Published on Saturday, 09 June 2012 13:45
This weekend's News & Notes contains another heaping handful of local media stories, including: the upcoming sale of WKIF-FM; the upcoming corporate structure change at Tribune Company; a special on WGN-TV & WGN America tonight; a special investigation on WGN-TV/CLTV Monday & Tuesday; a new addition to Nick Digilio's show each Friday; happy news for Kevin Matthews; scary news for Doug Daniels; devastatingly sad news for Bo Reynolds; and the passing of Richard Crowe. It can all be read right here...
* * It has been rumored for months that the Newsweb Corporation had been quietly and "unofficially" shopping around its Chicagoland FM radio stations. CRM has learned that the first of the Newsweb FMs is now under contract, and is awaiting closing. A few days ago, Milner Broadcasting Enterprises, which is based in
Bourbonnais, IL and owns three radio stations south of Chicago, has agreed to purchase WKIF-FM in Kankakee, IL. Closing date and purchase price* are not yet revealed. The staff was told this week that once the closing occurs, they will be out of a job, which tends to point to a format change. Currently, WKIF-FM broadcasts Newsweb's Nine FM "We Play Anything" format, which it has aired since December 2008. Newsweb has owned the station since June 2004. Another station Newsweb purchased in 2004, WDEK-FM, now known as WCPY-FM, is also rumored to be currently under negotiation with another company and could be sold in the coming months.
*UPDATE 6/11/12: The purchase price for WKIF-FM is $1 million.
* * Thursday & Friday, Chicago-based media corporation Tribune Company and its many creditors appeared in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, hoping that Judge Kevin Carey would finally approve a reorganization plan. Judge Carey is putting the finishing touches on his ruling and has said that he will reveal it in approximately three weeks (early July). This will allow the company to finally exit the bankruptcy it has been mired in for 3.5 years, costing over $400 million in legal fees. Once approved by the federal government, this plan will also assign ownership to the largest creditors -- JPMorgan Chase, Angelo, Gordon & Co., and Oaktree Capital Management -- who will then place new people in charge of all of the Tribune-owned properties. Soon after, it is expected that the new ownership will possibly begin selling off parts of the company -- including Tribune Broadcasting -- for quick cash.
* * Tonight at 9:30pm, WGN-TV will air a 30 minute special documenting the transformation and move of Children's Memorial Hospital into the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. The special presentation, hosted by WGN News anchor and Medical Watch reporter Dina Bair, will take a look at the move of approximately 200 children and the new 23-story, $855 million facility that has been in the making for more than two years. The special will also air nationally on WGN America.
* * Speaking of specials on WGN-TV... On Monday & Tuesday, the WGN News at Nine will have a two-part "Cover Story" feature that will take an in-depth look at human sex trafficking in Chicago. In "Buying Sex, Selling Kids," WGN-TV reporter/anchor Lourdes Duarte will examine how local law enforcement and the FBI are working to find new ways to tackle the growing problem, as Chicago is considered a hub for human sex trafficking with as many as 25,000 girls and women being forced into prostitution. On Tuesday at 10:00pm, immediately following the WGN News at Nine, cable sister-station CLTV will present a live hour-long call-in discussion on the topic with Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.
* * Suzy Singh, the Culinary Director/Creative Chef of Ashyana Banquets, has signed on to be a new weekly contributor to WGN-AM's Nick Digilio show. She will now be heard each Friday night, with her first regular Friday appearance coming last night. Digilio & Singh will talk about FOX-TV's "MasterChef" (of which, she was a contestant on last season) and local food events.
* * Congratulations to former Chicago radio superstar and now Dahl Network podcaster Kevin Matthews. His daughter Teage gave birth to a baby girl yesterday, making him now Grandpa Kev. Best wishes to the growing family tree! (There's no truth to the rumor that the baby resembles Jimmy Shorts.)
* * Best wishes to former NextMedia Operations Manager and Program Director Doug Daniels (WZSR-FM/WWYW-FM). Daniels (real name: Douglas Holzmeier) is in a hospital in Washington with numerous health issues, including inflammation of the pancreas, jaundice, gallstones, and will soon have to have gallbladder surgery. He is resting comfortably now and seems to be on the road to recovery.
* * Sincere condolences go out to former WBBM-FM & WJMK-FM personality Bo Reynolds. This week, Bo Reynold's son Devin suddenly passed away. Services were held yesterday.
* * Each October, there was one man who was a fixture on Chicago radio: Chicago's ghost hunter, Richard Crowe. He was frequent radio guest throughout the year on various shows, but it was the weeks leading up to Halloween each year where it seemed every morning & evening show wanted him on. Starting in the late 70s, Mr. Crowe began being a regular guest on Eddie "Chicago Ed" Schwartz's overnight show on WIND-AM. More recently, he was a frequent guest on WGN-AM's Steve King & Johnnie Putman show, and their shows on WIND-AM before that, developing a close personal relationship with the couple. In fact, as Steve King writes on his latest blog
, Richard Crowe was present at the wedding of Steve & Johnnie and even caught the bride's garter. Crowe had been giving guided bus tours of Chicago's famous haunted spots since the mis-1970s. Earlier this week, Mr. Crowe passed away at the age of 64 from pancreatic cancer. Services for Mr. Crowe will be on Monday, and on Tuesday, he will be buried at Resurrection Cemetery, home of the most famous local ghost "Resurrection Mary," a story Crowe helped make popular. Condolences go out to his many family members, friends and fans.