Published on Thursday, 22 March 2012 08:00
Today's News & Notes is a baker's dozen of local media stories, including: emptiness at Harpo Studios; the "Boogie" is back courtesy of John Records Landecker; Kiss FM unveils its Fantabuloso 2012 show; Q101.com gets ready to unveil its Jamboree 2012 show; WGN-AM has a nice soundtrack to its Cubs promos; Rene Morales is singing "Viva Las Vegas" this week; Moody Radio to spread the word of a Chicago Pastor nationwide; Kimbriell Kelly gains a new co-hosting job; Cynthia Bowers loses her Chicago TV job; Jerry Pedroza keeps his job, but has to move to Dallas; Barry Mayo voluntarily leaves his job; and the sad passing of a pair of great Chicago media men, Lacy J. Banks and Norman Mark. All of the details are just below...
* * At the end of last week, OWN, Oprah Winfrey's cable/satellite television network, announced the cancellation of "The Rosie Show." There had been recent speculation that the show would be moving from Chicago's Harpo Studios to New York in the late spring. However, the extremely low-rated show did not warrant an expensive move across country. Instead, host Rosie O'Donnell recorded her final show here in Chicago on this past Tuesday, which will air on March 30th. While the cancellation of a low-rated TV show is not news, the loss of jobs for potentially a couple hundred Chicago television staffers because of the cancellation is news. Harpo is not releasing the number of people they will be laying off in Chicago as of this week, but it is said to be sizable. The staffers received notice this Monday about their fate. At present, Harpo Studios will remain open, as the Chicago location still does some editing and production work for OWN. However, this production work could easily be transferred to OWN offices in California, making it a less expensive task for the company. The West Loop land that Harpo Studios sits on could be much more valuable to the company than the expense of keeping the barely-used studios open this summer. It is not inconceivable that "Oprah Winfrey Way"
could be leading drivers to a large gym & retail center or townhome complex by the summer of 2013, and not Harpo Studios. Incidentally, 30 workers at the OWN Los Angeles offices were also laid off this week, further showing signs that the struggling network is in trouble.
* * As first mentioned HERE
less than two weeks ago, John Records Landecker brought back his famous phone caller segment from WLS Musicradio's 70s heyday, "Boogie Check." It graced the airwaves of Chicago radio for the first time in a great many years on Tuesday night at 9:18pm on WLS-FM. All together now... Boogie Check, Boogie Check, Ooooh, Aaaah!
* * Tickets went on sale yesterday for WKSC-FM/103.5 Kiss FM's annual summer concert, Fantabuloso. This year the line-up includes Enrique Iglesias, Gym Class Heroes, B.O.B., The Wanted, Karmin, Cobra Starship, Havana Brown, Neon Hitch, Dev, and Outasight. The concert will take place once again at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont on Friday May 18th. Tickets for the show range between $65.65 and $106.65 (including fees) and can be purchased at this link HERE
* * Speaking of annual concerts, Q101.com
is bringing back Q101's big annual summer show Jamboree. This year's Jamboree 2012 will be a two-day outdoor concert experience, taking place on Labor Day weekend -- September 1st and 2nd. The line-up of the show has not yet been revealed. Chicago's very own Rise Against and 90s superstars No Doubt are rumored to be some of the show's headliners though. More details, including concert location, ticket prices, ticket sales date, and of course acts, will be revealed in the coming weeks.
* * Even though "Let's Go Cubbies" by The Fold won WGN's Cubs Song Contest
, easily beating out its two competitors, "Cubs Win" by 17 Candle and "Rockin' Right at Wrigley" by Derrick Procell, it may not be the last you hear of those other songs. They have already been used some as music for WGN-AM Cubs Spring Training game broadcasts. They may also be used some inside of promos for Cubs baseball on WGN Radio throughout the regular season. Everybody's a winner!
* * Rene Morales, who has been with Univision Communications Chicago for the last 8 years, most recently as its Local Sales Manager, was given a huge promotion this week. Morales has been named as the Vice President and General Manager for the cluster of Univision radio stations in Las Vegas. Prior to his time with Univision, Morales was the Local Sales Manager for WSNS-TV/Telemundo Chicago. He started his sales career with the Tribune Company selling for the print & cable divisions. He also was very instrumental in the starting of the Tribune's Spanish-language newspaper Hoy! (first called Exito!).
* * Chicago's Moody Radio had been airing "Treasured Truth for Troubling Times with Pastor James Ford" weekly in evenings on WMBI-FM and a few other Moody-owned stations. The urban praise show with the Chicago south side pastor was highly received so Moody Radio has turned it into a fully syndicated, daily program, which will soon air on all 36 of their national radio stations. The 24 minute syndicated show with the slightly shorter name of "Treasured Truth with Pastor James Ford" will be heard nationally starting April 2nd.
* * Kimbriell Kelly has been named as the new co-host of WPWR-TV's weekly public affairs show & local issues talk show "Perspectives." Kelly is also the co-host for WBEW-FM's "The Barbershop Show," working alongside Chicago radio veteran Richard Steele. Her true job is that of Editor and Interim Publisher of The Chicago Reporter. "Perspectives" is shown each Sunday at Noon on WPWR-TV/My50. Longtime host Monique Caradine remains with show, as well.
* * CBS News released Cynthia Bowers, who had been a CBS News Correspondent based in Chicago since January 1999. No reason has yet been given for the move. Technician Dave Thomas was also released from the CBS Chicago Bureau.
* * Jerry (Gerardo) Pedroza, Special Projects Photojournalist for WBBM-TV since June 2002, has been promoted to the CBS News Dallas Bureau. Prior to his time with WBBM-TV & CBS, Pedroza worked for almost 5 years as a photojournalist with WGN-TV.
* * Former Chicago radio programming genius Barry Mayo resigned as President of Radio One, Inc. to pursue new opportunities. Mayo had been with the broadcasting company as President since 2007. Locally, he is known as the program director that turned WGCI-FM into the #1 rated station in Chicago in the late 70's and throughout the 80s, as well as a nationally known super station. Years later, after working his magic in other markets, he returned to Chicago, this time as part of an ownership group that bought WBMX-FM and turned it into Urban AC/Dusties powerhouse WVAZ-FM/V103. He and his group also purchased WJPC-FM/AM from Johnson Publishing in the late 80s. Throughout his career, most everything he has touched has seemingly turned to gold, making him one of the most well-respected men, not just in Urban radio, but in all of radio. Barry Mayo also sits on the Board of Trustees for Columbia College Chicago.
* * Beloved Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter Lacy J. Banks passed away yesterday at the age of 68 after many years of illness. He was the longest-tenured sportswriter employed by the Chicago Sun-Times, having been there since 1972, as well as the first African-American sportswriter for the paper. In addition to being a top sportswriter for 40 years, he was also a Baptist preacher since he was 18 years old. A few years back, Banks had to deal with numerous serious health problems, including prostate cancer, brain cancer, and heart disease. Although he beat cancer, he could not beat his failing heart. Banks is survived by his wife of 43 years and three daughters.
* * Longtime Chicago media star Norman Mark also passed away this week at the age of 72, after a three year battle with cancer (multiple myeloma - a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow). For many years in his native Chicago, Mark had been a newspaper media & TV columnist, local news commentator, TV special host, radio personality and more. In the late 70s and early 80s, he hosted radio talk shows on WAIT-AM and WIND-AM. From 1983 until 2003, he worked with WMAQ-TV, including as the entertainment reporter & reviewer with his popular "Norman's Mark" newscast segment, a daily talk show, a weekend show, and specials. He won an Emmy Award for his Chicago television work. As a long-running journalist for the Chicago Daily News, he was the media columnist and TV reviewer, earning himself numerous awards for journalistic excellence, including a Peter Lisagor Award. After nearly 60 years of dealing with Chicago winters, Norman Mark moved to the sunny southwest, where he was a freelance wine and film reviewer, and wrote a couple of blogs. He also worked for a while as a radio reporter & anchor in the Palm Springs, CA area. In addition to his media work, he was an author of seven novels. Mark was known around Chicago as being one of the nicest men in the media business, who was completely serious behind a microphone or typewriter, but had a tremendous sense of witty humor and infectious laugh when dealing with him personally. He is survived by his wife of 23 years and his three children.