Robservations: ABC 7, NBC 5 to square off on New Year’s Eve

Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies

Robservations on the media beat:

New Year’s Eve Live in Chicago

It’ll be another battle of the countdown shows for Chicago viewers this New Year’s Eve. Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies will host “Countdown Chicago 2018” on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, marking their 17th year of ringing in the New Year together. Joining them from party venues around the city and suburbs will be ABC 7’s Terrell Brown, Hosea Sanders, Cheryl Scott, Liz Nagy, Val Warner, Ryan Chiaverini and Ji Suk Yi. Meanwhile, NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 will air “New Year’s Eve Live in Chicago,” hosted by Marley Kayden and Kalee Dionne, along with radio personalities Christopher “Fred” Frederick of Kiss FM and Joe Soto of V103. (But no "Chi-Town Rising" this year.) Both specials will start shortly after 11 p.m. and culminate with midnight fireworks from Navy Pier.

Trish Biondo

Trish Biondo, former midday personality at WUSN FM 99.5, has posted an account of the sexual harassment she encountered during her 27 years at the country music station. (Here is the link.) In a Facebook essay titled “Stay Strong & Speak Up,” she tells of one unnamed boss who demanded that she come up to his hotel room during a staff retreat. She refused. “A few weeks later that boss removed me from the music director position I held for 16 years,” Biondo wrote. Another unnamed boss suggested she take naked photos of herself. She refused. “A few weeks later, he told me that radio was for the young and that he needed to change the schedule I had been working for years,” she wrote. Biondo’s contract was not renewed in 2013.

Alison Victoria

Sophisticated Living has a new Chicago owner and publisher. She’s interior designer Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s “Windy City Flip.” Former publisher Bridget Daley continues as creative director and Elise Hofer Shaw continues as editor-in-chief of the magazine published six times a year. “What Bridget and Elise have done to grow the Sophisticated Living brand in Chicago in just a few years is nothing short of amazing,” Victoria said in a statement. “I plan to build on that buzz and momentum, bringing to the table a decade of media experience and connections, and together we will play to our strengths doing what we love.”


The stars of WGN AM 720 come out to play today when the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station presents “The WGN Radio Holiday Spectacular” from 10 a.m. to noon. The live variety show, co-hosted by Bill Leff and Dometi Pongo, will feature performances by Steve Cochran, Andrea Darlas, Roe Conn, Anna Davlantes, Nick Digilio, Patti Vasquez, Justin Kaufmann, Lou Manfredini and others along with a dramatic reading from Bill Kurtis. Tom Skilling will deliver an expanded Christmas weather forecast personalized for Santa Claus.

Michael Phillips

Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips hosts “The Film Score: Music for the Winter Holidays,” at 10 p.m. Monday on classical WFMT FM 98.7. The one-hour special also will air in national syndication via WFMT Radio Network. Produced by Michael San Gabino, it will highlight great Christmas holidays vocals and orchestral selections written for the movies, including classics sung by Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford and Judy Garland.

Thursday’s best comment: Linda MacLennan: [On Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra’s wedding]: Fabulous news, you youngsters!!! Congrats.