WIND invites Amy Jacobson to bridge gender gap

March 3, 2010

Amy Jacobson, the controversial reporter who landed a radio news job after her Chicago television career blew up in 2007, is about to reinvent herself as a radio talk show host.

No one is supposed to know it yet, but Jacobson is close to accepting an offer to join Salem Communications conservative news/talk WIND-AM (560) as co-host of Big John Howell's morning show from 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays. The position has been open since December when Cisco Cotto left for Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890), where he now hosts from 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays and, coincidentally, works with Jacobson.

Jacobson, 40, who has been employed at WLS since June 2008, was a regular contributor to Roe Conn's afternoon show from March 2009 until last January, and most recently has been a reporter handling news and traffic duties for Cotto's midday show.

She was one of at least six outside candidates who auditioned off the air with Howell for Cotto's old job at WIND. In an earlier interview here, Howell, 49, declined to comment on --  or even confirm --  any of the candidates on the short list to replace Cotto, but said: "Every single one of the auditions went pretty well, in my mind. There wasn't a single stinker in there." Sources said the formal offer to Jacobson came this week from Jeff Reisman, recently named general manager of WIND and Christian talk WYLL-AM (1160).

Hiring Jacobson would address a conspicuous and embarrassing absence of women on WIND's Monday-through-Friday lineup, which includes Howell, Glenn Beck, Dennis Miller, Michael Medved, Michael Savage, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager. By the same token, she's not a total stranger to WIND listeners, having appeared as a regular contributor to Geoff Pinkus' "Livin' Large" show.

After more than 10 years as a reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, Jacobson made front-page headlines in July 2007 when CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 aired videotape of her wearing a bikini and towel at the southwest suburban Plainfield home of Craig Stebic. At the time, she was covering the disappearance of Stebic's estranged wife, Lisa. In the ensuing uproar, Channel 5 fired Jacobson.

One year later, Jacobson filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Channel 2 for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other counts. In it, she claimed she had been unable to find work anywhere after being depicted in Channel 2's story "as an adulteress and disreputable reporter." The suit is still pending in Cook County Circuit Court.

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