Robservations on the media beat:
As her disappearance from the popular WTMX 101.9-FM morning show she co-hosts with Eric Ferguson continues without explanation, Melissa McGurren released a Facebook video expressing sorrow for her monthslong absence. “I just wanted to say I appreciate all the messages and notes on Facebook and Instagram, and I just don’t want anybody to worry that anybody’s sick or has COVID or anything like that,” McGurren said. (Here is the link.) “We’re, thank goodness, all healthy in our family and I hope that you’re all healthy in your family. I pray for that every single night. But I just didn’t want anybody to worry. And I’m really sorry that I haven’t been there. I really truly am. I want to just make sure that I wished everybody a happy belated Thanksgiving and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and miss you all. Thanks, you guys. OK, love you all. Thank you for all those great messages. Thank you so much. Bye bye.” Asked to comment on McGurren’s status with the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station, vice president of brand and content Jimmy Steal said: “Melissa is taking some additional time off around the holidays.”
Live from Chicago: A network evening newscast will be originating each week from the Loop studios of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 at Washington and Dearborn. Starting this weekend, Adriana Diaz, a national correspondent based in the Chicago bureau of CBS News, will anchor the Saturday edition of “CBS Weekend News” here. Diaz, who joined CBS News in 2012, previously reported for Channel One News and Yahoo’s Trending Now. CBS News also announced that national correspondent Jericka Duncan will anchor Sunday editions of “CBS Weekend News” from New York. Reena Ninan and Elaine Quijano previously anchored the Saturday and Sunday newscasts, respectively. Also emanating from Chicago is “News Nation,” the primetime nightly newscast launched in September for Nexstar Media Group’s WGN America from the studios of WGN-Channel 9.
Two new announcers have been added to the roster of fill-in and vacation-relief hosts at WFMT 98.7-FM, the Window to the World Communications classical music station. Kristina Lynn, who’s been a production assistant (and will continue in that job), performed with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra and received a bachelor in music specializing in trumpet performance from DePaul University. LaRob K. Payton, who grew up in Maryland and studied in the vocal music program at DePaul, founded Hearing in Color, a Chicago organization dedicated to performing overlooked and underrepresented music.
A couple of familiar voices will be filling in all this week on the morning show at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. Ramblin’ Ray Stevens, who previously co-hosted mornings on the station with Big John Howell, will team up from 5:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday with Wendy Snyder, longtime on-air partner of Bill Leff. The Stevens and Snyder duo precedes the debut December 14 of Bruce St. James as permanent replacement for Erich Mancow Muller, who signed off November 25. No word yet on a co-host/sidekick for St. James.
The Hyde Park Herald, the venerable weekly newspapers that’s been serving the South Side neighborhood since 1882, just launched a new voluntary digital and print subscription model. (Here is the link.) “We’re not putting up a paywall,” new publisher Jason Schumer wrote in an open letter explaining the arrangement. “We believe that journalism is a public good and we’re committed to trying to keep our content available to all community members.” Schumer said the company plans to seek nonprofit status in 2021.
Congratulations to WLTL 88.1-FM, the student radio station of Lyons Township High School in La Grange, on being named Best Radio Station in the Nation at the 2020 John Drury High School Radio Awards. It’s the seventh time the station has been cited since the inception of the awards presented by North Central College and WONC 89.1-FM in Naperville. They’re named for the late Chicago TV news anchor. “Despite everything that 2020 has thrown at our students, they still did their best to produce quality content and entertaining programming for our community listening on 88.1 FM and streaming around the globe on WLTL.net,” Chris Thomas, faculty advisor and general manager of WLTL, said in a statement. “Today’s honors recognize their hard work and dedication. I am immensely proud of them.”
Rev. Martin N. Winters, the retired Chicago priest who hosted the Sunday morning religion program “Gamut” for 10 years on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, died November 28 at 94. He also served as a guest commentator for local media outlets on Christmas Midnight Mass and Pope John Paul II’s visit to Chicago in 1979. The Chicago native attended St. Columbanus Catholic School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary, and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein. He joined the Quigley faculty in 1955 and the Mundelein faculty in 1961. He also served as academic dean of Niles College of Loyola University for 18 years.
Friday’s comment of the day: Nancy Angell Babendir: If the Cubs were trying to come up with ways to screw up Marquee Sports Network, letting Len Kasper go would have been one of the things I’d have recommended. Good luck Len in your future endeavors. Cub fans will miss you and White Sox fans will be lucky to have you.