Time Out Chicago’s print edition runs out of time

Robservations on the media beat:

  • What began last fall as an effort by Sun-Times Media to buy Time Out Chicago ended this week with a deal to sell the magazine and website back to the Time Out mother ship. Joe Mansueto, who owns 95 percent of Time Out Chicago Partners, was approached with an unsolicited offer by Sun-Times Media parent company Wrapports LLC, a few months after it acquired the Chicago Reader. (Mansueto, founder and CEO of Morningstar, Inc., also is an investor in Wrapports.) That bid, in turn, triggered talks between Mansueto and Oakley Capital Investments Limited, the London-based private equity fund that controls Time Out North America. Oakley had a right to match offers for Time Out Chicago, according to the agreement that transferred majority ownership of the Chicago operation to Mansueto in 2009. Although no one has officially confirmed the reported $4 million deal, staffers were told Tuesday that the new owners will cease publication of the 55,000-circulation weekly print edition next month and continue only the digital version of Time Out Chicago. Most of the 60 people who work here will lose their jobs, I’m told.

  • Confirming a tip here Tuesday, David Doebler has been named president and general manager of NBC 5, effective immediately. Doebler has been president and general manager of WVIT-TV, the NBC-owned station in Hartford, Connecticut, since 2005. At NBC 5, he succeeds Larry Wert, who stepped down after 15 years to become president of Tribune Broadcasting stations. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Rowan University in New Jersey, Doebler, 51, previously was president and general manager of WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama. “David has done a great job strengthening the competitive position of NBC Connecticut,” Valari Staab, president of NBC Owned Television Stations, said in a statement. “With his leadership abilities, local broadcast experience and record of success, I am confident he has the right skills to steer WMAQ as the station continues its forward progress.”

  • Chicago’s ESPN Radio flagship is marking its 15th year by revamping its weekday lineup. Starting April 1, sports/talk WMVP-AM (1000) will move the midday duo of Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman to afternoons, airing from 2 to 6pm. Current afternoon co-hosts John Jurkovic and Carmen DeFalco will switch to 10am to 2pm. New to the lineup will be the first hour of Colin Cowherd’s ESPN syndicated show The Herd from 9 to 10am. ESPN’s syndicated Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will continue to air from 5 to 9am. In the latest Arbitron survey, ESPN 1000 ranked 18th among men between 25 and 54 with a 2.2 percent share. CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) tied for first place in the target demo with a 5.0 share.

  • Cumulus Media news/talk WLS-AM (890) raised its sports profile Tuesday by hiring White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone as a daily contributor. Starting April 1, Stone will turn up Monday through Friday as the station’s baseball correspondent on either Roe Conn and Richard Roeper’s afternoon show or Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft’s morning show. “I am very happy to join the 89 WLS family,” Stone said in a statement. “I love the fact they are adding another local sports element. I am equally as happy to be the one chosen to talk baseball on both sides of town as well as the national baseball scene.” In late January, Conn and Roeper kicked off a full hour of sports talk with Lou Canellis at 5pm weekdays.

  • Matt Cherniss, senior vice president of production at Warner Bros., has been named president and general manager of WGN America and the newly formed Tribune Studios. Plans are in the works for Tribune Studios to develop original content for the Tribune Co. superstation and for the company’s 23 local television stations. Cherniss previously was executive vice president of programming for Fox Broadcasting. In a related move, Julio Marenghi, who has headed WGN America since 2009, shifted to president of broadcast media sales, overseeing all Tribune Broadcasting stations’ advertising sales under Larry Wert.

  • Roland Martin, former executive editor of the Chicago Defender and former morning host on Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk WVON-AM (1690), is out after six years as a contributing commentator to CNN. “Last day at @cnn is April 6,” he told Twitter followers. “New boss wants his own peeps,” referring to the network’s new president, Jeff Zucker.

  • Veteran Chicago newsman Charlie Meyerson, who writes the daily news blog for Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5), is filling in through mid-April as curator of the Crain’s Chicago Business daily email blast The Morning 10. But that’s not all: Meyerson, who’s also an adjunct professor of journalism at Roosevelt University, will return to CBS Radio adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1) Tuesday when he subs for morning news anchor Mary Dixon.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)