boss at WBBM
calls them “Brand Managers” and that’s what Craig Schwalb will become
(along with the extra title of News Director) for WBBM NewsRadio. He replaces Ron
Gleason, who recently retired. Schwalb certainly has the pedigree, having
worked at WABC in New York, and most recently WTOP in Washington, the highest
grossing radio station in the country. At WTOP he was the content and
operations manager. In the release announcing his hiring, Schwalb said: “The
chance to lead WBBM is an incredible opportunity that doesn’t come around
often. It brings me back to my home state and to a city that I adore, while
working with the team behind one of the nation's elite news radio brands. Thank
you to Jeff Sottolano, Rachel Williamson, Greg Solk and Bill Smee for
their support in allowing me the honor of leading this great station.”
says goodbye to the Bears after 22 years
was the end of an era on Sunday when WBBM radio broadcast their final Bears
game. Next fall the games will be airing on ESPN, AM 1000. It’s obviously not the first time the Bears
have changed radio stations. They came to WBBM from WMAQ back in 2000. Remember
Gary Bender? He was the play-by-play man before Jeff Joniak. (Hub
Arkush and Tom Thayer worked at WMAQ before Bears came to WBBM).
by the way, was named the co-winner of Illinois Sportscaster of the Year award.
Details further down in this column.
=It was also the end of the line for the Bears
pre- and post-game crew at WBBM. Former Bears center Jay Hilgenberg and
former Bears linebacker Jim Schwantz and Ron Gleason said their
goodbyes on Sunday. Schwantz posted this before the final broadcast.
Kosar fired for placing bet
Bears weren’t the only team to change up the radio broadcast team or station.
The Browns did it too, but for very different reasons. Bernie Kosar was
fired from his pre-game radio job because he bet on the NFL. It’s a bit of a
murky case, if you ask me. Sports betting has just become legal in Ohio, and
Kosar had pledged publicly to donate any winnings to charity, but this bet was
against NFL rules. The Browns said: “We
understand what Bernie means to this community and our history. But as team
contracted personnel hired to provide content on our media platforms his bet
was a violation of NFL rules and we must adhere to all NFL policy.”
*Kathy & Ray
=If you haven't heard the news, Kathy Hart (formerly of Eric & Kathy) & Ray Stevens (most famously part of the US-99 morning show for years) are doing a show together on the internet these days. Kind of fun to watch and listen to old pros back in front of the microphone. Watch/Listen here.
=Kathy also did a podcast with Radio Girl (Margaret Larkin). Listen to it here.
Signal Awards, a new award celebrating the world’s best podcasts, announced their inaugural winners. Among them: Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, Masters of Scale, Stacey Abrams: How To
Harness Risk, Making Gay History, and The Official Hacks Podcast.
= Heather Cherone of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight is leaving the Mincing Rascals podcast. She will be a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and will continue at Chicago Tonight, but the Mincing Rascals said farewell to her this week.
Chicago Radio Alert
Styles was with WSHE in Chicago for five years but left in 2021 to go to
KQMV in Seattle. That stint ended for him at the end of the year. It was by his
own choice, according to his LinkedIn Post: "Before
the holidays I resigned from my role as APD/MD/afternoons at KQMV (MOViN
92.5)/Seattle and relocated to Sarasota, FL to be with my kids, because
raising kids via FaceTime is no way to live! Radio programmers, I am available
to voice track for multiple formats please think of me if you are going that
*The Loop Files
=This week’s dip into the Loop Files features my interview with
the legendary Bob Stroud. Check it out here if you missed it.
Bulls radio play-by-play man is making an appearance at the Windy City Bulls
game tomorrow. Details below. (Full disclosure: My publishing company published Chuck's book)
8—Jim Turano birthday
was known as Elton Jim when he was a part of the Garry Meier show on WGN
Radio (because of the hundreds of times he has seen Elton John in concert). Jim
now hosts the podcast Elton Jim’s Captain Podcastic on WGN Plus.
8—Jacky Runice birthday
currently a columnist for USA Today, but Jacky was once a radio personality in
Chicago at WLS, WLUP, and WGN.
has been the sideline reporter during Bears games for WBBM News radio the past
few years. He also works as a sports-talk host at WSCR. When I interviewed him for Illinois Entertainer in 2015, he was part of the Chicago Cubs broadcast
*January 9—Brendan Greeley
=Brendan is part of Steve Dahl’s
crew on the Dahlcast. He was also part of Dahl’s show on WCKG and WLS-AM.
Brendan published a novel on Amazon last year called The Genius of 1990s
*January 9--Megan Reed birthday
=Megan had a great run in Chicago
radio (WLIT, Rewind 100) before passing away at the way too young age of 52 in
2016. I interviewed her in 2011 when she was working at Rewind.
*January 10—Kristyn Hartman birthday
=Kristyn had a long stint at Channel 2 as a reporter, before moving on to
a similar role in Cincinnati. In May, she left the station in Cincy, to return
to her hometown of Chicago to pursue options outside of television news. Her
current facebook page describes herself as an aspiring author. (I know a
=I first met Kristyn in 2008 when she came to my house during the 2008
baseball playoffs. In this clip, I’m the idiotic Cubs fanatic.
January 11—Bill Wyman birthday
=The former NPR mainstay and Chicago Reader staff writer is now living in Phoenix.
January 11—Bill Kissinger birthday
=Kissinger is a WGN-TV news writer. Perhaps you’ve seen his list of newswriting cliches. Kissinger is married to Channel 2’s Dana
11, 2020--Ron Smith passes away
was a long-time Chicago radio programmer who wrote some great books about it.
We talked about his books in this 2011 interview.
12—Rabbi Doug birthday
real name is Doug Zelden, but you may remember him as Rabbi Doug,
a regular contributor to the Steve & Garry show back in the day. (He
also contributed to Brandmeier’s show and John Landecker’s show on
WJMK). Doug has been doing a cable access interview show Taped with Rabbi
Doug for many years now. Tons of Chicago media figures have appeared on the
show. Even me. Three times. Here’s the one from 2004 when The Radio Producer’s
Handbook came out.
was a jock on WBMX for a few years, and I featured her in Illinois Entertainer in 2018.
Hartford passes away.
to believe he’s been gone now for ten years. I talked to the former WCPT/WLS talk show host back in 2009 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.
14—Jenny Milkowski birthday
worked at CBS-2 and WGN-TV as a producer, and Fox-32 as a traffic reporter for
a few years before moving on to greener pastures and better weather in San
Diego. The University of Illinois alum now runs her own media company out
14—Joe McArdle birthday
has been a radio production guru (ESPN, Tribune, WXRT) in Chicago for more than
14—Mike Krauser birthday
has been an anchor, reporter, producer, writer, managing editor and a news
director in Chicago since 1988. His reports can be heard every day on NewsRadio
*Network TV Ratings
=Take a look at the numbers on this chart. (Click on picture below
to enlarge). These are not big numbers at all. Only one network (NBC) has over
a million nightly viewers in the 18-49 age bracket. Younger viewers are simply
not watching television as much. If you have a younger person in your home (I
have three in their 20s), this isn’t surprising news. Most younger viewers are either
watching a streaming service (like Netflix) or they are watching YouTube or
TikTok or some other programming on their phones or iPads. These are the kind
of numbers that keep network executives up at night.
=After taking a year off, the Golden Globes returned this week
and handed out a bunch of awards. Among the winners, Kevin Costner,
White Lotus, Abbott Elementary, Steve Spielberg, Cate Blanchett,
Colin Farrell, Jeremy Allen White from The Bear, and Austin
Butler as Elvis.
=The full list is here.
Sports Media Hall of Fame
College GameDay host Lee Corso, and legendary hockey announcer (the
late) Dan Kelly were named to the National Sports Media Hall of Fame
this week. CBS Sports announcer Ian Eagle was named 2022 National
Sportscaster of the Year.
Plaschke (Los Angeles Times sports columnist) and essayist (the late) Roger
Angell also were named to the Hall of Fame.
honored included Jeff Joniak and Leila Rahimi (co-winners of
Illinois sportscaster of the year) and Steve Greenberg (Sun Times) and Mark
Lazerus (The Athletic) as co-winners of Illinois Sportswriter of the Year.
*Elizabeth Vargas Coming
=Before becoming a big network
news star at ABC, Elizabeth worked in Chicago at WBBM-TV, Channel 2. This week it was announced she is joining NewsNation. She’ll be anchoring an hour-long
news program from New York. Vargas’s show debuts April 3.
*NY Times Editor Takes Top Job at NBC News
=Rebecca Blumenstein was the deputy managing editor of
the New York Times before being named the president of editorial at NBC News this week. Blumenstein will oversee shows like Meet the Press and Dateline.
This should be interesting. Rebecca doesn’t have a lot of television experience.
Maybe this move portends a new approach at NBC?
*NBC Sports Chicago
=For a few years NBC
Sports Chicago was really going after the digital viewers. Unfortunately, the
staff bringing that digital news just got a little smaller with the layoffs of
Bulls writer Rob Schaefer and Cubs writer Tim Stebbins. The Chicago Sun Times has more info.
has announced they are revamping their daytime lineup. Oliver Darcy spells out the particulars at CNN.com.
*Phil Rogers Interview
5’s Phil Rogers retired at the end of last year. He will be a big loss
to Chicago’s NBC affiliate. Margaret Larkin interviewed him for the Illinois News Broadcasters Association podcast.
was a legend in the business. He was an anchorman for CBS Morning News, covered
the State Department beat for CBS (five secretaries of state) and was the
founding host of CNN’s show about the media, Reliable Sources. May we all
live the kind of life Kalb did. He was 100 years old when he passed.
fights for more camera angles
a spellbinding job covering the cluster of the House of Representatives electing
a speaker, you can see the despair between the words in this tweet.
=C-SPAN has formally asked to regain the kind of access they had during the speaker debate. At least a few politicians seem to agree, but
let’s see what happens. It could be one of those “be careful what you ask for”
situations, encouraging the most camera-hungry representatives to be even more
*What really happens after Shark Tank?
=We don’t often get a follow up report about
the winners and losers of investment opportunities in Shark Tank. Forbes has a great example this week why we should get them more often.
*Twitter Considering Selling User Names
=The New York Times reports that Elon Musk
is considering selling user names (the words that follow the @ sign) to the
highest bidder. Musk and his staff are trying to figure out ways to generate more
revenue for the struggling media giant. Not a lot of details here. It sounds
like this was leaked as a trial balloon to see how people react.
*Tribune Veteran Named Managing Editor of
=Pro Publica’s Tom Jones reports that Rochell Bishop Sleets is
taking over the #2 job at Newsday after 16 years with the Chicago Tribune.
*NYTimes still in search of a media columnist
=And they have been for almost a full year
now, ever since Ben Smith left to form Semafor. Vanity Fair looks into why they still don’t have a new one.
*Jake Sherman and Kevin McCarthy
=This is an interesting development. One
digital news organization is calling out another for being a little too chummy
with one of their sources. Semafor and Punchbowl are the combatants. Jake
Sherman of Punchbowl is the target.
As always, if you have any media story you’d like to share or
think that I might be interested in sharing, drop me a line at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're in Chicago media and wondering why I didn't mention your birthday, it's probably because I don't know it. Drop me a line and let me know and I'll put you on my calendar.