Robservations on the media beat:
- The pink sash was lovely, but the sparkling tiara with the furry trim really completed the look. To the strains of “There She Is, Miss America,”‚ Mark Suppelsa, principal news anchor at WGN-Channel 9, donned the getup on the Tribune Co.-owned station’s 5 p.m. newscast Friday after winning a weeklong Twitter challenge among the show’s regulars. (Here is the link.) Suppelsa finished first by attracting 862 new Twitter followers, outdrawing co-anchor Lourdes Duarte with 454, feature reporter Marcus Leshock with 156, and meteorologist Tom Skilling with 121. Quipped Leshock: “Say hello to everybody on YouTube, Mr. Suppelsa!” (Full disclosure: I voted for Duarte.)
- Also on Channel 9’s 5 p.m. newscast Friday, Suppelsa and Duarte introduced a new feature, “your bozo of the week,” which apparently involves asking people on the street to nominate candidates for the title. I say “apparently” because none of the public’s three nominees (Tiger Woods, Sarah Palin and the unnamed reporter who asked the question) won. Instead, Suppelsa bestowed the honor on the Qatari diplomat busted for smoking on a plane and joking about setting his shoes on fire. Given that Channel 9 was the television home of the real Bozo for 40 years — and that the beloved icon still appears at parades and charity functions — it’s a lousy idea for the station to use “bozo” as a generic pejorative. No doubt it’s another corporate cram-down from the micromanagers at Tribune Tower.
- Hundreds of fans packed the Columbia College auditorium and overflowed into three satellite rooms Saturday when Bob Sirott interviewed Chicago radio’s greatest living legends, Dick Biondi and Herb Kent, onstage together for the first time. What made a great night even more unforgettable was the presence of many local music legends in the audience to pay tribute to Biondi and Kent. They included Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler, Marshall Thompson of the Chi-Lites, Ronnie Rice of the New Colony Six, Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna of the Buckinghams, Jim Peterik of The Ides Of March and Survivor, Fred Glickstein of the Flock, and Al Lathan of Four Days and a Night. Among radio luminaries in the crowd were Greg Brown, Connie Szerszen, Stan Lawrence, Marv Dyson, Michael Damsky, Michael La Crosse and Sirott’s wife, Marianne Murciano. Even Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers was there.
- Fresh from a national tour promoting his new book, Bet the House: How I Gambled over a Grand a Day for 30 Days on Sports, Poker, and Games of Chance, Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper debuts today as co-host of Roe Conn’s afternoon show on Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890). The show, featuring Ron Magers, Jim Johnson and Christina Filiaggi, airs from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. In a message to advertisers last week, Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS, wrote: “Richard brings intelligence, wit and star power ‚ — three things a talk show can never have too much of.”
- Strange news to report about Vincent P. Falk, the odd character in the Technicolor suits who spins around on Chicago bridges and at the end of local newscasts: He was arrested last week in connection with bomb threats at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, where he’s frequently seen outside the State Street studio window. Falk is the subject of a documentary, “Vincent: A Life in Color,” playing at Roger Ebert’s film festival in Champaign April 24 and at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, starting May 7.