Robservations on the media beat:
Mary Sandberg Boyle, the first female general manager in the 96-year history of WGN 720-AM, has been promoted to vice president and general manager of the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station. Sandberg Boyle, who rose from executive producer to director of news and operations to acting general manager in just four years, has been general manager since December. On her watch, WGN has undergone a major realignment of programming and personnel. “Mary has done an outstanding job under less than ideal circumstances,” said Sean Compton, Nexstar executive vice president overseeing WGN Radio. “She is innovative, thoughtful and determined, and she has forged a great working relationship with the staff. She is a respected leader in Chicago media and this promotion is well-deserved.” Sandberg Boyle said: “WGN Radio is the gold standard of radio stations in Chicago and the Midwest, and I am extremely proud to work alongside its talented and dedicated staff. I am grateful to Nexstar for giving me this opportunity and for allowing me to lead this station into the future. WGN Radio’s best days are still ahead of us.” Before joining WGN in 2015, Sandberg Boyle was executive producer of “The Steve Dahl Show” on multiple outlets and exec producer of the morning show at Entercom Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM. She’s a Chicago native and a graduate of Carmel Catholic High School and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Paris Schutz, co-anchor of WTTW-Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight,” heralded the return of a regular sports segment to the “Week in Review” roundtable Friday on the Window to the World Communications station. (“I am thrilled,” he tweeted.) But not all of his viewers were happy about the comeback. “I’m depressed to learn this,” tweeted Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn. “There’s plenty of sports talk in Chicago media and precious little smart talk about local news. Sometimes a sports story is so big it becomes a major local news story, yes, but the regular sports segment on [‘Week in Review’] often felt forced and unnecessary.”
Joey Gelman and Dan Collins, who first teamed up as co-hosts of a sports talk show while broadcast journalism undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are back together again. The two Chicagoans just launched “BLEAV in Chicago Sports,” produced for the Los Angeles-based BLEAV Podcast Network. (Here is the link.) Gelman most recently worked as a national podcast producer for Entercom and a producer for WGN Radio. Collins, a former promotions coordinator at Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, is an account manager at Groupon.
Logan Squarist, the hyperlocal volunteer-run website soon to mark its 10th year covering Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, just launched its first virtual fundraiser to help supplement operating costs. The goal is to secure $300 a month for the next year from the community. (Here is the link to donate on Patreon.) “We’re asking everyone who believes in us to #SupportLocalNews with a minimum $5/month,” said editor-in-chief Ariel Parrella-Aureli. “Every little bit helps!”
Chicago colleagues are mourning the loss of Tom Hebel, former programming and creative services executive at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 who played a key role in the launch of “Windy City Live” in 2011. Hebel, 67, died of cancer Thursday in Tampa, Florida. He retired in January after seven years as director of marketing at WFLA, the NBC affiliate in Tampa. A Chicago native and graduate of Southern Illinois University, Hebel spent 13 years as manager of promotion and advertising at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. He joined ABC 7 as director of creative services in 1997, and moved up to vice president of programming and creative services in 2001. Ryan Chiaverini, co-host of “Windy City Live,” called Hebel “truly one of the great people in this world — kind-hearted, smart, humble, collaborative, and always supportive.”
Thursday’s comment of the day: Jim Turano: I met Dean Richards’s mother [Angeline Smirniotis] a few times on the radio with Dean during the last few years. She was a tough, classy, straight-talking person who was full of life and love . . . and VERY proud of her son. Stay strong, Deanerino.