Robservations on the media beat:
Look for two new hires to be announced today at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. Terrence Lee, morning news anchor at ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland, is expected to join Fox 32 as a news anchor and reporter, starting March 16. A Maryland native and Temple University graduate, Lee began his career at WMDT, the dual ABC/CW affiliate in Salisbury, Maryland. He joined WEWS in 2013. Also headed for Fox 32 as a reporter is Brittany Garzillo, who has been a traffic anchor and reporter for WGAL, the NBC affiliate in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, since 2018. The Lehigh Valley native and graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, previously worked for WLVT, the PBS station in Bethlehem. Fox 32 has not yet announced how it plans to replace the ousted anchor Rafer Weigel on “Good Day Chicago” from 4 to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Monday marks Mary Dixon’s first day as morning anchor and local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM. That’s also when Lisa Labuz moves to middays, where she’ll anchor news for “Reset with Jenn White,” the news and talk show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. Labuz wraps up 20 years in mornings on Friday. “I’m so excited to share all the latest news with WBEZ listeners as they go about their mornings,” said Dixon, a 29-year veteran of Chicago radio and former co-host at Entercom adult album alternative WXRT 93.1-FM. “Lisa and the rest of the WBEZ crew have been so welcoming. I’m grateful for my new home.”
Happy to report that Leslie Harris is moving up to evening personality on WERV 95.9-FM, the Alpha Media classic hits station in Aurora. Starting next week she’ll be on weeknights from 7 p.m. to midnight, replacing Samantha James, who left in October. Harris first joined 95.9 The River in 2007 and worked a variety of shifts until 2014. Most recently she’s been back working weekends and fill-in. The Des Plaines native and Columbia College graduate has been a bright light on Chicago area radio since 1982.
Jason Thomas, who signed off earlier this week after more than 13 years at Entercom adult album alternative WXRT 93.1-FM, is headed for Denver. Starting Wednesday, he’ll host afternoons at KVOQ, Colorado Public Radio’s adult album alternative station. “I can’t think of a station/city combo that’s a better fit for me, and I’m excited to work and learn alongside a team that’s loaded with true music junkies that want to serve and connect with our listeners,” he said in a statement.
The student radio station of Maine Township High Schools is making big plans to celebrate its 60th year of broadcasting. On April 4 WMTH 90.5-FM will host a reunion of students, staff and alumni at its Des Plaines and Park Ridge studios. (Here is the link.) As one of the first high school radio stations in the United States, it signed on December 20, 1959. The first student voice heard on the station was that of Harrison Ford, class of 1960 senior and future Hollywood star.
Well that didn’t take long. The end is near for “The Mel Robbins Show” after one year in syndication. The daytime talk show hosted by the motivational speaker, life strategist and author was canceled this week by Sony Pictures Television. It will remain in production through the end of the season. “It was a privilege to have a platform on television to fight for everyday people,” Robbins said. “I am so proud of the show we created because it serves as a lifeline and daily resource for viewers who are struggling and want more out of their lives.” No word yet on what will replace it this fall on Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9, which airs Robbins from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays. Two other new syndicated talk shows already renewed for a second year are “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and “Tamron Hall.”
To commemorate Black History Month, Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26 will air a series of vignettes in February profiling prominent African-American personalities on iHeartMedia Chicago stations. Starting Saturday, the 30-second “Chicago Voices” profiles will spotlight Leon Rogers, Kendra Gilliams and Kyle Santillian of urban contemporary WGCI 107.5-FM, JRDN (Jordan Foster) of Top 40 WKSC 103.5-FM, Bioncé Foxx of urban adult-contemporary WVAZ 102.7-FM, and Sonya Blakey and Marcella Jones of gospel WGRB 1390-AM. “The partnership with iHeartMedia Chicago allows us to create inspirational stories that reach a broader audience,” said Steve Bailey, head of local programing and creative at CW26.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Ken Davis: Never underestimate the power of the Robert Feder column – we’ve already been flooded with requests, and this is the first public mention of the [Chicago Journalism] Town Hall. Thanks so much for the generous plug. I’m thrilled to say that the multi-talented Heather Cherone (The Daily Line) has signed on as co-moderator!