NBC 5 hires reporter from Milwaukee

Kate Chappell

Kate Chappell, a news anchor and reporter from Milwaukee, has been hired by NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. She starts Monday as a reporter and fill-in anchor, according to an announcement by Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5.

Chappell, a native of Lake Geneva and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joined WDJT, the CBS affiliate in Milwaukee, as morning news anchor in 2015. Since 2017 she has been anchoring the 5 and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts for the Weigel Broadcasting station. Continue reading

Robservations: Joe Knowles leaves Tribune with ‘mixed feelings’

Joe Knowles (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

Robservations on the media beat:

It’s over and out for top sports editor Joe Knowles after 42 years at the Chicago Tribune. He’s one of numerous staffers who’ve taken year-end buyouts offered by the company. (A Tribune Publishing spokeswoman declined to comment on “personnel matters” or say how many employees are affected.) Today is the last day for Knowles, 60, whose previous roles included sports news editor and associate managing editor/design and graphics at the Tribune, and founding co-editor of RedEye. He started as a part-timer just out of high school in 1976 and moved up to full-time in 1980. “Mixed feelings, for sure,” Knowles told me. “My dad taught me to read using the big all-caps headlines that used to be on every Tribune front page. I owe almost everything I have to this place. I'm grateful for the opportunity I was given here, and I am sure I will miss it terribly, but it's my time to move on. No solid plans yet, but you probably haven't seen the last of me.” Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: WBBM Newsradio is the top story

WBBM Newsradio

Chicago Bears broadcasts and the run-up to the midterm election helped boost all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM to first place in the latest Chicago radio ratings.

Nielsen Audio figures released Wednesday showed the Entercom simulcast combo No. 1 among all listeners with a 5.7 percent share. It was WBBM Newsradio's fourth monthly increase and its highest overall share in nearly two years. While the station finished second or third in each of the weekday dayparts, a huge weekend share and hearty cumulative weekly audience of 1,569,500 lifted it to the top. Continue reading

Hubbard Radio cuts overnight hosts in year-end layoffs


Eleven positions were eliminated Tuesday in year-end budget cuts at Hubbard Radio Chicago, sources said, including the overnight personalities on hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM and adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM.

Jeff England, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago, would not confirm the number of full-time and part-time jobs affected, but acknowledged the shift from live broadcasting to voice-tracking during post-midnight hours to save money. Continue reading

Robservations: WTTW hires community engagement officer


Robservations on the media beat:

Timothy Russell

For years the joke around town was that WTTW stands for "Winnetka Talking To Wilmette." That's about to change. Window To The World Communications, parent company of public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical music WFMT 98.7-FM, announced the hiring Monday of a vice president of community engagement. In the newly created position, Timothy Russell will be responsible for crafting and executing community engagement activities and serve as liaison to the community. Russell previously was chief global diversity and inclusion officer for CDK Global and director of global diversity and engagement for PepsiCo. “After a diligent and thoughtful search, we are pleased to have found the best individual to lead our community engagement efforts,” Sandra Cordova Micek, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Tim’s passion and his understanding of the impact WTTW and WFMT can have on the lives of people make him uniquely qualified to build and strengthen true partnerships with communities and organizations across our region.” Continue reading

Robservations: Tribune Media offers buyouts to WGN staff

WGN TV (November 25, 2018)

Robservations on the media beat:

Voluntary buyouts are being offered to employees of WGN-Channel 9 and news/talk WGN 720-AM as part of a year-end staff reduction throughout parent company Tribune Media. The move comes despite an 11 percent increase in third quarter revenues and a “strong operational year” for the company. Gary Weitman, senior vice president/corporate relations for Tribune Media, called it a “very small program that will ultimately affect a little more than 1 percent of our employees.” No word on whether layoffs will follow if the goals of the buyout are not met. A similar offer was announced earlier this month by Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune and newspapers in nine other cities. Continue reading

Robservations: CBS 2 shakes up late-news leadership

CBS 2 Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

David Parrish

When you’re last in the ratings and still declining, someone has to take the fall for it. That looks like the case at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, where David Parrish is out as executive producer of the 10 p.m. newscast. The move signals more changes under Jeff Harris, who’s been vice president and news director of CBS 2 since July. “It was an honor to serve as a manager at CBS 2,” Parrish told me. “This is the greatest TV news market in the country. I look forward to many more exciting years in the Chicago broadcast community.” Parrish’s 15-year run at CBS 2 was preceded by seven years as 9 p.m. newscast producer at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. CBS 2 has posted a job opening for a new executive producer. Continue reading