Friday, May 31, 2024

Media Notebook--5-31-24


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



*Format Change for Alpha Media

=As I speculated last week, Alpha Media is changing the format of two of their stations. WCCQ-Joliet (98.3FM) and WXLC-Waukegan (102.3FM) are now known as Free Country 98.3 and 102.3.

=Drew Walker, who stepped down from US-99 recently, is joining the team as the Asst. Brand Manager and afternoon drive host. Hannah B, who co-hosts afternoons on two of the other stations in the cluster (WSSR and WZSR with Eddie Volkman) will add midday host duties at Free Country. The rest of the lineup looks like they are going with nationally syndicated hosts. Bobby Bones in the morning slot. B-Dub Radio in the evening slot.



*DeNiro Award Rescinded

=Robert DeNiro made the news this week when he appeared outside of the NY courtroom where Donald Trump was being tried to make several political (anti-Trump) statements. DeNiro had been scheduled to receive a special award from the National Association of Broadcasters on June 4th. After his speech in New York, they rescinded the award. More details are here.

 *Wolfman Jack show coming to WGN

=Yes, he’s been gone for many years now, but the Wolfman recorded a ton of great radio shows in his day. According to an on-air announcement on the John Landecker show this week, the Wolfman show is coming to WGN soon. It will air from 2-5am on Sunday mornings.

*Media Jobs Report

=A new service for people looking for jobs in the media, including radio. Here’s the link for the radio openings.


*Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame

=The induction ceremony will take place in September of this year. One of the inductees is WMAQ-AM veteran Scott Herman, who is now the chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Full list of inductees is here.

*Worst Decade of Radio Ever?

=According to this recently released poll, we’re currently living in it. The same poll says that the 1990s were the best. See the results here.



*May 26—Brent Musburger birthday

=Brent has had one of the most successful sports television careers of all-time, and it all began right here in Chicago. Brent turns 85 years old this week.


*May 26—Candace Jordan birthday

=The former Playboy model writes the weekly “Candid Candace” column in the Chicago Tribune.


*May 27—Misty Callahan birthday

=Misty is a radio producer in Chicago (Salem Media) and is married to fellow radio producer (and Eckhartz Press author) Keith Conrad.


*May 27—George Castle birthday

=For decades George covered the Chicago Cubs for the Northwest Indiana Times. He has also written quite a few Cubs books, and in 2022 contributed to the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year finalist “Chili Dog MVP” (about Dick Allen)


*May 27—Pat Hughes birthday

=The baseball Hall of Famer is the reason I still listen to the Cubs on the radio whenever I can. I got a chance to interview him for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2010. 


*May 28--Lisa Fielding birthday

=Afternoon news anchor/reporter/host at NewsRadio 780.

*May 29—Felicia Middlebrooks birthday

=The former morning co-anchor at WBBM NewsRadio is also an author and an award-winning filmmaker 


*May 30—Dave Eanet birthday

=Dave is the sports director at WGN and can heard daily on Bob Sirott’s morning show. He has also been the radio play-by-play man for Northwestern University football and basketball for decades. (Photo: Dave on WGN-TV for Cubs World Series postgame. Far left)

*May 31—Jerry Agar birthday

=Jerry had stints at both WLS and WGN in Chicago. I got a chance to interview him during that time. He’s currently working north of the border in his native Canada.


*May 31, 2005—Watergate source Deep Throat revealed

=Did you watch The Plumbers on HBO? Mark Felt, the deputy director the FBI, is one of the characters. A minor one in the series. A major one in real life. He was 91 when he revealed the news to Vanity Fair.


*June 1, 1974—WCFL Chart

=50 years ago this week. The Watergate scandal dominated the news. Larry Lujack was the star DJ on the station. And this is the list of songs WCFL was playing (courtesy of Chicago Radio Timeline)

*June 1, 1980—CNN Debuts as First All-News Network

=This was Ted Turner’s brainchild, and it was widely mocked at the time. (Who is going to want news 24 hours a day?). The husband/wife team of Dave Walker and Lois Hart were the first anchors. The headquarters was in Atlanta, but the network also had bureaus in Washington, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.




*Premier League Scores Record Ratings at NBC

=For years I felt like the only soccer fan in America. The ratings for this past season’s Premier League broadcasts show that I’m not alone. The numbers are here.

*MeTV Toons

=The network starts on June 25th, but the schedule was released this week. All times are Eastern.

 *Jimmy Kimmel’s Son Undergoes Open-Heart Surgery

=It’s the 7-year-old boy’s third open heart surgery. ABC-7 has the story.


*Cable News Corner

=Smartmatic accuses NewsMax of destroying evidence in lawsuit. NBC reports

=Former Tucker Carlson producer fired by Fox News hired by NewsNation. Find out more in the Daily Beast.


*Rest In Peace

We lost quite a few notable entertainment legends this week…

=Bill Walton

Basketball legend. Long-time broadcaster. Dead head. He was 71. Former WMAQ-AM broadcaster Dave Pasch worked with Walton the past dozen years on Pac-12 games. He remembers his broadcasting partner.

=Albert Ruddy

The Oscar-winning producer of “The Godfather” and the subject of the TV series The Offer

=Richard Sherman

One-half of the Disney songwriting team who wrote the songs for “Mary Poppins”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and more. He was 95.

=Johnny Wactor

General Hospital Star. Shot while trying to defend his catalytic converter. He was 37.

=Morgan Spurlock

The documentary director of “Supersize Me”. He was 53.



*Farewell Freedom Center

=This tweet says it all…

 *New York Sets Aside Money to Help Journalism

=The state of New York passed a bill to give tax credits to struggling local news outlets to help keep them afloat. The Chicago Tribune has the story.

 *AI Companies Bypassing Partisan Media

=Semafor has the story of the AI agreements made recently, and how they are not including partisan outlets like Breitbart and the Daily Caller.

=But they did sign deals this week with The Atlantic and Vox Media. That story is here.

*Ramaswamy Making Waves at Buzzfeed

=To say his suggestions to hire people like Candace Owens, Tucker Carlson, and Aaron Rogers didn’t go over well would be an understatement. New York Magazine reports.

*Did the British Tabloid News of the World Pay Women to Sleep with Celebrities?

=That’s the charge made by James Blunt. The Guardian has the scoop on this one. 

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.