Robservations on the media beat:
In case you missed it, Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl made a brief cameo appearance in Jeep’s Super Bowl commercial starring Bill Murray Sunday night. Or at least Dahl’s voice did. In the parody of the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” filmed on location in Woodstock, Dahl was the second voice on the radio heard uttering: “It’s Groundhog Day!” as Murray wakes up. (Here is the link.) “Proud to be part of such a great commercial,” Dahl said, promising to tell how it came about on his dahl.com podcast today. The version I heard is that Dahl had been asked to do the original voiceover in the movie but insisted on his partner, Garry Meier, being featured as well. The producers said no dice. A few months later, Steve & Garry broke up. Well, that’s show biz!
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel no longer appears on the masthead of The Atlantic. The magazine has dropped him as a contributing editor after a group of black staffers raised objections with editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, according to the Washington Post. (Here is the link.) They cited his handling of the murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. "What is plainly true is that Mr. Emanuel used the conditions of a financial settlement with a grieving family to cover up the details of murder of a black teenager by a white police officer," the staffers wrote. "Mr. Emanuel’s conduct . . . is the kind of behavior that news organizations of any ideological stripe expose rather than reward." Said Goldberg: "Emanuel remains free to pitch us ideas for publication like any non-staff contributor." Emanuel joined the magazine last May at the same time he was named a political contributor to ABC News.
Hail and farewell to Tim Bannon, who accepted a buyout after 25 years at the Chicago Tribune and stepped down as sports editor Friday. A Chicago native and Indiana University graduate, Bannon spent six years at the Daily Herald and eight years at the Sun-Times before joining the Tribune as entertainment editor in 1995. He was named sports editor in 2009. “Thank you for fighting to keep this newsroom strong,” Bannon told colleagues on his way out. What’s next? “I have a few ventures in the works, but nothing to share just yet,” he said.
Yes, that was veteran Chicago meteorologist Tim McGill who turned up on CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 over the weekend. "Just filling in wherever needed," he said of the gig, which follows his 27-year stint as weather forecaster at CLTV and WGN-Channel 9. (Nexstar Media Group pulled the plug on the cable news channel December 31.) "Working for 'Chicago's Very Own' was a dream come true for a Chicagoan — or at least a suburban Chicagoan — like me," he said. McGill, who hold degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northern Illinois University, also teaches meteorology at Roosevelt University and Columbia College.
It's the end of the line after 38 years for TVWeek, the television industry news website. Founded by Crain Communication as Electronic Media in 1982, its first publisher and editorial director was Ron Alridge, the former Chicago Tribune TV critic. For years it was an indispensable and authoritative weekly trade publication. Renamed Television Week in 2003, it moved to online-only in 2009. "When I first joined EM in 2000, as its editor, it was a bustling, vibrant publication with about 50 employees, equally split between the business side and the edit side," publisher Chuck Ross wrote in his sign-off announcement. "Unfortunately, marketplace conditions dictated a path for us that led to our becoming a publication that aggregated and linked to stories published by others, with little original reporting."
Shame on the Chicago Tribune for an unforgivably lazy obituary Sunday on Fred Silverman, the legendary TV producer and executive who headed programming at the Big Three broadcast networks — CBS, ABC and NBC. "A native of New York, Silverman started his post-college career in local television in Chicago and New York," is all the Tribune had to say (via the Associated Press) about Silverman's formative years here. No mention of his creation of "Family Classics" in 1962 at WGN-Channel 9 (then owned by the Tribune) or his discovery of wunderkind Brandon Tartikoff, whom he recruited from ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Silverman returned to Chicago as an independent producer in the early '90s to oversee Jonathon Brandmeier's short-lived syndicated variety show. Nicknamed "The Man with the Golden Gut" by Time magazine in 1977, Silverman died of cancer Thursday in Los Angeles at 82.