Robservations: Stylz & Roman reunite on ‘Uncensored’ podcast

Doug Stylz and Justin Roman

Robservations on the media beat:

Stylz & Roman Uncensored

Stylz & Roman are back. Nearly a year after they left Chicago radio, the popular duo of Doug Stylz and Justin Roman have reunited on a twice-weekly podcast. “Stylz & Roman Uncensored,” featuring Cat Kennebeck as a regular contributor, debuted this week with Ryan Chiaverini of “Windy City Live” among their first guests. (Here is the link.) With new episodes every Monday and Thursday, it’s produced by Steve Mandell, the Chicago attorney and talent agent. Until last May Stylz & Roman co-hosted mornings on Entercom country WUSN 99.5-FM. Before that they co-hosted afternoons on Entercom Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM. Roman also served as stadium host for Chicago Bulls home games. Continue reading

Robservations: Daily Herald cuts salaries 15 percent in wake of pandemic

Daily Herald Media Group

Robservations on the media beat:

We may be among the first in the media, but we’re not likely to be the last. Citing the shutdown of consumer spending caused by the coronavirus pandemic and its expected impact on revenue, the Daily Herald has reduced the salaries of staff members by 15 percent, effective April 10. Officers of parent company Paddock Publications have had their salaries lowered 20 percent. “We are confident that we can weather this, provided we pull together and make some short-term sacrifices for the long-term health of our employee-owned company,” executives of Daily Herald Media Group told employees Friday. “While other industries have shut down and their workers released, with your support we will stay the course. We will continue to deliver on our mission — to provide valuable, trusted news and information to readers in print and online and to serve with excellence our many customers who depend upon us to meet their needs.” (Disclosure: I am a full-time employee of the Daily Herald and am affected by the cut.) Continue reading

Robservations: Crisis management podcast comes at just the right time

Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin (Photo: Charles Cherney)

Robservations on the media beat:

Todd Manley

Two of Chicago’s most prominent and well-connected communications consultants are teaming up on a podcast that couldn’t come at a better time. Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin bring their outstanding expertise to “The Crisis Cast,” focusing on crisis management in uncertain times. (Here is the link.) Each episode is hosted by Mariam Sobh, former news anchor at WBBM Newsradio, and features expert guests with unique perspectives on the challenges facing today’s businesses, politicians, and nonprofits. Three to five new episodes will be uploaded weekly. It’s the first project from Chicago-based EarSight Studios, just founded by media innovator Todd Manley, former station manager and vice president of content at news/talk WGN 720-AM. “There is such a need for conversations like these,” Manley said of the new podcast. “Personal and professional lives are experiencing upheavals, rapid changes, and in many instances an accompanying crisis. In Lissa and Thom, we have two crisis communicators who are leaders in their craft.” Continue reading

Robservations: The Drive to host Friday night ‘We Will Rock You’ sing-a-long

Chicago (Photo: The Drive)

Robservations on the media beat:

Now here’s a good one from WDRV 97.1-FM, the Hubbard Radio classic rock station. At 8 p.m. Friday, The Drive will air “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by Queen’s “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions.” Listeners are invited to open their windows or step out onto their porches or balconies and sing along. In a display of support, Chicago’s Willis Tower and Prudential Building will modify their lights to illuminate the skyline in red, white and blue during the event. “As COVID-19-related hardships, anxiety and uncertainty continue to consume our daily lives, The Drive is endeavoring to provide a few moments of relief, unity and pride across the Chicagoland region,” said Rob Cressman, director of branding and content. “We hope to instill a strong sense of community while preserving ever-critical social distancing regulations — as fans participate solo or within their own households.” Continue reading

Broadcasters statewide band together to raise cash for food banks

Illinois Broadcasters Uniting Against Hunger

Television and radio stations throughout Illinois are teaming up to relieve shortages at food banks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting with a daylong public-service marathon Thursday, Illinois Broadcasters Association in partnership with Feeding Illinois will seek online donations from viewers and listeners at www.FeedingIllinois.org/unite (or text FEEDIL to 91999). Continue reading

Remote control: CBS 2 tests emergency newscast from the street

Brad Edwards (March 24, 2020)

While all news media are practicing social distancing and adapting to working outside the office, WBBM-Channel 2 went a step further Tuesday. The CBS-owned station originated its entire 5 p.m. newscast away from its Loop newsroom, studio and control room.

“We are doing this as a test in [the] event we would not have access to our building due to COVID-19 or some other problem,” tweeted John Dodge, digital director and executive producer at CBS 2. Continue reading

Robservations: Starting tonight, WGN Radio to simulcast Channel 9 news at 10 p.m.

WGN Radio

Robservations on the media beat:

Now we know how WGN 720-AM is going to fill one of the hours previously occupied by evening host Justin Kaufmann, who left last week after his contract was not renewed. Starting tonight the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station will simulcast WGN-Channel 9 news from 10 to 11 p.m. weeknights. That includes the half-hour newscast at 10 p.m., followed by “WGN News Special Report: COVID-19 Pandemic” at 10:30 p.m. “We are going to do it for at least a month or longer depending on how long we are in this period,” said a WGN Radio source, calling it “critical for an out-of-home audience heading to work shifts, truckers etc.” Since December WGN Radio has been simulcasting the first hour of “WGN Early Morning News” from 4 to 5 a.m. weekdays, leading into Bob Sirott’s morning show. Continue reading

Robservations: The Drive’s TV campaign focuses on these ‘pretty strange days’

Bob Stroud

Robservations on the media beat:

Redefining their role on the fly, radio stations everywhere are adapting to a world where commuting suddenly has been replaced by sheltering at home. But few have gone as far as Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM, which just launched a television marketing campaign associated with the national emergency. One of the spots features top-rated midday personality Bob Stroud telling listeners: “These are some pretty strange days we’ve gotten ourselves into, so we’re going to keep rolling out great classic rock and give you the latest information you need on what’s going on out there. Our radio family would like to help keep your family safe with information you need and keep you happy with all this great classic rock. So thank you for putting your trust in us.” (Here is the link.) Last week The Drive began airing live hourly “COVID-19 Chicago Updates,” reported by Jill Egan and Janda Lane. Continue reading