Robservations: Kristie Graybill leaves Kiss FM morning show; NewsNation moves ‘Dan Abrams Live’; ‘Those Were the Days’ to celebrate belated milestone

Kristie Graybill

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s over and out for Kristie Graybill after one year as a contributor to Christopher “Fred” Frederick’s morning show on Top 40 WKSC 103.5-FM. She’d been missing from “The Fred Show” for two weeks without explanation before iHeartMedia confirmed that she no longer works for Kiss FM. No further comment was provided. Graybill, an Ohio native who previously co-hosted mornings at KSLZ in St. Louis, joined the show after longtime co-host Angi Taylor shifted to mornings on rock WCHI 95.5-FM. A replacement for Graybill is expected to be named soon. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Kiss FM ranked first in mornings among all listeners between 18 and 34 and among women between 25 and 54. Continue reading

Block Club Chicago adds reporters Melody Mercado, Mack Liederman

Melody Mercado and Mack Liederman (Photos: Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register; Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago)

With the addition of two new reporters, Block Club Chicago just expanded its full-time staff to 22. That’s nearly a threefold increase since the nonprofit neighborhood news site launched in 2018.

The latest to sign on are Melody Mercado, who most recently was a reporter for the Des Moines Register, and Mack Liederman, former per-diem news writer at Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9 and freelance contributor to Block Club Chicago. Continue reading

Robservations: Fox 32 hires Anita Blanton as morning anchor; Courtney Cronin to cover Bears for ESPN; Len Kasper’s Sonic45 releases video

Anita Blanton

Robservations on the media beat:

Slone Salerno

Anita Blanton, a news anchor at NBC affiliate WAVY in Norfolk, Virginia, has been signed to co-anchor “Good Day Chicago” on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, starting April 4. Matt Piacente, vice president and news director of Fox 32, called Blanton “a dynamic journalist and storyteller who brings a passion to her work and to the community.” Before joining WAVY in 2013, Blanton worked for stations in Oklahoma City; Richmond, Virginia; and Waco, Texas. On Fox 32’s morning show, she’ll be part of an anchor rotation that includes Scott Schneider, Anita Padilla, Sylvia Perez, Terrence Lee and Roseanne Tellez. “I can’t wait to say ‘Good Day Chicago’ to the great people of the Windy City,” Blanton said in a statement. “Joining this team of respected journalists at a station dedicated to going beyond headlines with memorable, impactful coverage each day is more than a dream.” Also joining Fox 32 as a producer for “Good Day Chicago” is Slone Salerno, a morning news producer for CBS affiliate WMTV in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s the daughter of longtime Chicago TV news producer Irene Lobo Salerno and the late Chicago news anchor Randy Salerno. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: WBBM Newsradio, V103 tie for first place

WBBM Newsradio; V103

WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, the Audacy all-news combo, and WVAZ 102.7-FM, the iHeartMedia R&B station, tied for first place in Chicago radio ratings released Tuesday.

WLIT 93.9-FM, the iHeartMedia adult contemporary station that rose to record-high ratings for its nonstop Christmas music in December, fell back to fifth place in the latest Nielsen Audio survey, which ran from January 6 to February 2. Continue reading

ESPN 1000 picks up weekly golf show with Barry Cronin

The CDGA Golf Show

Already dreaming of hitting the golf course? You’re not alone.

In partnership with the Chicago District Golf Association, Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM will air “The CDGA Golf Show” from 7 to 9 a.m. Sundays, starting April 3. It will feature interviews with top golfers, news updates about the PGA Tour and other events, and interaction with listeners. Continue reading

Robservations: Bob Sirott interviews Cubs greats for Marquee; Christian and Liz Jones launch Lymari Media; CBS 2 rehires Kris Habermehl

Bob Sirott

Robservations on the media beat:

Ernie Banks and Bob Sirott

Bob Sirott, morning personality at Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM and lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, will host a series of in-depth conversations with Cubs legends for Marquee Sports Network. Sirott was hired by the Cubs to tape interviews with Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Ron Santo and others in 2010 and 2011, but they’ve never been seen until now. Starting this weekend, they’ll air on Marquee’s “Icons of the Ivy” at 7 p.m. Sundays. First up is Sirott’s two-part interview with Banks. (The Hall of Famer known as “Mr. Cub” died in 2015.) “It’s a special thrill to anchor what will be a permanent record of these Wrigley favorites for generations of Cubs fans to enjoy,” Sirott said. “This even tops being the voice of the Museum of Science and Industry’s coal mine!” Additional interviews with Cubs icons are expected to follow. “We’re sure that Cubs fans will enjoy these previously unaired stories and we’re honored to have this opportunity in partnership with the Cubs organization,” said Mike McCarthy, general manager of Marquee. Continue reading

Robservations: Ronnie Ramos named BGA’s first editor in chief; Cassie Walker Burke joins WBEZ; Chaz Ebert wins Ruby Dee Humanitarian Award

Reinaldo “Ronnie” Ramos

Robservations on the media beat:

Better Government Association

Reinaldo “Ronnie” Ramos, former executive editor of the Indianapolis Star, has been hired as editor in chief of Chicago’s Better Government Association. In the newly created position he will oversee the Illinois Solutions Partnership, a $10 million collaboration between the nonprofit government watchdog and investigative reporting group and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Ramos most recently served as executive editor of the Daily Memphian, a nonprofit news site in Memphis, Tennessee. “We’re looking for new solutions to chronic problems, and we felt that requires a fresh perspective,” David Greising, president and CEO of the BGA and ISP, said in a statement. “In Ronnie, we’ve found a seasoned and skeptical journalist, with deep digital and startup experience – one who knows both how to uncover what is wrong and also find solutions to the old Chicago way.” Continue reading

WTTW’s ‘Wild Travels’ wraps up season with ‘Frozen Dead Guy Days’

Frozen Dead Guy Days Parade (Photo: James DeWalt Photography)

Despite delays due to COVID-19 restrictions Harvey Moshman and Will Clinger traveled to 14 states for the third season of “Wild Travels,” the quirky travel series airing on 170 PBS stations nationwide.

Of all the weird and wonderful oddities they uncovered in their journeys none could match the annual “Frozen Dead Guy Days” festival in the tiny mountain town of Nederland, Colorado — “an event so outrageous we devoted an entire episode to this one celebration — something we’ve never done before,” Moshman said. Continue reading

Robservations: Illini Media honors 20 legends; Marquee renews Jon Sciambi, Jim Deshaies; UChicago’s David Axelrod stepping down

Nelson Algren

Robservations on the media beat:

Illini Media Hall of Fame

The late Chicago journalist and author Nelson Algren leads the list of luminaries who’ll be inducted this year in the Illini Media Hall of Fame at their alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Also among the 20 honorees announced Tuesday are MeTV-FM program director Rick O’Dell, Crain’s Chicago Business editor Ann Dwyer, NBC News reporter Natasha Korecki, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John J. Kim and TV/radio host Jon Hansen. (Here is the complete list.) The 2022 Hall of Fame class marks the first group of new entrants since 2009. Official induction will be April 9, coinciding with the 150th anniversary weekend celebration of the Daily Illini. Continue reading

Weigel Broadcasting to launch Story Television as sixth network

Story Television

Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting Co., the innovative home of MeTV and four other national television networks, is about to launch a sixth — featuring historical and factual programming supplied by A&E, History Channel and other cable networks.

Billed as Story Television Network, it will bring an impressive library of nonfiction series to broadcast television for the first time, including “Biography,” “The Men Who Built America,” “World War II in HD,” “Modern Marvels” and “Mankind: The Story of All of Us.” Continue reading