Robservations on the media beat:
Kevin Cross, who began his career in sports broadcasting nearly 25 years ago as a producer for the former SportsChannel, was promoted Thursday to vice president of content at NBC Sports Chicago. The Chicago native and graduate of Columbia College most recently was senior director of news and original content at Comcast SportsNet Chicago (renamed NBC Sports Chicago this week). In his newly created position, Cross will lead the network’s entire portfolio, including live events, programming, digital media, news and original content. Also at NBC Sports Chicago, marketing manager Jessica Felten was promoted to director of marketing. “Both Kevin and Jessica have been major contributors and integral assets to the growth of NBC Sports Chicago,” Bill Bridgen, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks, said in a statement. “Their experience, leadership and forward-thinking mindset will be critical factors in our multi-platform efforts moving forward.”
WGN AM 720 last month fell short in recapturing the Chicago Bears broadcast rights, but the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station may have won the next best thing: Mike Ditka. Via agent Steve Mandell, the former Bears coach just signed as an exclusive contributor to WGN through the Super Bowl. (Ditka’s previous radio deal was with ESPN Radio WMVP AM 1000.) Starting today, he’ll appear Fridays on Roe Conn’s afternoon show and Mondays on Steve Cochran’s morning show. “We take great pride in having the best Bears conversations on the radio and Coach Ditka will underscore that,” said Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at WGN. “With Payton, Hampton, OB, and Koz already on our team, this is a dream come true.”
It’s two years and out for Laura Podesta, who resigned Thursday as a reporter at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. She’s moving to New York with her husband, sports cinematographer Sebastian Podesta, to accept a job at CBS NewsPath. Before joining ABC 7 in 2015, Podesta worked at KOAT, the ABC affiliate in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Laura’s done a terrific job here and we will miss her energy, enthusiasm and of course her reporting skills,” ABC 7 news director Jennifer Graves wrote to staff. Podesta’s last day here will be October 21.
Josh Liss, sports director and morning sports anchor at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9, will move down the dial Sunday to anchor coverage of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on sports/talk sister station WSCR AM 670. From 7 to 11 a.m. The Score will deploy more than 30 people for its 13th annual live broadcast of the race. “This event is a spectacle of human volunteerism and great athletes, both regular everyday runners and the elite of the elite,” Mitch Rosen, operations director of The Score, said in a statement. “Our goal is to paint the picture for people listening throughout the Chicagoland area and beyond.”
Thursday’s best comment: Bob Smith: So change the channel, idiot. If you don’t like him [Jim Rose], move on. Not too difficult. Obviously people like him if he’s been there 35 years.