Robservations on the media beat:
Don’t look for Mark Giangreco to be back on the radio any time soon. The veteran Chicago sportscaster had been a fixture for years on Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM, where he’d join afternoon hosts Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman in the studio three times a week. But Giangreco hasn’t been on since late January when he was placed on administrative leave (and eventually fired) as top sports anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 over comments directed at news anchor Cheryl Burton. His settlement with ABC 7 doesn’t prevent him from working elsewhere, but it’s not clear if or when he’ll return to ESPN 1000. Both stations broadcast from studios at 190 North State Street. “Right now, Mark is doing some traveling,” said Mike Thomas, ESPN Chicago market manager. “We continue to stay in touch.” Meanwhile, it’s too soon to assess the impact of Giangreco’s ouster on Chicago’s TV ratings, but here’s a clue: Halfway through April, ABC 7 is tied with NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 for first place at 10 p.m. among viewers between 25 and 54 — the key demographic tied to advertising revenue. ABC 7 previously held the top spot alone.
Erin Kennedy, former morning news anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, has joined Brookstone Capital Management, a Wheaton-based investment advisory firm, as director of communications. Kennedy was among more than a dozen CBS 2 employees cut in companywide layoffs last May. Despite receiving offers from other markets, Kennedy said she was tired of “the volatility of having an axe over your head” and chose to reassess her priorities. “Leaving TV wasn’t an easy decision,” she said. “I worked with the best of the best in some of the greatest cities in the world. But this position gives me the chance to do what I love without sacrificing myself.” A summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Kennedy worked in Lubbock, Texas, Providence, Rhode Island, and Cleveland before joining CBS 2 in 2014.
It’s business as usual for Chicago’s Univision TV and radio stations following the announced merger this week of parent company Univision Communications with Mexican production company Grupo Televisa. Pending regulatory approval, the $4.8 billion deal is expected to create the largest Spanish-language media company in the world. Chicago properties include Univision WGBO-Channel 66 and UniMás WXFT-Channel 60 and four radio stations — WOJO FM 105.1, WPPN FM 106.7, WRTO AM 1200 and WVIX FM 93.5.
WGN 720-AM, the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station, has picked up broadcast rights to two major sporting events in May. On May 1 the station will air the 147th Kentucky Derby, including pre- and post-race coverage interviews, analysis and predictions along with trophy presentations. On May 30 it will air the 105th Indianapolis 500. It will be preceded by qualifying races May 22 and 23.
Jim Grimes, adjunct professor of communications at Loyola University, has received the 2021 Higher Educator of the Year Award from the Illinois Education Association. He was cited in part for the five years he served as coordinator of the Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Multicultural Internship Program, in which he worked with broadcasters and instructors to place students in paid intern positions. “The opportunity to assist women and minority students to get a hands-on introduction to the broadcasting industry has been very rewarding,” he said. Grimes also chaired the Illinois News Broadcasters Association’s Cameras in the Courts Committee.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Bernie Cicirello: I’m still waiting (and probably will until the day I die) for a Big Band station to return. (Alas, WJJD!)