Robservations: On New Year's Eve, Steve Darnall will party like it's 1958

New Year's Eve on WDCB (clockwise from top left): Count Basie, Doris Day, Duke Ellington, Pump Room's "Parade of the Flaming Swords"

Robservations on the media beat:

Steve Darnall

Steve Darnall, host of "Those Were the Days," will ring in 2020 retro-style with his third annual "New Year's Eve Big Band Dance Party" on College of Du Page's jazz station WDCB 90.9-FM. Starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday, the seven-hour music marathon will present a 1957-58 New Year's countdown show from Chicago's Pump Room along with broadcasts from the Golden Age of Radio featuring Count Basie, Doris Day, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and others. He'll also air an all-star one-hour New Year's Eve special from 1945. Said Darnall: "We've been delighted by the response to our first two New Year's Eve specials and we're always delighted for the chance to ring in the new year the way it was done for so many years on radio." Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: 93.9 Lite FM back on top with Christmas music

Melissa Forman

Christmas came early for WLIT 93.9-FM, which again catapulted to the top of Chicago's radio ratings with its nonstop holiday music.

Nielsen Audio figures released Monday showed the iHeartMedia adult contemporary station jumping from fifth place to first, doubling its total audience share from 4.7 to 9.5 percent.

As "Chicago's Christmas Station" for the 19th consecutive year, 93.9 Lite FM swept all four dayparts, with first-place rankings for Melissa Forman in mornings, Robin Rock in middays, Mick Lee in afternoons and the syndicated Delilah Rene in evenings. Continue reading

Robservations: Promotion to WGN Radio boss 'surpasses any dream’ for Mary Sandberg Boyle

Mary Sandberg Boyle

Robservations on the media beat:

Overshadowed by news of the morning-drive shakeup Friday at Nexstar Media WGN 720-AM was the appointment of the first female general manager in the 95-year history of the news/talk station. Mary Sandberg Boyle, who rose from executive producer to director of news and operations to acting general manager in just four years, has been promoted to the top job. The post had been vacant since Jimmy de Castro left WGN in 2016 (although Todd Manley held the title of station manager until September). “I am thrilled to be named general manager at WGN Radio,” Boyle told me. “I’ve spent my entire life and career here [in Chicago]. To have the opportunity to lead the greatest radio station in Chicago surpasses any dream I've ever had.” Before joining WGN in 2015, Boyle was executive 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

Silenced by WGN Radio, Steve Cochran thanks ‘incredible audience’

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran didn’t know until after he got off the air Friday that it was his last show on WGN 720-AM. So he wasn’t able to thank his loyal listeners — until now.

"The morning show at WGN was the highlight of my career,” Cochran told me Sunday in his first comment since his abrupt departure. “To follow Wally [Phillips], Bob Collins, and Spike [O’Dell] has been an honor, and I want to thank that incredible audience for all the support. I’ll miss connecting with them everyday.” Continue reading

Steve Cochran out, Bob Sirott in as WGN Radio morning host

Steve Cochran

In a major shakeup involving two of Chicago's best-known radio personalities, Steve Cochran is out and Bob Sirott is in as morning host at WGN 720-AM, the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station announced Friday.

Cochran, who has hosted mornings since 2013, was informed of the change moments after he got off the air Friday. He is expected to be paid through the remainder of his contract, which runs through the end of 2020, sources said. Continue reading