Robservations: Double duty for new Star 96.7 morning host

Lisa Jordan and Kevin Kollins

Robservations on the media beat:

Star 96.7

Kevin Kollins soon will be working two drive-time air shifts for Alpha Media suburban stations. While continuing to host afternoons at news/talk WJOL 1340-AM, Kollins has been named morning personality at hot adult-contemporary WSSR 96.7-FM. Starting Monday, he’ll join Lisa Jordan from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Kollins, who’s been hosting weekends on Star 96.7 for nearly 10 years, succeeds Josh Cooper, who left in April. “I'm extremely grateful that Alpha Media brought some really innovative minds together to allow me to continue my afternoon talk show at WJOL and to add mornings on Star 96.7,” said Kollins, who previously was senior vice president of promotion for Jeff McClusky and Associates. Continue reading

Robservations: WGN Radio Walk of Fame bows out at Tribune Tower

WGN Radio Walk of Fame

Robservations on the media beat:

For the last time at Tribune Tower, WGN 720-AM will add a new class of Chicago radio veterans to the WGN Radio Walk of Fame. In a live broadcast starting at 10 a.m. Friday, the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station will induct sportscasters David Kaplan and Chuck Swirsky, meteorologist Roger Triemstra, traffic reporter Mary VanDeVelde and the late announcer Pierre Andre. With WGN about to move to new studios at 303 East Wacker Drive, plaques for this year's honorees will not be embedded in the pavement outside 435 North Michigan Avenue. They’ll be held for installation with the four earlier classes when WGN selects a new site for the Walk of Fame. Continue reading

Robservations: The Drive pulls up to new home at Prudential

The Drive 97.1 (Photo: Hubbard Radio Chicago)

Robservations on the media beat:

Bob Stroud

The latest to join the migration of Chicago radio stations to new studios south of the Chicago River is WDRV 97.1-FM. Last Friday the Hubbard Radio classic rock station left its longtime home at 875 North Michigan Avenue and moved to the 27th floor of One Prudential Plaza, 130 East Randolph Street. Afternoon personality Bob Stroud signed off from the former John Hancock Center and led a double-decker busload of fellow air staffers down Michigan Avenue and into the new studios, where he signed on with the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” The move united The Drive for the first time with the company’s hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM and adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM. “As we had hoped, having the entire Hubbard Radio Chicago staff in one location has been fun and energizing for all,” said Jeff England, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago. Studio renovations are underway for The Mix and SHE 100.3. Continue reading

Robservations: WGN Radio is on the move — 18 stories up

Todd Manley

Robservations on the media beat:

WGN Radio

Workers are still busy building out studios and offices as WGN 720-AM prepares to leave its longtime home at Tribune Tower for impressive new headquarters high in the sky. From the 18th floor of 303 East Wacker Drive, the 16,000-square-foot space provides panoramic views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Highlights include two main showcase studios in the northwest and northeast corners, six podcast suites, a performance studio and stage for live music and dramas, and a central newsroom hub. “An investment like this represents the strength of our brand beyond traditional broadcast,” said Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station. “It recognizes our success on every platform. What an exciting time for this 94-year-old start-up.” News will begin originating from the site at the end of May, and full-time broadcasting will start in June. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: ‘Great day’ for Univision's WOJO

Aileen Ocana (Photo: Univision Chicago)

Univision Chicago’s flagship WOJO 105.1-FM was en fuego in the latest radio ratings, according to Nielsen Audio figures released Monday.

The regional Mexican music station known as "La Que Buena 105.1"  jumped to No. 2 overall — behind only iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary WVAZ 102.7-FM, the perennial leader. In several key adult demographics — including 25-to-54 and 18-to-49 — WOJO finished first. Continue reading

Johnny B. on National Radio Hall of Fame ballot

Jonathon Brandmeier

Jonathon Brandmeier, the longtime Chicago radio personality who achieved fame and fortune as morning star of WLUP 97.9 FM in the '80s, is in the running for the National Radio Hall of Fame.

It’s the first time on the Radio Hall of Fame ballot for Brandmeier, who was nominated in the category of active local/regional performers. The recognition for Johnny B. follows the recent sale of The Loop, which ended its 41-year run in Chicago and triggered an outpouring of nostalgia for the iconic station. Continue reading

Dan Mihalopoulos wins Headline Club’s Keegan Award

Dan Mihalopoulos (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Dan Mihalopoulos, the veteran investigative reporter and political columnist who recently joined Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM, was honored Friday by the Chicago Headline Club for his work at the Sun-Times.

Mihalopoulos was named winner of the Anne Keegan Award for three feature stories he wrote last year, including one about an undocumented Mexican woman who lived most of her life in the Chicago area and was denied a life-saving transplant because she lacked a valid Social Security number. Continue reading

New lineup brings more ‘fact-based journalism’ to WBEZ


Nine months after he came back to WBEZ 91.5-FM as chief content officer, Steve Edwards is putting his mark on the daily programming lineup of the Chicago Public Media station.

Starting Monday, a revamped schedule at WBEZ will feature five new shows and an expansion of news designed to bring “new voices, fresh personalities and diverse perspectives to Chicago’s airwaves.” (Here is the link to the revised lineup.) Continue reading

Robservations: Tronc loses on $15 million payout to Michael Ferro

Michael Ferro (Photo: Christopher Michel)

Robservations on the media beat:

As a parting gift to Michael Ferro, tronc paid out its former chairman’s entire three-year, $15 million “consulting fee” in a single payment, it was disclosed Wednesday. “The company fully expensed the $15.0 million contract in the first quarter,” tronc reported to investors, resulting in a net loss of $14.8 million. “The quarter was negatively impacted by a charge related to the acceleration of the accounting for the consulting agreement with our former nonexecutive chairman,” Terry Jimenez, tronc’s chief financial officer, said in a Chicago Tribune report. Ferro abruptly resigned as chairman March 18 — hours before he was accused of sexual misconduct by two women in a Fortune magazine takedown. One month later, he cashed out all nine million of his tronc shares for $208.6 million. The undisguised greed of Ferro’s $15 million consulting agreement proved a rallying point for journalists who organized the Chicago Tribune Guild and won newsroom staffers their first bargaining rights in the Tribune’s 171-year history. Continue reading

Robservations: Sinclair may buy Chicago's WPWR from Fox

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Robservations on the media beat:


Before it’s all over, Sinclair Broadcast Group may wind up operating two television stations in Chicago. The Maryland-based company disclosed today that it has an option to buy the license for CW affiliate WPWR-Channel 50 from Fox Television Stations for $15 million. (Fox bought WPWR from Fred Eychaner’s Newsweb Corp. for $425 million in 2002. The broadcast signal was sold in the FCC spectrum auction last year.) Sinclair already is poised to take over WGN-Channel 9 and WGN 720-AM as part of a deal now valued at $4.6 billion to acquire Tribune Media. Although it plans to divest ownership of the WGN properties, Sinclair would retain control over the stations’ operations — including news, programming and sales — under joint sales and shared services agreements. Continue reading