Robservations: College of DuPage evacuation plunges WDCB into dead air

College of DuPage Student Resource Center

Robservations on the media beat:

Steve Darnall

An emergency evacuation on the College of DuPage’s Glen Ellyn campus knocked public radio station WDCB 90.9-FM off the air for about 35 minutes Saturday afternoon. Listeners to “Those Were the Days” were hearing the rebroadcast of a 1945 speech by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when host Steve Darnall and his crew were forced to vacate their studio in the west suburban college’s Student Resource Center. Station manager Dan Bindert called the evacuation “a precautionary measure [that was] ultimately resolved without incident,” adding: “Normally in emergency situations our crew has a little more time to line up backup programming or set up an alternate form of remote broadcasting, but the nature of this particular safety event was different. The safety of Steve and the entire crew was our most important concern. We thank our audience for their patience and understanding.” WDCB came back on just in time for Darnall and Bindert to explain what happened and sign off the show. “We’ll see about putting the missing pieces in place when we archive our show on Tuesday,” Darnall tweeted.

Adam Hoge, the Chicago sports reporter and podcaster who covers the Bears for Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM, is jumping to NBC Sports Chicago. Hoge will sign on this week as the regional sports network’s new multiplatform White Sox Insider. Before joining WGN in 2014 Hoge was a host and producer at Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. Born and raised in Lincoln Park, he’s a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At WGN Hoge also served as manager of digital sports content.

Jonathan Hood

Look for Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM to fortify its local lineup with the addition of a nightly baseball talk show. Mike Thomas, market manager for ESPN Chicago, confirmed that Jonathan Hood will host the new show from 6 to 7 p.m. weeknights, starting March 23. It follows the recent addition of a weekly hockey show co-hosted by Brian Hanley and Pat Boyle. Both moves may be seen as precursors to ESPN 1000’s new management making a run at White Sox and Blackhawks radio play-by-play rights, now held by WGN.

WBGX 1570 AM

WBGX 1570-AM, the gospel station formerly known as WBEE, has fallen into involuntary receivership. A Cook County Circuit Court ordered a default judgment in response to a lawsuit by Metropolitan Capital Bank & Trust. Detroit-based Great Lakes Radio bought the former Harvey-based jazz station from Mariner Broadcasters for $1.775 million in 2003. “If you’re a small AM station like WBEE — with only 1,000 watts of power that can only be heard on the South Side of Chicago and in the south suburbs — and if you’re programming an art form like jazz, which is only appreciated by a small percentage of the listening public, you cannot expect to get ratings,” owner Charles Sherrell told me at the time. “You’re just not going to get the numbers.”

Bruce Oscar

Bruce Oscar, longtime jazz host at College of DuPage’s WDCB 90.9-FM, is on the mend after emergency intestinal surgery Saturday. “We are happy to report that the surgery went well,” said station manager Dan Bindert. “Bruce is already recovering and in good spirits, but he’ll be off for at least the next week or two, until his doctors say he’s ready to return.” The station shared this photo Sunday by Oscar’s wife Julie with fans on social media.

Clark Weber

An outpouring of tributes from friends, fans and colleagues Sunday praised Clark Weber, the broadcasting giant whose career spanned five decades on Chicago radio — including a starring run on Top 40 powerhouse WLS 890-AM in the 1960s. Peggy Barthold, one of his four daughters, confirmed that Weber died of cancer Saturday in Evanston hospice care at 89. Funeral arrangements were private, but Barthold said the family is making plans for a memorial service here sometime in late April or early May.

Sunday’s comment of the day: Tom Skilling: Clark Weber’s passing is such sad news. Such an amazing broadcaster. His work touched so many lives in such a wonderful way. Clark was like a family member. I met him only briefly only several years ago but he struck me as a genuinely kind human being. I am so sorry for Clark’s family and friends.