Robservations: WGN’s Dan Roan apologizes for calling player ‘thug’

Dan Roan

Robservations on the media beat:

One reason Dan Roan has lasted 37 years as a sports anchor at Nexstar Media Group WGN-Channel 9 is that he’s studiously avoided controversy. But now he’s been forced to walk back a comment that blew up on social media Thursday. In a post since deleted, Roan tweeted: “Bad news from Champaign on Ayo Donsunmu, nose broken by Spartan thug on Tuesday . . . no word on how long he’ll be out.” It apparently referred to Michigan State center Mady Sissoko, who was charged with a flagrant two foul and ejected from the game against the Fighting Illini. Roan immediately came under blistering attack for use of the word “thug,” prompting this followup tweet: “Just made aware of some issues with an earlier tweet — I used too strong a word and I apologize to the MSU player in question and to any who may have been offended by this. Not aware in any way that the word had any racial connotation to it — that’s not me, never has been.”

Bob Collins

This Sunday would have been the 79th birthday of the great Bob Collins, the top-rated morning star of WGN 720-AM who died in a plane collision in 2000. In tribute to their beloved colleague, staffers at the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station will toast Collins at 7:48 a.m. today during Bob Sirott’s morning show. (As is tradition, they’ll pour from a bottle of Jack Daniel’s that was found in Collins’s office and preserved by sports anchor Dave Eanet.) Joining in today’s salute will be retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell, who succeeded Collins, and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.

Ashleigh Banfield

Monday will mark the debut of “Banfield,” a one-hour interview show hosted by Ashleigh Banfield on NewsNation, the rebranded WGN America cable network owned by Nexstar Media Group. Originating from Banfield’s home in Darien, Connecticut, it will air at 9 p.m. Monday through Friday (in place of the third hour of NewsNation’s three-hour news block). Banfield’s first guest will be filmmaker Aaron Sorkin, to be followed on later nights by Bryan Cranston, Robin Wright, Keith Olbermann, Mike Rowe, David Zucker and Katie Cole. Banfield, who worked for CNN, HLN, MSNBC, ABC News, NBC News, A+E, TruTV and Court TV, said she hopes to replicate the format of the late Larry King’s  CNN interview show.

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, a business reporter for the Chicago Tribune, is the latest to call it quits, effective today. “I’m making a leap into media relations, and start a new job mid-March,” she tweeted. “To say this was an agonizing decision is an understatement. I’m immensely proud of the 15 years I spent at the Tribune and deeply grateful to the editors, managers and fellow reporters who have guided and championed me. . . . It has been an honor, and I will miss it.” Elejalde-Ruiz, who grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Brown University, was a reporter for the Daily Herald and City News Service before joining the Tribune as a features reporter for RedEye in 2006.

Thursday’s comment of the day: Dan Miller: I cannot tell the difference between Scott Adams and Rick Odell. Both have radio voices that are melodious, articulate and confident. Both superb in professionalism, too.

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