Robservations on the media beat:
It’s another masterstroke of marketing for Me-TV, the Chicago-based network for classic television. As a tie-in to its daily broadcasts of “The Flintstones,” Me-TV has landed a promotional deal with Post Cereals to appear on the back panel of boxes of Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles. Starting in September, more than 21 million boxes of Pebbles will carry the network’s logo along with a picture game and a call to watch “The Flintstones.” In exchange, Me-TV has begun airing commercials for the cereals. (Introduced in 1971, they’re the oldest cereal brand based on any TV character or series, according to Breakfast: A History.) Credit Will Givens, vice president of network marketing at Weigel Broadcasting, with the coup. As Fred Flintstone would say: “Yabba Dabba Doo!”
Look for Leila Rahimi to fill in today for morning co-host Mike Mulligan alongside David Haugh on WSCR 670-AM, the Entercom sports/talk station. Rahimi was cut last week after five years as a sports anchor and reporter for NBC Sports Chicago in a wave of layoffs across parent company NBCUniversal. Straight out of the University of North Texas, she began her career in radio as an anchor and reporter with KTCK, the sports/talk station in Dallas. “Y’all can’t get rid of me that easily yet,” Rahimi tweeted (with an emoji of a face throwing a kiss). “And I’ve done this before. Just a reminder.” Fans are hoping today’s gig could lead to more work for her on The Score.
Dr. Ian Smith, the Chicago physician, author and TV personality, has been named host of “The Doctors,” the syndicated daytime talk show, starting in September. Formerly featuring a panel and studio audience format, the medical news series is being relaunched for its 13th season with Smith as solo host under the theme of “Take Your Power Back.” “This is an unprecedented time, and people are looking for the latest in updates delivered in an easy to understand format, and ‘The Doctors’ is the perfect place to help us all take control of our lives,” said Smith, who’s also medical contributor to “The Rachael Ray Show” and former medical correspondent for NBC News.
Monica Eng, “Curious City” reporter and resident foodie at WBEZ 91.5-FM, is leading the Chicago Public Media station’s first citywide scavenger hunt. Starting Friday and running through September 13, participants will explore Chicago’s culinary scene by following clues to restaurants all over town recommended by WBEZ staff. “All too often we dig into the chow of familiar neighborhoods while missing out on some amazing stuff a few miles away,” Eng said. “This scavenger [hunt] is certainly going to get me into places I’ve never been and I hope it will do the same with some of our participants.” (Here is the link to register.) There’s a “virtual division” for participants who choose not to travel to the locations.
Sam Panayotovich, the former sports anchor and reporter at news/talk WGN AM 720 under Tribune Broadcasting, has been hired as sports betting analyst for Rotoworld, the NBC Sports Digital fantasy sport website. Starting today he’ll be analyzing the betting markets for four major sports and appearing on NBC Sports regional networks. “We’ll be discussing anything bettable for professional teams and players across the country,” he said. Panayotovich has been back home in Chicago since April 2019 after a stint as host for VSiN, the Las Vegas-based sports gambling information network.
We’ve been following with great interest a daily series of Facebook posts by Rick O’Dell on his favorite smooth jazz tracks of all time. His countdown (along with links to YouTube videos of each title) concludes today, coinciding with the 33rd anniversary of the launch of the late, great WNUA in August 1987. O’Dell, who became synonymous with the format, was music director and midday personality at WNUA and later programmed Chicago’s Smooth 87.7 FM. He’s back at the frequency as program director of Weigel Broadcasting’s soft rock/oldies station Me-TV FM. After compiling the list, O’Dell told me, he was surprised by how many were with lead guitar and how few were “sax-based” tunes. “Maybe I’m still ‘saxed-out’ from all those years of playing tracks with a lead sax,” he said. Here’s Rick O’Dell’s smooth jazz top 10:
- “Kei’s Song” – David Benoit
- “Smiles & Smiles to Go” – Larry Carlton
- “New Tracks in the Dust” – Miguel Bose’ (English version)
- “One Night (Alone With You)” – Earl Klugh
- “Desert Rain” – David Lanz & Paul Speer
- “Last Train Home” – Pat Metheny Group
- “Hotel Luna” – Suzanne Ciani
- “Same Road, Same Reason” – Acoustic Alchemy
- “Jupiter’s Child” – Rippingtons
- “One Wish” – Hiroshima
Pam Zekman, the legendary investigative reporter for WBBM-Channel 2, has been gone since May when she was laid off after 39 years at the CBS-owned station. But her former bosses continue to exploit her name and reputation. A radio commercial for CBS 2’s investigative unit featuring Zekman’s own voice was still airing this week on WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, the Entercom all-news station. Said one surprised listener: “So she’s good enough to promote their news, but not good enough to actually keep around to report it. How embarrassing.”
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Kenneth Rudd: As a long time ESPN 1000 listener, I’m thrilled with these changes. The mornings have been faltering since the dissolution of Mike & Mike, so it’s nice to see them address the situation with a local show that features two of Chicago sports best radio guys. I’m looking forward to being excited by the morning again!