Robservations: Traffic tie-up could jam Bart Shore

Bart Shore

Robservations on the media beat:

Bart Shore, who’s been Chicago radio’s premier voice of traffic for 17 years, soon may be off top-rated CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9. Starting April 1, CBS Radio is dropping its affiliation with iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic Network and launching its own traffic service with USTN (formerly Radiate Media). The catch is that Shore and other key voices of traffic and sports on WBBM Newsradio (including Kris Habermehl, Mike Pries, Bonnie Greene, George Ofman, Rick Gregg and Dave Kerner) are locked into contracts with Total Traffic Network. CBS Radio has begun staffing their positions under new traffic operations chief Kevin Scott. No comment from CBS Radio bosses here.

Shari Davis Noland

Shari Davis Noland signs on Monday as executive editor of the Chicago Defender, the historic African-American weekly newspaper. The top editorial job at the paper has been open since Kai EL' Zabar resigned last December along with publisher Cheryl Mainor. Noland, who holds journalism degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Missouri, most recently was director of communications for the Oak Park Education Foundation. She also was chief content and technology officer for Urban Ministries. Noland is married to Terry Noland, executive editor of Chicago magazine.


Jim McVane, deputy commissioner for Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, has been named executive director of Chicago Access Network Television, the independent nonprofit agency overseeing the city’s five local cable channels. He succeeds Barbara Popovic, who retired at the end of 2016 after 30 years at CAN TV. McVane, whose appointment is effective March 6, previously was acting administrator and acting chairman of the Chicago Cable Commission, and assistant administrator for Chicago’s Office of Cable Communications. “In unison with our superlative board of directors and incomparably well-qualified professional staff, I look forward to extending and elevating our mission in the spirit of public service,” he said in a statement.

Rachel Arndt

There’s another Arndt on the payroll of Crain Communications. Rachel Arndt has been hired as a general assignment reporter for Modern Healthcare, the company’s healthcare business magazine, based in Chicago. With a master’s degree in nonfiction and poetry from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, she previously worked for McSweeney’s Poetry Series, 511 Capital and Popular Mechanics. Arndt’s father is Michael Arndt, editor of Crain’s Chicago Business.

Dennis Welsh

There was pizza all around Thursday at WFLD-Channel 32 as the Fox-owned station celebrated reaching one million fans on its Facebook page. “We started the mission to become the most digitally engaged station in Chicago nearly four years ago,” Dennis Welsh, general manager of Fox 32, wrote in a memo to staff. “We started with 17,000 Facebook fans, which was the least Facebook fans of any station in Chicago (fifth place) and the least Facebook fans of any Fox station in the Fox Owned and Operated station group (17th place). We now have the second most Facebook fans in Chicago [ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 has 1.8 million], and are now the eighth station in the Fox station group to reach the 'one million' fan mark. We have really been gaining momentum over the past few months so more milestones are just ahead.”


Four Chicago radio stations are up for top honors for community service from the National Association of Broadcasters. Among 50 finalists announced last week for the 30th annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards are CBS Radio classic hits WJMK FM 104.3 and country WUSN FM 99.5, and Hubbard Radio adult contemporary WSHE FM 100.3 and hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9. Winner will be announced April 25 at the NAB Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas.

Ruth Ratny

Ruth Ratny was one of a kind — and a genuine force of nature. As founding editor and publisher of Screen magazine and, she forged a community of Chicago’s film and commercial production industry and championed the business tirelessly for nearly 40 years. Her passing last week was hailed as the end of an era. Ratny, who continuing writing for her website right up until February 10, died of heart failure at 89, according to Maureen O’Donnell’s fine obituary in the Sun-Times.