Robservations on the media beat:
No need to parse the Nielsen numbers this time. Unlike the three-way tie that deadlocked the May sweep, November delivered a clear victory in late-news ratings for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Fronted by news anchors Alan Krashesky and Cheryl Burton, “Eyewitness News” at 10 p.m. finished first in total households and first among viewers between 25 and 54, according to preliminary results released Sunday. Overall ABC 7 had 201,347 viewers at 10 p.m., followed by NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 (152,746 viewers); CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 (86,787 viewers); Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9 (79,844 viewers); Univision WGBO-Channel 66 (59,015 viewers); and Telemundo WSNS-Channel 44 (24,300 viewers). At 9 p.m. WGN led with 135,388 viewers, and Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 had 52,072 viewers.
“Dan Roan will retire next February from WGN-TV in Chicago after 38 years at the station and 45 years in the sports broadcast profession.” So reported the Fort Madison Daily Democrat — last July. Roan gave the scoop over the summer to his hometown paper outside of Keokuk, Iowa, but apparently the word never made it to Chicago (unless I missed it) or to co-workers at the Nexstar Media station. In the interview, the veteran sports anchor told reporter Chris Faulkner he didn’t have a set retirement date in February, but “that’s pretty much going to be the end of it.” Added Roan: “For somebody who grew up in Keokuk, not knowing anything, and getting a chance to do all this is incredible.”
The arrest of former Chicago Bears defensive lineman and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton on drunk driving charges was big news over the weekend — with one conspicuous exception. On Friday, the Lake County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Office confirmed the arrest, which occurred November 20 near Hampton’s home in Winfield, Indiana. But you wouldn’t have known about it if you were listening to WGN 720-AM. Following the time-honored tradition of local media not reporting their own bad news, the Nexstar Media news/talk station avoided mentioning the story all Friday night. Hampton co-hosts a weekly show on WGN Radio during football season with ex-Bear Ed O’Bradovich.
At least give Mark Konkol credit for owning up to a mistake — even if his explanation leaves a lot to be desired. Citing a single, unnamed source, Konkol reported on Patch.com last Tuesday that Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy would be fired after the Thanksgiving game in Detroit. The report set off a media frenzy and ultimately proved to be wrong. “Did I get bamboozled when a trusted source, in the position to know, told me Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy was told he would not be on the sidelines after Thanksgiving?” Konkol wrote in a non-apologetic followup. “Or did something change at Halas Hall after I reported what the high-level source told me? I don’t know. . . . Was that right at the time? Did something change? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will continue to rely on a multitude of trusted, well-placed sources to expose corruption, right wrongs and hold public officials accountable. Readers deserve no less.”
When Chicago attorney Leonard Goodman joined real estate developer Elzie Higginbottom to bankroll the Chicago Reader days before it would have been shut down in 2018, they were lauded as local heroes. But that was before Goodman began using the alternative newspaper to espouse his personal views. Goodman’s column in the Reader last week expressing opposition to vaccinating children against COVID-19 led to a tortured public explanation from co-publisher and co-editor-in-chief Karen Hawkins and blistering criticism from many quarters, including former Reader staffers. “The appearance of conflict of interest is a conflict of interest,” tweeted former editor Kiki Yablon. “If you think you’re going to have to explain that the guy who pays the bills didn’t bully you into running something, don’t run it.” It’s hard to imagine Goodman’s column surviving once the Reader becomes a fully nonprofit entity.
The noncommercial student radio station of west suburban Downers Grove North and South High Schools has been fined by the Federal Communications Commission following an investigation into compliance issues. WDGC 88.3-FM was ordered to pay $1,000 to settle the case, according to Radio Insight. The station “failed to notify the FCC of being silent within 10 days, timely request authorization for silence over 30 days, file biennial ownership reports, submit EEO Program Reports with its license renewal, and upload copies of its issues and programs lists to its online public inspection file,” the report stated.
The widely hailed promotion of longtime producer Jay Smith to news director and executive producer at WTTW-Channel 11 wasn’t the only personnel news announced last week by the Window to the World Communications public television station. Also noted were four recent additions to the WTTW newsroom staff: Joanna Hernandez, reporter/content producer; Aida Mogos, producer/”Black Voices”; Jillian Melero, associate digital editor/producer; and Marissa Nelson, associate producer.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Carol Marin: Hurray! Jay Smith’s quiet, effective, ethical leadership wins the day at last! John Callaway would be so proud. Those of us who worked with Jay celebrate this. AND we celebrate the promotion of the talented Crystin Immel as supervising producer. A great announcement all the way around!