Robservations on the media beat:
By this time next week the Chicago Tribune could be saying goodbye to some of its best-known bylines. An exodus of top talent is expected now that the newspaper is fully under the control of a hedge fund known for severe cost-cutting at newsrooms across the country. Full-time editorial employees have until Wednesday to apply for voluntary buyouts — the first step in deeper reductions expected under new owner Alden Global Capital. Next Friday they’ll be notified if they’ve been accepted. Those who are accepted will be gone by Friday, June 18. It’s the “last train out of Dodge,” according to one insider.
Tyra Whitney, a supervising producer at Nexstar Media Group’s Chicago-based NewsNation, has joined ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as weekend morning news producer. The Norfolk State University graduate previously worked as a producer at Nexstar’s WRIC in Richmond, Virginia, and as an adjunct professor at Virginia Union University. “Tyra is a knowledgeable and dynamic news professional who has earned the respect of her managers and colleagues,” said Jennifer Graves, vice president of news at ABC 7. “Her experience and passion for news will be a valuable asset to our team.”
Bob Stroud, midday star of Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM, recalls highlights of his four decades in Chicago radio on the latest edition of the podcast “Rock Conversations.” “I do love talking about the music, and I know that there’s not very much of that on the airwaves anymore,” Stroud tells host Rob Hahn. “So it gives me great joy to be able to get on the air and do something that has all but fallen off the wayside — the dumbing down of radio, if you will. I think being able to put my own spin on it, too, I found that the audiences really liked my personal connection to whatever the song or the artist is that I’m talking about. That seems to have worked out really well for me.” (Here is the link.)
“This Week in Wealth,” a financial advice show sponsored by Alpha Wealth Group, joins the weekend lineup on Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM. Airing at 6:30 a.m. Sundays, it’s co-hosted by WGN financial contributor Ilyce Glink and Alpha Wealth Group founder Tom Fortino. “Tom and Ilyce have proven to be valuable content contributors in the financial space, and we’re excited to extend their presence with an entertaining and insightful 30-minute discussion Sunday mornings,” said Mary Sandberg Boyle, vice president and general manager of WGN. To accommodate the new show, “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier” will be shortened to two hours, airing from 7 to 9 a.m. Sundays.
Belated welcome to veteran sports columnist Bernie Lincicome, whose work now graces the Daily Herald every Sunday. The former sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Rocky Mountain News wrote in his May 28 opener: “This now may be the last generation of sports writers, the last generation of newspapers, and it is deeply depressing to think of what can be lost. Literacy, reflection, perspective, accuracy, deliberation, originality, conviction, trust, responsibility — not to go all viral or anything.” (Here is the link.) Lincicome’s debut followed the retirement of star sports columnist Barry Rozner after 37 years with the Daily Herald.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Jon Guiney: With cable TV dead and linear TV dying, [“WGN News Now”] was probably what the long-range plan was when WGN shut down CLTV. I find it to be very forward-thinking as well a preservation move for the organization. Hopefully, they’ll set their live feeds to work on their phone app to cast from the phone to smart TVs. It’s about the only video system that doesn’t do that now. They also need both a smart TV and a Roku app. It’s possible to get WGN on smart TVs through the internet, but the browsers on the TVs are cumbersome to operate. Most of what I watch anymore is streaming or off the antenna now, so this is a step in the right direction. And the greatest advantage is keeping up with local news when out of town. It’s time to cut the cord. Otherwise, technology is going to leave people behind.