Robservations: WLS rounds out staff with new program boss, afternoon anchor

WLS 890 AM

Robservations on the media beat:

Stephanie Tichenor

Cumulus Media finalized the latest makeover of news/talk WLS 890-AM Tuesday with the hiring of Stephanie Tichenor as program director and Lauren Cohn as afternoon news anchor. Tichenor, an 11-year employee of WGN 720-AM, most recently was director of news and operations at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk competitor. At WLS she replaces Peter Bolger, who retired. “All of us at WLS-AM 890 are thrilled to have someone with the experience and talent that Stephanie brings as WLS enters its 95th year of broadcasting," said Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago. "Stephanie completes the rebuild of a legendary brand and positions the station for growth in 2019 and beyond. Her history in Chicago will give her the insight and knowledge to positively affect our local and nationally syndicated programming for our Chicago audience.”

Lauren Cohn

The hiring of Lauren Cohn marks the full-time return of a familiar voice to WLS. The former midday partner of John Kass has been a frequent contributor to the station since their show ended in 2015. In her new role as afternoon news anchor, Cohn replaces Jennifer Keiper, who resigned earlier this month to rejoin Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM as an anchor/reporter. Cohn will continue as a fill-in host. “I am very excited to be back at WLS AM 890 full time working with a great news team," said Cohn, who also was a news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. "I am grateful I get to continue to do what I love to do covering local and national news every day in a city I adore."

Chris Reese

Jimmy Steal, the longtime Los Angeles radio programmer who signed on in January as vice president of brand and content at WTMX 101.9-FM, is starting to put his mark on the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station. This week he dropped Chris Reese as evening host. The Arlington Heights native joined 101.9 The Mix in 2016 from Entercom country WUSN 99.5-FM, where he had been morning show producer. No successor has been named for Reese, whose last night on the air was Saturday. Steal also confirmed the hiring of Nikki Imbracsio as part-time host. Imbracsio was ousted last month after 10 years as midday personality at Entercom Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM.

Jessica Villagomez

Jessica Villagomez, former editor in chief of The DePaulia, the student newspaper of DePaul University, is the newest reporter at the Chicago Tribune. She previously worked as an editorial intern at the Latino daily Hoy, In These Times and "PBS NewsHour." "I'm so thrilled to begin my career in my favorite city, for one of my favorite newspapers," she told Facebook friends. Villagomez, who graduated from Hinsdale South High School and DePaul, received a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


WRME 87.7-FM, the Weigel Broadcasting soft-rock oldies and classic hits station known as Me-TV FM, just fortified its ranks with the addition of another Chicago radio veteran. Bob Lawson, best known for his many years as production director at the former WJMK, has been hired as production and programming assistant. He'll report to program director Rick O'Dell and imaging and production director Bill Cochran. "Bob's a great addition to the team because his background is a rare combination of production and programming," O'Dell said. "Weigel likes to hire people whose baseball card would say 'Infield-Outfield.' Bob's versatility is a huge plus for Me."

Tuesday's comment of the day: Andy Shaw: Glad WBBM Newsradio is still rocking it out, and that I'll be spending another election night — the mayoral and aldermanic runoffs on Tuesday, April 2 — analyzing returns, interviewing guests and kibbitzing with Kris [Kridel], Craig Dellimore and Cisco Coto. Yeah — I'm still in the game (sorta).