Robservations: Weigel Broadcasting pulls the plug on ‘The Jam’

Felicia Lawrence, Jon Hansen and Amy Rutledge

Robservations on the media beat:

Friday will mark the final airing of "The Jam," the low-rated evening talk show on WCIU-Channel 26.2/WMEU-Channel 48.1, the digital subchannels known as The U. Launched as a two-hour morning show in 2017 and hosted most recently by Felicia Lawrence, Jon Hansen and Amy Rutledge, "The Jam" was cut to one hour and moved to 6 p.m. weeknights when the pandemic shut down in-studio production. "Through very difficult conditions for the last 13 months, the team has produced live shows with a completely at-home team and featured important discussions on the key issues of our time," Steve Farber, senior vice president of operations at Weigel Broadcasting, told staffers Wednesday. "Going forward, we are working on other Chicago-based content that we can scale differently." Syndicated programming is expected to air at 6 p.m., starting Monday. Farber declined to say how many positions were affected, but insiders said as many as 10 jobs could be cut, including Steve Bailey, who was architect of "The Jam" as head of local programming and creative.

Peter Dunn

Two months after a Los Angeles Times investigation disclosed a culture of sexism and racism at the highest level of the CBS-owned stations division, two top executives are out. CBS announced Wednesday that it had severed ties with CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn and senior vice president of news David Friend. Both had been on leave since the allegations were reported. Dunn's behavior was cited for the abrupt resignation of Marty Wilke after six years as president and general manager of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 in 2018. Once Wilke left CBS 2, nearly all of the senior female executives she had championed were also driven out. “The culture starts and stops with Peter Dunn,” she told the Times.

Alex Nitkin

Alex Nitkin, a reporter for The Daily Line, has been promoted to editor of the subscription newsletter on state and local politics. He will guide daily editorial coverage while continuing to write and report each day. Before joining The Daily Line in 2019, Nitkin worked as a reporter for DNAinfo Chicago and The Real Deal Chicago. Born in New York City and raised in Westport, Connecticut, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

David Heinzmann

David Heinzmann, who covered government, politics and crime for the Chicago Tribune before resigning last month, has been hired as director of investigations for 221B Partners, a Chicago-based detective agency specializing in corporate research and investigations. A graduate of George Washington University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Heinzmann worked for the Associated Press and the Daily Southtown before joining the Tribune in 1999. He also has written two mystery novels — A Word to the Wise and Throwaway Girl.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Steven M. Haas: Years ago I met survivors of the death camps and the slave labor camps. Thank you to the folks who will tell of the horrific tales of what really happened. It is very emotional, but we must never forget the atrocities of what happened during one of the darkest periods of world history. God bless those who made it out and are willing to tell their stories.