Robservations: Andy Shaw stepping down as BGA chief

Andy Shaw

Robservations on the media beat:

Andy Shaw, who’s been the public face of the Better Government Association since 2009, is stepping down as president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit civic watchdog group. A search is on for his successor, who is expected to be named next month. “The time is right for someone else to take over day-to-day management of the BGA while I continue to help the organization in a variety of other ways leading up to our centennial celebration in 2023,” Shaw said Monday. Shaw, 69, joined the BGA as executive director in 2009 and was named president and CEO in 2011. He previously had been political reporter for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. “I enjoyed 37 wonderful years as a print and television reporter in Chicago, and it’s been an honor and a privilege to spend the past eight-plus years participating in the revitalization of this legendary and critically important watchdog organization,” he added. Continue reading

Meteorologist John Coleman 1934-2018

John Coleman (Photo: ABC 7)

John Coleman was a complicated and often confounding personality who brought the weather home to millions of viewers during more than 60 years as a broadcast meteorologist.

Chicagoans may remember him best for runs at two local television stations — from 1968 to 1979 at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, and from 1984 to 1990 at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. At ABC 7 he came to personify the “happy talk” hijinks of Eyewitness News, where he was known for delivering the weather standing on his head or spritzing seltzer at news anchors Fahey Flynn and Joel Daly. Continue reading

Robservations: Cumulus opts out of White Sox, Bulls, 101 WKQX, The Loop

Cumulus Media

Robservations on the media beat:

Struggling to emerge from bankruptcy, Cumulus Media announced plans Thursday to drop its money-losing multiyear contracts to broadcast White Sox baseball and Bulls basketball on news/talk WLS AM 890. The company also moved to cancel its deal with Merlin Media to acquire alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1 and classic rock WLUP FM 97.9. Cumulus has been operating the two stations since 2014 under a local marketing agreement. "As part of our operational turnaround, we have been focused on taking proactive steps to address unprofitable areas of our business,” Mary Berner, president and chief executive officer of Cumulus Media, said in a statement. “We are taking this action because the economic terms of these legacy contracts guarantee that we lose money and, as such, continuing them in their current form is not in Cumulus's best interests.” U.S. Bankruptcy Court is scheduled to rule February 1 on the company's plan to reject the contracts. It’s not known where the White Sox and Bulls will go or who will operate 101 WKQX and The Loop after Cumulus. Continue reading

Tronc names Jim Kirk interim editor of New York Daily News

Jim Kirk

Veteran Chicago journalist Jim Kirk, former publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, was appointed interim editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News Thursday.

The move comes four months after the New York tabloid was acquired by tronc, Chicago-based parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. The Daily News has been without an editor-in-chief or publisher since Arthur Browne retired from both jobs at the end of December. Continue reading

WTTW salutes retiring ‘Chicago icon’ Joel Weisman

Joel Weisman (Photo: WTTW)

An all-star lineup of Joel Weisman’s A-list guests over the years will headline an hourlong special tribute to the retiring host of “Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review.”

Airing at 7 p.m. Friday on public television WTTW-Channel 11 (and online at the special will mark Weisman’s final appearance after a record 40 years as host of the weekly roundtable of Chicago journalists. Continue reading

Robservations: Chicago publisher has design on ‘hole’ story

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s only the middle of January, but courtesy of President Donald Trump, we already may know the word of the year: “Shithole,” of course. A Chicago area publisher has secured the online domain and released a line of merchandise bearing the logo he designed featuring the Statue of Liberty. ( was already taken.) “Ultimately, I'd like to create a website that highlights the contributions of immigrants from those so-called shithole countries,” said David Stern, co-founder and publisher of Eckhartz Press. “Until then, all profits from any merchandise sold on [T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, tote bags, etc.] will be donated to charities that improve the lives of people in those areas.” Added Stern: “My parents emigrated from Berlin in 1949. I imagine there wasn't a bigger ‘shithole’ on Earth back then.” Continue reading

ABC 7 shifts Larry Mowry to weekday weather front

Larry Mowry and Cheryl Scott

With the impending retirement of chief meteorologist Jerry Taft, WLS-Channel 7 announced a change in its weather front Friday.

Larry Mowry, who has been appearing on the ABC-owned station’s weekend morning newscasts, will move to weekdays, starting January 22. He’ll deliver forecasts on ABC 7’s 4 and 6 p.m. newscasts and on the 7 p.m. newscast the station produces for Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26. Continue reading

Robservations: WGN to salute Milt Rosenberg’s ‘lasting impact’

Milt Rosenberg

Robservations on the media beat:

WGN AM 720 will celebrate the life and legacy of talk show host Milt Rosenberg, starting at 8 p.m. tonight. Hosted by Justin Kaufmann, the special broadcast will include tributes from Lorna Gladstone, former program director of the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station, Bruce DuMont, first producer of Rosenberg’s “Extension 720,” and Joe Morris, Rosenberg’s close friend and frequent guest, among others. “The show will be filled with classic interviews and conversation about his lasting impact on Chicago and American radio,” said Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content and programming at WGN. Rosenberg, who was pushed out of WGN after 39 years in 2012, died Tuesday at 92. Continue reading

Milt Rosenberg 1925-2018

Milt Rosenberg

For nearly 40 years, Milt Rosenberg was the smartest man on the radio.

As host of “Extension 720,” the University of Chicago psychology professor presided over a two-hour nightly meeting of the minds on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720. The program attracted a national following by virtue of WGN’s powerful signal at night and later reached a worldwide audience through multiple digital platforms.

Milton J. Rosenberg died Tuesday of pneumonia and its complications after entering the hospital on New Year’s Day, according to Joseph Morris, an attorney and close friend. He was 92. Continue reading

Robservations: Telemundo Chicago adds midday newscast

Irene Sánchez

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago’s first Spanish-language midday newscast will premiere January 22 when Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 launches “Noticias Telemundo, Mediodía.” Irene Sánchez will anchor at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, with weather reported alternately by María Elena Ponticiello and Jessica Delgado. It will be followed by a half-hour national newscast. Telemundo Chicago also will air local news cut-ins at 6:26, 7:26 and 8:26 a.m. weekdays. “To be first with live news in Spanish in the mornings and midday is an indication of our passion to keep our viewers informed and engaged throughout the day,” Diana Maldonado, Telemundo Chicago vice president of news, said in a statement. Continue reading