Robservations on the media beat:
The Chicago Headline Club Foundation, philanthropic arm of the Chicago Headline Club, has announced it is offering grants of up to $500 for at least 100 Chicago-area journalists who are laid off, unemployed or under-employed during the coronavirus shutdown. Students and new college graduates are not eligible for the program. (Here is the link to apply.) “We felt like we needed to do something direct and immediate to help our local community,” said Robert K. Elder, president of the organization. “This is unprecedented for us, during an unprecedented time.”
Dawn Rhodes, former higher education reporter for the Chicago Tribune, has been hired as senior editor at Block Club Chicago, the nonprofit digital news site founded by alumni of DNAinfo Chicago. As the newsroom’s 14th full-time employee, her new position is being funded in part by the Field Foundation. “I couldn’t ask for a more dynamic and passionate group of journalists to work with and I’m excited for the opportunity to help Block Club grow even more,” she said. In February Rhodes accepted a buyout after 10 years at the Tribune. The Denver native is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Coinciding with ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” NBC Sports Chicago will be rebroadcasting every game from the Chicago Bulls 1998 NBA Playoff Championship run. Starting tonight with a first-round double-header at 7 p.m., all 21 games will air weeknights through May 15. Speaking of Michael Jordan, Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM is making the most of the critically acclaimed 10-part documentary series chronicling Jordan and the 1997-98 Bulls. ESPN Radio 1000 hosts are previewing each episode on the station’s Twitch channel 30 minutes before airtime each Sunday night and reviewing each episode on all their shows the next day, dubbed “Last Dance Mondays.”
Following a similar move by the Daily Herald, the Chicago Tribune has combined its daily sports and business sections in print editions. “With no major sports leagues to cover, we’ve got no results to report and far less sports news than usual,” editor-in-chief Colin McMahon wrote in a note to readers. “At the same time, we are running out of room in the paper for all the stories our hardworking newsroom is producing about COVID-19 and its effects on our daily lives. So we’re adding to the main section that houses most of the coronavirus news. . . . You can expect to see a few more changes in our print section lineup over the coming weeks.”
Dorothy Tucker, reporter for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and president of the National Association of Black Journalists, disclosed that she tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, but said she has since recovered fully. “I only experienced mild symptoms — a low-grade fever and a couple of days of fatigue,” she told members of the group. “That was it. Because of my past travels, I have no idea where I contracted the virus. . . . My experience is a reminder that we must be mindful of our health and self-care.”
Remember when radio stations gave out T-shirts with their logos on them? Leave it to Erich Mancow Muller to distribute face masks emblazoned with his trademark goatee and the words: “Infected by Mancow.” He’s been awarding them as prizes to listeners of his morning show on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. Here’s a picture of Karleen Hergert, associate producer of “The Mancow Morning Show.”
Ever since Entercom cut Kenny Jay as program director of WUSN 99.5-FM in a wave of layoffs earlier this month, the country music station has been without a top programmer. In the interim, assistant program director and music director Marci Braun has been filling the role and reporting to Todd Cavanah, vice president of programming for Entercom Chicago. Cavanah said a decision will be made in the coming weeks. Braun, who also hosts evenings on US99, was born and raised in Arlington Heights and graduated from Buffalo Grove High School and St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She’s been a pillar of US99 since 2004.
Drew Horowitz, the veteran Chicago radio executive who retired in December as president and chief operating officer of Hubbard Radio, has joined the board of Marketron, an enterprise revenue management and digital software company. “In this period of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to provide broadcasters with innovative new revenue-generation solutions and to foster successful adoption of digital tactics within their advertising portfolios,” Horowitz said in a statement. Earlier this year Horowitz founded Gemini Strategies & Advisories.
Friday’s comment of the day: Bruce DuMont: In these troubled times it will be great to hear the ultimate radio authority figure share history and unlock mystery to a new generation. Paul Harvey was the best! “The Rest of the Story” is spectacular radio.