Robservations: Cubs may go after cord-cutters; Wes Ward to lead Moody Radio; Mariam Sobh launches podcast

Wrigley Field

Robservations on the media beat:

It took Josh Kosman, veteran business reporter for Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, to break the news about the latest deal being cooked up between the Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcasting. Already partners in the Marquee Sports Network, the Ricketts Family gold mine and Sinclair are now looking to cash in on cord-cutters by launching “a streaming service for customers without a cable or satellite-TV subscription,” according to Kosman, who reported the plan faces opposition from Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. (Here is the link.) “We’re always exploring options,” Michael McCarthy, general manager of Marquee Sports Network, told Kosman. “There is nothing definite to announce.”

Wes Ward

Wes Ward, who served as national program director for Moody Radio in the '90s, is returning this week to become head of the Chicago-based Christian radio network owned by Moody Bible Institute. As vice president of Moody Radio, he replaces Doug Hastings, who retired after 40 years with the network. “Wes brings significant experience to Moody Radio,” said Mark Wagner, chief operating officer at Moody Bible Institute. “His background both in broadcasting as well as leadership roles in key content-driven ministries, such as Revive Our Hearts, makes him an ideal candidate to become the next leader of Moody Radio.”

Mariam Sobh

Mariam Sobh, former news anchor at Audacy all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, just launched "News with a Bite," a new podcast in collaboration with Todd Manley of EarSight Studios. (Here is the link.) In addition to highlighting news headlines with Sobh's commentary, the podcast features sketches, comedy songs and in-depth interviews with a variety of guests. Sobh, who also performs standup comedy, worked as a reporter for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM and Illinois Radio Network before her five-year run at WBBM Newsradio, which ended in 2019.

Jim Avila

A belated tip of the hat to Jim Avila, who retired from day-to-day reporting duties as ABC News senior national correspondent at the end of 2021. He joined ABC News in 2000 and served as the first Latino White House correspondent from 2012 to 2016. Earlier he was a national correspondent for NBC News. That followed a 14-year run in Chicago TV news — first at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and later at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. "I will see you around, I am not quitting journalism and will continue occasional work at '20/20' and other long-form platforms here and elsewhere," Avila told colleagues in an email. "So long, it has been an honor and a pleasure."

Radio DePaul

Radio DePaul, the online student radio station of DePaul University, will host its 11th annual 48-hour "Rock-the-Clock" marathon this weekend to raise money for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. The event will start Friday at 2 p.m. and run through Sunday at 2 p.m. (Here is the link to donate.) Last year's radiothon set a record by raising more than $3,000. Radio DePaul was named best college radio station in the country by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System in 2020.

Bob Bateman

Former Chicago radio personality Bob Bateman died January 6 in Hudsonville, Michigan, after suffering a heart attack, according to family. He was 69. Best known here as afternoon host on the former WFYR in the 1980s, he also worked in production and programming at WLS 890-AM. Bateman, who grew up near Dubuque, Iowa, held on-air jobs in the Quad Cities, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Milwaukee as well. He most recently hosted afternoons at WYZO in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Friday’s comment of the day: Trisha Andrews: Must be a field day for women in sports media. First Peggy [Kusinski] and Dionne [Miller] hosting a weekend show on ESPN 1000, and Maddie Lee becoming the new Cubs beat reporter for the Sun-Times. Congratulations to all three of them.