Sun-Times, WBEZ officials confirm talks to ‘become a combined entity’

Matt Moog

Top executives of the Chicago Sun-Times and the parent company of public radio station WBEZ 91.5-FM confirmed a report here Wednesday that talks are underway on a partnership agreement between the two organizations.

In separate emails to their staffs, the chief executive officers of the Sun-Times and Chicago Public Media acknowledged their negotiations.

“I wanted to make sure you were aware of and acknowledge Robert Feder’s column this morning that mentions Chicago Public Media,” wrote Matt Moog, interim CEO of Chicago Public Media.

“I can confirm that we are currently exploring partnerships and opportunities with the Chicago Sun-Times to strengthen local journalism in the city and our region,” he wrote. “These conversations are an important part of our commitment to serving Chicago and ensuring local news continues to thrive.”

Nykia Wright

Sun-Times CEO Nykia Wright told her staff the newspaper is “in talks with Chicago Public Media to determine if there is an opportunity to become a combined entity. It is very important to note that we are not close to any deal. Opportunities like this require a lot of due diligence.

“Please be assured that the current ownership group is committed to protecting your employment and will continue to invest in the paper with or without any potential future partnership,” Wright wrote.

The board of Chicago Public Media, nonprofit parent company of WBEZ, is expected to take up the plan in a closed meeting Wednesday night.

Spearheading the proposal is Michael Sacks, the Chicago businessman who’s been principal investor in the Sun-Times since 2019. While continuing to cover the newspaper’s financial losses, Sacks is said to have been looking for a compatible partner to take over the company.

Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ Chicago