Robservations on the media beat:
The great Roger Simon, a Chicago original who became one of America’s best political columnists, is calling it a career. Simon, 68, is telling friends that he and his wife, Marcia Kramer, a free-lance editor and former copy desk chief of the Washington Post, are retiring from journalism at the end of the month to enjoy other pursuits. Since 2006 Simon has been chief political columnist for politico.com. The South Shore native and University of Illinois graduate spent 12 years as an investigative reporter and columnist for the Sun-Times, where Kramer worked as a copy editor. Simon also was a columnist for the Baltimore Sun, White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, political editor of U.S. News & World Report and chief political correspondent of Bloomberg News. In 1999 Simon and Kramer were inducted in the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.
Another Chicago journalism giant on the national stage, Brent Musburger, announced Wednesday he’ll retire from ESPN after calling his final game January 31. It will mark the end of an illustrious 42-year run as a play-by-play announcer. But Musburger, 77, won’t be idle for long. According to published reports, he’s moving to Las Vegas to help launch a sports information network. Straight out of Northwestern University, Musburger began as a sportswriter for the former Chicago's American and went on to become a sportscaster for CBS-owned all-news WBBM AM 780 and WBBM-Channel 2.
Maya Dukmasova, a freelance reporter for the Chicago Reader, has been hired as a full-time staff writer at the alternative weekly. She fills the vacancy left by senior writer Steve Bogira, who retired last fall after more than three decades. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, she’s a graduate of University of Rochester with a master’s degree from University of Cambridge. “Maya brings a tireless energy to the work and genuine compassion to the subjects she covers — qualities that make her a vital addition to the paper and a worthy successor to Steve, who she counts as a mentor,” Reader editor Jake Malooley told staffers Thursday. Tweeted Dukmasova: “i am now 100% OFFICIALLY a STAFF WRITER AT THE @Chicago_Reader!! it took me 3.5 years after finishing school to secure full-time employment with benefits in my chosen career field. #neweconomy.”
It was another December to remember for WLIT FM 93.9, which jingled its way to top of Chicago’s radio ratings with its 16th annual nonstop Christmas music. The iHeartMedia adult contemporary station blew all others away with a 13.7 percent audience share in the Nielsen Audio holiday month survey released Tuesday. That translated into nearly 3.39 million listeners for “Chicago’s Christmas Station.” Perennial market leader WBBM Newsradio was a distant second with a 6.1 share for its AM and FM combo.