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.
Former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace has been benched for five days as an analyst on Marquee Sports Network after channeling his inner Archie Bunker. In chatting with announcers Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies during Saturday’s Brewers-Cubs broadcast, Grace quoted the bigoted patriarch of the sitcom “All in the Family” by referring to his ex-wife repeatedly as a “dingbat.” It set off a firestorm of complaints on social media and got Grace banished from the virtual broadcast booth for five games. “I want everyone to know how very sorry I am about that,” he later told the Chicago Tribune. “My remarks were offensive and inappropriate, and I deeply apologize.” Earlier this year Grace joined the roster of part-time personalities at Marquee while continuing as an analyst for Arizona Diamondbacks games on Fox Sports Arizona.
It’s been only a week since WLS-Channel 7 laid off four furloughed producers from “Windy City Live” — two full-time and two part-time — among job cutbacks at the ABC-owned station. Now comes word the station is looking to hire one or more new associate producers for the daily talk show. In an official job posting Tuesday, ABC 7 said it was seeking “a highly motivated associate producer to provide support to our team of producers and managers for its top-rated daily live lifestyle and entertainment program, ‘Windy City Live.'” The staffers who’ve been laid off were told they could apply for the new positions. John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, declined to comment on the awkwardly timed moves, but sources said they were intended to reorganize the show to operate more efficiently in light of production cutbacks due to COVID-19.
Happy to see meteorologist Tammie Souza back in Chicago — this time filling in at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. In December Souza parted company with WCAU, the NBC-owned station in Philadelphia, where she held the top weather job for three years. In addition to CBS 2 here, she continues to fill in at CBS-owned KYW in Philadelphia. With a six-year run at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 in between, Souza had two stints at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, starting in 2000. “I am so excited to be back home,” she told me.
Debbie Cenziper, who won a Pulitzer Prize as a reporter for the Miami Herald, will lead a new specialization in investigative journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Since 2019 she has been associate professor and director of investigative journalism at Medill. “From covering the opioid crisis to the pandemic, Medill students have proven time and again that investigative reporting can effect real change,” Cenziper said. “I’m looking forward to continuing that work with a talented and tenacious group of students and faculty, expanding through this specialization on the work already taking place.” The program will be open to 10 graduate students each year.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Dan Ronan: Dean Reynolds is the “gold standard” for journalism. It’s in his DNA. Congratulations to my friends at “News Nation” for a truly great hire. I can’t wait to see WGN America’s roll out.