Robservations: NBC Sports Chicago drops 'In the Loop' and 'Fast Break'

NBC Sports Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

NBC Sports Chicago is pulling the plug on its nightly programs "In the Loop" and "Fast Break" after two years. As of Monday, the two will be gone from the network's lineup at 10 p.m. and midnight, respectively, with expanded postgame shows filling the gap. "In addition, we will be announcing new studio programming in the coming weeks that focus even deeper on our pro team partners," said an NBC Sports Chicago spokesman, who noted that no reductions in staff would result from the moves. "In the Loop" and "Fast Break" replaced the network's signature “SportsNet Central” in 2016. Continue reading

Robservations: NBC 5 to air Kelly Clarkson talk show next fall

Kelly Clarkson

Robservations on the media beat:

Steve Harvey

Kelly Clarkson, the Grammy Award-winning singer and first winner of “American Idol,” will host a syndicated daytime talk show to debut in the fall of 2019 on NBC-owned stations, including WMAQ-Channel 5 in Chicago. “I love connecting with people, playing games, music and finding ways to help or give back to communities/organizations,” Clarkson said in a statement. “Having my own talk show where I get to do all of these things is pretty much a dream job!” She most recently has been on NBC ’s reality show “The Voice.” Terence Henderson’s T Dog Media Blog reported Clarkson’s show will replace Steve Harvey on NBC 5’s lineup at 2 p.m. weekdays, leading into Ellen DeGeneres. While that seems the most likely move, station officials say it’s too soon to say when the new show will air. “We have not made any programming decisions for the 2019-2020 season,” said an NBC 5 spokeswoman. Also launching a daytime talk show next fall will be ex-Chicago news anchor Tamron Hall. Hers is expected to air on ABC-owned stations, including WLS-Channel 7. Continue reading

Robservations: WTTW series to spotlight ‘Art & Design in Chicago’

Art & Design in Chicago (Photo: WTTW)

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A four-part series on “Art & Design in Chicago” will premiere October 5 on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11, airing at 8:30 p.m. Fridays. Produced and written by Dan Andries as part of the yearlong Art Design Chicago initiative, each episode will focus on an aspect of the city’s creative history — “from the impact of Chicago’s institutions to its importance in the fields of design and advertising; from the history of African-American artists who shaped the city to an in-depth look at the city’s most fiercely independent artists.” An upcoming companion website at will feature original content, a guide to highlighted works and video. The series is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Continue reading

Robservations: Can new co-host pump up 'The Jam'?

Felicia Lawrence, Carly Henderson and Jordan Cornette

Robservations on the media beat:

"The Jam"

Can a new co-host help jump-start the ratings for WCIU-Channel 26’s underperforming morning show? Wednesday will mark Carly Henderson's debut on “The Jam,” the Weigel Broadcasting station’s news, talk and entertainment program, airing from 6 to 8 a.m. weekdays. The former Los Angeles entertainment journalist, TV host and video producer will join co-hosts Felicia Lawrence and Jordan Cornette. Henderson replaces Danielle Robay, who left in June. After more than a year on the air, “The Jam” continues to struggle in the ratings. In the latest Nielsens, the two-hour show is averaging a scant 0.2 rating (6,599 households). Among viewers between 25 and 54, it's got a goose egg. Continue reading

Broadcast museum to downsize with sale of top two floors

Museum of Broadcast Communications

In order to keep its doors open, Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications plans to sell two floors of its four-story building in River North, according to multiple sources.

The board of the nonprofit museum is close to finalizing a deal with Fern Hill Co., a privately-held real estate development and investment firm, to take over the third and fourth floors of the site, located at the southwest corner of State and Kinzie Streets. Continue reading

Robservations: 'Local stays local' at Daily Herald, Chicago Reader

Paddock Publications

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago Reader

"Local stays local," tweeted WGN news anchor Ben Bradley, minutes after my story broke Thursday about the sale of Paddock Publications, owner of the Daily Herald. In converting the company fully to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, the fourth-generation descendants of founder Hosea C. Paddock assured that the newspaper would remain under local control for the foreseeable future. The same could be said of the day's other big media news — the appointment of Windy City Times founder Tracy Baim as publisher of the Chicago Reader under the new ownership of a local investment group. To borrow the phrase of Doug Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of Daily Herald Media Group, it was a "win-win situation" for the companies and employees in both cases. And that's rare these days. Continue reading

Paddock family selling Daily Herald company to employees

Paddock Publications

After 120 years of family ownership, Paddock Publications is changing hands. The descendants of patriarch and founder Hosea C. Paddock are selling their interest in the parent company of the Daily Herald, which is expected to convert to full employee ownership before the end of the year.

Calling it “one of the most important decisions we have ever made,” Doug Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of the company, announced Thursday that Paddock Publications would switch entirely to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, a move approved unanimously by the board of directors Tuesday. The Arlington Heights-based publisher has been partially employee-owned since 1976 when the ESOP was established. Continue reading

Windy City Times founder Tracy Baim named publisher of Chicago Reader

Chicago Reader

Tracy Baim, a trailblazing Chicago journalist and the longtime publisher and executive editor of Windy City Times, has been named publisher of the Chicago Reader.

Dorothy Leavell, who heads the leadership team buying the alternative weekly from the parent company of the Sun-Times, announced Baim’s hiring Thursday. Leavell will serve as chairman of the board of directors of the Reader. Continue reading

Robservations: Weigel’s new TV station: This is a test

Weigel Broadcasting

Robservations on the media beat:

Weigel Broadcasting, Chicago-based parent company of WCIU-Channel 26, Me-TV and a host of other broadcast stations and digital networks, just switched on the future of television. On Sunday, Weigel launched "Chicago 3.0," an experimental next-generation full-power station broadcasting from Willis Tower. Although not yet available to the general public, the ATSC 3.0 technology eventually is expected to allow viewers to watch anything they want, on any device, wherever they are. "We are excited to collaborate with our vendor partners as we explore the viability and the potential opportunities of what the future broadcast standard has to offer for viewers, our affiliate partners and the industry," Evan Fieldman, Weigel's vice president of digital, said in a statement. "We look forward to sharing various aspects of our findings with the broadcast community.” Continue reading

Robservations: Van Dyke trial to air on CLTV

Laquan McDonald (October 20, 2014)

Robservations on the media beat:

Jason Van Dyke

Cable news channel CLTV will broadcast live coverage of the trial of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer charged with the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Gaughan approved the request this week by Tribune Broadcasting, parent company of CLTV and WGN-Channel 9. WGN reporter Julie Unruh will lead the station's coverage, starting with opening statements by the prosecution and defense through the conclusion of the trial. Jury selection is currently underway. CLTV is carried on Comcast Xfinity Channels 352/1091, RCN Channel 616 and Mediacom Channel 215. Continue reading