Newsradio still holds Chicago radio’s biggest piggy bank
Robservations on the media beat:
- WBBM-AM (780), the CBS Radio all-news station that began simulcasting in August with WCFS-FM (105.9), again was Chicago radio’s biggest moneymaker in 2011. The station’s revenue of $48 million exceeded its market-leading total of $42.5 million in 2010, according to figures obtained this week from research and consulting firm BIA/Kelsey. “News stations, in particular, continue to be leaders in many markets by creating comprehensive over-the-air and digital portfolios of ad products and formats to drive deeper advertiser engagement and prove their value in the ad buying mix,” BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik said in a statement. Rounding out Chicago’s top five billers in 2011 were: Hubbard Broadcasting hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9) with $36 million; Tribune Co. news/talk WGN-AM (720) with $35.5 million; Univision Radio regional Mexican WOJO-FM (105.1) with $24 million; and CBS Radio country WUSN-FM (99.5) with $22 million.
- New competition for Time Out Chicago? Eight Northwestern University Medill journalism graduate students just launched CityMag, a weekly online publication that aims to provide “a fresh look into Chicago happenings.” The sharp and engaging inaugural issue challenges readers to experience the city through all five of their senses. “The CityMag approach is to look deeply into one news story per week and report beyond the breaking news to provide background, context and interesting facts on a current issue that impacts the Chicago area,” reads the mission statement. They’ve got their own Twitter account, too.
- Under the Sears Roebuck banner of “World’s Largest Store,” WLS-AM (890) officially was born on April 12, 1924. As the news/talk station enters its 89th year Thursday, current owner Cumulus Media hopes to capitalize on the coincidence by paying homage to its heritage. Included in the yearlong “89” celebration will be some new on-air flourishes and the return of vintage production elements, as well as weekly ticket giveaways and other promotions. In an unrelated move, WLS also will begin airing traffic and weather “on the fives” during all local time periods, starting Thursday.
- From Charles Edward, a reader: “Robert: What’s your take on Stella Foster criticizing Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari (and other celebrities) for having a baby before marriage and today gushing over the news of Derrick Rose and his girlfriend of four years being in the family way before the trip down the aisle? Double standard for Stella? There I said it!” Tweeted Stella: “My Derrick Rose baby daddy scoop caused a lot of folks to dog me out and I ain’t mad at ’em . . . check out thurs column.”
- It was nice to see the Tribune’s Arts & Entertainment section run an interview Tuesday with Gillian Anderson about her role in Great Expectations. It would have been nicer if it ran before the PBS miniseries concluded last Sunday.
- Tom Skilling, WGN’s chief meteorologist and the rock star of Chicago weathermen, hosts his 32nd annual Tornado and Severe Weather Seminar Saturday at the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia. Admission is free to Skilling’s two presentations, which start at noon and 6pm. His 6pm seminar will be streamed live at wgntv.com.
- Jim Corno, president of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, will be honored as 2012 Sportsman of the Year April 21 by the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Also honored as Athlete of the Year will be Joey Votto, first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds. Comcast SportsNet anchor Sarah Kustok and retired catcher Mike Piazza will serve as co-emcees at the Hall of Fame, 1431 West Taylor Street.
- The irreplaceable Warren Shulz is retiring after 23 years as chief engineer at news/talk WLS-AM (890) and oldies WLS-FM (94.7). Though announced for April 27, his last day on the job may change depending on when Cumulus Media names his successor. "An unwritten rule for radio engineers is to find your replacement to hand off the keys to," Shulz said.
- Friends and colleagues will gather April 23 at Petterino’s, 150 North Dearborn Street, to celebrate the life of Norman Mark, the late Chicago newspaperman, broadcaster, critic and author. The tributes will start at 7pm. Mark, who died March 19 in Rancho Mirage, California, of complications from multiple myeloma, was 72.