Robservations on the media beat:
Steve Cochran, the veteran Chicago radio personality who’s been off the air for two and half years, will be heard again in morning drive next week. From 5:30 to 9 a.m. next Monday through Friday, Cochran will guest host on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. The morning slot has been open since early April when the station dropped Bruce St. James. A fixture on Chicago radio since 1993, Cochran previously hosted mornings on Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM. Bob Sirott replaced him when Cochran’s contract was not renewed in December 2019. Since he left WGN, Cochran has been hosting the twice-weekly podcast “Live From My Office.” In the latest Nielsen Audio survey WLS tied for 24th in mornings with a 1.1 percent share and a cumulative weekly audience of 88,400.
Look for Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 to realign its Monday-through-Friday morning news anchor lineup next week. Scott Schneider and Anita Padilla will shift to anchoring “Good Day Chicago” from 4 to 7 a.m., followed by the three-person anchor team of Terrence Lee, Sylvia Perez and Anita Blanton from 7 to 10 a.m. Blanton just signed on from WAVY, the NBC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia. Roseanne Tellez will continue to report for “Good Day Chicago” and anchor Fox 32’s noon newscast.
Marcus Gilmer, former digital editor of the Sun-Times, is returning to Chicago after nine years to join Crain’s Chicago Business as associate managing editor for digital content creation. He starts May 31, according to Crain’s editor Ann Dwyer, who said Gilmer will work closely with the digital editing and audience teams. “He’ll contribute to the editing of online editorial content, the curation of newsletters and the creation of offerings specifically designed for social media as well as fresh daily items — timelines, social media surveys, photo essays, videos, FAQs, etc. — that pivot off the news,” Dwyer wrote in an email to staff. Gilmer, an Alabama native and graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and the University of New Orleans, was editor-in-chief of Chicagoist, associate editor of The A.V. Club, and a daily news blogger for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM before his year at the Sun-Times from 2012 to 2013. Since then he’s worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mashable and Cleveland Clinic.
Growing Community Media, nonprofit publisher of the west suburban Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, just added the Village Free Press, a print and digital news source covering Proviso Township. Michael Romain, who founded Village Free Press nine years ago, continues as an editor with Growing Community Media. Publisher Dan Haley said the expansion reflects the company’s greater mission to cover the “vital, complex and fascinating communities stretching from Garfield Park to Oak Park, from Riverside to Maywood that together make up the Greater West Side, a geography of diversity and shared needs and opportunities.”
Returning to an in-person event for the first time in three years, the Chicago Headline Club will present its 45th annual Peter Lisagor Awards at a dinner tonight at the Union League Club of Chicago. Excellence in journalism will be honored in 100 categories, spanning newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and digital media. Tonya Francisco, host of “Daytime Chicago” on Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9, will emcee the ceremony, which also will bestow radio newsman Bill Cameron and columnist Dahleen Glanton with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Bobby O’Jay, a popular R&B disc jockey on Chicago’s WJPC, WVON and WBMX in the late ’70s and early ’80s, died Tuesday in Memphis, where he spent nearly four decades as morning host and program director of historic African American station WDIA. He was 68. “I leave a legacy behind for my family,” O’Jay said on his induction to the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame in 2018. “Here’s a guy who came from the cotton fields of Mississippi, but I’ve managed to work at some of the biggest stations in America. I have met some of the biggest stars in America. Even though there was some ups and downs, it’s been more fun than anything.”
Thursday’s comment of the day: Hannah Brummer: Dreams really do come true.