Robservations: WLS adds Pete McMurray to weekends; Marion Brooks hosts Emmett Till doc; Tribune promotes Amanda Kaschube

Pete McMurray

Robservations on the media beat:

Look for longtime Chicago radio personality Pete McMurray to turn up this weekend with a new show on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.  It will air from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturdays. Last heard here on Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM, McMurray launched his latest venture in September, lining up stations in Peoria, Joliet, Bloomington, and Rockford, Illinois; Valparaiso, Indiana; and Benton Harbor, Michigan. The addition of ratings desert WLS will give McMurray a seventh outlet for the show. Since December, when Ramblin’ Ray Stevens and Wendy Snyder dropped their weekly gabfest on WLS, the two-hour slot has been listed as the best of morning host Bruce St. James and afternoon host John Howell. Stevens and Snyder continue as fill-in hosts.

Marion Brooks

Black History Month brings a notable documentary to and the Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV streaming channels of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, hosted by news anchor Marion Brooks. “The Lost Story of Emmett Till: The Universal Child” recalls the 1955 lynching of a Black teenager from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi and tells how his murder became a key story in the Civil Rights Movement. (Here is the link.) “This heinous crime happened 66 years ago, and the story is still relevant today,” Brooks said. “The world’s shock of Emmett Till’s open casket photograph is a parallel to the world’s shock of the George Floyd video. It’s important to understand our history as we look to heal and grow.” Much of the content is credited to NBC 5’s “Emmett Till: The Murder and the Movement,” a 1985 documentary written by Rich Samuels and produced by Anna Vasser.

Amanda Kaschube

Amanda Kaschube, sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, was promoted Tuesday to director of sports and audience strategy. She'll continue to lead the sports department with senior content editor Jeremy Mikula. Calling Kaschube "a natural fit for this role," Tribune executive editor Mitch Pugh wrote in an email to staff: "She has helped transform her team into one of the most audience savvy sports departments in the country, driving a significant number of new digital subscribers each year. In her new role, she will draw from that experience to help shape audience strategies and training for folks across the newsroom." Kaschube joined the Tribune in 2002 and served as senior digital news editor. She was named director of content/sports in 2019.


Four new members — all women — were elected this week to the board of trustees of Window to the World Communications Inc., parent company of public TV WTTW-Channel 11 and classical music WFMT 98.7-FM. They are: Jessica G. Adams, a partner and vice president of people at Brad's Deals; Sidney Dillard, partner and head of corporate investment banking division at Loop Capital; Esther “E.T.” Franklin, chief strategy/cultural fluency officer at Spark Foundry; and Sasha Gerritson, opera director for Northeastern Illinois University.

Crain Communications

Crain Communications, parent company of Crain’s Chicago Business, has announced its investment as a minority stakeholder in Front Office Sports, a New York-based media brand covering the business of sports. Crain will partner with the company on expansion, operations and innovating across media. “We couldn’t be more excited about our investment in Front Office Sports,” said KC Crain, president and CEO of Crain Communications. “We love the space they expertly cover, and their team is great to work with — we know there’s a lot we can learn from each other. As Crain continues to build new businesses around data and digital audiences, FOS is a perfect fit.”

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Dennis Fisher: The only way to watch baseball in most markets is by paying a huge cable or satellite bill. Fans are declining to do that. As a result baseball is becoming an afterthought that is not creating a new generation of fans. Streaming games would allow fans to follow their team without paying the $150 a month satellite and cable bill required to get hundreds of channels no one watches. Streaming is a perfect solution to this problem but the commissioner is asleep at the wheel. By the way, the Cubs and every other team are capable of concentrating on both streaming and acquiring talent. You might be incapable of multi-tasking - they are not.