Robservations: Anchor David Roe leaving WBBM Newsradio

David Roe

Robservations on the media beat:

Mariam Sobh

The warm and authoritative voice in the night at Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM is calling it a day. David Roe, 66, is retiring Friday after more than 25 years on the anchor desk at WBBM Newsradio, according to Ron Gleason, director of news and programming. Succeeding Roe on the night shift is Mariam Sobh, who signed on from Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM in 2014 and moves up from part-time anchor/reporter. Also promoted to full-time status is anchor/reporter Rob Hart, who joined WBBM Newsradio in 2016 from Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. “When I was a kid, the highlight of my trips to the Auto Show was watching Kris Kridel and Dick Helton anchoring the afternoon news from McCormick Place,” Hart tweeted. “Thirty years later, I'm on the team. It's an incredible feeling. I still can't believe it.” Continue reading

Robservations: Time Out Chicago cuts theater critic Kris Vire

Kris Vire

Robservations on the media beat:

Time Out Chicago

Kris Vire, a highly respected voice on the Chicago theater scene for more than a decade, has been cut by Time Out Chicago. His position as senior editor was eliminated Tuesday in what PerformInk Chicago reported as “a string of editorial layoffs at multiple Time Out outlets.” A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Vire began as a contributor to Time Out and was named theater writer in 2007. He later was promoted to theater editor and senior editor. In addition to theater and dance, he also covered comedy and LGBT events. “After nearly 11 years, today turned out to be my last day at Time Out Chicago,” Vire told Facebook friends. “Looking forward to seeing what’s next.” His layoff follows the departure of another longtime Chicago theater critic, Hedy Weiss, whose position at the Sun-Times was eliminated in February. Continue reading

Robservations: Chicago Tribune goes missing in Europe

Tribune Tower

Robservations on the media beat:

Websites of the Chicago Tribune and other tronc newspapers were blocked to readers in Europe last week while the Chicago-based company decides whether to comply with the European Union’s strict new data privacy law. Tronc had two years to prepare for the new regulations, which limit businesses collecting information about users online. “Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries,” read an error message on the Tribune’s home page. “We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.” Continue reading

Robservations: Fox 32 ties WGN in late-news ratings

Fox 32 Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Propelled by a 50 percent increase in its primetime lead-in ratings, Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 tied with Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 among viewers between 25 and 54 for their 9 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscasts, according to figures released Thursday for the May sweep. Fox 32 was the only station in Chicago to increase its late-news viewership in the key adult demographic. “Our news shows are the most engaging, watchable and best produced product in the market,” Dennis Welsh, vice president and general manager of Fox 32, told staffers in an email. “Obviously, viewers are really starting to notice our great news product with tremendous growth opportunities ahead of us.” It marked the first May tie or win for Fox 32 at 9 p.m. since 2010. Continue reading

Robservations: WXRT promotes Richard Milne to afternoon drive

Richard Milne

Robservations on the media beat:

Jason Thomas

After more than three decades as a weekend and fill-in air personality at WXRT 93.1-FM, Richard Milne has moved up to afternoon drive — from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday — on the Entercom adult album alternative station. Jason Thomas, who’d hosted afternoons since 2006, will shift to weekend and fill-in duty, and continue to host “The Big Beat” from 10 p.m. to midnight Mondays. “Needless to say, I’m thrilled at the prospect of day-to-day communication with WXRT listeners and working full-time alongside an air staff that I've long considered the best in radio,” Milne said. “Many great years are ahead for WXRT and I’m proud to have been asked to play a part.” The Addison Trail High School alum, who started in college radio at Southern Illinois University and worked at the former WDEK in DeKalb, joined WXRT in 1986. For 26 years, Milne hosted and produced “Local Anesthetic,” the station's weekly new music showcase. Continue reading

Robservations: Lite FM turns off Kristina Kage

Kristina Kage

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s over and out for Kristina Kage as morning personality at WLIT 93.9-FM. Friday was her last day on the air at the iHeartMedia adult contemporary station. No comment from station bosses, but insiders said her replacement will be named today. Kage, whose full name is Kristina Zsenyuk, arrived in 2015 from Portland, Oregon, where she previously had worked with Mick Lee, program director and afternoon personality at Lite FM. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Kage’s morning show ranked 12th overall with a 2.9 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 468,000. Continue reading