Story prompts WGN Radio to cut ties with Crain’s Chicago Business

WGN Radio

WGN 720-AM abruptly severed its longstanding partnership with Crain’s Chicago Business Monday over a story that speculated on a possible sale of the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station.

As a result of the move, Crain’s editors, reporters and other contributors no longer will appear on any WGN Radio programs, and the station no longer will host the Monday-through-Thursday business news podcast “Crain’s Daily Gist” on its website. A WGN microphone was removed from Crain’s newsroom Monday, sources said.

Crain's Chicago Business

Despite denials from Nexstar executives of any plans to sell the company’s stand-alone radio property, the Crain’s story by Dalton Barker quoted industry analysts suggesting that recent changes in personnel and programming were “potentially positioning the 95-year-old Chicago station for another sale.”

Nexstar acquired WGN Radio in September as part of its $6.4 billion takeover of parent company Tribune Media. It inherited a nearly decade-old cross-promotional arrangement with Crain’s that included regular appearances on the noontime “Wintrust Business Lunch” by real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin and director of digital strategy and custom media Frank Sennett, among other prominent staffers.

Amy Guth, who anchors the "Crain's Daily Gist" podcast, will continue to appear occasionally as a fill-in host and contributor to WGN Radio.

A Nexstar spokesman confirmed that WGN Radio had "terminated its relationship" with Crain’s but declined further comment.

While some insiders were surprised by what they saw as an overreaction by WGN Radio, Jim Kirk, publisher and executive editor of Crain’s, expressed regret about the move.

“The content partnership between WGN and Crain’s has been longstanding and productive,” Kirk said. “It’s unfortunate that WGN has chosen to end it and we would hope they would reconsider. If not, we wish them nothing but the best.”

Monday’s comment of the day: Rick Rosenbaum: Another nail in the coffin of a once great newspaper. Notice that the important dispatches are from The Washington Post, AP, and lately The New York Times. No Tribune reporters to give a local insight to the news as was done back in the day. I enjoy the paper now mostly for the opinion columnists and arts critics. Used to enjoy the sports section but that too has been gutted. Can only cut so much before it becomes completely obsolete.