End of the road for brothers who kept NPR rolling

Robservations on the media beat:

  • The radio world was rocked by the news Friday: NPR’s most popular vehicle is going out of production this fall. Boston brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi announced they’ll quit hosting Car Talk after 35 years, including the last 25 on public radio stations across the country. (Old shows will be re-edited for airing, starting in October.) “Sadly, too few public broadcasters recognize that Car Talk long ago found the recipe of how public service radio could succeed in its mission of life-long learning,” Torey Malatia, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media, told me. “Tom and Ray put the qualities of good radio at the top of their list every week. They knew that you don’t win over audiences by asking them to fill in workbooks with No. 2 pencils. You do it by entertaining the hell out of them.” Jim Nayder, who was program director of WBEZ-FM (91.5) when the show went national, agreed: “Car Talk guys are a main reason NPR survived and still does. Two brothers with a sense of humor and loving people.”

  • Walter Jacobson shared a sentimental homecoming with viewers Friday when the veteran newsman returned to his North Side grammar school for the first time in more than 60 years. The CBS 2 news anchor had been invited by a group of fourth graders to visit Swift Elementary School in Edgewater to hear about their program on positive thinking. Walking the halls and climbing the stairs he did as a fourth grader in 1947, Jacobson, 74, called it “an emotional trip for me down my memory lane.”

  • Bears star quarterback Jay Cutler has signed a multiyear deal to appear weekly with Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman on their ESPN Radio WMVP-AM (1000) midday show. Pending the team’s schedule, Cutler will be on live from noon to 1pm every Monday. "I'm very excited to be joining ESPN Chicago and Waddle and Silvy’s top-rated radio program,” Cutler said in a statement. “This is a great fit for me, and will be a fun way to interact with Bears fans. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season, both on the field and in the studio.”

  • Manuel Abud, president of the Telemundo Station Group, is the interim man in charge of Spanish-language WSNS-Channel 44 while the company continues to seek a replacement for Celia Chavez. After three years here, Chavez was named president and general manager of Telemundo’s KVEA-TV in Los Angeles last month.

  • Rick Klein’s Museum of Classic Chicago Television has unearthed another gem: A 1972 episode of The BJ & Dirty Dragon Show, unseen by the public since its original broadcast 40 years ago on WFLD-Channel 32. From a nearly forgotten 2-inch Quadruplex videotape, the direct-to-digital transfer was financed by donations to Klein’s online repository. BJ & Dirty Dragon starred the legendary creator and producer Bill Jackson, who retired after more than three decades in Chicago television.

  • One day after returning from a press junket to promote TNT’s new Dallas, Erin Carman vanished as host of U Mix It, the popular 8pm-to-midnight weeknight request show on Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9). Carman, who once called her job “the role of a lifetime,” previously worked at WLUP-FM (97.9) and the former WKQX before joining the Mix as weekend and fill-in host in 2010. In a memo to staffers, the station said only that Carman “no longer works for us.” No replacement has been named.

  • It was a big week for the Chicago Reader. Now under Sun-Times ownership, the venerable weekly unveiled its new logo with the tagline: “Kicking Ass Since 1971.” And the Reader took top honors from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia for its 40th Anniversary Issue. Also cited in the 2012 AltWeekly Awards were: J.R. Jones for arts criticism, Steve Bogira for features, Mike Sula for food writing, and Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke for investigative reporting.

  • Hail and farewell: Tim McCormick, who rejoined Time Out Chicago just last April as managing editor, has resigned to become editor of Simple + Delicious, a national magazine published in Milwaukee. McCormick, who’d previously worked for Time Out as sports editor and editorial coordinator, had been editorial manager of Playboy before it shut down operations in Chicago.



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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)