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News & Notes: Amy Jacobson; WMAQ-TV; WGN-TV; Todd Manley; WGN-AM; Simon Badinter; Ken Cocker; Me-TV; Sun-Times; More

This holiday weekend's News & Notes features 16 big local media news stories, including: Amy Jacobson loses in court; WMAQ-TV airs a Mexican telenovela; WGN-TV wins a Stanley Cup in ratings; Todd Manley returning to WGN-AM; WGN-AM returning to live & local 24/7; Simon Badinter gets a new name and new radio show; Wavefront comes to Chicago's Montrose Beach and America's TVs; Dick Biondi emcees a concert; Zanies has local media stars roasting a mayor; Mike Baker gets patriotic; Ken Cocker tries to do a live remote without any barbeque ribs in his mouth; Me-TV reconnects Mary & Rhoda; WBEZ-FM wins numerous news honors; E. Kevin Brown retires; Neil Steinberg writes a daily blog; and the Chicago Sun-Times loses yet another longtime newspaper section. All of the details can be read below.

* * On Tuesday, Cook County Judge Jeffrey Lawrence dismissed a lawsuit by former WMAQ-TV reporter Amy Jacobson. That lawsuit had been filed against CBS Television and others, claiming that in 2007, WBBM-TV/CBS 2 had purposely edited video and text misrepresenting what Jacobson, then an investigative reporter for a rival television station, had been doing at the home of a person of interest in a missing person investigation. Jacobson claims in her libel suit that the actions of the CBS personnel ruined her good name and contributed greatly to her loss of employment with NBC-TV. Unfortunately for Jacobson, the judge ruled that the lawsuit failed to prove that the WBBM-TV employees did anything legally wrong. According to Chicago Tribune reporter Ted Gregory, Amy Jacobson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, said they would appeal the judge's ruling. After being released by WMAQ-TV, Jacobson left television to become a radio host, first with WLS-AM, and since 2010, has been the morning show co-host on WIND-AM.


* * Some Chicago area television viewers Monday morning may have wondered if it was April 1st, not July 1st, and if NBC was playing a late April Fools' joke on them. From around 7:00am-7:10am, instead of seeing the "Today" show, viewers instead saw a Spanish-language telenovela. This only was experienced by RCN Cable customers. A spokesperson for WMAQ-TV told TV Spy's Senior Editor Merrill Knox that the issue was a "technical glitch" by RCN.


* * Last Friday morning, almost all local television stations broke from their originally planned programming to cover the amazing Chicago Blackhawks championship parade and rally. For the time period that most covered the event, 9:00am-1:00pm (although some started later and ended earlier), WGN-TV was the ratings winner. For total households, WGN-TV earned a 3.8 rating, which equates to nearly 133,000 households in the Chicago market. WLS-TV was second with a 3.5 ratings and WMAQ-TV was third with a 3.3. WBBM-TV, WFLD-TV, CSN Chicago, and CLTV lagged far behind those numbers. Additionally, WGN-TV claims that the live webstream of their coverage was viewed nearly 100,000 times.


* * Todd Manley is exiting his role as Director of Creative Content for WXRT-FM. He has been with WXRT & CBS Radio since February 2011. Instead, Manley will be starting his new job on Monday with the same title and role, but with WGN-AM. It is a return to WGN Radio for Manley, as he previously worked there from September 1998-January 2008, the last few years as its Creative Director. Manley is an industry veteran who has worked creative/production/imaging side of radio for over 20 years. Other local stations he has worked at include WPNT-FM (now WILV-FM) for four years and WCKG-FM (now WCFS-FM) for two years. He also spent a year at KTRS-AM in St. Louis and two years with Chicago marketers Tukaiz. WGN Radio insiders say that Manley's return is a welcome one and that he will be an addition to the staff. No creative staffers are being released to make room for him.


* * Another positive change for WGN-AM is the removal of its overnight and weekend reruns. These "Best Of" shows were inserted by previous Tribune Broadcasting management who were looking to cut every corner possible during the last days of Tribune Company's bankruptcy. Now with new management in place, the mistakes and damages caused by previous regimes are quickly being removed and.or corrected. One of those corrections is returning WGN Radio to be live and local nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The current plan is to rotate hosts during the time time periods that previously played the repeat or "repurposed" segments. This Saturday night/Sunday morning will feature former WLUP-FM/WCKG-FM star Pete McMurray.


* * Former WGN-AM host Simon Badinter, aka "Simon Rendezvous," has a new radio job. Now going by the radio name "Simon Marcel," he is the co-host of the new program "The Rendezvous with Simon Marcel and Kim Iversen." The nightly show features he and the highly-talented Iverson (former nationally syndicated nighttime radio host with Entercom) discussing sex and relationship problems with callers. The show is currently only heard on Minneapolis' KTMY-FM and on SiriusXM's Channel 244. However, it would appear that Clear Channel's Premiere Networks is this close to signing the show to a national syndication deal, with the hopes of having the program appear on many female-targeted AC/Hot AC/CHR radio stations across the country. The man with the heavy French accent, Simon Badinter/Rendezvous/Marcel was removed from WGN Radio in January 2011, around two months after the man that hired him at the station, controversial former Program Director Kevin Metheny, was himself fired from there.


* * From tonight through Sunday night, Chicago's Montrose Beach will be the home for a huge electronic dance music event: the Wavefront Beachside Music Festival. On Saturday night, Wavefront will be broadcast worldwide from Chicago on the AXS TV network. The live broadcast begins at 5:30pm. AXS TV is carried by most cable and satellite providers.


* * WLS-FM's living legend Dick Biondi will be the emcee for a concert Saturday night by Oscar & The Majestics, who will be playing at 6:30pm at Balmoral Race Track (26435 S. Dixie Hwy., Crete). The famed northwest Indiana/Chicago area 60s garage rock band will be introduced by Chicago's most famous DJ from the 1960s. Admission and parking are both free.


* * This Saturday night, Zanies' Rosemont comedy club will be celebrating its first anniversary. To mark the occasion, Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens will be roasted live on stage. Among those doing the roasting of the Mayor are such local media personalities as WUSN-FM/US99.5's Ramblin' Ray Stevens, WGN-TV's Pat Tomasulo, WGN-TV's Mike Toomey, Pat McGann (creator/host WTTW-TV's "The Chicago Stand-Up Project"), and former WRXR-FM (now WNUA-FM) host Tim Walkoe. Tickets are a bit more expensive than normal for this special event, with all proceeds going to the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. For ticket information, visit this link HERE.


* * This Sunday from Noon-4:00pm, WLTL-FM 88.1 FM will have a special Independence Day version of "Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s." Sunday's show will have Mike Baker playing patriotic hits from the golden age of Top 40 Radio, including Jim Kirk And The TM Singers' hit "Voice Of Freedom," a rare hit from 1980.


* * On Sunday from 2:00pm-7:00pm, WJMK-FM/104.3 K-Hits' Ken Cocker will be broadcasting live from Ribfest, which is currently taking place in Knoch Park in Naperville. He will be on the air live, just prior to Ribfest's big Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.


* * Chicago-based retro television network Me-TV has announced that as of this coming Monday, July 8th, it will begin airing episodes of "Rhoda" back-to-back with episodes of he sitcom it originally spun off from, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Each weeknight, Me-TV will air "MTM" at 8:00pm, followed by "Rhoda" at 8:30pm. Earlier this spring, "Rhoda" star Valerie Harper announced that she has terminal cancer.


* * Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI) held their annual awards on June 22nd. The news team of Chicago's WBEZ-FM took home more than a few honors at the event. In the category of Best Writing, WBEZ-FM's educational reporter Linda Lutton won first place. Additionally, WBEZ-FM's Chip Mitchell won second place in that category. In the category of Breaking News, WBEZ-FM took first place for their "Chicago Teachers Strike - First 24 Hours" reports. In the Documentary category, WBEZ-FM won first place for their 30-minute documentary by reporter Alex Kotlowitz entitled "Mike and Victor: A Family Story." In the Enterprise/Investigative category, WBEZ-FM won first place for their report "The Crisis Hidden Inside Illinois' Prisons." WBEZ-FM also won a second place award in the Spot News category for their report "Illinois State Lawmaker Arrested with Pistol at O'Hare." The complete list of national PRNDI award winners can be seen HERE.


* * E. Kevin Brown, the Chief Engineer at Kennedy-King College, retired at the end of June after 34 years with the City Colleges of Chicago. He has been described as the backbone of WKKC-FM and the KKC Media Department. Best wishes and a very happy retirement to him!


* * Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg wasn't happy about recent cutbacks at his newspaper reducing his work to weekly. He has much more to say than just a few paragraphs a week. To relieve that problem, he started up his own daily blog on Monday, entitled "Every goddamn day." Each day, he plans to do commentary on current news, contribute fun bits of interest, and share his thoughts on various subjects.


* * Starting July 14th, the Chicago Sun-Times is dropping its Sunday Show section, in yet another cost-cutting move. Instead, some of what was featured in that section will be added to its "Splash" insert. Book reviews are being removed entirely. The Sunday Sun-Times, which just a few years ago was inches thick, continues to dramatically shrink in size.



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