Will Q101’s real story be told before the final curtain falls?
Robservations on the media beat:
- It’s probably not a good idea for the words “oral history” to appear anywhere near Randy Michaels’ name these days, but in this case, it’s unavoidable: With Michaels’ Merlin Media about to acquire modern rock WKQX-FM (101.1) and classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9), veteran air personality and author James VanOsdol (pictured above) is seeking donations to publish Smells Like Rock Radio: An Oral History of Chicago’s Q101 (1992-2011). The paperback and e-books he’s planning “will chronicle the complex, hilarious, and culture-influencing history of the soon-to-be-gone station,” to be told by “the DJs, programmers, support staff, and friends of Q101.” VanOsdol estimates the project will cost $9750, which he hopes to secure by July 23.
- Andy Friedman, onetime news director at CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (780), was hired Wednesday as vice president of Internet initiatives at Michaels’ Merlin Media. But don’t let his title fool you. Friedman is expected to play a key role in the shift of Q101’s programming from modern rock to news. No official word of the new format has been announced. A longtime protégé of Michaels at Clear Channel Radio (where he oversaw online news, talk and sports), Friedman most recently was vice president of interactive content at Tribune Co.
- Marv Nyren, who’s been general manager of Q101 and the Loop for the last six of his 11 years with Emmis Communications, was cagey when asked whether he’d be staying on with Merlin Media. “I have not been offered a job and I have not not been offered a job,” he told Radio Ink. But the truth is Nyren already knows he’s a goner once Michaels puts his team in place. As for the rest of the Emmis Chicago staff, they’re pretty much in the dark about their futures.
- Shannon Hammel, managing editor and former executive producer at KXAS-TV in Dallas, has been hired as assistant news director at WMAQ-Channel 5. Before joining the NBC-owned station in Dallas, Hammel worked at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, and WILX-TV in Lansing, Michigan. In announcing her hiring Wednesday, Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news, said: “Her experience and news knowledge make her a terrific addition to our team.” At NBC 5, Hammel replaces Chris Pena, who left last month for NBC News in New York.
- The Score has been settled now that Dan McNeil has agreed to a new multiyear deal to continue as midday personality at CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM (670). The 26-year Chicago radio veteran was off the air last Wednesday — one day after his previous two-year contract had expired. To the relief of Danny Mac Show fans, a new agreement finally was reached this week. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but insiders say raises are few and far between these days under Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio Chicago.
- Six weeks after NBC 5 sports anchor Daryl Hawks was found dead in an Atlanta hotel room, the cause remains a mystery. A Fulton County medical examiner’s autopsy was inconclusive, and the Tribune reports that further testing on Hawks’ heart “will take another few weeks.” The 38-year-old father of three died May 12 while in Atlanta to cover the Bulls and Hawks in the NBA playoffs.
- You’ll hear This American Life host Ira Glass as you’ve never heard him before in this hilarious NSFW video in which he joins the celebrity campaign to award The Onion a Pulitzer Prize. “Finally! Here's the Ira Glass we all know from the office!” blogged Chicago Public Media’s Justin Kaufmann. “If you think Ira is upset here, you should see how livid he gets when you accidentally steal his sandwich from the fridge.”