Robservations: The towering pity of Chicago Tribune’s eviction

Tribune Tower

Robservations on the media beat:

Gregory Pratt

Thousands of words were written and spoken last week about the departure of the Chicago Tribune from Tribune Tower. But none resonated as much as this tweet by City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt: “I know the @chicagotribune is not Tribune Tower. It's the staff and its readers. But the fact that a corporate divorce brought on by years of high-level corporate hijinx led to our building being sold out from underneath us will always sting. Corporate capitalism at its worst,” Pratt wrote. The eviction of the newspaper from its namesake home at 435 North Michigan Avenue didn’t have to happen. It only came about because the bosses of Tribune Media — a separate entity from the newspaper’s owner tronc — were determined to squeeze every penny out of the company before selling what was left to Sinclair Broadcast Group. For the short-term profit of a relatively small number of investors, the long-term legacy of a Chicago institution was lost. After 93 years in a landmark neo-Gothic cathedral of journalism, now the Tribune occupies leased space in One Prudential Plaza. What a shame. Continue reading

Sun-Times has ‘60 percent’ chance of survival, CEO Eisendrath says

Edwin Eisendrath and Madeleine Doubek

The Chicago Sun-Times has only a 60 percent chance of still being in business two years from now, according to the newspaper’s CEO.

Edwin Eisendrath, who headed the investor group that acquired the struggling daily tabloid last summer, shared the assessment in public remarks Thursday at the Illinois Press Association convention in Bloomington-Normal. Continue reading

Robservations: Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame honors Bill Plante

Bill Plante (Photo: Jeff Burnett)

Robservations on the media beat:

Tom Skilling

The great Bill Plante, who covered five presidents as CBS News senior White House correspondent, was inducted Wednesday in the Illinois Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. The Chicago native and graduate of Loyola University retired after 52 years at the network in 2016. As the 60th inductee in the Hall of Fame, Plante was introduced by his stepson, syndicated radio talk show host Chris Plante. Also honored at the IBA convention in Normal, Illinois, was Tom Skilling, legendary chief meteorologist for Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, who received the group’s Broadcast Pioneer Award. Continue reading

WGN shuffle: Justin Kaufmann joins Steve Cochran’s morning show

Steve Cochran and Justin Kaufmann (2015 photo)

In the wake of historic low ratings, Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM is making changes to its talent lineup in mornings and evenings.

Justin Kaufmann, who has been hosting his own show, called “The Download,” from 7 to 11 p.m. weeknights, will become a full-time contributor to “The Steve Cochran Show” from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays. Continue reading

Robservations: Lisa Dent joins Big 95.5 as weekend host

Lisa Dent

Robservations on the media beat:

Lisa Dent is back! The former morning star of WUSN 99.5-FM, is joining WEBG 95.5-FM, the rival country station owned by iHeartMedia, as weekend personality. Starting June 16, Dent will host from noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. “I’m thrilled to be working at Chicago’s destination for all things country,” she said in a statement. “Nothing sounds more fun than jumping back on the radio at Big 95.5 and connecting with my audience!” Dent grew up in Rockford and worked in Minneapolis, San Diego and Seattle before joining US 99 as midday host in 2002. From 2006 to 2016 she co-hosted mornings at the former CBS Radio station with Ramblin’ Ray Stevens. Said Matt Scarano, president of iHeartMedia Markets Group’s Chicago region: “Lisa is a Chicago icon, a Country Radio Hall of Famer and an amazing addition to our lineup.” Continue reading

Robservations: WPWR changing channels June 11

CW 50

Robservations on the media beat:

If you’re still watching WPWR-Channel 50 with an over-the-air antenna, mark your calendar for June 11. That’s when the Fox-owned CW affiliate will be moving its frequency, requiring viewers using antennas to rescan their TVs. The change was prompted by the channel’s sale in the FCC broadcast spectrum auction last year. (Here is the link for information.) “We’ve been a part of this community for 16 years, and we know that our viewers rely on us for the very best in entertainment and local sports. That’s not going to change,” Dennis Welsh, vice president and general manager of CW 50, said in a statement. “Our goal is to make this transition as easy as possible on our viewers to ensure they can keep watching the programs they love.” Continue reading