Rosenberg redux: Ex-WGN host launching nightly podcast

Robservations on the media beat:

  • When the programming geniuses at news/talk WGN-AM (720) pulled the plug on Extension 720 host Milt Rosenberg after 39 years last December, he made it clear he wasn’t happy about it. "I'm on the older side, obviously, but I'm still full of piss and vinegar," the 87-year-old Rosenberg told me at the time. Now the former University of Chicago professor is making a comeback. Starting early next month, he is expected to host an independent podcast featuring brand-new interviews with noted authors, scholars, artists and political figures, among others. Taped at a downtown studio, shows will be posted by 7pm five nights a week. Listeners will be able to download them for free and play them back anytime. Executive producer of Rosenberg’s new venture is Zack Christenson, who served as his Extension 720 producer from 2007 to 2010. Fans can sign up for email updates at:

  • A tip of the hat to Chris Witting, founder and CEO of Syndication Networks Corporation, for posting the coolest web page I've seen in a long time. It's a roundup of television commercials he collected for local radio stations in the 1980s, when he was director of news and programming at all-news WBBM-AM (780). It's "quite a slice of Chicago radio history," Witting said, as well as a remarkable reminder of how stations promoted themselves before deregulation and consolidation ruined everything. (See for yourself: How many of these do you remember?)

  • Quick Takes blogger Zay N. Smith has split with The Beachwood Reporter, which had been running his thrice-weekly column of quirky news items since October. “Unfortunately, the many differences we had from the start — from issues such as headlines and style and design rules to using links in some items — became untenable, so we parted ways,” Beachwood’s Steve Rhodes told readers Wednesday. Here's what Smith told me: "I'm grateful for the hospitality offered by The Beachwood Reporter. But lately its editor, Steve Rhodes, whom I do not know well, started killing items that didn't suit his views and became increasingly angry when discussing matters of style. I have always tried to be fair and nonpartisan with political items, going after both Republican and Democrats. It left me mystified. On Tuesday, he abruptly announced that he was ‘calling it quits.’ So I want to thank my readers and assure them QT is not going gently into that good night. I'm exploring ways to ensure the column remains available." Smith said he'll be posting updates on

  • Ready for A Piece of the Game? This weekend marks the debut of the Chicago sports memorabilia reality show. Taped earlier this month at Harry Caray’s on Navy Pier, the show will air at 2:30pm Saturday and 6pm Sunday on WGN-Channel 9 and at 9pm Saturday on CLTV. (Three additional airing are scheduled for the following weekend.) Veteran Chicago producer Don DuPree describes the concept as “Antiques Roadshow meets Chicago sports memorabilia — on Red Bull.” The opener includes surprise cameos by a Chicago Hall of Fame baseball player and two legendary Chicago news anchors. Viewers can get their sports treasures appraised for free by signing up at

  • Alvin Pritchard, who has been vice president of finance at NBC 5 and Telemundo WSNS since 2003, has been named vice president of finance for Journal Broadcast Group in Milwaukee, starting April 1. Before joining the NBC Universal stations here, he had been a finance and audit manager for GE Healthcare.

  • John Records Landecker kicks off the world tour to promote his new memoir with an appearance on ABC 7’s Windy City Live at 9am Thursday. You won’t believe the surprise they have planned for the Chicago radio legend. Reviewed here Wednesday, Records Truly Is My Middle Name is available for pre-order now at

  • Marty McNeeley, a newsman and staff announcer at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 from 1969 to 1986, died Sunday in Middletown, New Jersey, at 86. In addition to anchoring the late-night news show Nightbeat, McNeeley was the voice of the creature on the horror movie series Creature Features. He also appeared regularly on news/talk WGN-AM (720). “We remember Marty well and all looked up to him,” said WGN news anchor Steve Sanders. Before retiring, McNeeley worked at ABC Radio in New York.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)