FM news war could break out with Newsradio simulcast
Wed Jun 29 2011
Robservations on the media beat:
- CBS Radio could flip WCFS-FM (105.9), its underperforming adult-contemporary Fresh FM station, to a simulcast of all-news WBBM-AM (780) any day now. Nothing is official yet, but insiders at Newsradio 780 say plans are under way for the move (tipped here June 21) as a preemptive maneuver by the top-rated and top-billing station in the market. All that awaits is approval from New York. It presumably would blunt the expected switch of modern rock WKQX-FM (101.1) to a news format under the new ownership of Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media. Incoming Q101 news chief Andy Friedman is said to be busy assembling a staff of Chicago radio news voices, including Charlie Meyerson, Rob Hart and Lise Dominique.
- Even more imminent are format changes at Chicago’s leading Spanish-language radio group: At noon Friday, Univision Radio will drop its Recuerdo Latin oldies simulcast on WVIV-FM (93.5) and WVIX-FM (103.1) and replace it with the La Kalle Spanish pop format now airing on WPPN-FM (106.7). At the same time, WPPN will bring back its former Pasion Spanish adult-contemporary format. What’s behind all the musical chairs? In restoring Pasion to 106.7, Univision aims to compete more effectively against Clear Channel Radio’s WNUA-FM (95.5), which recently shifted its own Mega format from Spanish pop to Spanish adult-contemporary.
- Univision also announced the appointment of the third vice president and general manager of its Chicago television stations since early 2010. Carlos San Jose, a veteran Chicago broadcast sales executive, will oversee Univision WGBO-Channel 66 and TeleFutura WXFT-Channel 60, starting Tuesday. He succeeds Alberto Mier y Teran, who left after just one year for Univision’s stations in Los Angeles. San Jose, who most recently was vice president of Citadel Media’s Hispanic radio sales, worked early in his career as local sales manager for Univision’s regional Mexican WOJO-FM (105.1). He’s the brother of George San Jose, owner of the San Jose Group, the leading Hispanic advertising and marketing communications agency.
- There’s a new chief operating officer at Window to the World Communications, parent company of public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical WFMT-FM (98.7). Greg Cameron was promoted Wednesday from executive vice president and chief development officer to the newly created position under Dan Schmidt, president and CEO. Before joining the company in 2008, Cameron was deputy director and chief development officer at the Museum of Contemporary Art. “I am honored to be asked to play an even greater role in increasing the visibility of WTTW and WFMT in Chicago’s education, civic, and cultural communities, truly a challenge in our city’s increasingly crowded media environment,” Cameron said in a statement.
- Tribune-owned WGN-Channel 9 staked an early claim to bragging rights for its live coverage of the Rod Blagojevich verdict, trumpeting that it led the market in overall ratings by one-tenth of a point from 1 to 3pm Monday (and by a wider margin in key demos). Perennial leader ABC 7 quickly followed with its own press release, noting that it won during the three-hour period from 1:15 to 4:15pm, and specifically during the half-hour from 2 to 2:30pm when the verdict was read. So there.
- CNN finally filled the vacancy in its Chicago bureau nearly two years after its only full-time correspondent left. Susan Roesgen’s contract was not renewed shortly after her coverage of a Tea Party rally here in April 2009 drew intense criticism for being confrontational. TV Newser reports that CNN has reassigned Los Angeles correspondent Ted Rowlands to the Chicago bureau. He joined the network in 2004 from KTVU-TV in San Francisco.
- Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Zaslow,the former Chicago Sun-Times advice maven who became a best-selling author (Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture and Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger’s Highest Duty), just signed another high-profile book deal: He’s working with Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut/husband, Mark Kelly, on their memoirs. Giffords is recovering from the Tucson shooting attack last January that killed six and wounded 12 others.
- Chicago Public Media colleagues and fans paid tribute online and on the air Wednesday to Larry Smith, the former WBEZ-FM (91.5) Jazz Forum host who died last weekend of a heart attack. He was 83. Smith, who retired in 2005 after 23 years at the station, previously hosted on WBEE, WSBC and WWCA.