Robservations on the media beat:
A personal note: One year ago this week I signed on to the launch of the Vocalo blogs and began what I’d hoped would be a daily conversation about the media. It’s been an exhilarating year, thanks largely to so many thoughtful readers who’ve shared opinions and insights on the issues raised here. My thanks to them — and to you — for making my transition from ex-newspaper columnist to blogger as rewarding as it’s been. While the Vocalo blogs undergo a makeover and move to the redesigned website of Chicago Public Media’s wbez.org, I’ll be on a short break. Barring any media emergencies, see you again in a week or two.
- Shocking a shock jock: Commenting on the ouster of Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels, former-shock-jock-turned-talk-host Mancow Muller told listeners to his Sunday night radio show on WABC-AM in New York about the time he met with Michaels about a possible job. “I’m sitting there in his Tribune Tower office and the first thing he asks me was how I felt about women’s shaved genitals,” Muller later recalled. “I enjoy a good joke as much as anyone, but even I was shocked that a man in his position would be so base.”
- The latest wave of layoffs at the parent company of the Sun-Times has claimed its chief spokesperson. Although she’s usually on the other side of announcements like this, Tammy Chase confirmed that her own position as director of corporate communications for Sun-Times Media has been eliminated. Her last day is expected to be Friday. Chase, who joined the paper as a business reporter in 2000 and was promoted to lifestyles editor in 2004, shifted to the corporate side in 2006 when she became director of investor relations. She was named to her current position in 2008. Chase previously was a reporter for Bloomberg News.
- AccuRadio’s Chicago Radio Online is getting a jump on Clear Channel adult-contemporary WLIT-FM (93.9) and its annual “Holiday Lite” format. “Chicago’s Christmas Channel” kicks off today, featuring customizable online holiday music, streaming free through the end of the year. Hosted by AccuRadio’s all-star lineup, it’s being programmed by Chicago radio veteran Tommy Edwards, who said: “I think everyone will love this music and enjoy hearing all the familiar Chicago radio air personalities. Plus, listeners don’t have to put up with endless commercials either. It’s our gift to listeners — all their favorite holiday songs.”
- In light of Juan Williams’ firing last week by National Public Radio, how’s this for a timely topic? “Covering Islam” will be the subject of a Chicago Headline Club panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Veteran journalists Rummana Hussain, Kristin Szremski, Ray Hanania, Jawaid Riaz and Steve Franklin will discuss “complex and sensitive issues news professionals face when working on stories about Muslims or Islam.” The event at Roosevelt University’s Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan, is free, but reservations are required. (Here is the link.)