Chicago radio ratings: Nielsen’s top story is WBBM Newsradio

Lisa Fielding

For the seventh consecutive month, WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM took front and center in Chicago’s radio ratings during August.

Nielsen Audio figures released Monday showed the Entercom all-news combo boosting its first-place lead among all listeners. WBBM Newsradio also finished first in mornings with Pat Cassidy, middays with Cisco Cotto, and afternoons with Keith Johnson and Lisa Fielding. Continue reading

Robservations: New NBC 5 series offers perspective on ‘Race in Chicago’

Marion Brooks

Robservations on the media beat:

Marion Brooks, veteran news anchor and investigative reporter at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, just launched a weekly series of special reports on “Race in Chicago: How Did We Get Here.” (Here is the link.) Airing each Wednesday on NBC 5’s 6 p.m. newscast through the end of the year, stories by Brooks and her colleagues, including Phil Rogers, Kate Chappell and Chris Hush, will examine the African American experience in Chicago and provide historical perspective on vital issues. “As a journalist, I feel a sense of responsibility to report stories that will hopefully inform and educate viewers about the important issues that have led to the Black Lives Matter movement,” Brooks said. “Context is critical, and through our journalism, we will deliver the in-depth background that will hopefully spur honest conversations across our communities.” Continue reading

Sun-Times names Rachel Hinton chief political reporter

Rachel Hinton (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Just three years after joining the Sun-Times as an intern straight out of DePaul University, Rachel Hinton has been promoted to chief political reporter.

Chris Fusco, executive editor of the Sun-Times, confirmed Hinton’s meteoric rise in an email to staff announcing her appointment Wednesday. She most recently has been covering Cook County government. Continue reading

WGN America’s ‘News Nation’ gets ready to make primetime history

“News Nation” (from left): meteorologist Albert Ramon, news anchors Joe Donlon and Marni Hughes, and breaking news anchor Rob Nelson

One week from tonight, television history will be made in Chicago.

Straight up at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 1, viewers across the country will get their first look at “News Nation,” the three-hour primetime national newscast to air seven nights a week on the WGN America cable network. Continue reading

Meagan Fitzgerald joins NBC News Chicago bureau as correspondent

Meagan Fitzgerald

Meagan Fitzgerald, weekend morning news anchor at the NBC-owned station in Washington, D.C., has been named Chicago-based correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC.

“A heartfelt and sincere honor,” Fitzgerald tweeted today shortly after her hiring was announced by David Verdi,  NBC News senior vice president of worldwide news gathering. “I’m very excited and grateful to join this team!” Continue reading

Robservations: Sun-Times poised for ‘limited number’ of layoffs

Chicago Sun-Times

Robservations on the media beat:

Nykia Wright

They’re bracing for layoffs at the Sun-Times following an all-staff virtual meeting Friday with CEO Nykia Wright. An analysis of the company’s workforce will determine “a limited number of strategic staff reductions,” Wright said, although none will involve reporters, editors, visual journalists or other content curators and producers in the newsroom. “Economic stresses on the pre-COVID business model require us to more deliberately think about our future and the type of media company we will need to be to continue to educate and inform our readers — but also to grow,” she said. “We do not have a target number of employees in mind; instead we are looking to match the right people with the responsibilities needed to sustain ourselves in a post-COVID world.” Wright also told employees they will not be required to report to the office until January 2 at the earliest. Continue reading

WGN hires main news anchor from Nexstar’s Indianapolis station

Ray Cortopassi

“Chicago’s Very Own” WGN-Channel 9 has reached out to its company’s station in Indianapolis to hire a new co-anchor for its nightly newscasts.

Ray Cortopassi, 53, who grew up in south suburban Dolton and graduated from Columbia College Chicago, is coming home to join the Nexstar Media Group station here. Starting September 28, he’ll co-anchor WGN’s 5, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscasts with Micah Materre. Continue reading

Rising son: Anchorman Stefan Holt coming back home to NBC 5

Stefan Holt

After four years at WNBC in New York, Stefan Holt is moving back home to Chicago and returning to WMAQ-Channel 5 as a Monday-through-Friday main news anchor, the NBC-owned station announced today.

Holt, 33, the son of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, previously spent five years as morning news anchor at NBC 5. Starting October 12, he will co-anchor the station’s 4 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Continue reading

Robservations: White Sox appear headed to ESPN 1000

Guaranteed Rate Field

Robservations on the media beat:

Look for Chicago White Sox baseball to move to a new radio home next season. No one will comment and nothing is official yet, but all signs are pointing to a deal with WMVP 1000-AM, the ESPN Radio sports/talk station managed by Good Karma Brands. Such a move would be in keeping with ESPN 1000’s plan to compete on the local front with Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, which airs Chicago Cubs baseball. The White Sox are nearing the end of their three-year deal with Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM, which has shown little interest in renewing. In 2018 the team lost its radio home on news/talk WLS AM 890, which dropped broadcast rights contracts with both the White Sox and the Chicago Bulls as part of Cumulus Media’s reorganization from bankruptcy. Continue reading

Dean Reynolds joins ‘News Nation’ as national political correspondent

Dean Reynolds

With two weeks to go before the launch of its three-hour nightly newscast from Chicago, WGN America has tapped network news veteran Dean Reynolds as national political correspondent for “News Nation.”

Reynolds, who most recently was Chicago bureau correspondent for CBS News, is the first nationally known broadcast journalist to sign on with the Nexstar Media Group cable news startup. Continue reading