Robservations: Regine Schlesinger to sign off after 45 years at WBBM Newsradio

Regine Schlesinger

Robservations on the media beat:

Sunday will mark the final broadcast of Regine Schlesinger after 45 years at Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/105.9-FM. She stepped down from full-time news anchor in 2016, and now she’s retiring from part-time and weekend duties. Her last scheduled appearance will be in the 6 and 8 a.m. hours Sunday, along with some updates during the Chicago Bears pre-game broadcast, according to Ron Gleason, director of news and programming. Born in France to parents who survived the Holocaust by being on Schindler’s List, Schlesinger came to America at age 2 and grew up on the North Side of Chicago. Straight out of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she began as a writer and producer at WBBM Newsradio in 1973. Six years later, she moved up to reporter and anchor. Continue reading

WGN’s Larry Potash to host ‘Backstory’ history series

Larry Potash

Larry Potash, longtime anchor of Chicago’s top-rated morning news show, is getting a primetime showcase to share his love for historical quirks and oddities.

“Backstory with Larry Potash” will explore “intriguing tales in history, culture, religion and science from Chicago and beyond.” Starting October 28, it will air at 8:30 p.m. for four consecutive Sundays on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. Additional episodes will air as specials throughout the year. Continue reading

Robservations: Kathy Hart still won’t say why she left The Mix

Frank Fontana and Kathy Hart (Photo: WGN Radio)

Robservations on the media beat:

During the six months she was absent from “The Eric and Kathy Show” last year, Kathy Hart says she underwent treatment for headaches, dizziness and “some other unpleasantries that I won’t share.” In the first of three guest-hosting appearances on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM, Hart disclosed that she had been suffering from Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) caused by water-damage mold. “So basically what I had to do was detox my body from all of these symptoms,” she said. But Hart continued to stonewall when WGN weekend host Frank Fontana asked why she walked out of Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM after 21 years as morning co-host with Eric Ferguson. “It’s none of your business,” she said. “It’s really difficult to answer that. It certainly was an unorthodox way to leave a show. Usually I’m not a woman of mystery, but I have to say that it was kind of fun having the little bit of mystery out there.” When a caller asked whether anything at The Mix contributed to her leaving, Hart said: “Well, there’s a loaded question,” adding: “They were very respectful of what was going on with me — the personal leave that I took at the time — they were very, very respectful for all that. Because I didn’t even know what was going on with me at that time. So, yeah, it was a crazy, crazy time. When you think about how a show is going to end, never in my dreams — anybody’s wildest dreams — saw it coming the way that it did.” You can hear Fontana and Hart together from 1 to 3 p.m. today on WGN. Continue reading

Robservations: Three fans to host ‘Bulls Outsiders’ for NBC Sports Chicago

Matt Peck, David Watson and John Sabine

Robservations on the media beat:

A trio of die-hard Chicago Bulls fans has been hired to host "Bulls Outsiders," an interactive talk show to air live after every Bulls game this season on NBC Sports Chicago. Matt Peck, David Watson and John Sabine — all Chicagoans in their 30s — will offer analysis and commentary from the fan's perspective. The three were chosen from among dozens of candidates who submitted one-minute video auditions shot on their cell phones. Starting Thursday, "Bulls Outsiders" will air immediately after "Bulls Postgame Live" at about 10 p.m. Kevin Cross, vice president of content for NBC Sports Chicago, called the show “a fresh and fun new program that not only speaks to Bulls fans, but one that directly involves them in the dialogue.” Continue reading

What happened to those Sun-Times podcasts?

Rick Telander and Rick Morrissey (Photo: Rich Hein)

It was only last February that the Sun-Times hired Jennifer Schulze, the former Chicago TV news director and wife of Sun-Times CEO Edwin Eisendrath, with "really big plans" in mind.

As executive producer/new media, Schulze was put in charge of new content development, including production of an ambitious series of weekly podcasts to be hosted by Sun-Times columnists and reporters. "The best podcasts by some of the most interesting Chicagoans," was how the paper promoted them. Continue reading

Robservations: Diann Burns joins media talent agency

Diann Burns

Robservations on the media beat:

Remember Diann Burns? The former top news anchor for two Chicago stations says she's ready to share what she knows with a new generation of broadcasters. Burns has joined David Bruner’s DB & Associates, a media talent agency based in central Pennsylvania. She'll continue to live in Chicago. “We will be conducting talent seminars for budding journalists and professionals around the country, expanding on what I have done over the years,” Burns told me. “Right now, we are in the planning stages, and I am doing my best to try to make the series of road trips begin right here in my beloved Chicago.” A onetime reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer with a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Burns stepped down as news anchor in 2008 after five years at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and 18 years at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Continue reading

Kathy Hart to fill in on WGN Radio

Kathy Hart (Photo: Fox 32)

Kathy Hart, the former Chicago radio morning star who’s been a free agent since her highly publicized breakup with Eric Ferguson, is getting a shot as a talk show host on WGN 720-AM.

Hart will appear as guest co-host three times in the coming weeks alongside weekend host Frank Fontana on the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station. They’ll be on during Fontana’s regular show from 1 to 3 p.m. this Sunday and October 28, and they’ll fill in for John Williams from 1 to 3 p.m. October 17. Continue reading

Robservations: Morgan Kolkmeyer weathers WGN computer snafu

Morgan Kolkmeyer (Photo: WGN)

Robservations on the media beat:

One more reason you gotta love Morgan Kolkmeyer: When WGN-Channel 9's weather center graphics computer failed Tuesday morning, the Tribune Broadcasting station's plucky meteorologist didn't miss a beat. She simply delivered the forecast the old-fashioned way — on white paper with a couple of markers. (Here is the link.) "Things I didn't think I'd do when I made it to Chicago," she joked. Kolkmeyer joined WGN in May 2017 from WREX, the NBC affiliate in her native Rockford. Continue reading

She’s back: Jennifer Lyons returns as WGN news director

Jennifer Lyons

Only weeks after she resigned as news director of WGN-Channel 9 and CLTV, Jennifer Lyons has reclaimed her old job at the Tribune Broadcasting station.

Paul Rennie, president and general manager of WGN, made the surprise announcement late Tuesday that Lyons has been rehired. After interviewing numerous applicants, Rennie said he had narrowed the list of candidates to replace Lyons but had not yet made an offer to anyone. Continue reading