Robservations on the media beat:
Twenty-five years ago today Michael Jordan stunned the world with the two-word declaration: “I’m back.” NBC Sports Chicago will mark the 25th anniversary of Jordan’s Chicago Bulls comeback with a half-hour documentary premiering at 6:30 p.m. tonight. “I’m Back: The Return of Michael Jordan,” produced by Sarah Lauch, Ryan McGuffey and Matt Buckman, features interviews with numerous teammates and other players, Jordan’s former agent David Falk, and sportscasters Mark Giangreco and Marc Silverman. The quick turnaround by NBC Sports Chicago follows disappointing news Tuesday from ESPN that it still hasn’t completed production on “The Last Dance,” the long-awaited 10-part documentary series on Jordan and the 1990s Bulls dynasty.
Also at NBC Sports Chicago, the regional sports network has begun airing every Blackhawks win from the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship playoff run and every Bulls win from the 1996 NBA Playoffs title drive, starting at 7 p.m. nightly. The classic rebroadcasts are scheduled to air through April 16 in place of live sports programming derailed by the coronavirus shutdown of all major leagues.
What’s up with the new echo effect on WGN 720-AM? It’s not clear whether it’s a permanent thing or a short-term test, but the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station recently added a reverb “enhancement” to its over-the-air sound. It’s reminiscent of early Top 40 radio — as are the station’s retro jingles (courtesy of Nexstar executive vice president Sean Compton). “As a stand-alone on the AM dial, we are committed to delivering the best audio quality,” said Mary Sandberg Boyle, general manager of WGN. “The use of reverb showcases our 24/7 local content in an enhanced, dynamic way to our listeners.”
Teresa Budasi, an editor and designer at the Chicago Tribune, is joining Oak Park-based Growing Community Media as editorial design manager. That’s the nonprofit news organization formed by editor and publisher Dan Haley to oversee community newspapers serving Chicago’s West Side, Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside. Before joining the Tribune in 2016, Budasi spent 17 years at the Sun-Times, where she rose to book editor and digital editor. The Bradley University graduate previously worked for Pioneer Press and the Northwest Herald.
Cancellations and postponements on the media calendar:
- The Museum of Broadcast Communications has closed temporarily and has postponed its April 1 fundraiser, “It’s Comedy! When is Edgy Over the Edge?” headlined by Jeff Garlin. “We ask those who bought tickets to hold on to them for the new date or donate the funds to the MBC,” said Susy Schultz, museum executive director.
- “Those Were the Days,” the old-time radio showcase on College of DuPage’s WDCB 90.9-FM, has postponed its 50th anniversary celebration at Chicago’s Irish American Heritage Center, set for May 2. “It’s our plan to bring everyone together when it makes sense to do so and have an honest-to-goodness celebration,” said host Steve Darnall. Tickets will be honored at the rescheduled event. In lieu of the live broadcast May 2, listeners will hear the first “Those Were the Days” show as it aired 50 years earlier on May 2, 1970.
- The Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has postponed its 2020 Silver Circle Awards dinner, set for May 8. “We have a group of tremendously deserving television professionals, and we look forward to honoring them later this year,” said Jim Disch, Silver Circle production committee chair.
- The Chicago Headline Club board has voted to cancel this year’s Peter Lisagor Awards dinner, set for May 15. But the group still plans to post the names of winners of the Lisagor Awards, Anne Keegan Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and Watchdog Award online that day.
- WMTH 90.5-FM, the student radio station of Maine Township High Schools, has canceled its 60th anniversary reunion of students, staff and alumni, set for April 4. A rescheduled date will be announced later this year.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Frank Lopes: WRME 87.7-FM [MeTV FM] plays the widest variety of “forgotten oldies” this side of satellite radio. No other station even comes remotely close to playing songs from the 60s and 70s. It doesn’t mean I necessarily like every song 87.7 plays, but I listen for the guaranteed variety of music. As an added bonus, 87.7 often has interesting trivia about the songs it plays, which adds to the listening experience.