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News & Notes: Jeffrey Zaslow; Brotha Fred's Neighborhood; WVAZ; Don & Roma/Bob Sirott; Mancow; WFLD; Anna Davlantes; Don Cornelius; Much More

This weekend's News & Notes has a cool dozen local media news items, including: the sad passing of Jeffrey "Zazz" Zaslow; Gerould Kern's talk of a Tribune website paywall; More on the exit of WKSC-FM's David L; "Brotha Fred's Neighborhood" also loses "Clairissa Jenkins"; WVAZ-FM gains a new overnight show; Don Wade & Roma and Bob Sirott are both featured by Radio Ink; Mancow Muller talks TV; John Gregory talks sports; Renee DuBay is back on the air; WFLD-TV may be making more executive changes; Anna Davlantes is back from maternity leave; and more on the memorial for Don Cornelius. All of the details are right here...

* * Former Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist Jeffrey Zaslow has died at the age of only 53. According to police reports yesterday, he lost control of his car on a snowy highway in Warner Township, MI, causing it to be struck by a truck, killing him. A reporter for the Wall Street Journal from 1983 to 1987, the then-Chicago-based writer entered a Chicago Sun-Times contest to find a replacement for exiting advice columnist Ann Landers. He did so mainly to get insight to the process so he could write about it for the WSJ. Instead, he beat out over 12,000 applicants and was one of two people to win the job. (The other was Diane Crowley, the daughter of Ruth Crowley, who used to write Ann Landers' columns. Diane Crowley only lasted a few years.) In 1987, at the age of 29, Zaslow began writing the "All That Zazz" column for the Chicago Sun-Times and was a popular columnist for the newspaper until being let go in 2001 in a cost-cutting move. His first year with the newspaper, he started a Christmas charity for children, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for needy kids over the years. In 1989, he started up his annual "Zazz Bash." The party for singles (often thrown in conjunction with a local radio station like WTMX-FM) had a great many thousands of people show up each year and supposedly was instrumental in 78 marriages. The "Zazz Bash," called the world's largest singles party, also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities. In addition to his Sun-Times work, Zaslow also wrote for USA Weekend, the national Sunday newspaper supplement. After leaving the Sun-Times, he became a author, writing quite a few best-sellers, as well as a speaker. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.


* * According to Lynne Marek in Crain's Chicago Business this week, Gerould Kern, Senior Vice President and Editor of the Chicago Tribune, was speaking to a group at the Niagara Foundation in Chicago, when he revealed what many have known for some time. The Chicago Tribune will soon be charging for online access to its content. Kern did offer if there was a timetable or specific subscription plan decided upon. The full Crain's report can be found HERE. Inside sources tell CRM to not expect any official word of a paywall, or most likely in this case, a partial paywall, until sometime in the Spring. Chicago Tribune rival, the Chicago Sun-Times, began charging for online access in December.


* * Despite some public claims and "spin" by Clear Channel Chicago employees that David L's exit from "Brotha Fred's Neighborhood" was David L's decision and that he was not forced out of WKSC-FM by the company in a cost-cutting move, insiders are privately saying otherwise. While there were other factors involved, the saving of payroll money was top of the list, according to sources. The fact that all mentions of David L were removed from the website right away, new cropped & edited pictures were immediately placed on the website & social media pages, plus the fact that the company is not looking at replacing his role on the show, points to this being a decision made in advance, not hastily done, and largely motivated by money. David Livingston and his family are now planning on leaving Chicago and returning to the Charlotte, NC area.


* * It turns out that comedian David L's exit from the WKSC-FM morning show is not the only loss this week. Yet another comedic element is now gone from "Brotha Fred's Neighborhood." The station will no longer be airing the "Clairissa Jenkins' Phone Checks" prank phone call bits. The crazy & funny black woman "Clairissa Jenkins" is in actuality, the very white male and former WKQX-FM morning show co-host Steve Tingle. Last year, he turned his Q101 bit into a 2-minute syndicated segment distributed & syndicated by Envision Radio Networks to numerous radio stations nationwide. WKSC-FM had hoped to gain some former Q101 morning show listeners by airing Tingle's segments and signed up for the service with Envision late last summer. Five months after signing up to air the bits, 103.5 Kiss FM will now only have them placed on Brotha Fred's blog page on the WKSC-FM website. They can be heard on demand there, but not on the air any more.


* * Clear Channel Chicago has added a new syndicated feature to its overnight airwaves, this time on WVAZ-FM/V103. The "Keith Sweat Hotel" will air weeknights from 1:00am-5:00am and Saturdays from 1:00am-6:00am. The voice-tracked, prerecorded show hosted by 80s/90s R&B singer Keith Sweat will feature slower R&B songs from the 70s through more recent years, along with occasional special guests. The show is heard in various markets nationwide and is syndicated by the Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks.


* * The website for Radio Ink magazine this week has a pair of Chicago radio entries that are worth checking out. The first is a salute and interview with WLS-AM's Don & Roma, who discuss their incredible longevity with the station and their career together. That can be found at this link HERE. The second is a blog entry written by Chicago broadcasting great Bob Sirott. In it, Sirott talks about ways programmers can improve radio and points out much of what has gone wrong in radio in recent years. That excellent piece can be found at this link HERE.


* * In yet another online interview, Chicago's Mancow Muller claims he is close to a deal to star in four primetime television specials which could begin next month. It is a fairly typical Mancow interview, where he drops the name of William Shatner twice, mentions how his twin daughters have changed him twice, and does a lot of boasting, but the revaltion about possible TV specials is a new one. The interview can be found on the industry website AllAccess.com at this link HERE.


* * Congratulations to John Gregory. In addition to his role as writer and editor for WIQI-FM 101.1, Gregory has been named as a sports anchor for the Illinois Radio Network. He is now be delivering sports news updates to over 50 radio stations across central and southern Illinois each weekday morning. Pretty good for a young man who just graduated from Columbia College Chicago last year.


* * Congratulations to former Chicago radio personality Renee DuBay. After being let go from her job at Minneapolis, MN station WLTE-FM in December due to a format flip, DuBay has been on the beach... until this weekend. She has found new part-time work in Minneapolis and is now working weekends/fill-in at Hubbard-owned Hot AC station KSTP-FM/KS95. DuBay was a host on WTMX-FM/101.9 The Mix from May 2006-April 2008, first as a part-timer and then midday host. She also did some part-time weekend work for them in 2009.


* * Inside sources say that the next big shake-up at WFLD-TV will take place very soon, with attention now aimed at the mornings. It appears that Rehan "Ray" Aslam will be the next to go from FOX Chicago, as new Vice President and News Director Phyllis Schwartz looks find ways to improve the last place station's fortunes. Aslam has been the Executive Producer of the low-rated "Good Day Chicago" program since the start of last year. He previously was a producer of WFLD-TV's failed experimental newscast "The Ten," as well as for the 9:00pm newscast, but taken away from that role due to poor ratings and unhappiness by staffers. Morale on the morning show has supposedly been low for sometime, and of course, the television ratings have been even lower. An Executive Producer change, followed shortly afterward by a probable shake-up of on-air staffers, is in the cards for "Good Day Chicago." Rumor has it that Aslam has already talking with other local television stations about possible future employment.


* * Speaking of WFLD-TV's "Good Day Chicago," Anna Davlantes finally returns to the show on Monday morning after being off for the last two months on maternity leave. Her baby girl, Gabriella Britton was born over this past Thanksgiving weekend. Davlantes will be back co-anchoring the 7:00am-10:00am shift of the morning program, alongside Corey McPherrin.


* * Earlier this week, the Museum of Broadcast Communications held a public memorial for Don Cornelius, who had passed away on February 1st. The MBC's website now has a slideshow of photos from the event posted up, which can be seen HERE. The Chicago Sun-Times' Dave Hoekstra also wrote about the event, which can be read HERE.


CRM Website Information

The Chicagoland Radio & Media website (abbreviated as CRM) is a celebration of all things relating to Chicago-area media matters. CRM is a news source, a location for fans to voice their opinions, and an online museum of Chicago media's past and present, with a hopeful eye to its future. For the visitors, readers, and fans of the website, CRM is a both a resource and a release, both educational and an escape, and both factual and fun.

If it has a connection to Chicago area radio, television, print, and/or other forms of media -- information on it can be found here at ChicagolandRadioAndMedia.com!