No kidding? Dahl joins WBEZ for a little fooling around

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Public radio listeners will be in for a shock Monday when they hear who’s hosting The Afternoon Shift on WBEZ-FM (91.5). Broadcasting from his condo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Steve Dahl will be introduced as the Chicago Public Media station’s new 2 to 4pm weekday replacement for Steve Edwards. Listeners will be told he’s been signed to a long-term multimillion-dollar deal. "I don't know what you're talking about!" Dahl said when I asked him about taking part in the first April Fools stunt in his 35-year Chicago radio career. (Business reporter Niala Boodhoo starts for real as interim host of The Afternoon Shift on Tuesday.) The pranksters at WBEZ offered the April Fools morning show to Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon, who declined. “Jobo didn't want [us] to ‘parody ourselves’ or ‘seem desperate,’ " Volkman told me. Instead, the morning show will parody Lin Brehmer’s opening day broadcasts for WXRT-FM (93.1) from a fictitious Wrigleyville bar.

  • Interesting to see how other local media bloggers reported on the impending sale of Time Out Chicago. Mike Miner turned his piece into self-serving puffery for the Reader’s superior “gravitas” and its latest circulation claims. Lew Lazare persisted in labeling TOC an “entertainment listings magazine” (ignoring all other content) and declaring the sale “a stunning setback” for owner Joe Mansueto with no basis for the assertion. Larry Horwitz patted himself on the back for “taking the high road” while posting anonymous comments condemning TOC as “a sleazy rag,” “a trashy website,” “a worthless rag” and a “terrible mag,” and maligning me personally as “Mr. high & mighty media gossip,” and a “supposed ‘journalist’ ” whose columns “have always been jokes.” Alone in playing it straight was Chuck Sudo, who noted correctly that TOC’s 2011 redesign “involved a renewed emphasis on balance between the harder news and the arts, culture and music previews and reviews that are their stock-in-trade.” The sale has not yet been finalized or officially confirmed.

  • Look for the Chicago Tribune to raise its Monday-through-Saturday newsstand price to $1.50. The 50 percent hike was to have gone into effect Monday, but has been delayed. The Sun-Times raised its weekday newsstand price to $1 January 21. (Update: Tribune single-copy price did rise to $1.50, as of Monday.)

  • Carl Grapentine, morning host on classical WFMT-FM (98.7), will celebrate opening day Monday with a lineup fit for baseball fans. Starting at 6:30am, he’ll play music by Charles Ives and Darius Milhaud, classics such as Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Casey at the Bat, baseball film scores, the classic Shakespearean Baseball, and a special segment called Voices of the Game, among other treats.

  • The departure of Kayla Hernandez after six years as a field representative for the Chicago local of SAG-AFTRA comes at a difficult time for staffers at CBS 2. Hernandez, who’d been chief negotiator for the union in talks with the station, resigned last week to pursue a career in the fashion industry. (She’s becoming a fashion specialist at Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue and writing a blog at In addition to the usual challenges to union jurisdiction at the bargaining table, the company wants reporters from sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) to report for CBS 2 without joining the union or being covered by the contract.

  • Friends and colleagues are mourning the loss of Chicago radio personality Johnny Von, who died Friday at 54. "We want to let you know that Johnny Von has left this world to be with Our Lord in Heaven," his family posted on his Facebook page. Von, whose real name was John Vondruksa, was sports director of west suburban WCKG-AM (1530) since 2011. A graduate of Lyons Township High School and Columbia College, he previously worked at WLS-FM (94.7), WLUP-FM (97.9) and WMVP-AM (1000). "I'm on this planet to make people happy, make them think and to simply entertain," he once wrote. Funeral services will be Wednesday in Brookfield.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)