After 38 years, TV music icon Jerry Bryant still has big plans to rock on

Jerry Bryant

Despite health challenges and financial setbacks that might have brought down the curtain on anyone else, Chicago TV legend Jerry Bryant isn’t finished yet with “JBTV,” the longest running music television show in the country.

Since 1984 Bryant has been the genial host of the weekly showcase he founded for presenting live performances and in-studio interviews with emerging artists, including some of the biggest names in modern rock history at the start of their careers. Continue reading

Robservations: Glenview’s Courtney Cronin joins ESPN 1000 team; Brad Edwards wraps up CBS 2 anchor run; Bill Cameron returns to WLS 890 AM

Courtney Cronin

Robservations on the media beat:

Just in time to cover the NFL Draft today, Glenview native Courtney Cronin has signed on with WMVP 1000-AM, the Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk station. She’ll serve as Chicago Bears reporter and on-air fill-in host during the NFL offseason. Cronin, who’d been reporting on the Minnesota Vikings for ESPN since 2017, came home earlier this year to cover the Chicago Bears for the network. At ESPN 1000 she succeeds her mentor and friend, Jeff Dickerson, who died of cancer in December. “We are thrilled to welcome Courtney to our ESPN Chicago family,” said Danny Zederman, director of content at ESPN 1000. “She is well connected in NFL circles and will bring our fans the Bears information they desire. In addition to her reporting, our fans are going to enjoy what Courtney has to offer as a radio host, where she’ll talk all things Chicago sports.” Cronin graduated from north suburban Glenbrook South High School and Indiana University. Continue reading

Chicago Reader poised to become nonprofit after co-owner gives up fight

Chicago Reader employees protest outside home of Leonard C. Goodman (Photo: WTTW)

The next time some rich guy offers to rescue your newspaper, run the other way.

That’s one of the lessons from the fiasco that nearly destroyed the Chicago Reader after 50 years as the city’s premier alternative publication. It also could have cost the jobs of 35 employees.

On Tuesday Leonard C. Goodman finally ended a monthslong hissy fit over a column he wrote questioning whether children should be vaccinated for COVID-19. In resigning from the board of the Reader (along with three like-minded members), he allowed the paper to move to nonprofit status — its only path to survival. Continue reading

Robservations: ‘Seinfeld’ Food Truck returns to Chicago; Bill Jackson’s ‘lost tape’ discovered; Illinois Rock Hall of Fame to induct Landecker, WXRT

“Seinfeld” Food Truck (2012 photo)

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s been 10 years since the “Seinfeld” Food Truck rolled into the Chicago area. Now it’s coming back – loaded with free treats (but no soup) for everyone. To promote reruns of the classic sitcom on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26, the truck again will distribute snacks associated with the show – including Junior Mints, chocolate babka, black-and-white cookies and Drake’s cakes. The truck will be parked at Chicago’s Jane Byrne Plaza, 180 East Pearson Street, Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., and at Oakbrook Center Mall in front of Macy’s Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Continue reading

Headline Club to honor Bill Cameron, Dahleen Glanton with Lifetime Achievement Awards

Bill Cameron and Dahleen Glanton

Longtime radio reporter Bill Cameron, who retired last year as dean of Chicago’s City Hall press room, and former Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton have been named recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Chicago Headline Club.

They will be honored for their contributions to the profession May 6 at the organization’s 45th annual Peter Lisagor Awards dinner at the Union League Club of Chicago. The ceremony will be emceed by Tonya Francisco, host of “Daytime Chicago” on Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9. Continue reading

Robservations: Marquee to launch ‘The Reporters’ with Bob Sirott; Jackie Bange to host Silver Circle Awards; 94.7 WLS extends Kid Kelly at night

The Reporters

Robservations on the media beat:

Bob Sirott

You won’t see Ben Bentley and his cadre of cigar-chomping scribes from the original “Sports Writers” show, but get ready for a 2022 homage to the venerable Chicago sports roundtable. Starting May 1, Marquee Sports Network will launch “The Reporters,” a half-hour weekly show featuring a rotating panel of Chicago media members, airing at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. “We’re excited to launch ‘The Reporters’ as part of our Sunday morning programming lineup, discussing the biggest sports stories with the writers and broadcasters closest to the action,” Mike McCarthy, general manager of Marquee Sports Network, said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing additional coverage across the Chicago sports landscape to Marquee viewers.” Bob Sirott, morning host on Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM, will appear as a regular contributor, but no word yet on other talent for the show. Premiering as “The Sportswriters” on WGN in 1975 (with Bentley, Bill Jauss, Bill Gleason and George Langford), the original radio show inspired the long-running “Sports Writers on TV.” Continue reading

Susy Schultz appointed editor of Evanston RoundTable

Susy Schultz (Photo: Radio Hall of Fame/Museum of Broadcast Communications)

Susy Schultz, the veteran Chicago journalist and former reporter for the Sun-Times, has been named editor of the Evanston RoundTable, the nonprofit digital news site serving the north suburban community.

Founded in 1998, the Evanston Roundtable was a twice-monthly newspaper until 2019. It converted to non-profit status in 2020.

“We are delighted Susy is joining our team,” Tracy Quattrocki, executive editor and president of the company, said in a statement. “She is an experienced journalist who also understands the ins and outs of nonprofits. And we are pleased that our news organization is growing, thanks to the support of this amazing community.” Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: Another big victory for V103; WBEZ falls behind WBBM Newsradio

V103

Last month’s rise to the top of the ratings proved short-lived for Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM, which fell from a tie for first place to third in the Nielsen Audio survey released Tuesday.

Alone at the top this time was iHeartMedia’s WVAZ 102.7-FM, marking its 71st ratings victory since the R&B powerhouse debuted in 1988. Audacy all-news combo WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM finished second. Continue reading

Robservations: Q101 comes home to Cumulus Media’s WKQX; Chicago Reader staff rallies against co-owner; Wall Street Journal hires Tribune’s Lisa Donovan

101.1 WKQX

Robservations on the media beat:

For nearly 30 years, Chicago radio listeners knew WKQX 101.1-FM by its familiar branding as Q101. Now the Cumulus Media alternative rock station is about to call itself that again. “Chicago’s Alternative Q101 is back home at its rightful place on the 101.1 frequency,” Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago, announced in an email to staffers Friday. “This is truly GREAT news for us in Chicago.” Nyren said it took four years to reach a deal with Matt Dubiel, the suburban radio entrepreneur who bought the rights to the Q101 brand from previous owner Merlin Media in 2011 and launched an alternative website at q101.com. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, 101.1 WKQX ranked 21st overall with a 1.9 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 648,700. Continue reading

Howard Reich’s tragic saga of stolen art collection to be ‘reborn on operatic stage’

Howard Reich (Photo: Pam Becker)

It’s been 20 years since former Chicago Tribune music critic Howard Reich uncovered the story of an ailing Vietnam veteran living in west suburban Lyons who turned out to be heir to a multimillion-dollar art collection looted from a Jewish collector murdered during the Holocaust.

The result was “Mac’s Journey,” a two-part Tribune series in which Reich reported tracking down the heir, Gerald “Mac” McDonald, and traveling with him to Prague to see the artworks that belonged to Emil Freund, a great-great-uncle he never knew.

The Czech government never released any of the treasures to McDonald, who died penniless at 55 — three years after his thwarted mission with Reich. Now his story is about to be presented as an opera. Continue reading