Robservations on the media beat:
After months without a host on weeknights, classic hits WLS 94.7-FM has signed Kid Kelly, a longtime New York-based disc jockey and former vice president of pop programming at SiriusXM Radio. Starting this week, the Radio Hall of Famer’s syndicated show airs from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday on the Cumulus Media station. Kelly will customize the music on his show to conform with the station’s playlist, according to program director Wade Linder. Weeknights had been jockless on the station since Brian Peck shifted to weekends over the summer. In what was said to be an unrelated move, 94.7 WLS cut weekend and fill-in host Danny Lake Monday after a nearly 13-year run. Lake, whose real name is Bob Worthington, said he plans to continue to operate his voiceover/production company. “Who knows?” the Chicago radio veteran told Facebook friends. “We may be back on another station soon!”
Michelle Alegria has chosen not to renew her contract after three years as morning traffic reporter at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. As an employee of iHeartMedia/Total Traffic & Weather, she had a prominent role on “Good Day Chicago” until her traffic reports were reduced in early 2020. “For years, I was bullied and belittled by a male colleague who, at times, terrified me,” Alegria said in a statement released by her lawyer, Tamara Holder. (The colleague was not identified.) “I asked for help repeatedly from my supervisors at iHeartMedia, Total Traffic, WFLD, and Fox HR. I even asked my agent for help. Rather than provide me with support, I was retaliated against and sidelined for nine months. Nobody should be forced to work in a hostile environment or live in fear. Kindness should never be mistaken for weakness.” The Chicago native and Columbia College graduate previously worked as a contributor to “190 North” at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and as a reporter for CLTV. No comment from Alegria’s bosses and no word on a replacement at Fox 32.
News of Jon “Boog” Sciambi’s hiring as the Chicago Cubs’ new TV play-by-play announcer drew rare praise Monday for Marquee Sports Network. Sciambi, a popular ESPN baseball broadcaster, was tapped to replace Len Kasper, who left the Cubs after 16 years to become radio voice of the Chicago White Sox on Good Karma Brands sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM. Sciambi is expected to continue doing some work for ESPN, where he’s been full-time since 2010. “Having the opportunity to come to Wrigley Field and call games for the Chicago Cubs every day is surreal,” said Sciambi, who joins color analyst Jim Deshaies. “It really doesn’t get better than that. Chicago is one of the best cities and Wrigley is the best ballpark out there.”
Chicago Tribune editorial board member Mike Lev has taken a buyout and will leave the paper after 28 years on January 15. The Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism graduate joined the Tribune as a metro reporter in 1992 and worked as a foreign correspondent and business editor before he was named to the editorial board in 2014. Lev told colleagues he plans to move to Newport Beach, California, and pursue writing projects. “I feel so fortunate to have worked for the Tribune and lived out my dream of being a foreign correspondent,” he said. “The unexpected joy was joining the editorial board. I’ve loved the experience of collaborating with brilliant colleagues and am so proud of our work.”
Congratulations to Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell on her induction last month in the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame. The Chicago treasure was cited for having “worked tirelessly to fight discrimination, combat domestic violence and hold politicians accountable.” Mitchell semi-retired in 2019 after 29 years at the Sun-Times, only to return the following year in the dual role of columnist and director of newsroom culture and community engagement. “Mitchell’s reporting often rallied African American readers to empower their communities by giving the voiceless a platform to address social ills,” the NABJ citation said, “from failing schools to abusive police, disparities in the criminal justice system to corrupt government officials.”
The new year brings a celebrated publication to readers of the Daily Herald. Parade magazine, the Sunday supplement founded in 1941 by Chicago Sun publisher Marshall Field III, has been picked up by the suburban daily. Over the years the celebrity news and lifestyle insert also has been carried by the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times. It currently appears in more than 700 newspapers with a total circulation of 32 million. “We’re pleased to offer Parade to our Sunday print readers,” said Daily Herald editor John Lampinen. “We hope they enjoy the addition.” (Disclosure: I am employed by Daily Herald Media Group.)
Monday’s comments of the day: Randy Cox: Just watched Bill Leff’s cartoon show [on MeTV]. It was enjoyable but needs some work. I think it could use a little help from Jeff Hoover!
Jeff Hoover: Thank you for your kind suggestion. Bill does not need my help. But I am worried about Toony. I heard he’s making booty calls to the Janet Davies puppet.