Robservations on the media beat:
- Two years after WXRT-FM (93.1) left its longtime digs on the Northwest Side for the glitzy NBC Tower downtown, the adult rocker is on the move again. On Monday, the station's sales department will relocate to 2 Prudential Plaza, to be followed a week later by the programming department. In early June, sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) also will move from NBC Tower to Prudential, which currently houses CBS Radio's all-news WBBM-AM (780), Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3), country WUSN-FM (99.5), adult hits WJMK-FM (104.3) and adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9). The result, according to Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio in Chicago, "will give us all seven stations on four contiguous floors, which we are very excited about." The company still owns WXRT's original building at 4949 W. Belmont, site of the emergency backup transmitter for the five FM stations here.
- Dean Richards, veteran entertainment reporter at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, came away with more than he expected when he spent a few hours with Roger and Chaz Ebert at their home Wednesday. During the course of their visit, the famed film critic tweeted to his 80,000 followers an unsolicited message of support for Richards' handling of his controversial "a-hole" interview with Mel Gibson. (Read about it here.) Richards, whose feature on the Eberts will air Tuesday night and Wednesday morning on Channel 9, said:
"Roger and Chaz have always been very generous and supportive.‚ Aside‚ from my professional admiration, they were there for me when I had my thyroid surgery.‚ I'm flattered that they allowed me into their home to compare notes with Roger on the Oscars and also to give his fans a very personal look at how he soars over the roadblocks that have been put in front of him."
- N'Digo magazine faces foreclosure on its Near West Side offices, according to a published report. The free weekly geared to the African-American community and a related foundation are being sued for nearly $1.8 million by Capital One Bank for defaulting on a loan. "It's a tough time for media companies, small businesses and not-for-profits," publisher and CEO Hermene Hartman told Crain's Chicago Business.
- To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the deaths of Bulls legends and former broadcasters Johnny "Red" Kerr and Norm Van Lier, Comcast SportsNet will air a series of tributes to them tonight. Starting at 5:30 p.m. with a special edition of "Chicago Tribune Live" and continuing through "Sports Nite" at 10 p.m., the salute will incorporate live coverage from United Center during a break in the Bulls vs. Portland Trailblazers game.
- Odette Yousef, a reporter for WABE-FM in Atlanta, has been hired as the first North Side bureau reporter for Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM (91.5), starting March 15. A former staffer on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation," she graduated from Harvard University with a joint degree in economics and East Asian studies from Harvard University.