Robservations on the media beat:
We’ll soon be hearing more of Ben Shapiro on WLS 890-AM, according to insiders. The editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com and conservative commentator, whose hourlong podcast now airs at 9 p.m. weekdays, is expected to host a syndicated afternoon show on the Cumulus Media news/talk station. Starting early in the new year, sources said, he’ll replace afternoon star Steve Dahl, whose last show on WLS airs December 21. Confirmation of the deal could come Monday when Shapiro originates his podcast from WLS studios in Chicago. There’s also word that Erich Mancow Muller may be in line to host mornings on WLS, shifting Big John Howell to another role at the station. Muller, who paired with Pat Cassidy in middays on WLS from 2008 to 2010, most recently hosted mornings on the former WLUP (aka The Loop) before it was sold in March. Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago, declined to comment on any personnel moves.
Officially under new ownership, the Chicago Reader completed its move this week to new headquarters at 2930 South Michigan Avenue. It had been sharing offices with the Sun-Times at 30 North Racine Avenue. The alternative weekly was sold by Sun-Times Media to a local investment group headed by real estate developer Elzie Higginbottom and attorney Leonard Goodman. Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader, serves as board chairman. "Elzie Higginbottom's team did a great job designing a very open space with great skylights/natural light," said Reader publisher Tracy Baim. "It's the first time the new business/sales people are going to be working with the editorial folks, so lots of getting-to-know-you process happening."
Larry Potash, Robin Baumgarten and the rest of the gang from the top-rated "WGN Morning News" will host a primetime special from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. Details are sketchy, but plans include Billy Corgan joining Ana Belaval with fans for a new Smashing Pumpkins album listening party at Adler Planetarium. (Here is the link for tickets.) Speaking of rock stars, look for Tom Skilling, WGN's chief meteorologist, to make a guest appearance on the special, too.
Dawn DeSart, former feature reporter and morning traffic anchor on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, made history this week. She was part of a "political tsunami" that carried seven Democrats — all women — to seats on the DuPage County Board. DeSart, who previously served on the Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board, told Facebook friends: "I am proud to have the opportunity to serve residents of DuPage County. To those who voted for me, my sincere and heartfelt thank you." DeSart also worked as traffic reporter for iHeartMedia and Metro Traffic Control.
Tom Langmyer, former vice president and general manager of Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM, has launched Great Lakes Media Corp., with plans to buy radio stations and digital properties. The company will focus on smaller markets in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. “The need is clear as many of the broadcast media platforms have been providing white-labeled, generic, unremarkable content," Langmyer said in a statement. "And while it’s growing, the digital space is in dire need of compelling content to make it a more robust advertising and revenue platform." The longtime radio exec most recently was VP/GM of WTMJ and WKTI in Milwaukee.
Thursday's comment of the day: Ralph Sherman Sr.: It's a commercial Christmas that they celebrate [at Lite FM]. It's always "all about the money." Merry Christmas!!