WLS newcomer Jacobson: 'Radio is a pleasure'

Walter Jacobson

Walter Jacobson

Tracy Slutzkin started her career as an intern for Walter Jacobson at Fox Chicago. Now she's his boss at WLS AM 890.

As program director of the Cumulus Media news/talk station, Slutzkin officially welcomed Jacobson to his new job as a commentator Thursday. "We look forward to Walter Jacobson bringing his unique 'perspective' on Chicago to 89 WLS," she said. "We are thrilled to have the legendary newsman joining our team."

Jacobson's "Perspective" commentaries will air at 9:56 a.m. Thursdays during John Kass and Lauren Cohn's show as part of a commercial endorsement agreement with Hartland Mortgage Centers. At the end of each commentary, Jacobson reads an ad for the company's reverse mortgages.

In Thursday's inaugural commentary, Jacobson railed against the media for depicting Chicago as dangerous and unsafe while ignoring "the good news about violence — which is that there is a lot less of it." Said Skippy: "Chicago, the murder capital of America? No way. Not even close. Not even in the top 10."

Jacobson, 76, said he was delighted to land the WLS gig — his first-ever job in radio — after the veteran anchorman had been turned down by every television station in town. His last job, co-anchoring the 6 p.m. weekday newscast with Bill Kurtis at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, ended last February.

"Compared to television, radio is a pleasure," he said Thursday. "I don’t have to dress up, I don’t have to be made up, and I don’t have to worry about finding the right pictures to make my point. But the best thing about being on radio is my gray hair doesn’t work against me."

Jacobson said he hopes to begin interacting with listeners through Twitter now that he's settled in to his new role. "WLS is giving me wide latitude to say what I want to say. The people there have been very nice and welcoming. And Tracy's a great boss. She really is."

Slutzkin, who worked for Jacobson during his tenure as anchorman and commentator at WFLD-Channel 32, went on to become a planning editor and field producer at the Fox station. During two stints at WLS, she first served as producer of Don Wade and Roma's morning show and later moved up to assistant program director and program director.

But Slutzkin isn't Jacobson's only former protege at his new radio home. Roe Conn, who hosts afternoons with Richard Roeper on WLS, worked as a researcher on Jacobson's "Perspective" unit at CBS 2 in the 1980s.