Published on Thursday, 03 May 2012 15:51
Today's enormous News & Notes contains 16(!) local media news items, including: Jim Gudas exits WGN-AM; Susanna Negovan exits Michigan Avenue magazine; Medill School of Journalism finds a new Dean; Professor Sam Danna prepares to exit Loyola; Lisa Parker & NBC5 to gain a bigger investigative presence online; Colleen Kelly goes traveling; WCPT-AM adds and subtracts programming; WLTH-AM does a radiothon; WBBM-FM celebrates Cinco de Mayo; MJ Witt returns to WGN Radio; Mark Baggio exits B96's morning show; Rob Austin gets a new deal done; Erica Cobb gets a new job; Joey Epperson gets a new baby boy; Merlin Media adds some Smooth Jazz to its HD lineup; and Cumulus Media prepares to add some downstate radio stations. All of the many details are right here...
* * A Chicago news radio veteran of over 25 years is unfortunately out of a job as of today. Due to budget cuts, WGN-AM was forced to release midday news anchor Jim Gudas. He had been with the station since October 2006. Jim Gudas actually started out his radio news career in 1986 at WGN-AM as a part-time news writer, after being an intern with the station. From there, he went on to work as a newsman at WJOB-AM, WMAQ-AM (for 11 years), WBBM-AM, and few years working for Chicago-based radio syndication company Sound Targeting, Inc, before coming back to WGN-AM in 2006. There were absolutely no issues with Gudas or his work, whatsoever. The cutback was strictly financially-based.
* * Susanna Negovan is going back to the Sun-Times. Timothy P. Knight, CEO of Wrapports LLC, the owner of Sun-Times Media Holdings and the Chicago Sun-Times, announced yesterday
that Negovan has been hired to help launch a variety of media-related projects for Sun-Times Media Holdings print & online properties. Negovan previous worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a columnist from April 2001 to September 2008 (when she was known by maiden name of Susanna Homan, before marrying WGN-TV anchor/reporter Tom Negovan), penning the "Susanna's Night Out" society column, and for a short time, the "Shopping with Susanna" column. From 2005-2007, she was also a weekend talk show host on WCKG-FM, paired up with numerous different co-hosts. Since 2008, Negovan has been the Editor-in-Chief of Michigan Avenue magazine. She will be stepping down from that role to come back to the Sun-Times organization this month.
* * Medill School of Journalism Dean John Lavine announced last September that he would be retiring at the end of this school season, coming up in just a few weeks. This morning, Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism announced that Bradley Hamm, who is the current Dean of Indiana University's School of Journalism, will take over after Lavine's exit. Hamm has been Indiana's School of Journalism Dean for six years. Prior to that time, he worked as the Associate Dean at Elon University School of Communications in North Carolina.
* * Speaking of local universities of media learning... Loyola University's School of Communication Professor Sam Danna, Ph.D., is retiring at the end of this month after 42 years of teaching radio & media to students there. In addition to teaching classes, Prof. Danna long oversaw Loyola's radio station WLUW-FM (previously also known as WLUC-FM and WLT-FM). On Thursday, May 24th, alumni of his classes or from WLUW-FM are invited to attend a celebration for Prof. Danna's career at the school starting at 5:30pm at the School of Communication Lobby (51 E. Pearson, Water Tower Campus, Chicago). Those who wish to attend this free retirement party can register at this link HERE
* * In the coming weeks, look for WMAQ-TV's website to add a new investigative reporting section, giving a bright online spotlight on Lisa Parker and NBC5's "Target 5" consumer-investigative unit. The dedicated sub-website is part of an initiative at all seven of the NBC-owned & operated television stations to give a deeper commitment to investigative reporting. In addition to more local, investigative reporting on the newscasts, the new online section will feature more in-depth coverage to those stories, including supporting documents, informative graphics/maps, and videos, along with links for more information. WMAQ-TV recently
freed up investigative reporter Lisa Parker from her Saturday night anchor duties, so she could focus more time on her "Target 5" work, starting this week.
* * On Friday May 4th, WTTW-TV will air the pilot episode of "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly." This is the first of a new travel series that will explore locations throughout the country and abroad. The 30 minute show is hosted and produced by Colleen Kelly, the co-creator of the Emmy-winning local entertainment magazine show "24/7 Chicago." The Chicago-based crew decided to start the show with the city they know best: Chicago, IL. "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly" premieres tomorrow night at 8:30pm, with two encore showings this weekend: Saturday at 11:00am and Sunday at 5:30pm. The goal is to have this locally-produced show syndicated to PBS stations nationwide.
* * WCPT-AM, and its FM simulcasts, added a new show to its lineup this week, "Rebuild America" with host Jeff Santos. It now airs in the prime afternoon time slot of 4:00pm-6:00pm. The radio program talks with entrepreneurs, environmentalists, politicians, union representatives, and business leaders about subjects such as job creation. So far, the reaction from WCPT-AM fans has been strongly negative
, as one hour each was taken away from Thom Hartmann and Norman Goldman's shows to make room for Jeff Santos' rather low-key show.
* * Gary, IN's WLTH-AM 1370 is hosting a radiothon on Friday morning from 6:00am-Noon to support the Urban League of Northwest Indiana. The station will be broadcasting live from the Urban League office at 3101 Broadway in Gary. Listeners may call in or stop by the Urban League of Northwest Indiana office to pledge money.
* * WBBM-FM/B96 will be broadcasting live on Saturday night from 6:00pm-10:00pm at Shenanigans House of Beer, located at 16 W. Division in Chicago for a Cinco de Mayo party. For those in attendance, live music will start at 8:00pm, with Kevin Flynn & the Avondale Ramblers, followed by Ghosthouse. There will an authentic mariachi band, roaming throughout the "Cinco Division" bars and other surprises, as well. There is no cover charge Saturday night.
* * One month ago, WGN-AM gave a try-out in the overnight hours to a new host, MJ Witt
, creating a great deal of excitement & interest from those who heard the programs. For the many people who missed MJ Witt's hosting debut, but wanted to check out her work, she will be making a return this weekend. MJ Witt will be back on WGN Radio Saturday night, May 5th, doing a fill-in show from 11:00pm-2:00am.
* * Mark Baggio, who has been a producer with WBBM-FM/B96 since April 2006, is making a change. At the end of next week, Baggio will be voluntarily saying goodbye to producing the J Niice & Julian morning show. Instead, he will be taking on new challenges and moving into new positions within B96, working under the program director and music director.
* * Speaking of former B96 morning show producers... Rob Austin, Vice President of Music and Operations at JamTraxx Media, the Chicagoland-based radio syndicator and mixshow provider, announced that the company has signed a multi-year extension deal with USRN (United Stations Radio Networks). USRN will now continue to be allowed to sell network commercial time for JamTraxx and RadioMixes.com programming. Austin is a Chicago radio veteran of 12 years, who may be best remembered as the longtime producer for Eddie & Jobo's morning show on WBBM-FM. JamTraxx Media's President/CEO is Joe Delfin, aka "Jammin' Down JD," the former personality from Energy 92.7/92.5 and a top club DJ.
* * Yet another former B96 morning show person has something new to announce. Erica Cobb, who was a co-host on the Eddie & Jobo morning show from 2005-2008, has a new job. She has been hired by Marc Berman's TV Media Insights website and is now delivering weekly entertainment and gossip reports. To see her first report for TVMediaInsights.com, visit this link HERE
. New E-Reports with Erica Cobb are posted up each Monday. In addition to her time on WBBM-FM, Cobb also worked as a part-timer (and an intern before that) at WKSC-FM. Since January 2009, the Chicago native has been living and working in Denver, CO and is currently seeking her next radio opportunity.
* * Congratulations to former WCKS-FM/Fresh 105.9 Music Director/Assistant Program Director Joey Epperson. Joey and his fiance Meghan are now the proud parents of of their first child, a big boy named Timothy James Epperson. Best wishes to the growing family!
* * After removing WLFM-LP's Smooth AC format from the 87.7 airwaves on Monday, Merlin Media is doing a little something to appease some of the upset fans. For the incredibly tiny percentage of people who actually own and use HD Radios, Merlin Media's WLUP-HD3 will soon begin to stream Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network programming. The weak, second HD channel of WLUP-FM's will start the Smooth Jazz broadcasting next Monday, May 7th. This will just be the California-based syndicated programming, with no local hosts or shows.
UPDATE 5/4/12: The Smooth Jazz stream on WLUP-HD3 begun earlier today. No need to wait until Monday.
* * Cumulus Media, owners of WLS-AM & WLS-FM locally, will be picking up many more stations in Illinois. The company is giving up 55 radio stations in 11 markets to radio station owner Townsquare Media. In exchange, Townsquare Media is giving Cumulus Media $116 million in cash and all of its radio stations in downstate Peoria and Bloomington. If approved, the transaction should close in late summer. Cumulus Media will now be picking up the following Peoria stations: WZPW-FM 92.3, WGLO-FM 95.5, WFYR-FM 97.3 (with the famous Chicago call letters from the past), WIXO-FM 105.7, and WVEL-AM 1140, as well as the Bloomington stations: WJBC-AM 1230/WJBC-FM 93.7, WJEZ-FM 98.9, WBNQ-FM 101.5, and WBWN-FM 104.1. As the ownership has not yet been transferred from one company to another, it is too soon to know for sure if these stations will be programmed remotely from Chicago, as many are speculating.