Robservations on the media beat:
Oprah Winfrey is opening the vault to 25 years of “legendary interviews, a-ha moments, ugly cries and unforgettable surprises,” according to an announcement this week by her company, OWN. Starting Tuesday, audio from more than 4,500 episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will be released as a serialized weekly podcast. (Here is the link to subscribe.) The first 10 installments will focus on race relations, drug addiction, divorce and weight loss, among other topics. “As we head into a new decade, it’s a great time for fans of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ to revisit the joy, laughter and inspiration that kept us all tuning in daily for 25 years,” Tina Perry, president of OWN, told People magazine. “ ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show: The Podcast’ is the perfect opportunity to look back and reflect, take stock of how we’ve grown and to be reminded that we’re all in this together.” Produced in Chicago and syndicated nationally from 1986 to 2011, it remains the highest rated daytime talk show in history.
It’s business as usual for the Chicago TV and radio stations owned by Univision Communications following the sale of the Spanish-language media company. Two investment firms, Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight LLC, agreed to acquire a 64 percent stake in the company from an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group. Terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not disclosed. The company’s Chicago properties include Univision WGBO-Channel 66, UniMás WXFT-Channel 60, regional Mexican WOJO 105.1-FM, Spanish adult-contemporary WPPN 106.7-FM, Latino Mix WVIV 93.5-FM, and Spanish news/talk WRTO 1200-AM.
Although he’s no longer employed by Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, former news anchor and reporter Rafer Weigel showed up Monday to cover the Cook County Criminal Court appearance by Jussie Smollett, the actor charged with falsely reporting a hate crime. Weigel posted reports about the hearing on Twitter and his new Instagram channel Anchors Away TV. “I’m working for myself and my social media following these days,” he told me, coming off a one-shot acting job on an upcoming episode of “Chicago Fire.” Weigel was fired in January as anchor of Fox 32’s “Good Day Chicago” after he was caught up in a scandal involving texts of nude photos and allegations of revenge porn with two women.
Chicago area public relations professionals have until March 27 to submit entries for the 61st annual Golden Trumpet Awards. (Here is the link.) Sponsored by the Publicity Club of Chicago, the prestigious awards honor excellence in planning, creativity, execution and results measurement in public relations, marketing and communications campaigns and events. Winners will be announced at a dinner May 28 at the Palmer House Hilton.
The complete broadcast of Sunday’s Chicago Journalism Town Hall 2020 is available on demand on the website of Chicago Access Network Television. (Here is the link.) CAN TV live-streamed the discussion among two dozen Chicago journalists and media professionals who gathered at the Allegro Hotel. Mark Jacob, a former editor at the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, also reported on the event (“characterized by sharp comments about the search for financial stability and the need for diversity both in newsroom staffs and service to audiences”) for the Local News Initiative of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. (Here is the link.)
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Mark Quinn: Geoffrey Baer is the king of Chicago documentaries. This latest work is sure to be among his best and we look forward to it, as we do to everything, from two-hour documentaries to short appearances on “Chicago Tonight,” that Geoffrey does. The people of Chicago and the entire region are blessed to have Geoffrey working diligently to document this wonderful place we call home.