Friday, May 17, 2024

Media Notebook--5-17-24


A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago.




*Chicago Radio Ratings

=For the first time in over a year, WLIT is not the #1 station in Chicago. The new ratings champ is the Drive (WDRV), even though their ratings went down slightly this month. These are the top ten stations in the latest ratings (M-Sun, 6am-Midnight, 6+)

The Drive 6.2

WLIT 5.9

WVAZ 5.4


WOJO 5.2

WXRT 5.0

WLS-FM 4.6

WUSN 4.1

WGN 3.8

WSCR 3.3

=The two Spanish language stations had tremendous months. WOJO went up 0.7 and La Ley went up 0.8. Also, Me-TV FM had a big month, and they now reside just outside the top ten, with a monthly jump of 0.6 (overall 2.8). WLS-FM had their biggest month in over a year.

=WLIT dropped the most, nearly a full rating point (0.9).

=WBBM-AM remains the top revenue-producing station in town. It's in the top ten nationwide, with earnings of $30 million.



*Mary Sandberg Boyle

=She made this list last year too…



*Gabe Ramirez Out at the Score

=Ramirez had been part of the cluster for 15 years (previously at B-96), but when his contract ran out last week, it wasn’t renewed. Details here at Barrett Sports Media.


*Podcast Corner

=The podcasting listenership numbers were released this week for the first quarter of this year. According to the Edison Research numbers, these are the top ten rated podcasts…

The Joe Rogan Experience (Joe Rogan)

Crime Junkie (audiochuck)

The Daily (The New York Times)

New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce (Wave Sports + Entertainment)

Dateline NBC (NBC News)

This American Life (This American Life)

Call Her Daddy (Unwell)

SmartLess (Wondery)

Morbid (Wondery)

Stuff You Should Know (iHeartPodcasts)



*WCPT Profile

=Radio Ink did a profile this week of Chicago's WCPT. 820 AM is the station that gave us Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson

*Bill Snyder

=Bill is an Emmy-winning weather producer at WGN-TV, and now also a regular contributor to John Landecker’s show on WGN…


*Lee Harris

=A few weeks ago I linked to the list of National Radio Hall of Fame Nominees because Chicago’s very own Bob Stroud is among those nominated. I didn’t realize there was another Chicago connection. Lee Harris is a news anchor who once worked at WFYR in Chicago for legendary program director Dave Martin. A short interview with Lee was published this week by Inside Radio. 



*The Mix Helps with River Cleanup

=Last weekend was “Chicago River Day” and the Mix (WTMX) did their part. They recruited 2000 volunteers to clean up garbage and remove invasive plant material along the river. Several on-air staff members participated, including morning show members Violetta Podrumedic, Chris Petlak, and Nikki Chaiken, and Casey McCabe and Jenny Valliere from the afternoon show.



*Jim Hanke

=One of the people let go in the latest round of layoffs at Audacy.



*CHIRP Radio's Film Fest for Music Lovers

=CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project) is staging a film festival this weekend at the Davis Theater in Lincoln Square. It's a festival of music documentaries. More details are here at Block Club Chicago.

*Rudy Guiliani

=You may have heard that Guiliani was suspended from his talk show on WABC in New York. If you want to know the story, this explanation from the station owner is a good primer. It's not the only problem for Rudy. He's also in danger of losing his show on NewsMax.


*Rest in Peace

=David Sanborn

One of the all-time saxophone greats.


*The Loop Files

=Thanks to everyone who came out to Roselle this weekend for my book signing in Roselle. Here's a photo featuring some of the Loopers who attended...(L-R: Tom Serritella, Wendy Snyder, Jimmy Mac McInerney, Brendan Sullivan, me, Neil Sant, Jeff Hoover, Dorothy Humphrey, and Ed "Edwardo" Williams.)

=On Friday night I appeared with Dave Plier on WGN Radio. You can listen to that here.

=Thanks to Tom Barnas for this piece in his “Stories from the 78”






*May 12—George Carlin birthday

=The brilliant comedian would have been 87 years old this week. Sadly, he passed away a long time ago. Shortly before his death, I wrote about my brush with Carlin. The article was written in 2007. It takes place in 2001. 



*May 13—Jim Baumann birthday

=Baumann just stepped down as executive editor of The Daily Herald. Last year he also penned a book that collected examples of his popular Grammar Moses column. It’s really quite good, and I don’t just say that because I published it.


*May 13—Mark Giangreco birthday

=The long-time Chicago sportscaster (WMAQ-TV, WLS-TV, ESPN Radio) is no longer on the air in Chicago, but he’s a great follow on Twitter. I was lucky enough to interview him a few times, including once on my podcast, and once for Shore Magazine.


*May 13—John Benedeck birthday

=John is a radio/podcast producer (WIND, Club 400), but he’s also one of the organists for the Chicago Cubs.


*May 14—Janet Shamlian birthday

=The former Channel 2 reporter is now a correspondent for CBS News, contributing to CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News. Janet grew up in Park Ridge.


*May 15—Lynn Sweet birthday

=The Chicago Sun Times reporter is the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief. She has worked for the Sun-Times since 1976.


*May 15—Fred Huebner birthday

=Fred retired not too long ago after a long and distinguished sports radio career at both the Score and ESPN (WMVP). I interviewed Fred back in 2017 for Illinois Entertainer. 


*May 16—Bob Edwards birthday

=The legendary host of NPR’s Morning Edition would have been 77 years old  this week. He passed away earlier this year.


*May 16, 1929—The First Academy Awards

=Douglas Fairbanks was the host at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. 270 people attended. The radio broadcast of the Academy Awards began the following year.


*May 17—Robert Feder birthday

=When Robert retired after four decades on the beat, he left a gaping hole in Chicago media coverage. I remember when I was still working in the business, the first thing I did every morning was open the Sun-Times to his column to see if I was still employed. His last media gig was for the Daily Herald.


*May 17--Jim O’Donnell birthday

=One of the best writers on the local newspaper scene, Jim currently covers sports media for the Daily Herald. I featured him in my column at Illinois Entertainer back in 2018.


*May 17—Jordan Dash Orman-Weiss birthday

=He goes by Dash on the air at B-96. I interviewed him for Illinois Entertainer in 2021, when he was still at the Mix. 


*May 17—Jim Nantz birthday

=He may not be doing the Final Four anymore, but Nantz is still the biggest star at CBS Sports.





*Five Chicago TV Shows that are not The Bear

 =Axios has a piece this morning about some of the other television shows that are currently either set in Chicago or film here.


*Mike Lowe Reveals Diagnosis

=Stage 3 Colon Cancer. 



*CNN & ABC Score Presidential Debates

=One will be in June. The second in September. One won’t have an audience. The New York Times has the rest of the details.

*Venu Sports

=Remember the news about the streaming sports service that will combine Disney/Fox/Warner-Discovery. This week they said they are still on track to debut in the fall. They also revealed the name of the service: Venu Sports.

*C-SPAN Executive Suite

=The new CEO for C-Span is former CNN executive Sam Feist.


*NewsNation Executive Suite

=Announcements were made this week…


*Matt Kissane Scores Role in upcoming SNL Film

=Matt has been around for 30 years in Chicagoland, working as a comic actor and performer. One of the roles he has played frequently is an impersonation of Matt Foley, Farley’s motivational speaker. That experience has paid off for him. Kissane’s first film role will be portraying Chris Farley in the upcoming SNL 1975. Congrats to Matt.


*If TNT Loses the NBA

=Andy Masur delves into what will happen to the TNT NBA crew if TNT loses the broadcast rights to the NBA, which appears to be more and more likely.


*Seth Meyers Signs for Three More Years

=Meyers recently hit the ten-year mark as the host of the late-night show. Variety explains the new deal.


*Bourdain and Albini

=Both are gone now, but this segment captures them well…


*Bill Maher on CBS Sunday Morning

=I haven’t watched Maher in a few years, but this was a good interview with Bob Costa last weekend. You can read it or watch it here.


*Rest in Peace

=Rick Sallinger

Native Chicagoan. One-time Channel 5 reporter. Worked for CBS News and CNN. Illini Media Hall of Famer. He was 74.

=Roger Corman

King of the Low-Budget Movies. He was 98.




*Collapse of the News Industry is Taking its Soul Down with it

=Interesting piece in Politico this week by Jack Shafer. He argues that journalism needs swagger, and that swagger is slowly disappearing.

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 or 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.