Chicago Reader names two editors-in-chief

Karen Hawkins (Photo: GlitterGuts Photography)

Following the adage that two heads are better than one, the Chicago Reader finalized its editorial reorganization this week with the appointment of two editors-in-chief.

Tracy Baim, publisher of the independent alternative weekly, has announced the promotion of Karen Hawkins, managing editor/digital, and Sujay Kumar, managing editor/print, to share the top job. Continue reading

Robservations: WTTW's 'Chicago Tonight' exec producer to retire

Mary Field (Photo: WTTW)

Robservations on the media beat:

The exodus of executives continues at WTTW-Channel 11: Mary Field, executive producer of "Chicago Tonight" since 1996, has announced her retirement from the Window to the World Communications station, effective July 12. “It has been a great honor to work with the best journalists in the city over the course of my career at WTTW,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “'Chicago Tonight' and WTTW News stand for excellence, and it has been a privilege to collaborate with and contribute to a news operation that is stronger today than ever.” Field joined the public television station's flagship news program after working as a producer for Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, assistant news director at WIND 560-AM, and a reporter for City News Bureau of Chicago. "Her astute news sense and integrity have left an indelible impression on the many journalists who have been fortunate to benefit from her experience and guidance," said Sandra Cordova Micek, president and CEO of WTTW. No word yet on a successor. Continue reading

WGN reporter says job gave her PTSD

Marcella Raymond

After more than 20 years as a reporter for WGN-Channel 9, Marcella Raymond says she’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of her job.

“Sharing my story is scary but I’m hoping we can address the stigma of PTSD, show the warning signs, and get real,” Raymond wrote in an introduction to her new Facebook blog, which she titled: “I’m a Chicago Journalist with PTSD.” Continue reading

Robservations: F-bomb led WGN Radio to fire Patti Vasquez

WGN Radio

Robservations on the media beat:

Patti Vasquez

The last straw for Patti Vasquez turned out to be an accidental F-bomb that dropped during her show on WGN 720-AM earlier this month. Vasquez was fired Monday after five years as late-night host at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station, although neither she nor the company would say why. Here's the scoop: A live newscast was airing on her show when another microphone was inadvertently switched on and picked up some unidentified voices. One of the voices is heard clearly saying: “F— you.” News anchor Roger Badesch then says: “Guys, your microphones are on in there, I do believe. Can we turn those microphones off?” After multiple suspensions for previous infractions, Vasquez’s failure to report the incident to her bosses apparently proved to be her final offense. Now Vasquez says she's planning to run for the Illinois State Senate. Continue reading

Ousted from WGN Radio, Patti Vasquez to run for state senate

Patti Vasquez

Patti Vasquez, the Chicago stand-up comic who segued from stage to talk radio, has been forced out after a five-year run as late-night host at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. Now she says she's running for the Illinois State Senate.

Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content at WGN, announced Vasquez’s abrupt exit in a memo to staff Monday. No word yet on her replacement from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday. Continue reading

Nomination fee casts shadow on Crain’s ‘40 Under 40’ honor

Crain Communications

Every year since 1989 I used to look forward to reading “40 Under 40,” an enlightening feature profiling a diverse array of up-and-coming business and civic leaders in the Chicago area, chosen by the editors of  Crain’s Chicago Business.

For the fortunate 40 singled out each year, the designation by Crain’s was as much a prediction of their future success as it was an endorsement of what they’d already accomplished in their 20s and 30s. Continue reading

Film screening to honor Chet Coppock at New Trier West tonight

Chet Coppock

One of Chet Coppock’s last video projects will have a public screening tonight at New Trier West High School in Northfield as a tribute to the late Chicago sportscaster.

Coppock, who grew up in Northfield and graduated from New Trier in 1966, went on to become one of Chicago’s most recognizable sports media figures. He died April 17 of injuries from a car accident near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Continue reading

Chuck Schaden still bringing luster to Golden Age of Radio

Chuck Schaden

On a lazy Sunday afternoon when he should be at home relaxing, Chuck Schaden is working the room at the Morton Grove Civic Center with the energy and enthusiasm of a man half his age.

As he recognizes the dozens of well-wishers who’ve turned out for him, Schaden, 84, instantly remembers when and how he met each one, recalling names, dates and places long forgotten by most.

Turning back time has been Schaden’s specialty for 50 years. As Chicago’s preeminent radio historian — and the only fan ever inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame — he’s spent his adult life sharing a passion for the programs of his youth with generations of listeners. Continue reading

Robservations: Layoffs hit Entercom Chicago stations

Entercom Communications

Robservations on the media beat:

Not even the owner of Chicago's top revenue-producing radio station is immune from financial pressures. Entercom Communications, parent company of all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, laid off eight employees here Tuesday — five in traffic and continuity and three in sales. Another four positions in finance will be cut in August with numerous additional staff reductions on the way, according to insiders. The slow-motion massacre is tied to Entercom's plummeting stock price since the company's takeover of CBS Radio in 2017. In a note to employees, Jimmy deCastro, senior vice president and market manager of Entercom Chicago, wrote: "These are longtime co-workers and friends — we want to thank them for their years of hard work and wish nothing but the best for their collective futures." In addition to WBBM Newsradio, Entercom Chicago includes sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM, adult album alternative WXRT 93.1-FM, country WUSN 99.5-FM, and classic hip-hop WBMX 104.3-FM. Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: 'Eric in the Morning' still leading the pack

Melissa McGurren, Eric Ferguson and Brian “Whip” Paruch

Once again led by "Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip," WTMX 101.9-FM held onto the top spot in Chicago's radio ratings for a second straight month.

The Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station finished first in the overall rankings as well as in mornings (with Eric Ferguson, Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch), middays (with Lisa Allen) and afternoons (with Kevin “Koz” Koske and Jennifer Roberts), according to Nielsen Audio figures released Monday. Continue reading