Robservations on the media beat:
Jonathon Brandmeier isn’t the only host whose time is up at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890. Michael Savage’s syndicated talk show also has been dropped, effective at the end of the month. Sources said Westwood One is seeking another Chicago outlet for “The Savage Nation,” which currently airs from 9 p.m. to midnight weeknights on WLS. Savage was inducted last month in the National Radio Hall of Fame. The decision to drop the show after three years comes as WLS prepares to revamp its lineup with the addition of as many as three new shows and adjustments in time slots for others, starting in January.
Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5 announced a major reorganization and expansion of its news operation Thursday. Among the changes, former political reporter Alex Keefe will return to lead a new government and politics unit, including Tony Arnold, Lauren Chooljian and Michael Puente. Rob Wildeboer will lead a new criminal justice unit, including Chip Mitchell and Shannon Heffernan. Kate Grossman will continue to lead the education unit, including Linda Lutton, Becky Vevea and Sarah Karp. In related moves, Shawn Allee has been named senior editor of editorial operations, and Cate Cahan has been named senior editor, projects and initiatives. “We’re excited about all these changes,” said Ben Calhoun, vice president of content and programming at Chicago Public Media. “Excited about the growth. Eager to step up to the need for more meaningful journalism in Chicago.”
The digital archive of the late, great Studs Terkel received a huge boost this week with the award of a $400,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The funding to Window to the World Communications classical WFMT FM 98.7 will help preserve the 5,600 programs Terkel hosted from 1952 to 1997 and support educational initiatives based on his work. The Studs Terkel Radio Archive is a joint project of WFMT Radio Network and the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History of the Chicago History Museum.
Salem Media news/talk WIND AM 560 has renewed Dan Proft as morning host in a multiyear extension announced this week. The Republican political commentator, consultant and onetime gubernatorial candidate joined the station in 2015 after six years at WLS AM. “We’re extremely pleased with Dan’s contributions to the station,” WIND general manager Jeff Reisman said in a statement. “The combination of Dan and Amy Jacobson as a team has helped to grow both the audience and the revenue of this radio station to all-time highs. We’re excited that Dan will be a part of our future and continued success as well.” In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WIND tied for 18th place in mornings with a 2.0 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 155,200.
Richard Milne, who marked his 30th anniversary earlier this year on CBS Radio adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1, has another milestone coming up: On Sunday he’ll host his “25th Anniversary Local Anesthetic Holiday Spectacular.” The one-hour special at 8 p.m. will feature highlights from among the more than 500 Chicago bands that have created holiday greetings for the show over the last quarter-century. Exclusive seasonal salutations will include such artists as Cheap Trick, Curtis Mayfield, Wilco and Andrew Bird.
Best wishes to veteran Chicago public relations executive Dominic Calabrese, who just stepped up to president of the Publicity Club of Chicago. “I am both humbled and thrilled to serve Chicago’s incredibly talented PR community,” he said. Winner of seven Golden Trumpet Awards from the organization for excellence in communications, Calabrese is senior vice president of public relations at The Chicago Lighthouse and adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago.