NBC 5 looking better than ever in afternoon news ratings

Robservations on the media beat:

  • February is getting underway with the closest afternoon news ratings race in memory. NBC 5, gaining on perennial frontrunner ABC 7 in all local news time periods (and the only station to increase its ratings at 10pm), appears to be coming on strongest at 4:30pm. For the month of January, NBC 5’s afternoon newscast tied for first place with ABC 7 among adults between 25 and 54. What’s more, NBC 5 won the time period outright among women. I asked Rob Elgas, who joined Marion Brooks as co-anchor at 4:30pm one year ago, how he accounts for the ratings surge. “Our writers and producers always know what’s interesting for that day,” Elgas told me. “New headlines, a daily health report, local entertainment and sports. We’re at an advantage going on the air an hour before Nightly News, so we can mix national stories in too. It’s our first newscast since noon, so there’s always fresh content. Plus, I sit next to Marion Brooks.”

  • Chicago radio veteran Pete McMurray and co-host Jane Monzures, last heard as the morning team on Merlin Media classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9), are getting back together again via social media. At 1pm Friday, they’ll debut a live entertainment talk show on Facebook. Originating from Tribeca Flashpoint Academy Studios, the inaugural broadcast of Pete & Jane LIVE will feature the rock band The Lovehammers and celebrity guests David Eigenberg of Sex and the City and Chicago Fire, and Chef Jimmy Bannos. Here’s the link to a promo for the show.

  • John O’Brien, managing editor of the SouthtownStar and the Joliet Herald-News, has left the Sun-Times Media publications to join DNAInfo.com Chicago as a senior editor. An Oak Lawn native and Brother Rice High School alum, he's a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Springfield. Also at DNAInfo.com, the hyperlocal news service this week added three new weekday email newsletters covering Bridgeport/Chinatown/McKinley Park, Lincoln Square/Ravenswood, and Wicker Park/Bucktown. Two other newsletters already cover Chicago citywide and Lincoln Park/Old Town.

  • Lee Rodgers, the longtime San Francisco radio personality who hosted middays on WIND-AM (560) during its glory days from 1963 to 1971, died Thursday during heart surgery. Rodgers was best known as morning host at KSFO-AM for 14 years until he was forced out in 2010. "After 25 years with ABC in San Francisco (KGO & KSFO) I was pushed into retirement by Farid Suleman of Citadel last year," he wrote in 2011. "He thought I was making too much money (upper six figures) and there was unhappiness that I took a harsh line against Muslim terrorism. Since trade gossip has it that Cumulus, the new owners of ABC Radio, will make Farid look like Mother Teresa, I'm glad to be out of the industry and living happily in Arizona."

  • Peter Dominowski, who had a brief and controversial run as program director of classical WFMT-FM (98.7) in the early ’90s, has been named president and general manager of Northeast Indiana Public Radio news and jazz WBOI-FM (89.1) and classical WBNI-FM (94.1). He most recently headed Market Trends Research Inc. and Strategic Programming Partners consulting firms.

  • Governor Pat Quinn this week signed into law a bill giving local broadcasters and cable operators access to fuel in order to power emergency generators and access to their facilities during times of disasters. The First Informer Broadcasters Act, sponsored by State Representative John Bradley and State Senators Antonio Munoz and Kirk Dillard, was backed by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. “This legislation assures our broadcasters can keep generators fueled and stations operational in times of disasters, allowing them to do what they best — keeping the public informed,” Dennis Lyle, president and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association, said in a statement.

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