Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago radio’s latest guessing game involves the whereabouts of Nina Hajian, who co-hosts mornings with Gabe Ramirez on Audacy Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM. For nearly three weeks Hajian has been missing from the show with no explanation to listeners. “We have given Nina an extended period of time off to spend time with family and friends,” B96 program director Todd Cavanah said in response to an inquiry Tuesday. “I’d like to respect everyone’s privacy on this matter at this time.” No word on when (or whether) she’ll return. In June Hajian was named winner of a 2021 Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation for her show’s coverage of protests and unrest in Chicago last summer. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, “The Gabe and Nina Show” ranked 25th with 1.3 percent share and a cumulative weekly audience of 233,400.
Chicago’s other ongoing media mystery centers on Zoraida Sambolin, who’s been missing in action since May as weekday morning news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. According to the station she remains on a leave of absence “indefinitely.” Beyond that, no one is talking. It’s Sambolin’s second extended absence from NBC 5 since 2020 when she took a break to focus on her health and care for a loved one. Except for a two-year stint with CNN in New York, Sambolin has been the face of morning news at NBC 5 since 2007. She joined the station as a free-lance weekend news anchor in 2002.
There’s a new afternoon voice on WXLC 102.3-FM, the north suburban Alpha Media hot adult-contemporary station. Hannah Brummer, who calls herself Hannah B on the air, most recently was an administrative assistant at Illinois Media School. She succeeds Tom “Tommy B” Bickham, who signed off in August after seven years at 102.3 XLC. Brummer, an Elmhurst College graduate, previously worked as a promotions coordinator at Audacy country WUSN 99.5-FM and classic hip hop WBMX 104.3-FM. Saying she was “beyond excited,” Brummer told friends: “My dream has finally come true, and I can’t stop smiling about it because I get to do what I love most everyday!”
Wayne Randazzo, the former Chicago area sportscaster who’s now the radio voice of the New York Mets, has been tapped by Fox Sports to serve as play-by-play announcer for several upcoming regional telecasts. Coming up first he’ll call the Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers game Saturday with Eric Karros. On September 25 he’ll call the Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians with A.J. Pierzynski. A graduate of St. Charles East High School and North Central College, Randazzo worked for Audacy all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, sports/talk WSCR 670-AM and the Big Ten Network. He also served as announcer for the Kane County Cougars.
Bret Gogoel, who’s been a technical producer, fill-in producer and podcast manager at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM since 2017, has been promoted to executive producer of John Howell’s afternoon show. He succeeds Mallory Vor Broker, who moved to political reporter following the retirement of Chicago City Hall legend Bill Cameron. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Gogoel also was a play-by-play announcer for the Windy City Bulls minor league basketball team. “I couldn’t be more excited to step into the big shoes left by Mallory and work with a consummate professional like John Howell,” he said in a statement. “I hope to take everything I’ve learned from my time here at WLS and continue to put out a top-notch product.”
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Paul Ansell: The pettiness of much of the comments on Feder’s page is truly disappointing, especially when you consider that everyone has been out of high school for quite some time.