Robservations: 94.7 WLS goes syndicated on weeknights with Kid Kelly

Kid Kelly (Photo: Radio Hall of Fame)

Robservations on the media beat:

Danny Lake

After months without a host on weeknights, classic hits WLS 94.7-FM has signed Kid Kelly, a longtime New York-based disc jockey and former vice president of pop programming at SiriusXM Radio. Starting this week, the Radio Hall of Famer’s syndicated show airs from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday on the Cumulus Media station. Kelly will customize the music on his show to conform with the station’s playlist, according to program director Wade Linder. Weeknights had been jockless on the station since Brian Peck shifted to weekends over the summer. In what was said to be an unrelated move, 94.7 WLS cut weekend and fill-in host Danny Lake Monday after a nearly 13-year run. Lake, whose real name is Bob Worthington, said he plans to continue to operate his voiceover/production company. “Who knows?” the Chicago radio veteran told Facebook friends. “We may be back on another station soon!” Continue reading

The Score promotes Leila Rahimi to midday co-host with Dan Bernstein

Leila Rahimi and Dan Bernstein

Leila Rahimi broke a 29-year gender barrier Monday by being named full-time midday co-host at WSCR 670-AM, the Entercom sports/talk station.

As the first woman to host a Monday-through-Friday daytime shift at The Score, Rahimi teams with Dan Bernstein from 9 a.m. to noon. Rahimi, a fill-in host and occasional contributor since 2017, has been co-hosting middays with Bernstein once a week since September. Continue reading

Robservations: Tribune CEO calls Alden bid a ‘source of distraction’

Tribune Publishing

Robservations on the media beat:

Terry Jimenez

The year is opening on a sour note for employees of the Chicago Tribune, now that Alden Global Capital, the New York-based hedge fund that owns a 32 percent stake in Tribune Publishing, is seeking to purchase all outstanding shares and take the company private. Terry Jimenez, CEO of Tribune Publishing, told staffers in a New Year’s Eve email that the company’s board formed a committee to evaluate the bid. “The special committee is under no commitment to accept or decline the proposal,” Jimenez wrote, adding: “The leadership team and I recognize that this news may be a source of distraction as we progress into the new year. But I can assure you we will remain focused on our core business, on our civic mission and on our digital growth. And I encourage you to remain focused on controlling what is in your control. No matter the outcome of the proposal, our mission remains serving our communities.” Those assurances offer little hope to worried journalists. In a petition to the board in December 2019, hundreds of Tribune editorial employees called Alden a “destroyer of newspapers,” noting the hedge fund’s “well-documented history of extracting short-term profits from already-lean operations by cutting newsroom jobs and denying fair wages and benefits.” Continue reading

Robservations: ‘Sanitized smooch’ for Janet & Mark on ABC 7’s countdown

Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies

Robservations on the media beat:

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve in Chicago without Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco. Back for their 20th year together, the duo will host “Countdown Chicago 2021” live at 11:25 p.m. tonight on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. In a format adapted to the realities of the pandemic, they’ll ring in the New Year from a redecorated “Windy City Live” studio. Returning with an elaborate dance routine to open the show will be ABC 7’s Terrell Brown and Cheryl Scott. The abbreviated half-hour special will conclude with a flashback of Chicago’s grand finale New Year’s Eve fireworks. But the big question is: Will Janet and Mark keep up their annual tradition of locking lips at the stroke of midnight? Yes, according to Giangreco, who added: “It’s going to be a hot steamy passionate socially-distanced sanitized smooch.” Also on tap is “News Year’s Eve Chicago,” a taped special airing at 11:30 p.m. tonight on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Matthew Rodrigues and Cortney Hall, hosts of NBC 5’s “Chicago Today,” recorded the show from the rooftop of the LondonHouse Chicago. Continue reading

Home delivery: Chicago media rose to meet the challenges of 2020

Cheryl Scott and Lola (Photo: Cheryl Scott/ABC 7 Chicago)

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in late February hundreds of print, broadcast and digital journalists sat shoulder to shoulder in a downtown hotel ballroom where they pondered the future of their profession.

For more than three hours participants in the Chicago Journalism Town Hall argued passionately about how local news should be funded and how newsrooms should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve if they are to remain viable.

By mid-March hypothetical questions of survival suddenly became frighteningly real, thanks to the specter of a coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading

Jack Rosenberg 1926-2020

Jack Rosenberg (Photo: WGN Radio)

Jack Rosenberg, whose name was synonymous with WGN Sports in Chicago for more than 40 years, was credited with inventing much of what became standard in sports broadcast production.

As sports editor of the former Tribune Co. radio and television franchises, he worked closely with such legends as Jack Brickhouse, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, Jack Quinlan and Irv Kupcinet. He produced all of Brickhouse’s Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs broadcasts.

Rosenberg, 94, died Sunday at Swedish Hospital (formerly Swedish Covenant Hospital) in Chicago, according to close friends. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: Christmas music lifts Lite FM to No. 1

Robin Rock

Non-stop holiday music once again catapulted iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLIT 93.9-FM to the top spot in the latest Chicago radio ratings.

Lite FM, marking its 20th year as “Chicago’s Christmas Music Station,” finished first overall — as well as first in middays with Robin Rock and first in afternoons with Mick Lee — in the Nielsen Audio survey released December 21. Continue reading

Can MeTV hook Boomers with Bill Leff and a talking fish?

Toony the Tuna and Bill Leff

Bill Leff, the immensely talented Chicago broadcaster, stand-up comic and improv actor, gets top billing as the amiable host of “Toon In With Me.” But the real star of the show may turn out to be a wise-cracking fish puppet with oversized ambitions.

Toony the Tuna, who calls himself “your soon-to-be-famous saltwater sidekick,” will join Leff and a cast of wacky characters both live and inanimate when “Toon In With Me” debuts January 4 on MeTV, the Chicago-based network for nostalgic television. Continue reading