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News & Notes: Tribune Broadcasting; WXRT; Maya Gavin; Dave Shakes; Ty Bentli; Steve Dahl; Colleen Kelly; Bill Kurtis; More

It's a baker's dozen of local media News & Notes today, including: Tribune Broadcasting prepares for new owners; WXRT flashes back to the 70s; Cliff Kelley talks with Tom Ricketts; Maya Gavin moves to WVON-AM; WLPR-FM picks up a new NPR show; Don Clark is promoted by ICB; Edgar Ybarra is hired by ICB; Dave Shakes gets a new programming job; Ty Bentli loses his radio job; Steve Dahl gets out of his basement; Colleen Kelly looks to have a winner of a TV show; Bill Kurtis lends his voice to a movie preview; and Eddie Blazonczyk passes away. All the details are just below.

* * In preparation for its upcoming corporate reorganization and exit from bankruptcy, Chicago-based media giant Tribune Company has been making some internal changes, streamlining its structure for the probable sale of its properties after the creditors take over ownership. This is all according to a report this week by Lynne Marek in Crain's Chicago Business. Among the possible buyers for all or part of Tribune Broadcasting is St. Paul-based Hubbard Broadcasting. Locally, Tribune Broadcasting owns WGN-AM, WGN-TV, and CLTV, along with the national stations based out of Chicago, WGN America and Antenna TV. Hubbard Broadcast already owns WTMX-FM, WILV-FM and WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM in Chicago, as well as radio stations in five other markets and 12 television stations. A judge is scheduled to rule on the Tribune Company's reorganization plan early next month.


* * Just as they did last month with a full weekend of music & memories from the 1980s, WXRT-FM will be flashing back to a different decade this coming weekend. As part of their four-month salute to their 40th anniversary, starting tomorrow morning on 93.1 FM will be the "XRT 4D Flashback Weekend: The 1970s." Almost all weekend long, WXRT-FM will feature 1970s music, excerpts of historic WXRT programming from its inaugural decade, audio essays contributed by the WXRT airstaff past & present, and much more. The flashback weekend begins Friday morning at 9:00am and runs until Midnight. Then, the next day, the weekly program "Saturday Morning Flashback" (with guest host Frank E. Lee) will focus on the year 1977 from 8:00am-Noon. From Noon-Midnight will be more of the "XRT 4D Flashback Weekend." On Sunday, it will run from 10:00am-7:00pm, followed by a special 70s edition of "Local Anesthetic" with host Richard Milne and guests Bill Quateman and Heartsfield, running until 7:30pm.


* * In an effort to distance himself controversy caused by father, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts will be granting an exclusive interview with WVON-AM's Cliff Kelley this afternoon. The Ricketts' family patriarch Joe Ricketts, was tied to a negative & scandalous anti-Obama Super PAC commercial, the goal of which was to defame the current President. Joe Ricketts has nothing to do with the Chicago Cubs organization, but his children that own & run the Chicago Cubs have had to deal with a backlash of negative publicity due to their father's actions. This will be Tom Rickett's first time appearing on WVON-AM, where he is expected to try and distance the Cubs organization from the anti-Obama controversy caused by his father. Cliff Kelley's radio show airs on AM 1690 from 3:00pm-7:00pm. Tom Ricketts will also be making the rounds on other radio talks shows, including appearing on WSCR-AM/The Score's "Mully & Hanley" show Friday morning after 8:00am.


* * Maya Gavin has left her role as weekend overnight host on WSCR-AM and also ended "The Maya Gavin Show" Internet radio program/podcast on BlogTalkRadio. This is because she is joining WVON-AM's Sunday night show "Stats & Stilettos" as its new co-host, starting June 3rd. She will be co-hosting with Thaisa Gee and replacing Faruq Basir. (Basir remains with the show as a producer and will contribute to the conversations periodically.) The sports talk show airs Sundays from 9:00pm-11:00pm on AM 1690. Gavin had previously filled in as co-host on the show a couple of times, before being asked to make it permanent.


* * WLPR-FM/89.1 FM The Lakeshore, unveiled another new NPR show to their lineup yesterday, called "Ask Me Another." The new show will air every Tuesday night at 6:00pm through the summer months. "Ask Me Another" is a 60 minute game show, hosted by Ophira Eisenberg and done before a live audience, that is being described as a "younger, hipper, more musically informed take on 'Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.'" WLPR-FM is the only radio station in the Chicagoland market to carry the new program.


* * Don Clark has been promoted from the Director of Career Services at Illinois Center for Broadcasting's Lombard campus to being the the Director of Career Services at ICB's downtown Chicago campus. Most will remember Don Clark as the former Program Director and morning show host on northwest Indiana's WZVN-FM/Z107.1. He now enjoys the much less stressful and more fulling job of helping ICB graduates find work in the media industry. The promotion to the Chicago campus is also a much easier commute for Clark who still lives in northwestern Indiana.


* * Edgar "Eddie" Ybarra has announced that he has been hired by the Illinois Center for Broadcasting's Lombard campus as its new Director of Career Services, replacing Don Clark. In addition to helping ICB graduates find work, Ybarra will continue his weekend jobs as a producer for WGN-AM and DJ for WZOK-FM (Rockford). He previously was a DJ for suburban Chicago stations WVIV-FM, WKIE-FM, and WXXY-FM, as well as a very quick stint (only 2.5 days) as a Program Director at WSSR-FM & WRXQ-FM. He also has extensive radio experience working in other markets.


* * One former Chicago programmer has replaced another. When former WKSC-FM PD Rick Gillette decided to leave his job as PD of KZON-FM & KOOL-FM in Phoenix, AZ to accept a PD position in New York less than two months ago, that created a vacancy in Phoenix. Replacing him as of this week is former WBBM-FM PD Dave Shakes. From 1990-1993, Shakes was the man behind B96, earning him a Marconi Award from the NAB and a Program Director of the Year Award from Billboard magazine. It was Shakes that brought in talents like George McFly and was able to fight off a challenge from an obnoxious out-of-town programmer named Randy Michaels, who tried to steal away B96's audience with "Z95," "Hell 94.7" and "Hot 94.7," ultimately causing Randy Michaels to fail badly and be forced from town.


* * Former WKSC-FM Ty Bentli is gone from his radio job at Los Angeles' KBIG-FM. He left Chicago's Kiss FM for LA in the late summer of 2010. At the time, it appeared that the extremely-likable Bentli was being groomed by Clear Channel for bigger & better things. Less than two years later, it seems Clear Channel no longer feels that way. So where will Bentli resurface next...?


* * There are still a few General Admission tickets left for Steve Dahl's "Out of the Basement Tour," which comes to the Park West on June 2nd, which is one week from Saturday. Joining Steve Dahl on stage that night will be Kevin Matthews, Buzz Kilman, Dag Juhlin, Brendan Greeley, Tami Sagher, and Frank Sennett. The event is promising a night of comedy, classic Steve Dahl music, and surprises. Tickets can be purchased online at this link HERE.


* * Producers of the new travel series, "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly," are absolutely thrilled with just how well received the pilot episode was. The program which had its first airing on WTTW-TV on May 4th, with two encore presentations later that weekend, drew top ratings in Chicago. The Friday evening premier was seen live by over 29,000 households (35,000 including DVR viewing), according to Neilsen ratings. The Saturday morning repeat was the #2 watched show in all of Chicago during its time slot. For the full weekend, "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly" was seen live by over 54,000 households -- estimated to be seen by by over 61,000 people ages 18+. When DVR viewing gets added to those figures, the numbers jump to over 63,000 households and over 80,000 Persons 18+ delivered. The Chicago-produced show will be syndicated to PBS stations nationwide and seen on a weekly basis starting in Spring 2013.


* * WBBM-TV news anchor Bill Kurtis provided his voice as the narrator for the 2004 comedy film "Anchorman." Now that production is underway on the sequel, "Anchorman: The Legend Continues," it appears that Bill Kurtis will once again be lending his distinctive vocals to the film. A new trailer, released exclusively to the website Funny or Die this week, has Kurtis once again narrating. The funny clip can be seen HERE. The new film is tentatively scheduled to be released in Summer 2013.


* * Condolences to the family and fans of Chicago Polka star Eddie Blazonczyk Sr., who passed away Monday at the age of 70 from what is being described as natural causes. He had been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards and won his first in 1986. Eddie Blazonczyk and his wife also hosted Polka radio shows on Chicago's WCEV-AM and WPNA-AM. Funeral services will be held tomorrow.


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