Robservations on the media beat:
- Gee, was it something I said? Mark Edwards, the former program guru of Chicago's Lite FM, was ousted Thursday after 6‚½ years as director of programming at CBS Radio's KEZK-FM and KYKY-FM in St. Louis. Edwards, 50, had recently boosted KEZK to the top of the ratings in the Gateway City. The news came one day after he was praised here as the genius who turned WLIT-FM (93.9) into an adult-contemporary powerhouse in the '90s -- and one day after he'd returned from vacation. Perhaps this will hasten a return to the market for the Chicago native and die-hard Cubs fan. Reached by phone Thursday night, Edwards said:
"I had a great vacation. I was in Chicago. Got to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game. Two days later, I got fired. Maybe I need to start blaming the Billy Goat."
- Diann Burns, once the queen of Chicago television news (who no longer refers to herself as "Lady Di" on her own website), is putting her castle up for sale. The Tribune reported Thursday that Burns and her husband, talent agent Marc Watts, have listed their 13-room Lincoln Park mansion for $4.825 million. That's the same pad that made front-page headlines in 2006, when the couple sued the builder, claiming he'd done substandard work because they were African American. The suit was settled out of court. Watts told reporter Bob Goldsborough they're planning to move to Los Angeles. When I asked Watts a few weeks ago about rumors that he was closing his talent representation firm, he told me he was still serving as agent to a handful of clients.‚ Since April, Burns has been hosting the Chicago Urban League's "Next TV" Sunday mornings on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.
- WOJO-FM (105.1), the Univision regional Mexican station, was named Spanish Station of the Year at the National Association of Broadcasters 2010 Marconi Radio Awards. Scott Shannon, midday host on Citadel Broadcasting oldies WLS-FM (94.7), was named Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year. Winners were announced Thursday night at the annual NAB Radio Show in Washington, D.C.
- Long before talkmeister Larry King became the prime-time star of CNN, he ruled the late-night airwaves as a nationally syndicated radio host. As his 25-year reign at CNN comes to an end, the 76-year-old King will pick up one more honor from his former radio peers: At the Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony Nov. 6, he'll be on hand to receive "special recognition" for his radio career. Think of it as icing on the cake. King was inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989. This year's nationally broadcast event will originate from WTTW-Channel 11 studios, 5400 N. St. Louis. Tickets are $350.
- Mike North's new Fox Sports Radio Network syndicated show has been picked up by Salem Communications news/talk WIND-AM (560). Starting this weekend it will air from 9 p.m. to midnight Sundays. "When we had the chance to add Mike to our lineup, we didn't want to pass up the chance to enhance our programming with such a valuable talent," WIND program director Marcus Brown said in a press release.
- No jail time for "Jay the Rat": Former Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti was placed on three years probation and required to perform 40 days of community labor Thursday after he pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor domestic violence involving his girlfriend in Los Angeles. The sharp-tongued critic, who most recently wrote for AOL's Fanhouse.com and appeared on ESPN's "Around the Horn," also was ordered to complete a 52-week domestic violence course.
- Comcast SportsNet announced a major overhaul Thursday in the branding of its daily sports news programming. Starting next week, its previously titled "SportsNite," "SportsRise" and "SportsDay" programs all will be renamed "SportsNet Central." The move to a single title coincides with the unveiling of a new studio set and on-air graphics for the network's live pre-game and post-game shows.
- When WFLD-Channel 32 meteorologist Amy Freeze pointed out on the air the other night that reporter Mark Saxenmeyer personally had garnered 11 of the 25 Emmy nominations picked up by their station, Fox Chicago news anchor Robin Robinson quipped: "Well, he probably entered a hundred times!" Heads everywhere nodded in agreement. For what they're worth, the 52nd‚ Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will be presented Nov. 6 at Park West. (Here is the link to a list of nominees.)
- Funeral services for pioneering Chicago broadcast executive Ward Quaal will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Wm. H. Scott Funeral Home, 1100 Greenleaf Ave., Wilmette. ‚ Quaal, who rose from announcer at WGN Radio to president of WGN Continental Broadcasting (now Tribune Broadcasting Co.) and later became an influential consultant, lobbyist and presidential confidante, died Sept. 24 at age 91.
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