Robservations on the media beat:
Before he became a Chicago TV news anchor and radio talk show host, Bob Sirott made a name for himself here as a great Top 40 DJ. This weekend he’s returning to his roots as host of “Bob Sirott’s Summer Record Collection,” a two-hour music special at 7 p.m. Saturday on WGN 720-AM, the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station. Among the summer-themed tunes he’ll play are “Suddenly Last Summer” by The Motels, “California Nights” by Lesley Gore, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves, and “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams. “I just saw the latest weekend weather forecast. Maybe hearing these songs one right after another will keep us from freezing,” he told me. Sirott has been hosting mornings on WGN since January 2020.
The new overlords of the Chicago Tribune aren’t wasting any time in cutting staff. On Wednesday — Alden Global Capital’s second day of ownership — the company announced a voluntary buyout offer to nonunion newsroom employees at the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune Publishing newspapers. Buyouts often are a precursor to layoffs. “We are deeply concerned by the direction Alden is taking the Chicago Tribune by saddling its parent company with debt and immediately looking to make cuts across the country,” tweeted reporter Greg Pratt, president of the Chicago Tribune Guild. “This does not serve the Tribune or the people of Chicago.” Since Alden entered the picture at the end of 2019 Tribune Publishing has cut 30 percent of its staff across the board.
Look who’s back: Erich Mancow Muller, the former Chicago radio rabble-rouser, this week launched a new YouTube video channel with a political rant about Disney theme parks. (Here is the link.) He invited fans to subscribe and said he plans to post new content on the site three times a week. Muller has been off the air since November when he ended a two-year run as morning host on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.
Noticiero Telemundo Chicago has confirmed the departure of Rodrigo Arana Roa after seven years as 4, 5 and 10 p.m. weekday sports anchor at Spanish-language WSNS-Channel 44. The native of Mexico and graduate of Universidad Panamericana worked as a reporter for Fox Sports in Mexico City before joining Telemundo Chicago in 2014. No decision has been made on a replacement.
Chris Fusco, former executive editor of the Sun-Times, resigned Wednesday after six months as executive editor of Lookout Santa Cruz, a local news startup in central California. “It’s been gratifying to build a new news product from the ground up, and I’ve learned a ton about both the industry and myself in the process,” he posted on Facebook. “So, like a lot of journalists, I’m hitting ‘pause’ for a spell and taking stock before diving into another endeavor.” He declined further comment on the move. Fusco, who grew up in southwest suburban Alsip and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, worked as a reporter for the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald before joining the Sun-Times in 2000.
You can still catch “Dylan at 80: A Chicago Music Perspective,” a special edition of “Radio Z” hosted by Jason Marck. The one-hour tribute, featuring famed Chicago musicians reflecting on the influence of Bob Dylan, will be rebroadcast at noon Monday on WBEZ 91.5-FM, the Chicago Public Media news/talk station. “I’m crazy about Bob Dylan, and I’m crazy about Chicago music,” said Marck. “So in honor of Dylan’s [80th] birthday I talked with best-known and most-loved Chicago artists from a wide range of genres about Dylan, and his influence on their life and their art and music.” The special first aired on May 21.
Carl Amari and Lisa Wolf, co-hosts of the syndicated “Hollywood 360,” just launched a second weekly showcase for show-biz nostalgia and classic radio shows. From 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sundays, they’re live-streaming a new show for the “Do You Remember” YouTube channel. (Here is the link.) “Hollywood 360” continues to air from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturdays on Salem Media Group news/talk WIND 560-AM.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Joel Craig: Just the name Heath Freeman screams hedge fund bro. The photo confirms it. Only question now is how quickly he can decimate what remains of the World’s Greatest Newspaper.