Cubs announce general manager for Marquee Sports Network

Wrigley Field

With the hiring of a seasoned sports and media executive as general manager, the picture became a little clearer Tuesday for the upcoming television home of the Chicago Cubs.

Michael McCarthy, former president of MSG Network in New York and a former top official of the St. Louis Blues and the Milwaukee Bucks, was named general manager of Marquee Sports Network. The joint venture of the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group is set to launch in February 2020. Continue reading

Robservations: WGN names Mary Sandberg Boyle news and operations director

Mary Sandberg Boyle

Robservations on the media beat:

Mary Sandberg Boyle, executive producer of Steve Cochran’s morning show on WGN 720-AM, has been promoted to director of news and operations at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station. She succeeds Stephanie Tichenor, who jumped to Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM as program director. “Mary brings us years of success managing high profile talent and a fresh vision for the next generation of WGN Radio,” said Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content. Before joining WGN in 2015, Boyle was exec producer of "The Steve Dahl Show" on multiple outlets and exec producer of the morning show at Entercom Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM. She’s a graduate of Carmel Catholic High School and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Continue reading

Robservations: Tracy Baim celebrates 35 years as media trailblazer

Tracy Baim

Robservations on the media beat:

Friends and colleagues of Tracy Baim will gather next week at Sidetrack, 3349 North Halsted Street, to toast the groundbreaking Chicago journalist on her 35th year in LGBTQ media. Baim, who’s been publisher of the Chicago Reader since last fall, will be honored Wednesday at a fundraiser for Windy City Times, the newspaper for Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer community she co-founded in 1985. Before that she was managing editor of GayLife. Starting at 6:30 p.m. NPR correspondent Cheryl Corley will host a Q&A with Baim. (Here is the link for tickets.) “I am really lucky to have been able to do this work for 35 years,” Baim told me. “When I was 21 years old, right out of journalism school, I did not know what path there was for me as an open lesbian. I was told by many people that there would be no path in the mainstream media. So when my mom heard there was a job at GayLife newspaper, I jumped at that chance, and have never looked back.” Continue reading

Pardon can't excuse Conrad Black's crimes against Sun-Times

Conrad Black (Photo: U.S. Marshals Service, 2005)

The revered film critic Roger Ebert spoke for all of us who worked at the Chicago Sun-Times when he stood up to Conrad Black, the Canadian-born press baron who owned the newspaper for 10 years before he was charged with looting the company and defrauding investors.

“You can imagine my dismay when I read auditor's reports indicating the company was run as a ‘kleptocracy,’ and that, between you, you allegedly pocketed 97 percent of Hollinger's profits,” Ebert wrote in an open letter to Black and his partner in crime, publisher David Radler, in 2004. Continue reading

Robservations: CBS 2 losing newsroom veterans to buyouts

Deidra White

Robservations on the media beat:

Deidra White, who’s been a role model and mentor to students and young professionals in the news business for decades, is about to wrap up a sterling 40-year career at CBS. As news planning manager at WBBM-Channel 2, White tops the list of behind-scenes veterans who've accepted buyouts from the CBS-owned station. Others include executive producer of specials and investigations Marda LeBeau, political producer Ed Marshall and photojournalist Alif Muhammad, according to insiders. White, a South Side native and graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, joined CBS 2 in 1999 after a long run at all-news WBBM 780-AM, where she rose from intern to managing editor. She also served as news director at CBS-owned WWJ Radio in Detroit. CBS 2 declined to comment on the buyouts. Continue reading

Todd Stroger joins WVON as morning co-host

Maze Jackson and Todd Stroger

Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger just became the latest politician to transform himself into a Chicago radio talk show host.

WVON 1690-AM has signed Stroger as co-host of Maze Jackson’s morning show, the Midway Broadcasting African-American news/talk station announced today. The show airs from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: The Mix moves up to the top


With strong first-place performances by Eric Ferguson in mornings and Kevin “Koz” Koske in afternoons, WTMX 101.9-FM jumped to No. 1 in the latest Chicago radio ratings.

The Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station gained a half-point in audience share to capture the top spot from Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, which fell to fourth place in the Nielsen Audio monthly survey released Monday. Continue reading