Robservations: Cumulus cancels Steve Dahl podcast deal

Dag Juhlin, Steve Dahl and Brendan Greeley

Robservations on the media beat:

Two months after Cumulus Media dropped radio legend Steve Dahl as afternoon personality on news/talk WLS 890-AM, the company has terminated its partnership agreement for his daily podcast. Dahl was notified Tuesday that his deal with Cumulus will be over as of Friday. But he said he was confident he’ll continue the subscription podcast he’s been hosting at since 2011 along with co-hosts Dag Juhlin and Brendan Greeley. “I think it was a good partnership and it benefitted both parties when we were still on the air there,” Dahl said of the breakup. “Now that we are off the air, it really didn’t make a lot of sense for either of us to continue the relationship. No hard feelings.” Continue reading

Robservations: Chicago Tribune writer goes out with a bang

Chicago Tribune

Robservations on the media beat:

KT Hawbaker

KT Hawbaker didn't just burn a few bridges after quitting the Chicago Tribune last week. Hawbaker incinerated all of them. Here's an excerpt from the farewell email the former arts and entertainment writer sent to colleagues: "I want to be clear that I am leaving because the paper’s management continues to prioritize writers who refer to abortion as 'babykilling' and who’ve revealed their bald-faced racism by wishing for Chicago’s own version of Hurricane Katrina. The Kavanaugh endorsement was a nasty left-hook to sexual assault survivors across the newsroom — including myself — and offered a clear vision of the misogyny sitting in the bones of this paper like a cancer. I am very aware that these attitudes are a part of the city’s public discourse, but the Tribune’s lopsided politics continue to threaten marginalized communities and alienate the very people we’re trying to reach. How does leadership plan to draw in new subscribers with this kind of reputation? It’s a shame that this institution incubates hostile views of women, queer folks, and people of color while hemorrhaging its diverse talent — the recent mass exodus is not a random coincidence, and I hope the higher-ups see that. I hope they figure out the difference between diversity and equity, and I hope they go all-in on fair contracts for their employees." Hawbaker, who joined the Tribune as an editorial assistant in 2017, tweeted that she's now freelancing for the Chicago Reader. Continue reading

B96 hires 'Kenzie K' to host middays

Makenzie "Kenzie K” Kramer

WBBM 96.3-FM is banking on a radio personality from the Tampa Bay area to boost the Entercom Top 40 station’s record-low ratings in middays.

Makenzie Kramer, known on the air as "Kenzie K,” has been hired to host from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday at B96, starting Tuesday. She replaces Nikki Imbracsio, who was cut after 10 years as midday personality. Continue reading

Robservations: Fox 32 teams Roseanne Tellez and Rafer Weigel in mornings

Roseanne Tellez

Robservations on the media beat:

Rafer Weigel

Roseanne Tellez, who resigned last week from CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 after 15 years as a reporter and news anchor, has jumped to Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. Starting March 4, she’ll co-anchor “Good Day Chicago” from 4 to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday with Rafer Weigel, who moves up from weekend anchor. Tellez spent 14 years at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 before joining CBS 2 in 2004. “Roseanne exemplifies our station’s brand of journalists that Chicagoans recognize, respect and trust,” said Matt Piacente, news director of Fox 32. Weigel, son of legendary Chicago sports anchor Tim Weigel, joined Fox 32 as a reporter and weekend anchor in 2017. Tellez and Weigel replace Anthony Ponce and Natalie Bomke on the early morning newscast. Ponce will move to weekend anchor and Bomke will take on evening reporting duties, according to the station. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: WBBM Newsradio warms up to the top

WBBM Newsradio (Photo: Bart Shore)

Whether you think of it as the home of the Bears or the place for "traffic and weather on the eights," WBBM Newsradio got Chicago radio listeners through a bitterly cold January riding high atop the ratings.

The Entercom all-news combo of WBBM 780-AM and WCFS 105.9-FM blasted back into first place in the Nielsen Audio survey released Tuesday. The survey period ran from January 3 to January 30. Continue reading

Robservations: B96 cuts midday host Nikki Imbracsio

Nikki Imbracsio

Robservations on the media beat:

The latest talent overhaul at underperforming WBBM 96.3-FM just took out Nikki Imbracsio after 10 years as midday personality. Friday was her last day on the Entercom Top 40 station. Imbracsio's departure followed that of Kevin "DreX" Buchar, who was cut as morning personality one week earlier. "I had a solid 10-year run at one of the greatest radio stations in the country, but now my B book has closed," Imbracsio told All Access. "I feel so blessed for the amazing experience and people." She previously hosted afternoons on iHeartMedia Top 40 WKSC 103.5-FM. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, B96 ranked 20th in middays with a 2.0 percent share. No word yet on a permanent replacement for Imbracsio. Continue reading

Robservations: Amy Guth to host daily podcast for Crain’s

Amy Guth

Robservations on the media beat:

The Daily Gist

Amy Guth, the illustrious Chicago journalist and weekend personality at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM, has been hired to host a new daily podcast for Crain’s Chicago Business. Starting March 4, "The Daily Gist" will upload by 4:30 p.m. weekdays with a mix of the day's top stories and an in-depth segment in which Guth will interview a Crain's reporter or columnist. “We are thrilled we can connect our journalists with Amy to kick off this product launch,” said Jim Kirk, publisher and executive editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. “She is a terrific broadcaster and her experience as host of WGN’s ‘Wintrust Business Lunch’ makes this partnership with us a natural. I can’t wait to hear how she will shape this podcast for the Crain’s audience and beyond.’’ "The Daily Gist" will be available at, the WGN Plus podcast network and Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. It's the first step in what's expected to be a broader partnership between Crain's and WGN Radio. Guth, former general manager/publisher of RedEye Chicago and former social media manager for Chicago Tribune Media Group, continues as a WGN host, executive director of the Midwest Independent Film Festival and president of Association for Women Journalists Chicago. Continue reading

Tamron Hall feels 'truly special' to land in primetime on The U

Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall, the former Chicago news anchor who rose to national stardom on NBC, is coming to primetime five nights a week this fall on WCIU-Channel 26, the Weigel Broadcasting station known as The U.

Hall's new syndicated talk show, which was being pitched as a daytime offering, will air instead from 8 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday on The U. It's a huge coup for Hall and an exceedingly shrewd move by the bosses of Weigel Broadcasting. Continue reading