Outpouring of support for Don Wade ‘overwhelming’
Robservations on the media beat:
- Prayers and well-wishes have been pouring in to news/talk WLS-AM (890) since listeners learned Monday about morning host Don Wade’s upcoming surgery to remove a growth from his brain. “The response has truly been overwhelming,” said Donna Baker, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media in Chicago. “Many thousands have written in — and they’re really heartwarming. This man has friends who are praying for him all over the world.” Wade, 71, who has hosted mornings on WLS with his wife, Roma, since 1989, is scheduled for surgery Thursday in Chicago. The station has an email account at: email@example.com.
- The end may be nearer than you think for Merlin Media. GTCR, the private equity firm that partnered with CEO Randy Michaels to form the company in July 2011, is actively seeking buyers for all of Merlin Media’s properties, including adult hits WIQI-FM (101.1) and classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9) here. Moelis & Company, which worked closely with GTCR in acquiring the stations, is handling the sale. While Michaels is still involved with Merlin Media, day-to-day business is being run by chief financial officer Jerry Kersting. “Everything is in kind of a holding pattern to try to show cash flow so they can get the most out of it,” one insider said.
- To a news staff that already includes a weekend anchor named Mai Martinez and a morning anchor named Kris Gutierrez, CBS 2 just added a reporter named Chris Martinez. (Good luck keeping everyone straight.) Starting October 15, Chris Martinez signs on from WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida, where he was a reporter and fill-in anchor for nine years. The Florida State University graduate previously worked at Central Florida News 13 in Orlando and WCTV-TV in Tallahassee. CBS 2 news director Jeff Kiernan called him “an established reporter and a formidable journalist.”
- In an interview to air on Fox Chicago's 9pm newscast Wednesday, sports anchor Lou Canellis asks former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who's suffering from early stages of dementia, if he ever considered taking his own life. "No. No, I have too much fun every day," he says. "My kid, my youngest son is 21, my oldest is 29, I'd love to see them grow up and have a family of their own. I told them 'not too quickly' I don't want to be a grandpa yet, but you know . . . those thoughts do not enter my mind at this time, no." Canellis interviewed McMahon in Arizona last Friday.
- Steve Darnall hosts a special edition of Those Were the Days this weekend pegged to a sad day in radio history. Fifty years ago — on September 30, 1962 — CBS canceled Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Suspense, the last two network dramas from the medium’s golden era. Calling his special The Golden Age of Radio: The Long Goodbye, Darnall will feature the final broadcasts of The Jack Benny Program (from 1955), The Stan Freberg Show (from 1957), X Minus One (from 1958), Ma Perkins (from 1960) and Gunsmoke (from 1961), as well as the final Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Suspense. “History tends to summarize this period by suggesting that television came along and radio drama suddenly vanished,” Darnall said. “In fact, the demise of radio drama happened over a number of years and its practitioners still managed to produce some outstanding work in the face of dwindling budgets and diminished star power.” Now in its 42nd year, Those Were the Days airs from 1 to 5pm Saturdays on the College of DuPage’s WDCB-FM (90.9) and online at wdcb.org.