Robservations on the media beat:
Fans of two iHeartMedia Chicago radio personalities have been swindled out of thousands of dollars after falling for a get-rich-quick scheme on Facebook. It started earlier this year when hackers took over the Facebook pages of Leon Rogers, morning host at hip-hop WGCI 107.5-FM, and Ericka Ingram, known as weekend late-night host “DJ Sundance” at R&B WVAZ 102.7-FM. The hackers then used the hosts’ pages to lure fans to invest in fake business deals, according to a report on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. (Here is the link.) Rogers and Ingram said they reported the hacked pages to Facebook numerous times but were ignored. “It is not me, no way, shape or form,” Rogers told ABC 7’s Samantha Chatman. “When it gets to the point where people are threatening to do some harm to you and your family for something you didn’t do, that’s kind of scary, you know?”
It was nice to see meteorologist Megan Glaros filling in all this week on “CBS Mornings,” the network’s New York-based morning news show. Her legion of fans in the Chicago area have missed Glaros since she was cut as morning meteorologist at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 during sweeping company-wide layoffs in May 2020. A native of Dyer, Indiana, Glaros worked for stations in Miami and New York before joining CBS 2 here in 2010. It took CBS 2 almost a year to hire her permanent replacement, naming Laura Bannon, the pride of Naperville, to the morning weather job in March.
Mike Nichols, the famed director, producer, actor and comedian who worked as an announcer at fledgling classical music station WFMT 98.7-FM in the 1950s, would have marked his 90th birthday Saturday. In his honor, colleagues at the Window to the World Communications station will feature highlights of his recorded work this weekend on “The Midnight Special,” the eclectic music and spoken-word showcase he first hosted in 1953. “It’s simply not possible to fully capture the enormity of Mike Nichols’s impact on American comedy, drama and improv,” said Marilyn Rea Beyer, current host of the show. “I consider it an honor to mark his birthday anniversary as host of the show that he started.” “The Midnight Special” airs at 9 p.m. Saturdays. Nichols died in 2014.
“For the Left Hand,” an award-winning documentary about Chicago pianist Norman Malone, who overcame a brutal attack to become a one-handed piano virtuoso, will have its Chicago TV premiere at 9 p.m. tonight on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11 (with a repeat at 4 p.m. Sunday). Produced by Chicago-based Kartemquin Films, it’s based on the work of Howard Reich, the esteemed former Chicago Tribune music critic who served as writer and co-producer of the film. “I often tell people that if this film were about anybody else in similar circumstances, it would not be close to the same film,” Reich told WTTW. “Because I feel it’s who Norman is that makes this film what it is. It’s Norman’s warmth, it’s Norman’s openness, his love of music, his love of his students, it’s all reflected back.”
Ray Long, the great Chicago Tribune investigative reporter, has written The House That Madigan Built: The Record Run of Illinois’ Velvet Hammer, a chronicle of former Democratic kingpin Michael Madigan’s political career, including 36 years as Illinois House Speaker. (Here is the link.) Published by University of Illinois Press, the book draws on Long’s many decades of reporting on state government. Long worked for the Peoria Journal Star, the Sun-Times and the Associated Press before joining the Tribune in 1998.
When Kurt Hanson, founder and CEO of Chicago-based AccuRadio, heard about the bar in Dallas that banned playing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” on its jukebox until December 1, he did something about it. Hanson launched a new channel called “One Song Radio: All I Want for Christmas Is You,” featuring nothing but the holiday classic as performed by dozens of artists. They include Dolly Parton, Michael Bublé, Lady A, Justin Bieber, Straight No Chaser, Idina Menzal, She & Him, My Chemical Romance and many others. AccuRadio’s platform features 19 different Christmas channels on its app or at www.accuradio.com/christmas-music. “Our incredible variety of holiday channels and our almost 20-year history of providing Christmas channels on the Internet are among the reasons that a Google search for ‘Christmas music’ will typically bring up AccuRadio as the No. 1 organic search result,” Hanson said.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Ted Okuda: Who’s your favorite clown? For many folks, it was NOT Larry Harmon, who had the gall to take credit for creating the character of Bozo the Clown. (The credit belongs to Alan W. Livingston, a producer at Capitol Records. Harmon may have popularized Bozo but he didn’t create the character.) Harmon was universally despised. No one I’ve spoken with has ever had a good word to say about him. When I would inquire about Harmon, the reply often began with something along the lines of “What I’m about to say is not for publication but I have to tell you . . .” They didn’t want to go on record for their statements yet they hated the guy so much that they still needed to vent about decades-old grievances.