WBEZ | Feder http://www.wbez.org/tags/feder Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Feder's Chicago media flashback: October 1992 http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/feders-chicago-media-flashback-october-1992 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/Howard-Stern1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An assortment of news items (updated and annotated) from my Chicago Sun-Times columns of 18 years ago this week:<code> </code> <!--break--></p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Howard-Stern1.jpg"><img height="247" width="482" class="size-full wp-image-40156" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Howard-Stern1.jpg" /></a>&nbsp;<br /><sup><strong><em>Howard Stern</em></strong></sup></p> <ul><li><strong>&ldquo;Howard Stern</strong> got off to a roaring start in Chicago Thursday, predicting he would become No. 1 in the ratings &lsquo;within a year.&rsquo; As WLUP-AM (1000) signed on as the ninth outlet for Stern&rsquo;s New York-based syndicated morning show, the self-proclaimed &lsquo;king of all media&rsquo; declared: &lsquo;I am still obnoxiously confident that Chicagoans will take me into their homes and their hearts. I believe it will not be much of a challenge in the Chicago market.&rsquo; &rdquo; [Chicago didn&rsquo;t embrace Stern quite as quickly as he&rsquo;d hoped. His first run ended after only 10 months, with Stern filing a $45 million breach-of-contract suit against WLUP&rsquo;s parent company. His subsequent move to WCKG-FM lasted seven months. Then he languished on WJJD-AM for another seven months. But the fourth time proved the charm: In 1996, he returned to WCKG, where Stern finally became a bona fide hit. His departure at the end of 2005 &mdash; coinciding with his move from syndication to satellite radio &mdash; was a major factor in the collapse of the station.]</li><li>&ldquo;WLS-Channel 7 reporter <strong>Russ Ewing</strong> brought in his 100th&nbsp;murder suspect on Friday. A 19-year-old suspect in a gang-related shooting on the West Side asked Ewing to accompany him before he surrendered to police. Why have so many murder suspects called Ewing in the last 23 years? &lsquo;They do it because they feel a great deal of trust in Russ,&rsquo; said <strong>Rob Allman,</strong> Channel 7 acting news director.&rdquo; [In 2000, Ewing came out of retirement to deliver his 116th&nbsp;and 117th&nbsp;fugitives to police. When I last spoke to him, Ewing, 86, was living in southwest Michigan.]</li><li>&ldquo;WGCI-FM (107.5) afternoon &lsquo;fly jock&rsquo; <strong>Tom Joyner</strong> today begins his eighth year of commuting between Chicago and his morning radio job in Dallas. &lsquo;One more year to go, and then it&rsquo;s gonna be quits for this flying back and forth stuff,&rsquo; he said.&rdquo; [The Hall of Fame broadcaster known as &ldquo;The Hardest Working Man in Radio&quot; finally did quit the commute, but he&rsquo;s still a potent force in syndication. His morning show airs here on Crawford Broadcasting&rsquo;s WSRB-FM/WYRB-FM (106.3) and WPWX-FM (92.3).]</li><li><strong>&ldquo;Cheryl Burton,</strong> news anchor and talk show host at KWCH-TV in Wichita, Kansas, has been hired as weekend anchor and general assignment reporter at WLS-Channel 7. Burton, 29, a native of the South Side and graduate of the University of Illinois, is married to Channel 7 sports anchor <strong>Jim Rose.</strong> She began her television career as the host of &lsquo;Simply Elegant,&rsquo; a weekly talk show on TCI Cable in Skokie, and was a reporter for WMBD-TV in Peoria.&rdquo; [Burton was promoted in 2002 to 5 p.m. co-anchor with <strong>Ron Magers</strong> and 10 p.m. contributing anchor with Magers and <strong>Kathy Brock.</strong> Her marriage to Rose, who also still works at Channel 7, ended in divorce.]</li><li>&ldquo;No one is supposed to know it yet, but WFMT-FM (98.7) is about to reinstate its ban on recorded commercials. <strong>Dan Schmidt, </strong>senior vice president and general manager of the classical music outlet, has called a press conference today to announce the station&rsquo;s return to ads read live by announcers. WFMT dropped its 39-year ban on airing taped commercials in February 1990 &mdash; months after it raised $375,000 from listeners by promising that no significant program or policy changes would be made.&rdquo; [WFMT restored its unique sound as of Jan. 1, 1993. Schmidt was promoted to president and CEO of parent company Window to the World Communications in 1998.]</li><li>&ldquo;In an embarrassing setback on the eve of the November sweeps, WLS-Channel 7&rsquo;s new news director abruptly quit before he ever got started. <strong>David Friend, </strong>assistant news director of WABC-TV in New York, had agreed to replace Channel 7 news director <strong>Tom Dolan,</strong> who was fired Aug. 31 over &lsquo;philosophical differences.&rsquo; . . . On Friday, Friend suddenly backed out. After ducking press calls since his appointment was first announced, Friend picked up the phone in his Chicago hotel room Friday. But he refused to say anything. &lsquo;I&rsquo;ve never seen any value in dealing with the press,&rsquo; said Friend, 36, who has worked in broadcast journalism for almost 15 years.&rdquo; [After producing the syndicated show &ldquo;Extra&rdquo; and working at CNBC, Friend became news director of WCBS-TV in New York. Earlier this year, he was named senior vice president of news for CBS Television Stations. He was in on moving WCBS&rsquo; <strong>Kate Sullivan, Steve Bartelstein</strong> and <strong>Megan Glaros</strong> to WBBM-Channel 2.]&nbsp;</li> </ul></p> Fri, 22 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/robert-feder/feders-chicago-media-flashback-october-1992 Director returns for Ebert's movie-review sequel http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/director-returns-for-eberts-movie-review-sequel/40253 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/Roger-Ebert-e1287525469519.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><br /><img height="267" width="500" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/Roger-Ebert-e1287525469519.jpg" /><sup><strong><em><br />Roger Ebert</em></strong></sup></p><p style="text-align: left;">Don DuPree, a 23-year veteran of Chicago television, announced his resignation Tuesday as assistant news director at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 to reunite with Roger Ebert on his <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/pages-for-twitter/roger-ebert-presents-at-the-moe.html">new movie-review show.</a></p><p>DuPree has been hired as director of <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/09/eberts-new-movie-show-flashes-back-to-earlier-era/36769">&ldquo;Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies,&rdquo;</a> which is expected to debut in January on public television stations nationwide. Ebert and his wife, Chaz, are producing the show with WTTW National Productions. It will originate from WTTW-Channel 11, where Ebert and the late Gene Siskel first teamed up in 1975.</p> <p>In the new show, Ebert, who is unable to speak because of health problems, plans to use a computer-generated voice to appear in a weekly segment called &ldquo;Roger&rsquo;s Office.&rdquo; Critics Christy Lemire of The Associated Press and Elvis Mitchell of National Public Radio will serve as co-hosts, with contributions from film bloggers Kim Morgan and Omar Moore.<br /> <br /> DuPree had spent more than 15 years with Ebert as both director and executive producer of various incarnations of the syndicated movie-review show, first with Siskel and later with Richard Roeper. Since July 2009, DuPree has been assistant news director at Channel 2, where he oversaw the ill-fated &ldquo;Monsters and Money in the Morning,&rdquo; which was canceled after seven months last August. Before joining &ldquo;Siskel &amp; Ebert&rdquo; in 1993, he had been an executive at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 for five years.</p> <p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t tell you how good it feels to have [Don] on board for the new program,&rdquo; Ebert wrote in a message from Hawaii, where he was attending a film festival and receiving an award Tuesday. &ldquo;He&rsquo;ll supply an experienced hand at the rudder.&rdquo;</p> <p>Another veteran of &ldquo;Ebert &amp; Roeper,&rdquo; former executive producer David Plummer, has signed on as a consultant to the new show. Serving as associate producer will be Chaz&rsquo;s daughter, Sonia Evans, who was a production associate at ABC Studios in Burbank, Calif., and vice president of development at Spicerack Productions, a children&rsquo;s programming development and production company. &ldquo;We have a lot of valuable experience onboard,&rdquo; Ebert said.</p> <p>In Chicago, the show will debut on Channel 11 on&nbsp;Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, at 8:30 p.m.&nbsp;The agreement to produce&nbsp; &ldquo;Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies&rdquo; from the original home of &ldquo;Coming Soon to a Theater Near You&rdquo; and &ldquo;Sneak Previews&rdquo; is a source of particular satisfaction to Ebert, who said:</p> <blockquote><p>&ldquo;As for returning to WTTW, that just plain feels good. We started out there, we went national there, and now the circle is completed. These days weekly syndicated shows face enormous problems in clearing good, consistent time slots. Viewers complained &lsquo;At the Movies&rsquo; was on after midnight or was pre-empted by infomercials. Public television will allow us to occupy consistent and much improved time slots, and that should increase our viewership. Initial response from more than 300 public stations indicate we will be on most of them. WTTW and public TV are the right place for the show. Plus, with no ads, we gain six minutes of running time. Win &ndash; win.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><blockquote></blockquote></p> Tue, 19 Oct 2010 16:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/director-returns-for-eberts-movie-review-sequel/40253 Hell no, he won't go: Randy says he's "still working' http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/the-plot-thickens-randy-says-he-still-working/40233 <p><p>The Tribune Co. saga took another turn Tuesday with the declaration by embattled CEO Randy Michaels that he has not resigned. <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/alert/ct-biz-tribune-ceo-randy-michaels-oct19,0,3852083.story">&ldquo;I work here today and I&rsquo;m still working,&rdquo;</a> the Chicago Tribune quoted him as saying.</p> <p>Both the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-1019-tribune-michaels-20101018,0,571395.story">Tribune</a> and the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/business/media/19tribune.html?_r=3&amp;src=busln">New York Times </a>reported that the board of Tribune Co. was expected to call for Michaels&rsquo; resignation amid what the Tribune called &ldquo;a swirl of controversy over disclosures of sexist and boorish behavior among Michaels and his hand-picked team of executives.&rdquo;</p> <p>A statement issued by the company after the board meeting made no reference to Michaels&rsquo; expected ouster. &ldquo;Tribune&rsquo;s board of directors is focused on filing the company&rsquo;s plan of reorganization this Friday and has no comment on any other issue,&rdquo; the statement said.</p></p> Tue, 19 Oct 2010 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/the-plot-thickens-randy-says-he-still-working/40233 Read all about it: The party's over, Randy http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/read-all-about-it-the-partys-over-randy/40171 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/Randy-Michaels-240x300.jpg" alt="" /><p><div style="margin-right: 15px; float: left; text-align: center;"><img hspace="0" height="300" border="1" align="left" width="240" vspace="0" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/Randy-Michaels-240x300.jpg" style="margin-right: 15px;" alt="" /><p><sup><strong><em>Randy Michaels</em></strong></sup></p></div><p style="text-align: left;">Randy Michaels, whose <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/06/poker-party-desecrates-tribune-tower-shrine/24676">frat house antics </a>and crony-laden management style turned the 150-year culture of the Chicago Tribune into a national laughingstock, appears to be on his way out as chief executive officer of Tribune Co.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/business/media/19tribune.html?_r=2&amp;src=busln">The New York Times</a> reported online late Monday night that the board of the Chicago-based media company is expected to seek Michaels&rsquo; resignation Tuesday.</p> <p>Reporters David Carr and Tim Arango quoted an unidentified source who said the board &ldquo;had lost confidence in the ability of Mr. Michaels to lead the troubled company.&rdquo;</p> <p>Carr is the same reporter who wrote the New York Times&rsquo; now-infamous <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/media/06tribune.html">front-page story</a> Oct. 6 that detailed a &ldquo;culture run amok&rdquo; at Tribune Co. under Sam Zell&rsquo;s ownership and Michaels&rsquo; executive leadership. &ldquo;Mr. Michaels&rsquo;s and his executives&rsquo; use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective shocked and offended people throughout the company,&rdquo; Carr wrote. &ldquo;Tribune Tower, the architectural symbol of the staid company, came to resemble a frat house, complete with poker parties, juke boxes and pervasive sex talk.&rdquo;</p> <p>The end of Michaels&rsquo; reign, if true, could come just as Tribune Co. exits bankruptcy after nearly two years. A tentative deal with a group of lenders reportedly was reached last week. &ldquo;When and if Tribune emerges from bankruptcy, it will apparently proceed with new management,&rdquo; the New York Times reported. &ldquo;Mr. Michaels, who came to the company with a broad mandate for change, alienated many of the company&rsquo;s employees and some of its advertisers with a nontraditional approach with many tactics borrowed from radio.&rdquo;</p> <p>The timing and extent of the New York Times&rsquo; expose sent shockwaves through the company, which includes the Chicago Tribune, WGN America, WGN-Channel 9, WGN-AM (720), and other major newspapers and television stations across the country.</p> <p>Just last Friday, Michaels <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/10/lee-abrams-goes-down/39940">announced the resignation</a> of Lee Abrams as chief innovation officer after Abrams had written a companywide memo with links to an offensive video.&nbsp; Some saw the move an effort by Michaels to make Abrams a scapegoat and buy himself more time with the board.</p> <p>Nowhere was Michaels&rsquo; heavy hand more apparent than at Tribune&rsquo;s one and only radio station, WGN-AM, where he installed longtime crony Kevin Metheny as program director and continued to meddle in everything from <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/06/whod-want-to-join-wgns-big-happy-family-anyway/26179">personnel matters</a> to words that newscasters were <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/03/memo-puts-wgn-news-staffers-at-a-loss-for-words/17374">forbidden to utter</a> on the air.</p></p> Tue, 19 Oct 2010 00:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/read-all-about-it-the-partys-over-randy/40171 Editor calls damage to Tribune reputation "shameful' http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/editor-calls-damage-to-tribune-reputation-shameful/39987 <p><p style="text-align: left;">Mark my words: A year or two from now, the Chicago journalism establishment will look back on this time as a critical moment in its history &mdash; a period when the city&rsquo;s oldest and most important news organization faced a crisis of confidence and a test of leadership.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="327" width="489" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Gerry-Kern.jpg" class="size-full wp-image-40017" /><em><br /></em><sup><strong><em>Gerry Kern</em></strong></sup></p><p>Seminars will be held, stories will be published, and maybe a book or two will be written about how the Chicago Tribune survived the siege from within &mdash; the bankrupt ownership of Sam Zell and the miserable management of CEO Randy Michaels and his cadre of henchmen who ran amok in Tribune Tower.</p> <p>We&rsquo;ll hear how the men and women of the World&rsquo;s Greatest Newspaper carried out their jobs with diligence and professionalism despite working for slimebag corporate bosses under terribly stressful circumstances. David Carr&rsquo;s now-infamous <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/media/06tribune.html?_r=1">New York Times piece</a> no doubt will serve as the template for the narrative.</p> <p>I just hope I&rsquo;m around when local journalism groups start handing out awards for ethics or courage or whatever they celebrate when right triumphs over evil in our business. Because if they do give an award to any of the editors at the Chicago Tribune, I&rsquo;d like to be there to point out that not one of them spoke up about what was going on inside their own company until The New York Times slapped it on its front page 12 days ago.</p> <p>I&rsquo;d also like to be around to remind the Chicago Headline Club (one of the groups that loves to hand out awards) of an extraordinary statement its board issued Friday to Tribune Co. executives, directors and creditors, and to bankruptcy court officers. Saying that it &ldquo;strongly objects to the culture of offensiveness that has marginalized&nbsp;women at the Chicago Tribune,&rdquo; the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists declared:</p> <blockquote><p>&ldquo;In recent generations, American workplace managers presumably moved beyond sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination against employees. Yet in recent years, as the New York Times asserts in an Oct. 5 [sic] article, offensive behavior has become all too frequent among Tribune Co. management. The Times article is not the first time such complaints have been reported. It is, however, the largest compilation of allegations of &lsquo;sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective.&rsquo; Corporate rock star status and/or supposed creativity do not excuse this behavior. Nor, we might add, has a boys&rsquo; locker room attitude helped dig the Tribune Co. out of its financial hole. If anything, unacceptable treatment of employees has cost the company the loyalty and dedication of staff. . . .The Chicago Headline Club condemns the misuse of power that apparently occurred at the Tribune.&rdquo;</p></blockquote> <p>The man in the middle of this is Chicago Tribune editor <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/about/chi-kernbio-htmlstory,0,1387987.htmlstory">Gerry Kern,</a> who ascended to his job after his predecessor, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/business/media/15paper.html">Ann Marie Lipinski,</a> and many of her colleagues walked out early in the Zell regime.</p> <p>On one hand, Kern is largely responsible for bringing <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/10/time-for-tribune-to-clear-the-air-on-foul-management/39544">Lee Abrams&rsquo; memo</a> to light, branding it &ldquo;offensive&rdquo; and &ldquo;completely inappropriate to be sent out in a workplace setting,&rdquo; and setting in motion the events that led to <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/10/lee-abrams-goes-down/39940">Abrams&rsquo; ouster </a>Friday as chief innovation officer. You&rsquo;d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks Kern would have acted as forcefully or as publicly were it not for the New York Times&rsquo; scrutiny just days earlier.</p> <p>On the other hand, Kern has been <a href="http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&amp;aid=192380">taking great pains</a> to separate his newsroom from the shenanigans going on above his head in the upper floors of Tribune Tower. In response to the Chicago Headline Club statement, Kern told <a href="http://chicagobreakingbusiness.com/2010/10/lee-abrams-resigns-from-tribune-co.html">Phil Rosenthal</a> that the newspaper was &ldquo;being wrongly tarnished by the allegations against Tribune Co. executives and by actions such as Abrams&rsquo;,&rdquo; adding: &ldquo;The Chicago Tribune has nothing to do with any of it. It&rsquo;s shameful that significant damage has been done to our reputations and to the good name of the Chicago Tribune.&rdquo; Don&rsquo;t confuse the Chicago Tribune with Tribune Co., he told Rosenthal. &ldquo;They are two different organizations.&rdquo;</p> <p>Let that sink in for a moment: <em>&ldquo;They are two different organizations.&rdquo; </em>For the editor of the Chicago Tribune to disavow his own parent company and the conduct of its top executives is nothing less than stunning. Either that, or it&rsquo;s all just one big P.R. game.</p> <p>Notwithstanding allegations of Zell&rsquo;s attempts to <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/10/ex-tribune-editor-recalls-pressure-from-sam-zell/39687">interfere with editorial matters</a> to benefit his business interests, I believe Kern and a lot of Tribune writers who say the noxious culture that exists in the executive suites has not reached the newsroom. But it&rsquo;s naïve of them to try to convince the public that the company and the newspaper are distinct entities. We&rsquo;ve seen enough of <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/03/memo-puts-wgn-news-staffers-at-a-loss-for-words/17374">Michaels&rsquo; micromanaging</a> in other areas to know better.</p> <p>If Kern truly believes they are different organizations, why did his newspaper ignore the debasement of one of Chicago&rsquo;s leading corporate and civic institutions until it became a national embarrassment? And how will the Tribune cover itself from now on?</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 18 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/editor-calls-damage-to-tribune-reputation-shameful/39987 L.A. flagship station tells PBS: Drop dead http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/l-a-flagship-station-tells-pbs-drop-dead/39845 <p><div style="margin-right: 15px; float: left; text-align: center;"><img src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Al-Jerome.jpg" alt="" /><p><sup><strong><em>Al Jerome</em></strong></sup></p></div><p>A former Chicago television station manager is at the center of a rebellion that could turn the public broadcasting business upside down. </p><p>In a move that's sending shockwaves across the country, the main public television station in Los Angeles announced plans last week to <a href="http://www.kcet.org/about/pressroom/press-releases/kcet-to-go-independent-effective-january-1-2011.html">drop its affiliation with PBS</a> after more than 40 years and go independent, effective Jan 1.<!--break--> </p><p>The man behind the revolt by KCET-TV is its president and chief executive officer, <a href="http://www.kcet.org/user/profile/AJerome">Al Jerome,</a> who served as station manager of WMAQ-Channel 5 for three years (until 1980) and later as president of the NBC Television Station Group. He has headed the flagship public television station in Southern California since 1996.</p><p>&quot;If KCET is able to thrive without PBS, this will be a paradigm shift for [public television] which will change our business model forever,&quot; predicted Dan Schmidt, president and CEO of Window to the World Communications, parent company of WTTW-Channel 11.</p><p>In severing ties to PBS, Jerome told <a href="http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/a-station-defects-from-pbs/">The New York Times</a> that KCET no longer could afford the annual dues of $6.8 million, representing 22 percent of KCET's net operating budget. The fees had jumped 40 percent from 2005 to 2009 and were frozen at that level despite a drop in station revenue, he said. Although the issue had been under discussion for years, the announcement reportedly caught PBS by surprise. </p><p>As a result, viewers will have to look to other public television stations in the L.A. area for such PBS franchises as &quot;Frontline,&quot; &quot;Nova,&quot; &quot;Masterpiece,&quot; &quot;Sesame Street&quot; and &quot;PBS NewsHour.&quot; The move will transform KCET into the largest independent public television station in the country. In a <a href="http://www.kcet.org/about/ask-al/ask-al-kcet-goes-independent.html">message to viewers,</a> Jerome wrote:</p><blockquote>&quot;We are confident that KCET will be a success as an independent public television station as we have a track record of producing great local programming . . . We enjoy excellent relationships with our world-class creative community and there will be numerous opportunities for those who want to invest in our rich and diverse community to collaborate with KCET. While it will take time to deliver on the ultimate promise of KCET as an independent station, we will continue to serve our audience with a rich mix of programming, including all the genres we know our viewers love drawn from national and international sources.&quot;</blockquote><p>Reaction on KCET's website and in published reports was generally negative, with many viewers expressing disappointment and vowing to discontinue their financial support for the station. (&quot;We hope you'll give us a chance,&quot; Jerome pleaded.) </p><p>No one has been following the story with greater interest than Jerome's counterparts at other financially strained public television stations, including Chicago's Channel 11. In a memo this week to WTTW trustees and staff, Schmidt wrote:</p><blockquote>&quot;This will be a very interesting case study for the next couple of years.&sbquo;&nbsp;The notion of going from the flagship PBS station in the second largest market to an independent is unprecedented.&sbquo;&nbsp;We will learn a lot from this.&sbquo;&nbsp;I believe PBS leadership believes KCET will soon learn that, without PBS, they will become a shell of what they are today.&sbquo;&nbsp;I also believe PBS is concerned about setting a precedent that would lead other stations to demand the same concessions which would be very damaging to the already challenged [public television] business model. If KCET is able to thrive without PBS, this will be a paradigm shift for [public television] which will change our business model forever.&quot;</blockquote></p> Fri, 15 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/l-a-flagship-station-tells-pbs-drop-dead/39845 Ex-Tribune editor recalls "pressure' from Sam Zell http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/ex-tribune-editor-recalls-pressure-from-sam-zell/39687 <p><p>Robservations on the media beat:&nbsp;&nbsp;<code> </code></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em><img height="220" width="332" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-11/Sam-Zell.jpg" /><br /></em><sup><strong><em>Sam Zell</em></strong></sup></p><ul> <li>Overshadowed by the frat house hijinks detailed in <strong>David Carr's</strong> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/media/06tribune.html">New York Times opus</a> on Tribune Co. last week was a potentially more damaging allegation -- that owner <strong>Sam Zell</strong> tried to use the Chicago Tribune to benefit his other business interests. Former editor <strong>Ann Marie Lipinski</strong> recalled a June 2008 meeting at which the billionaire mogul told her the newspaper should be harder on then-Gov. <strong>Rod Blagojevich.</strong><!--break--> (&quot;Don't be a pussy,&quot; she quoted Zell saying. &quot;You can always be harder on him.&quot;) Later that day, she learned that Zell was negotiating to sell Wrigley Field to the state sports authority. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/business/media/15paper.html">Lipinski quit the following month.</a> &quot;It was hard to avoid the conclusion that he was trying to use the newspaper to put pressure on Blagojevich,&quot; said Lipinski, who's now a vice president at the University of Chicago. Though current Tribsters deny any influence from Zell, <a href="http://thecapitolfaxblog.com/">Capitol Fax</a> editor <strong>Rich Miller</strong> isn't buying it. &quot;It's just ridiculous,&quot; he says. &quot;When are they ever going to come clean on this?&quot;</li> <li>Monday saw the return of one sports media writer and the disappearance of another. <strong>Jim O'Donnell,</strong> whose column was killed weeks before he was <a href="/feder/2010/06/sun-times-cuts-jim-o'donnell-from-sports-team/26274">laid off last June</a> from the Sun-Times, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-10-11/sports/ct-spt-1012-arlington--20101011_1_roy-arnold-polytrack-arnold-era">resurfaced in the Tribune</a> with a story on the resignation of Arlington Park president <strong>Roy Arnold.</strong> &quot;The Trib needed some stuff done, and I thought it was time to brush the cobwebs off the laptop,&quot; O'Donnell said. Meanwhile, <strong>Dale Bowman,</strong> whose free-lance sports media column debuted in the Sun-Times <a href="/feder/2010/09/sun-times-hooks-new-sports-media-columnist/38117">three weeks ago,</a> was suddenly missing. Word is Bowman's column is &quot;on hold&quot; until issues involving O'Donnell's former staff position are resolved with the newspaper guild.</li> <li>Last month, you'll recall, <strong>Marti Jones</strong> quit as afternoon traffic reporter on CBS Radio country WUSN-FM (99.5) to replace <strong>Maura Myles</strong> as <a href="/feder/2010/09/with-myles-to-go-wls-fm-steers-jones-to-mornings/37874">morning news anchor</a> on Citadel Broadcasting oldies WLS-FM (94.7). If things had worked out as originally planned, Myles would have taken over Jones' old job. But earlier this week, she turned down an offer from Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcast Services to concentrate full-time on <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/mauramyles">mylesperhour,</a> her commercial voice-over and production business. Now the leading candidate to join <strong>Drew Walker's</strong> US 99.5 afternoon show is <strong>Gina Ferraro.</strong></li> <li><a href="http://www.museum.tv/exhibitionssection.php?page=583">&quot;Horror on the Air: Frightful Moments on Radio &amp; Television,&quot;</a> a new online exhibit, has been unveiled just in time for Halloween by Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications. The frightfully fascinating site is billed as the first ever to explore the history of on-air horror programming. It features a foreword by <strong>Rich</strong> <a href="http://www.wciu.com/svengoolie.php">&quot;Svengoolie&quot;</a> <strong>Koz</strong> and an introduction by curator <strong>David Plier,</strong> vice president of the museum.</li> <li>It'll be a night of Chicago television nostalgia Saturday at The Book Market in Glenview's Glen Town Center. Starting with a reception at 7 p.m., the event will feature a presentation by historian <strong>Steve Jajkowski,</strong> author of <a href="/feder/2010/01/chicagos-tv-history-when-the-medium-was-well-done/13361"><em>Chicago Television,</em></a> at 7:30 p.m., and a conversation with <strong>Rick Klein,</strong> curator of the online <a href="http://fuzzymemories.tv/">Museum of Classic Chicago Television,</a> at 8:30 p.m. It's all free. (<a href="http://theglentowncenter.com/">Here is the link for reservations.</a>)</li> <li>Winners of the 10th&sbquo;&nbsp;annual <a href="http://www.thirdcoastfestival.org/">Third Coast International Audio Festival</a> will be honored for the best radio stories produced worldwide at a gala awards ceremony Oct. 30 in the ballroom of the School of the Art Institute. <a href="http://www.thirdcoastfestival.org/competitions/tc-rhdf-competition">Nine prizes</a> will be awarded in four categories, with excerpts played from each one. Hosts will be <strong>Jad Abumrad</strong> and <strong>Robert&quot;&uml; Krulwich</strong> of public radio's &quot;Radiolab,&quot; with a music performance by <strong>Abraham Levitan.</strong> Tickets are $75. (<a href="http://thirdcoastfestival.wufoo.com/forms/2010-third-coast-awards-ceremony/">Here is the link for information.</a>)</li> </ul></p> Thu, 14 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/ex-tribune-editor-recalls-pressure-from-sam-zell/39687 Time for Tribune to clear the air on foul management http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/time-for-tribune-to-clear-the-air-on-foul-management/39544 <p><div style="margin-right: 15px; float: left; text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-11/Tribune-Tower1-171x300.jpg" /><p><sup><strong><em>Tribune Tower</em></strong></sup></p></div> <p>Just another day at the naughty, bawdy frat house known as Tribune Tower.</p><p>Tuesday's antics were sparked by a typically idiotic company-wide memo written the day before by <a href="http://gawker.com/5640092/lee-abrams-batshit-jerkoff-who-has-made-our-lives-suck">Lee Abrams,</a> chief innovation officer of Tribune Co. (and longtime crony of CEO Randy <a ëœbankrupt-culture="" href="http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/new-york-times-exposes-tribune-co-bankrupt-culture/38971">&quot;Show Me Your Breasts&quot;</a> Michaels). Although it contained links to some videos that any normal person would consider outrageously inappropriate for the workplace -- including one in which women identified as &quot;sluts were seen simulating lewd acts -- Abrams' memo was not much different than dozens of others he'd written since 2008.</p><p><!--break--> But before the day was over, Abrams was <a href="http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&amp;aid=192530">forced to apologize</a> publicly for what he called &quot;poor judgment,&quot; and ordered his offensive email deleted from company servers. (<strong>Update:</strong> Abrams was <a href="http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&amp;aid=192587">suspended indefinitely without pay</a> Wednesday, with Michaels saying: &quot;We're in the process of determining further disciplinary action.&quot;)&sbquo;&nbsp;What made this particular &quot;think piece&quot; from Abrams such a cause celebre? Three things:</p><ul> <li>Chicago Tribune editor Gerry Kern chose to make an issue of it, lodging complaints to the company's human resources department and to Abrams directly, and then publicly declaring: &quot;I thought it was offensive and I thought it was completely inappropriate to be sent out in a workplace setting to everyone in this company.&quot;</li> <li>Tribune media columnist <a href="http://chicagobreakingbusiness.com/2010/10/tribune-co-executive-sends-offensive-memo.html">Phil Rosenthal</a> broke the story of the controversial memo and of Kern's reaction to it, further distancing the newspaper's editorial department from the corporate suites of Tribune Tower. Embarrassing as it was, it also inoculated the paper from even greater embarrassment if the memo had been leaked elsewhere.</li> <li>Most significantly, it came just six days after a scathing, front-page story in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/media/06tribune.html">The New York Times</a> exposed the &quot;bankrupt culture&quot; of Tribune Co. under the ownership of Sam Zell and the leadership of Michaels and his cadre of radio rowdies, including Abrams. Reporter David Carr revealed in vivid detail what company employees (and, to a great extent, <a ëœdesecrates="" href="http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/06/poker-party-desecrates-tribune-tower-shrine/24676">readers of this blog</a>) had known for quite awhile --&nbsp; that the Tower had become a playground for management's adolescent fantasies and a cesspool of &quot;sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective.&quot;</li> </ul><p>All of which should lead anyone to ask:&sbquo;&nbsp;What took so long? Why did it take almost three years and the glaring spotlight of The New York Times to force the Tribune finally to confront what's been going on inside its own house?&sbquo;&nbsp;And other than a handful of bloggers, until last week where were the rest of our media on this story, for that matter?</p><p>Granted, the Tribune has done a diligent job of covering the business and legal sides of its company's epic bankruptcy, reporting on the chicanery that led to Zell's &quot;deal from hell&quot; and the struggles to emerge with a settlement. But except for a few artfully worded posts on Rosenthal's blog, the sordid reign of Michaels &amp; Co. has been all but ignored by the World's Greatest Newspaper and its numerous print and broadcast confederates.</p><p>Once Carr's New York Times blockbuster hit, how did the Tribune respond? By circling the wagons at first and printing a ludicrous broadside from Michaels, who urged employees to <a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/10/tribune-co-ceo-randy-michaels-tells-workers-to-ignore-the-noise-of-new-york-times-story.html">&quot;ignore the noise&quot;</a> and who sought to impugn the motives and reputation of the writer. (That's standard operating procedure for Michaels, who tried to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/03/trib-ceo-shoots-the-messenger--but-misses-the-point/17694">discredit my reporting</a> on him earlier this year by labeling me &quot;an out-of-work blogger&quot; and someone who is &quot;no longer paid to be in media.&quot;)</p><p>The timidity of so many journalists at the Tribune, WGN-Channel 9 and WGN-AM (720) to speak out makes me admire Roger Ebert even more for the way in which he took on Conrad Black and David Radler, the two crooks who nearly ran the Sun-Times into the ground a few years ago.&sbquo;&nbsp;Or the way Carol Marin and Ron Magers confronted their NBC bosses at WMAQ-Channel 5 in the late '90s.&sbquo;&nbsp;Or the way Mike Royko stood up to Rupert Murdoch when he took over the Sun-Times in the early '80s. Who is their counterpart when Tribune Co. is in crisis? <a href="http://twitter.com/account/profile_image/ColonelTribune?hreflang=en">Colonel Tribune?</a></p><p>What's ultimately at stake is the credibility and authority of the Tribune to exert its influence over all the other institutions it covers. In the aftermath of the New York Times piece last week, Kern <a href="http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&amp;aid=192380">posted a memo</a> in which he extolled his newsroom's &quot;highest professional, ethical and moral standards.&quot; Confronting Abrams on Tuesday was another step in the right direction. But I'm afraid both moves are too little, too late.</p><p>It'll take more than a good housecleaning in Tribune Tower to remove the stench left by Randy and his pals.</p></p> Wed, 13 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/time-for-tribune-to-clear-the-air-on-foul-management/39544 Who's to blame for 'Sports Writers' getting benched? http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/whos-to-blame-for-sports-writers-getting-benched/39422 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/The-Sports-Writers-on-TV.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After just four weeks on the air, <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/feder/2010/08/could-sportswriters-inspire-more-classic-comebacks/34514">reruns of &ldquo;The Sports Writers on TV&rdquo; </a>have disappeared from Comcast SportsNet Chicago &mdash; though insiders can&rsquo;t seem to agree on who&rsquo;s at fault for the sudden vanishing act.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="268" width="500" src="http://wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/The-Sports-Writers-on-TV.jpg" alt="" /><em><br /></em><sup><strong><em>The Sports Writers on TV</em></strong></sup></p><p>&nbsp;Ballyhooing the show&rsquo;s <a href="http://chicago.comcastsportsnet.com/08/18/10/The-Sports-Writers-on-TV-makes-CSN-retur/landing.html?blockID=292804&amp;feedID=661">&ldquo;triumphant return&rdquo;</a> back in August, CSN president Jim Corno called it &ldquo;truly an exciting day for me and all of us at Comcast SportsNet to announce that the &lsquo;Fab Four&rsquo; of sports talk will once again be making their way back to television and, for the first time, on the web.&rdquo; He was referring, of course, to the famed foursome of Bill Gleason, Bill Jauss, Rick Telander and Ben Bentley, whose nationally acclaimed sports roundtable show aired from 1985 to 1998.</p> <p>Since Sept. 10, vintage episodes of the show (updated with contemporary video pop-ups) had been airing on Comcast SportsNet at 11 p.m. Fridays and Sundays and online at <a href="http://www.csnchicago.com/">CSNChicago.com.</a> But when they didn&rsquo;t appear for a fifth week last weekend, the network wasn&rsquo;t saying much. &ldquo;Unfortunately, Comcast SportsNet is no longer carrying &lsquo;The Sports Writers&rsquo; at this time,&rdquo; a spokesman for Corno said in response to an inquiry.&nbsp;&ldquo;Show producer John Roach is sorting out some issues with the principals involved. . . . We&rsquo;ve been told to defer any calls to Roach directly.&rdquo;</p> <p>For his part, Roach made vague references to &ldquo;compensation issues [that] arose at the 11th&nbsp;hour,&rdquo; telling the Tribune&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/10/comcast-sportsnet-chicago-vintage-sports-writers-on-tv-reruns-pulled.html">Phil Rosenthal:</a> &ldquo;We had to take a step back and look at how we could define everyone&rsquo;s relationship in a way for everyone to grow again.&rdquo;</p> <p>That&rsquo;s all anyone is willing to say right now. But it hardly explains why Comcast SportsNet would have put the show back on the air in the first place if all of those matters hadn&rsquo;t been sorted out already.</p> <p>Sources said initial concerns were raised by Telander, the Sun-Times star sports columnist and one of the show&rsquo;s two surviving original cast members. (Bentley died in 2001, Gleason died earlier this year, and Jauss is retired from the Tribune.) Telander is believed to have sought residual payments for his appearances on the reruns, and editorial control over the content of the pop-ups, which often pointed out how right or wrong predictions on the show turned out to be.</p> <p>After that, the story gets more complicated: Some say Telander&rsquo;s issues were resolved before the show began airing. Others suggest they were merely set aside while the show had a four-week &ldquo;trial run&rdquo; (a description never mentioned, by the way, in the <a href="http://chicago.comcastsportsnet.com/08/18/10/The-Sports-Writers-on-TV-makes-CSN-retur/landing.html?blockID=292804&amp;feedID=661">official announcement</a> of its &ldquo;triumphant return&rdquo;). Still others say Telander pressed for more than the token payment Roach had offered to the participants or their heirs &mdash; even though Roach might not have been legally required to share any future revenue with them.</p> <p>So what are we to make of all this? Two things, I&rsquo;d say:</p> <ul><li>It&rsquo;s a shame we&rsquo;re being deprived the chance to watch these shows again &mdash; for whatever reason &mdash; especially after having been teased for four weeks of their sometimes fascinating, often hilarious and always insightful banter. Even if the typewriter sound-effects before each pop-up got to be annoying. (Update: The noise was reduced after the first two shows.)</li><li>It sure would be great to hear what the &ldquo;Fab Four of Sports Talk&rdquo; would have to say about their on-again, off-again comeback today. Now wouldn&rsquo;t that be something?</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 12 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/whos-to-blame-for-sports-writers-getting-benched/39422 CBS 2 fires marketing exec behind Kurtis comeback ads http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/cbs-2-fires-marketing-exec-behind-kurtis-comeback-ads/39200 <p><div style="margin-right: 15px; float: left; text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Jim-Corboy-300x204.jpg" title="Jim Corboy" /><p><sup><strong><em>Jim Corboy</em></strong></sup></p></div> <p>The man who was responsible for efforts to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Epz6_hZ11VQ&amp;NR=1">promote the return of Bill Kurtis</a> to WBBM-Channel 2 -- and for commercials that tied <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKVtzDSjG5A">news anchors to prime-time</a> entertainment shows -- is out as vice president of marketing at the CBS-owned station.</p><p>Jim Corboy was dismissed Thursday after less than 18 months on the job. <!--break-->Bruno Cohen, president and general manager of Channel 2, described the parting as amicable and said he does not plan to fill Corboy's position. Instead, the department will be restructured with the addition of a writer/producer who will report to Vicki Bouchard, director of creative services. &quot;In my view, I just did not need another layer of management in the marketing department,&quot; Cohen said. </p><p>In addition to the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWFN-huT5hs&amp;feature=related">irreverent advertising campaign</a> Corboy conceived to herald Kurtis' comeback last fall, he and Bouchard worked together on more recent commercials that used Kurtis, Walter Jacobson, Rob Johnson, Kate Sullivan and other Channel 2 news personnel to cross-promote CBS prime-time programs such as &quot;The Good Wife,&quot; &quot;The Defenders,&quot; &quot;Hawaii Five-O&quot; and &quot;The Mentalist.&quot; Readers of <a href="/feder/2010/09/news-goes-on-vacation-at-cbs-owned-stations/37658">this blog were split</a> on the propriety of such commercials. </p><p>Cohen said Corboy &quot;did a very good job for us during a period of time that I really needed a vice president of marketing,&quot; but that the station's needs had changed. Added Cohen:</p><blockquote>&quot;I think he helped us a lot with repositioning the station and trying to deal with some of the negative imaging that the station has had over the last few years. He did a lot of work for us in remediating the prime-time performance of the station, particularly in working with CBS network promotions. As a consequence, our prime-time performance is much better than it was before, not just in terms of ratings, but in terms of the way we index against other CBS stations throughout the country.&quot;</blockquote><p>Corboy, 54, whose lengthy resume includes work as vice president of creative services for Tribune Entertainment and as director of advertising and promotion at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, had been running his own Chicago-based marketing firm when he was hired at Channel 2 in 2009.&sbquo;&nbsp;Efforts to reach him Thursday were unsuccessful.</p></p> Fri, 08 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/feder/2010/10/cbs-2-fires-marketing-exec-behind-kurtis-comeback-ads/39200