All talked out: Joe Walsh parts company with Salem Media

Joe Walsh

Presidential candidate Joe Walsh severed all ties with Salem Media Group Friday, officially ending his controversial six-year run as a talk radio host for the conservative Christian broadcaster.

Six days after announcing his challenge to President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, the former suburban congressman agreed to terminate the local and national shows he hosted for Salem Media, effective immediately. Continue reading

Robservations: CBS 2 boyhood fan comes home as a reporter

Chris Tye

Robservations on the media beat:

Chris Tye, who grew up in the west suburbs and began his career as a high school and college intern at four Chicago radio stations, is coming home to join CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 as a reporter, starting next month. “It happens to be the first TV station I ever remember watching as a young boy,” he recalled. “They had an exceptionally great theme song when Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson were the main anchors there.” Until earlier this year Tye spent 15 years as a reporter and fill-in news anchor at WKYC, the NBC affiliate in Cleveland. A graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School and John Carroll University, he previously worked for stations in Traverse City and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Continue reading

Robservations: WGCI’s Leon Rogers to host late-night show on Fox 32

Leon Rogers

Robservations on the media beat:

Tia Ewing

Chicago radio morning star Leon Rogers is about to get his own late-night comedy/news show on TV. Starting September 9, “Later with Leon” will air at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. Rogers and his co-host, Fox 32 reporter Tia Ewing, will talk about the news of the day and interview newsmakers and entertainers. “Trust me when I tell you this one IS FOR THE GO!” Rogers wrote on social media. The veteran stand-up comedian and actor, who calls himself "The Destined Legend," continues to host mornings on iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI 107.5-FM along with Kendra Gilliams and Kyle Santillian. Continue reading

New management team brings Good Karma to take over ESPN 1000

Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman

A new management team is about to take charge at WMVP AM-1000, the sports/talk flagship of ESPN Radio in Chicago.

In a surprise move Wednesday, ESPN Radio, a unit of Walt Disney Co., announced a long-term local marketing agreement with Good Karma Brands. Effective September 29, the Wisconsin-based company will lease the station and assume control of all operations at ESPN Radio Chicago. Continue reading

Robservations: Weigel Broadcasting turns WCIU into CW26 on Sunday

Weigel Broadcasting

Robservations on the media beat:


Twenty-five years after WCIU-Channel 26 shed its affiliation with the Univision Spanish-language network and became fully independent as "The U," the Weigel Broadcasting station is about to take on a new identity. On Sunday it will become an affiliate of The CW Network and begin carrying the network’s lineup from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Friday. “It was an easy decision to partner with The CW,” said Neal Sabin, vice chairman of the privately owned Chicago-based company. “This gives us the opportunity for CW26 to air original, scripted, primetime programming six nights a week, as well as launching the new daytime talk show, 'Tamron Hall' [at 4 p.m. weekdays]." Since 2016 The CW Network has been airing on Fox-owned WPWR-Channel 50. For 10 years before that, CW programming aired on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. The U will shift to Weigel's subchannel WCUU-Channel 26.2. Continue reading

Presidential candidate Joe Walsh: ‘I’m done with talk radio’

Joe Walsh

Now that Joe Walsh has announced his quixotic bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, the former Illinois congressman says he's sacrificing his career as a radio talk show host.

Walsh has been holding forth on WIND 560-AM, the Salem Media news/talk station, since 2013 — the year after he lost his reelection bid following one term in Congress. His local show aired from 5 to 7 p.m. weekdays. His national show, syndicated by Salem Radio Network, aired from 8 to 11 p.m. weekdays. Continue reading

NBC 5 anchor Rob Stafford sues Sterigenics over blood disease

Rob Stafford

Rob Stafford, the veteran news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, said he contracted a rare blood disorder after he was exposed to toxic chemicals emitted by the west suburban Willowbrook facility of Sterigenics International.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, Stafford, 60, said he was diagnosed with amyloidosis after exposure to toxic levels of ethylene oxide from the plant. At the time he lived in Hinsdale and belonged to a sports club in Burr Ridge. Sterigenics’ sterilization process was found to have resulted in ethylene oxide emission, causing exposure in portions of Burr Ridge and Hinsdale. Continue reading

Robservations: Daily Herald offers employee buyouts

Daily Herald Media Group

Robservations on the media beat:

Employees of the Daily Herald again are being offered buyouts in a plan to reduce expenses by parent company Paddock Publications. Those who apply by September 6 and are accepted will receive up to 24 weeks of severance pay, along with paid health benefits for three months. “For the past two years, employee buyouts have been part of our financial and budget forecasting, and a similar package is being offered to employees this year,” Doug Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of Paddock Publications, wrote in a memo Friday. “Along with the obvious expense savings we expect from the buyout initiative, it will help determine staffing levels in next year’s budget and in reallocating resources where needed.” Since December the formerly family-owned Paddock Publications has been under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Continue reading

NBC 5 to launch new lifestyle show ‘Chicago Today’ Sept. 6

"Chicago Today"

It’s official: “Chicago Today,” a new lifestyle and entertainment show, will premiere September 6 on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

Initially it will air weekly at 11:30 a.m. Fridays, but eventually it will expand to Monday through Friday at that time. To accommodate the live half-hour show, NBC 5 will cut its current hourlong 11 a.m. weekday newscast in half. Continue reading

Robservations: Over and out: Kathy Hart pulling up stakes for Montana

Kathy Hart

Robservations on the media beat:

Kathy Hart, once one-half of the most popular morning duo in Chicago radio history, is heading out west. Hart’s agent, Steve Mandell, confirmed Thursday that she’s moving to Bozeman, Montana, for personal and family reasons. While Hart is open to employment there, he said, she has no job lined up at this time. Hart most recently had been filling in at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. But she’s best known for her 21 years as Eric Ferguson’s partner on Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM. She parted company with The Mix in 2017 — less than a year after Eric & Kathy were inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame. Continue reading