Robservations on the media beat:
Now that Melissa McGurren, Cynthia DeNicolo and two other former employees of WTMX 101.9-FM have alleged mistreatment of women in court filings against morning host Eric Ferguson and the hot adult-contemporary station, will we ever get the inside story from Kathy Hart? It’s been four years since Hart left The Mix without explanation, ending a 21-year run with Ferguson as the most popular morning duo in Chicago radio history. Her settlement with Hubbard Radio is believed to include a non-disclosure agreement that bars her from discussing her departure. Now living in Bozeman, Montana, with her son, Allen, Hart has not commented on her former radio partner or the litany of misconduct allegations against him. (On Facebook Saturday she posted a poem of inspiration “to every one of you who is pushing through, showing up, not giving up.”) The only way Hart might go public about her time at The Mix, according to legal experts, would be if she were compelled under court order to testify in one of the cases against Ferguson and Hubbard Radio. As a phenomenally successful and shrewdly marketed radio team, “Eric and Kathy” were inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame in 2016. Ferguson, whose attorneys deny allegations against him, was taken off the air through the end of October.
Steve Cochran kicks off the fourth season of his “Live From My Office” podcast Monday. (Here is the link.) Guests this season will include Tom Waddle, Mark Giangreco, Lou Piniella, Bill Leff, Spike O’Dell and comedians Kathleen Madigan and John Da Cosse, with new episodes uploaded every Monday and Wednesday. Cochran launched the series of conversations with friends and newsmakers shortly after he signed off as morning host at Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM. The longtime radio personality also returns to stand-up comedy for the first time in nearly two years with “The Masters of Comedy” Wednesday at Zanies Rosemont. Said Cochran: “It’s like riding a bicycle — if you’re riding on stage in front of a crowd with a two-drink minimum.”
Dave Juday, the La Grange Park native and former anchor and reporter at ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM, moved to Arizona where he’s been teaching radio/audio production to high school students at East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa since 2015. But he’s still earning kudos here. Last week the station he advises — KPNG — was named Best High School Radio Station at the 2021 John Drury High School Radio Awards. His students also picked up three individual awards. “Words can’t describe how proud I am of our EVIT Radio students,” Juday said in a statement. “These awards are a testament to our students’ hard work and the dedication they have to see our program and radio station succeed.” The awards, administered by North Central College and WONC 89.1-FM in Naperville, are named for the late news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.
The Book of Raves, an anthology of radio monologues by the great Dave McBride, is just out in paperback and Kindle editions. (Here is the link.) It’s a marvelous read for fans of the former Chicago radio newsman and essayist, who specialized in witty wordplay, topical satire and observational humor. It’s also a reminder of how much he is missed on the air here since he moved to Palm Beach County, Florida. McBride’s first book, the murder mystery Lock, Stock & Peril, was published earlier this year.
Friday’s comment of the day: Claire Zulkey: I never tuned into Eric & Kathy in the mornings (the billboards were so off-putting). Just curious if Ferguson’s on-air presence was so priceless it was remotely worth all this.