Robservations: Chicago’s changing channels after spectrum auction


Robservations on the media beat:

Back in November 2015 I first urged City Colleges of Chicago to put up for bid the over-the-air license of its little-watched noncommercial television station WYCC-Channel 20. Mayor Rahm Emanuel initially nixed the proposal before the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune and others pointed out that it wasn’t such a bad idea. Last week WYCC fetched $15.9 million in the FCC spectrum auction. Among five other Chicago area stations in the auction were Fox-owned WPWR-Channel 50 ($160.7 million) and Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 ($141.6 million). The nation’s top bid was $304.2 million for Trinity Broadcasting Network’s WWTO-Channel 35 licensed to LaSalle, Illinois. Most are expected to continue operating on other stations' frequencies or digital subchannels. Over the next 39 months, some TV stations will transition to new channel assignments. (For more on the impact in Chicago, see TDogMedia’s report here.) Continue reading

Morning host Matt McGill quits WVON

Matt McGill (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Matt McGill has resigned as morning personality at WVON AM 1690, ending a 13-year run as one of the most prominent voices on the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station.

His decision to leave came days after the station installed Maze Jackson, a political consultant, strategist and former lobbyist, as McGill’s morning co-host. Jackson had been a frequent guest and weekly commentator on the show. Continue reading

Robservations: Headline Club to honor Mary Schmich, Robert Jordan

Mary Schmich

Robservations on the media beat:

Robert Jordan

Mary Schmich, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and Robert Jordan, retired news anchor and reporter for Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, have been named recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Chicago Headline Club. They’ll be honored May 12 at the group’s 40th annual Peter Lisagor Awards dinner at The Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Street. Named for the late Chicago Daily News Washington bureau chief, Lisagor Awards honor excellence in local journalism in more than 100 categories, encompassing print, broadcast and digital media. For ticket information and a complete list of this year’s nominees, see: Continue reading

Robservations: Steve Dahl ‘so glad’ to be home from hospital

Steve Dahl at home Wednesday

Robservations on the media beat:

An upbeat and energetic Steve Dahl returned to his afternoon show on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890 Wednesday more than a week after he landed in the hospital for treatment of a perforated colon. Broadcasting from his home, the Chicago radio legend said he was diagnosed with diverticulitis. “I’m on some kind of weird diet right now,” Dahl, 62, told listeners. “I really honestly am just so glad to not be in the hospital and not in pain. They can take away whatever they want from me in terms of eating. I can live with it.” Continue reading

Robservations: Tribune to unveil new platform for comments

Chicago Tribune

Robservations on the media beat:

Starting at midnight Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune will introduce a new system for readers to post comments about stories online. It’s the latest tronc publication to convert its comment platform to SolidOpinion, a startup based in San Diego and New York that helps publishers generate revenue by the sale of promoted comments. Tronc’s San Diego Union Tribune was the first to remove Facebook Comments and replace them with SolidOpinion. The Los Angeles Times also launched SolidOpinion this week. On Friday the Tribune notified digital subscribers in an email that comments posted prior to April 4 will no longer be archived. It suggested that users copy and save any comments they’d posted in the past before they’re wiped out. “We believe this new platform will encourage even greater dialogue among our readers,” the email said. Continue reading

WGN’s Cochran apologizes for Mendoza ‘duct tape’ comment

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran has apologized to Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza for suggesting that Governor Bruce Rauner put duct tape over her mouth.

“I chose my words poorly when I made a comment earlier this week while Governor Bruce Rauner was a guest on my show,” said Cochran, who hosts mornings on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720. “My comments offended Comptroller Susana Mendoza and I apologize.”

At the same time, Cochran accused Mendoza of misrepresenting what he said during his interview last Wednesday with Rauner and underscored his longtime personal concern about violence against women. Continue reading