Robservations on the media beat:
Steve Cortes has stepped away after seven months as afternoon host at news/talk WIND 560-AM to join President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign as senior advisor of communications. It’s a return for Cortes, who served as a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council in the 2016 campaign. A Chicago native and onetime CNN political commentator, Cortes replaced Joe Walsh from 5 to 7 p.m. weekdays on the Salem Media station in January. “While we wish Steve could stay on the air with us during these next few critical months before the election, we also understand the pull that Steve feels to help President Trump,” said Jeff Reisman, regional vice president and general manager of AM 560. “Steve will have a front row seat to history between now and the election, and we look forward to welcoming him back in November and having him share his firsthand account of how this campaign unfolded with our audience.” Filling in until Cortes returns is Shaun Thompson, Sunday night host of “The Liberty Hour.”
With the closing of NBC Sports Chicago’s master control operation, an unspecified number of employees were laid off this week at the regional sports network. Among them was master control operator Mitchell Winkelman, who tweeted: “My five-year ride with NBC Sports Chicago has come to a close. It was a tremendous place to work everyday with amazing people.” A statement from the company said: “NBC Sports Chicago has recently completed the transition of our master control operations to Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, a process that began more than a year ago. As a result, we eliminated some positions at the network. We appreciate the efforts of the master control operators, and wish them well in their future endeavors.”
Big changes are coming to “The Jam,” the low-rated morning show on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26. Starting later next month, the show will move to evenings — from 6 to 7 p.m. weeknights — and change stations to WCIU-Channel 26.2/WMEU-Channel 48.1, the digital subchannels known as The U. Felicia Lawrence, Jon Hansen and Amy Rutledge will continue as hosts. Debuted as a two-hour morning show in 2017, “The Jam” temporarily ceased live production and shifted to social media platforms at the start of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. “We are now in a place to get back on air while still keeping our staff safe by working from home,” said Steve Bailey, head of local programming and creative.
Launched 20 years ago with the extravagant fanfare for which Oprah Winfrey was famous, O, The Oprah Magazine is quietly downsizing. Hearst announced this week that the lifestyle magazine will cease monthly publication at the end of the year to become “more digitally-centric.” It still may print special editions on occasion, but details have not been finalized. “I’m proud of this team and what we have delivered to our readers over the past 20 years,” said Winfrey, whose face appeared on the cover of every issue. “I look forward to the next step in our evolution.”
Readers of the Daily Herald knew Jim Kendall as a business columnist for the better part of 16 years. But his full-time job was as president of Kendall Communications, a suburban public relations-marketing-communications consulting firm he founded in 1989. Kendall, who was 81, died suddenly Thursday. Daily Herald deputy city editor James Kane called him “a genuine nice guy, a class act and a straight-shooter.” In addition to writing the “On Small Business” column, the Wheaton resident created and co-hosted “Talking Business,” a weekly show on College of DuPage WDCB 90.9-FM.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Rick Roberts: I’m looking forward to this. Back in the earlier days of the Roe Conn show when [Ron] Magers was a regular, they would have great conversations that would last 30 minutes, uninterrupted, particularly about Chicago. As a then recent transplant to Chicago, it was a great education for me. Unfortunately, as management made commercial breaks more of a hard break, the conversations were cut short and so was the flow. But while it lasted, the Conn/Magers segments were great radio.