Over and out: Eric Ferguson leaves The Mix

Eric Ferguson

Under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior toward female co-workers, Eric Ferguson announced Friday he's leaving WTMX 101.9-FM after 25 years as morning personality.

"I feel that returning to the air at this time, in this environment, will be an unfair distraction to my colleagues and the rest of the morning show members who work so hard," Ferguson said in a statement.

It marks a stunning if inevitable fall from grace for one of Chicago radio's all-time most successful performers. Ferguson had been off the air throughout October while bosses of the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station considered his fate. Continue reading

Radio silence from The Mix on what's next for Eric Ferguson

Eric Ferguson

Eric Ferguson, once the most popular voice on Chicago radio and one of the most ubiquitous faces on billboards all over town, hasn’t been seen or heard from since late September when allegations of misconduct began piling up against him from former co-workers.

By the time his bosses announced that Ferguson would be off the air “through October,” three women had come forward in court filings to accuse him of abusive behavior. Since then a fourth woman filed a complaint calling Ferguson rude and dismissive to women. Continue reading

Robservations: Pat McGann returns as Emmy host; phone threat clears out WTTW; Bill Zwecker auctions memorabilia

Pat McGann

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago comedian Pat McGann has been tapped to emcee the 63rd annual Emmy Awards ceremony sponsored by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The virtual event will be live-streamed December 5, starting at 7 p.m. It's a return engagement for McGann, who hosted the event to rave reviews in 2016 and 2020. "I'm thrilled to be hosting the Emmy Awards again,” the South Side native said. “And equally excited to still say to people 'not that Emmys . . . the Chicago/Midwest Emmys.' I used that line back in 2016 and even now, in 2021, it’s still true. We won’t be renting a huge tent with chandeliers as the primetime Emmys did. The chapter doesn’t have that kind of money . . . obviously, they hired me.” Continue reading

Crain’s Chicago Business cooks up deal with ‘Check, Please!’ creator David Manilow

David Manilow

David Manilow, who created and produced the long-running weekly food show “Check, Please!” on WTTW-Channel 11, is teaming up with Crain’s Chicago Business as the publication looks to expand its coverage of arts and culture.

Starting today, Manilow will appear every Wednesday on “Crain’s Daily Gist,” the Monday-through-Thursday podcast hosted by Amy Guth. (Here is the link.) Continue reading

As Siafa Lewis exits, Leila Rahimi joins NBC 5 sports team

Siafa Lewis

WMAQ-Channel 5 announced a couple of high-profile changes to its sports department Tuesday, prompted by the departure of lead sports anchor Siafa Lewis after seven years at the NBC-owned station.

Lewis, who expanded his duties to include anchoring weekend morning news at NBC 5, is leaving to become a Monday-through-Friday news anchor at KYW, the CBS-owned station in Philadelphia, where he grew up. His last day here will be November 4. Continue reading

Good Karma Brands names Keith Williams new boss for Chicago's ESPN 1000

Keith Williams

Good Karma Brands has moved quickly to name a new market manager for Chicago, overseeing ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM.

Keith Williams, a 22-year veteran of the Milwaukee-based company, was appointed Tuesday to replace Mike Thomas, who resigned earlier this month after two years in the position. Thomas left to join Audacy as senior vice president and Boston market manager. Continue reading

Joe Walsh raises ‘White Flag’ with new podcast

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh, the former northwest suburban Republican congressman and conservative talk show host, may be off the radio but he still has plenty to say.

Five months after he lost his weekday afternoon show on Evanston Broadcasting news/talk WCGO 1590-AM, Walsh just launched a twice-weekly podcast, “White Flag with Joe Walsh.” (Here is the link.)

It’s billed as a series of “passionate conversations” with notable personalities. “I don't want to talk to people I agree with,” Walsh explained. “I want to sit down and have civil, constructive conversation with people who think differently than I do.” Continue reading

Chicago Bulls sign multiyear radio renewal with The Score

Chuck Swirsky and Bill Wennington (Photo: Chicago Bulls)

With the incomparable Chuck Swirsky as play-by-play announcer alongside color analyst Bill Wennington, Chicago Bulls radio broadcasts will continue for years to come on Audacy sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, according to a renewal announced Monday.

Terms of the multiyear contract were not disclosed, but the agreement extends The Score’s run as radio flagship of the Bulls for all regular season and postseason games. The deal also calls for Swirsky to host a 15-minute pregame show and for a roster of others to host a 30-minute postgame show. Continue reading

WLS midday host Dan Bongino threatens to quit over Cumulus Media vaccine mandate

WLS AM 890

Cumulus Media, owner of news/talk WLS 890-AM and more than 400 other radio stations nationwide, is on a collision course with some of its biggest personalities over the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all employees.

Dan Bongino, who took over Rush Limbaugh’s coveted midday slot (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays) in May, is threatening to quit — even though he already was vaccinated on the advice of his doctors because he has Hodgkin's lymphoma.

“I’m not really happy with the company I work with right here,” Bongino told listeners last week. “I believe these vaccine mandates are unethical. I believe they’re immoral. I believe they don’t take into account the science of natural immunity due to a prior infection. I believe they’re broad-based and don’t take into account an individual circumstances of why they may or may not want to take a vaccine. And they’re antithetical to everything I believe in. Continue reading

Robservations: Trenier Ward joins ABC 7; Phil Kadner retires; Teri Arvesu heads Univision ‘social impact’

Trenier Ward

Robservations on the media beat:

Trenier Ward, a multimedia journalist who grew up in Chicago and graduated from Northern Illinois University, is coming home to join ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as a per diem reporter, starting Monday. Ward most recently was a reporter for WBAL, the NBC affiliate in Baltimore. Earlier he worked for stations in Louisville, Kentucky; Huntsville, Alabama; and Davenport, Iowa. "When I set out on this journey to be a TV journalist, I honestly never expected a path would be paved back to my home city to work as a reporter at its No. 1 news station," Ward tweeted. "I'm so overwhelmed. I am grateful for this opportunity to share the stories of my city where my dream first manifested as a child — watching this very station with my mother."

Continue reading