Windy City Times ‘very sad’ to drop print edition after 35 years

Windy City Times

The newspaper billed as “the voice of Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer community since 1985” is ceasing print publication after 35 years.

Windy City Times will move to a digital-only format in October, according to an announcement today by majority owner Tracy Baim. The website at windycitytimes.com also will preserve its archive of stories and photos. Continue reading

Robservations: Bertrand, Landecker round out new WGN Radio lineup

Steve Bertrand

Robservations on the media beat:

John Records Landecker

Overshadowed by the firing late Friday of afternoon host Roe Conn and overnight host Nick Digilio was news of two new shows coming to Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM. Starting September 28, “Chicago’s Afternoon News,” hosted by longtime news anchor Steve Bertrand, will air from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining,” said Bertrand, who’s been with WGN since 1985. “With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” Also September 28, Radio Hall of Famer John Records Landecker signs on as host from 7 to 10 p.m. weeknights. It’s a return to the nighttime airwaves Landecker dominated when he first joined Top 40 powerhouse WLS 890-AM in 1972. “Boogie Check,” anyone? Continue reading

Roe Conn, Nick Digilio out in WGN Radio shakeup

WGN Radio

WGN 720-AM, the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station, chose the Friday night of a three-day holiday weekend to drop the bombshell that it’s overhauling its weekday afternoon and evening lineup.

Out — effective immediately — is afternoon personality Roe Conn, whose contract runs through the end of the year. He was notified after he got off the air Friday that it was his last show.

Also out is overnight personality Nick Digilio, who also was notified Friday. Continue reading

Robservations: Loyola Phoenix editor rises up for journalism

Loyola University (Photo: Zack Miller/The Phoenix)

Robservations on the media beat:

Mary Chappell

The world needs more journalists like Mary Chappell. The Loyola University senior and editor-in-chief of the Loyola Phoenix student newspaper wrote a column this week that made many in the business want to stand up and cheer. (Here is the link.) In the piece headlined “As Reporters, It’s Our Duty to Document the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” Chappell explained why her paper needs to cover campus protests without fear or favor. “Our sole job is to side with complete and full accuracy,” she wrote. “Our job isn’t to be a promoter, it’s to cover things as they are.” Her full-throated defense stood in contrast to an ill-conceived editorial last fall in Northwestern University’s Daily Northwestern, which capitulated to the mob. Chappell, who grew up in Denver, has worked for the Daily Herald, Sun-Times and CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. Continue reading

iHeartMedia blows up WEBG’s country format for new ‘Rock 95 Five’

Rock 95.5 Chicago

The prayers of Chicago’s hard-rock radio fans have been answered.

Two and a half years after the untimely demise of WLUP 97.9-FM, the iconic classic-rock station known as The Loop, the music of Metallica and Mötley Crüe is in the air again.

As of 5 p.m. today, iHeartMedia pulled the plug on the failed country music format of WEBG 95.5-FM and renamed the station “Rock 95 Five.” The rebranding followed six hours of stunting, starting with R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It.” Continue reading

Robservations: On balance, ‘News Nation’ gets off to promising start

“News Nation” (from left): Albert Ramon, Joe Donlon, Marni Hughes and Rob Nelson

Robservations on the media beat:

The premiere of WGN America’s “News Nation” Tuesday night came off smoothly, with news anchors Joe Donlon, Marni Hughes and Rob Nelson displaying an easygoing rapport belying the fact they’d never worked together before. At times the three-hour production from Chicago came off as a fast-paced national headline service, but more often seemed like a local newscast on steroids. As expected, Nexstar Media Group’s stations around the country provided much of the content — including stories of limited interest outside their immediate area. The same can be said of meteorologist Albert Ramon’s frequent reports, which rarely focused outside of severe weather in the Texas region. President Donald Trump’s visit to Kenosha earlier in the day provided an opportunity to showcase political reporter Dean Reynolds in studio and reporter Rudabeh Shahbazi (who doubles as weekend anchor) on the scene. It remains to be seen whether “News Nation” will live up to its lofty promise of objectivity in the long run, but it’s off to a good start. For now it would do well to deliver the goods and can the hype — including the overworked, self-serving mantra: “We’re bringing you balance not bias.” That made me cringe every time. Continue reading

Trump tweets ‘good luck’ message on eve of ‘News Nation’ launch

President Donald Trump tweet

Hours before tonight’s debut of a three-hour primetime national newscast from Chicago that promises to be free of political bias, “News Nation” has received an unsolicited blessing from President Donald Trump.

“Good luck to Sean Compton, a winner at everything he does!” Trump tweeted at 9:02 a.m. Tuesday over a link to Stephen Battaglio’s story Monday in the Los Angeles Times raising the curtain on “News Nation.” Continue reading