of the most creative radio personalities, program/music directors and production persons ever! Keith Sweat can’t hold Chris Michaels’s mic! I should know because I helped train him! Sweat is a cheap imitation of Mel Devonne, Raymond Anthony and myself!