Robservations on the media beat:
Another bloodletting at NBC Sports Chicago cost the jobs of at least three writers Thursday and elicited another “no comment” from the regional sports network. Announcing their ousters on Twitter were Chicago Bears Insiders J.J. Stankevitz and Cam Ellis and Chicago Blackhawks Insider Scott King. “I’m so grateful for my 11 years there, starting as a college intern in 2010,” Stankevitz tweeted. “It’s literally the only place I’ve ever worked. I don’t know what’s next but I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with over the years.” Tweeted King: “Unfortunately, I’m joining a lot of people in the industry who lost their gig during the pandemic.” The latest cuts, first reported by the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal, come five months after the last major purge at NBC Sports Chicago, which included the layoffs of hosts Leila Rahimi and Laurence Holmes and the cancellation of “Sports Talk Live.”
Speaking of the Bears, look for Marquee Sports Network to present “85: The Greatest Team in Football History,” the definitive documentary on the 1985 Super Bowl Champions. Narrated by Matt Walsh and produced by Rich Lenkov and Scott Prestin (who also directed), the 2016 film will be shown at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, which is the 35th anniversary of Super Bowl XX. Marquee Sports Network will air it again at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. February 7. In addition to a host of Bears legends, the film includes interviews with President Barack Obama, Bill Murray, Bill Kurtis, Michael Wilbon and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Recommended reading: Daily Herald sports columnist Barry Rozner’s recollections on “The Adventure That Was Super Bowl XX.” (Here is the link.)
Good news for fans of George Ofman, the veteran Chicago sportscaster who was laid off last July at Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM. He’s about to launch a new weekly podcast series, “Tell Me a Story I Don’t Know,” featuring conversations with top sports personalities connected to Chicago. ESPN commentator and Chicago native Michael Wilbon appears in the premiere. Other guests lined up include Bob Costas, Eddie Olczyk, Mike Greenberg, Sarah Kustok, Steve Stone and Mark Giangreco. Starting Tuesday, it will be available on Apple, Spotify and other podcast platforms. (Here is the link.) Ofman, whose roots as a sportscaster were planted 48 years ago at Southern Illinois University, was among the original voices of Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM from 1992 to 2009. He joined WBBM Newsradio as sports anchor and reporter in 2010.
It’s been a year since WCEV 1450-AM, the time-brokered ethnic and foreign-language station licensed to west suburban Cicero, ceased broadcasting. Now the clock has run out. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the station’s license officially expired at midnight Thursday. No word yet on what’s next for Migala Communications, which owned the station for 40 years. Previously airing from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, WCEV shared its frequency with Midway Broadcasting Spanish-language WRLL 1450-AM.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Dan Ronan: It never ceases to amaze me how a once great company like the Chicago Tribune has completely lost its way.