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The 2011 Chicago Media Year In Review

With 2012 beginning today, Chicagoland Radio & Media takes a look back at the big local media stories of 2011...

The top 11 local media stories of '11 were:

1. The ongoing bankruptcy troubles of Tribune Company.
The Chicago-based Tribune Company is the country's biggest media corporation in bankruptcy. It filed for bankruptcy in December 2008, with approximately $13 billion in debt, just one year after real estate developer Sam Zell completed the $8.2 billion leveraged buyout of the corporation. TribCo has been trying to exit bankruptcy since a few months after it filed, but has met with incredible resistance from angry creditors and those who feel they have been financially hurt by the bankruptcy. Many feel it was done purposely from the start, while others feel the Zell-led leveraged buyout was done fraudulently and should never have taken place. Each time it appeared the company was on the path to exit bankruptcy, a new road block appeared. So far, the only people profiting from this are the bankruptcy attorneys. TribCo has supposedly paid well over $300 million to bankruptcy attorneys so far, and they are far from done. Recent reports from the Associated Press claim this bankruptcy could linger on until at least next Summer. At that point, ownership of the media giant would most likely be given to the major creditors, who most believe, may sell off many of the company's valuable assets, including Tribune Broadcasting properties, such as WGN-AM and WGN-TV. In the meantime, the company is mired down by numerous lawsuits and legal struggles. The latest lawsuit comes from none other than Sam Zell himself, who is suing a group of shareholders who profited from his own buyout of the company. The whole Tribune bankruptcy process has become one of the biggest circuses in Chicago media history, reaching new levels of frustration and lunacy in 2011.

2. Merlin Media LLC is formed; buys WLUP-FM & WXQX-FM from Emmis Broadcasting. In June, it was revealed that Emmis Communications had agreed to sell its two Chicago radio stations, WLUP-FM & WKQX-FM, along with a New York station, WRXP-FM, to a brand new company called Merlin Media. The new company is primarily owned by Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR, with 20% being given to Emmis Communications and 1% owned by its new CEO, Randy Michaels. Michaels is of course the ex-CEO of both Tribune Company and Clear Channel Communications, who left both companies in disgrace amid controversies. Although the sale was not officially closed for many weeks, Emmis Communications gave full control of the stations over to Merlin Media. Longtime Alternative Rock station WKQX-FM was quickly taken off the air, after allowing the DJs to have a long farewell. Even though Q101's ratings were not very strong, the loss of the station broke the hearts of many fans from the station's heyday in the 90s. The station flipped call letters to WWWN-FM and did a week and a half stunt as an AC station, with Chicago radio veteran Robert Murphy hosting mornings for that short period. By the end of July, it flipped to a new type of all-news format, with a lean toward attracting a female audience. The brand new station assembled a top-notch army of news talents, including some very big names. Details of the new station were exclusively revealed on this website before its late July launch. The station was far from ready to launch, however. On air mistakes, technical glitches, no website, no streaming, and confusion by management over the station's direction made for an embarrassing start. Since its inception in July, the station has already changed concepts a few times, going from a news/entertainment/commentary station to a female-friendly news & entertainment station to a more traditional news station. It has already released some key staffers and changed its call letters once again, this time to WIQI-FM. Creative differences about how the Merlin Media news stations should be run caused a rift between CEO Randy Michaels and COO Walter Sabo. Sabo quietly exited the company at the end of the year. Chicago's WIQI-FM has yet to promote itself publicly even once, so very few members of the general public even know it exists. Promotions should begin in the early part of 2012. The first half of the new year will be very telling as to whether or not the station will work for Chicago audiences or not. The potential remains high... it is really a question of whether or not it lives up to its potential.

3. Cumulus Media takes over Citadel Broadcasting. After months of rejections by Citadel Broadcasting, Cumulus Media finally was able to come to an agreement with their rival for a takeover bid. The process started in February, finalized the agreement in March, and finally closed in September. This transaction made Cumulus Broadcasting the second largest radio broadcaster in the U.S. and gave the company ownership of Chicago's iconic radio stations WLS-AM & WLS-FM.

4. The Chicago Sun-Times is sold to Wrapports LLC. For the second time in just over two years, Sun-Times Media and its properties, including the Chicago Sun-Times, was sold. A newly-formed investment group named Wrapports LLC led by Merrick Ventures LLC CEO Michael Ferro Jr. and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC Chairman John Canning Jr., acquired the media company's assets for a little over $20 million up front, but no assumption of debt. This transaction took place right at the end of the year, leading many to believe that it could be a very interesting 2012 for the Sun-Times.

5. WTMX-FM, WILV-FM, WDRV-FM/WWDV-FM are sold. In a surprise move, Bonneville Communications sold all four of its Chicago radio stations, along with thirteen stations from other markets and its own headquarters to a relatively-tiny Minnesota media company, Hubbard Broadcasting, for over half of a billion dollars. The sale was announced in January and closed in late April. Hubbard Broadcasting kept in place all of Bonneville's upper management team and its Chicago executives, so the changeover from one owner to the other was virtually seamless to the public. No format flips or noticeable changes took place to the Chicago stations, which have consistently been at or near the top of the ratings.

6. WBBM-AM simulcasts on FM; killing the Fresh 105.9 format. After a great many months of trying, CBS Radio Chicago finally gained approval to dump the radio station Fresh 105.9 on WCFS-FM. Despite a very high potential for success, CBS Radio made a long list of mistakes and missteps with the station's programming, causing the station to have lousy ratings and even worse advertising success. In its three and a half years on the air, the station has fired numerous DJs, Program Directors, Music Directors and staffers, all of which became scapegoats for the failed format. Because CBS Radio Corporate wanted to try and prove Fresh could work in a major market besides New York, they refused to let Chicago flip the station's format, despite the financial losses the station was racking up. Finally, local management used the threat of a new FM news station coming to 101.1 to convince the corporate bosses to let WBBM-AM begin simulcasting on WCFS-FM. The flip occurred on the morning of August 1st. The convincing argument for the flip was that the added reach of the FM signal, which is easier heard in the tall buildings of downtown Chicago and more used by younger demographics, would make enough of a ratings impact to gain more revenue from advertisers wanting to reach this large audience. Unfortunately, that has not yet been the case, as ratings for the two frequencies combined are not that much higher than the ratings for WBBM-AM by itself. It remains to be seen if WBBM-AM will remain on the FM for the long run or not.

7. WFLD-TV newscasts worsening ratings troubles. After releasing most of its staff in 2010, the new hires at FOX 32 News failed to increase the last place ratings for the locally-produced news programs. In fact, ratings worsened in 2011 for the station's morning, Noon, evening and weekend newscasts, often being beaten out by syndicated shows on other channels. Despite many rumors of her termination, News Director Carol Fowler has remained in place, though there are only weeks remaining on her current contract and no renewal has been mentioned. Vice President/General Manager Mike Renda is in the final months of his contract, as well. Inside word is that numerous News Director candidates have been spoken to throughout 2011, with a few being offered the job. The job has been turned down by everybody. A job posting for an Assistant News Director position has been up since last summer with no hires. It would appear that FOX is having extreme difficulty finding any news executive willing to move to Chicago and try to fix the uncountable problems at WFLD-TV, with many seeing it as a no-win situation for their careers. Regardless, 2012 will certainly bring changes to upper management at WFLD-TV. It is only a question if it will happen sooner or later in the year.

8. December winds of change hit WGN Radio. WGN-AM made some major changes to their line-up in the last month of the year, as a way to better set themselves up for what they hope will be a strong 2012. The station added Chicago radio mega-star Jonathon Brandmeier, who had been off the air since he parted ways with WLUP-FM in November 2009, to take over mornings. Brandmeier brought with him a large production team of employees, including former WLUP-FM producer Hector Soriano and his daughter Christina. WGN-AM also made Chicago radio vet Bill Leff a full-time employee, promoting him up from a freelance part-timer. Leff took over the weekday overnight spot and became the top fill-in choice for mornings. With the additions, came the subtractions, though. Morning host Greg Jarrett was taken off the air a few months before the end of his contract. One of the most highly regarded radio producers in Chicago and a former Brandmeier producer, Jim Wiser, was let go. Plans were revealed exclusively on this website that WGN-AM had planned on cutting back on weekend programming, adding pre-taped shows and "Best Of" programming. Shows cut included Karen Conti's "Legally Speaking" and Brian Noonan's weekend overnight show. Trimmed way back were the opportunities for weekend/fill-in shows for talents like Bill Moller and John St. Augustine. The biggest cut of all came as the #1 rated overnight show for close to 27 years was forced to end. Overnight stars Steve King & Johnnie Putman were asked to leave primarily for budgetary reasons. However, WGN management, perhaps learning from the mistakes made by the 2009 firing debacle of WGN mainstays Kathy & Judy, wisely allowed Steve & Johnnie to announce the move themselves on their own show, as well as to do a week of celebratory farewell shows. The classy send off for the classy couple worked well for WGN, Steve & Johnnie and their many fans.

9. Goodbye Jack. Hello K-Hits. In March, CBS Radio Chicago finally dropped the fad format known as Jack FM and flipped 104.3 to K-Hits. The formats were very similar, except the playlist skewed a little older (adding songs from the 60s and dropping songs from the 90s on up) and the station finally added live DJs. Those on-air talents added included Chicago radio superstars Eddie & Jobo, as well as some WBBM-FM veterans: Gary Spears, Bo Reynolds (formerly Pat Reynolds), and George McFly. The hiring of fan-favorite McFly was exclusively unveiled on this website, despite CBS Radio Chicago's strange denials of the hiring elsewhere. The station also added some popular names to weekends, including Tommy Edwards, John Calhoun and Big Ken Cocker. While the ratings have not yet been quite what CBS was hoping for, the morning show rates extremely well with Women 25-54 and the format flip has definitely added much-needed excitement (and advertisers) to the frequency.

10. Farewell Oprah. After 25 years of working from Chicago, bringing billions of dollars in revenue to the local market, Oprah Winfrey ended her syndicated television show at the end of May and moved to LA to focus on her cable/satellite network OWN. Her second to last show was a star-studded event, called "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," recorded at the United Center, while the final show was a quiet affair with Oprah Winfrey reflecting back on her 25 years of shows from Chicago, with only friends in attendance. In his final week as Chicago's Mayor, Richard Daley proclaimed that a block of N. Carpenter Street that runs in front of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios be named "Honorary Oprah Winfrey Way." Unfortunately, with the exit of Oprah's show, Chicago's Harpo Studios was forced to lay off over 125 Chicago employees.

11. It's up to you, New York, New York. News people move from market to market, many with the hopes & goals of achieving a national news role out of New York, so it is no surprise that a handful of talented Chicagoans left the Windy City for the Big Apple this year. What made this story interesting was that within just over half a year, four people, all coming from WMAQ-TV accepted New York positions. None of the moves were connected and there is no "mass exodus" from the Chicago NBC station. The timing of all four moves were simply coincidental. Leaving Chicago's WMAQ-TV for various national jobs based in New York City were (in order): Assistant News Director Chris Pena, weekend meteorologist Ginger Zee, morning news anchor Zoraida Sambolin, and sports anchor Paula Faris. WFLD-TV's Chief Meteorologist Amy Freeze also accepted a part-time position in New York after exiting Chicago this year.


Here is a look at some of the other top Chicago media stories of 2011, broken down by month:

* * After an extended period off the air, Polnet finally started transmitting on Channel 24, aka WPVN-CA. On its main Channel (24.1) the station airs the nostalgic television network Retro TV.

* * Big changes hit a pair of NextMedia radio stations. At WERV-FM, Danielle Tufano moved to middays and Leslie Harris moved to evenings. Zander took over as midday host, replacing Matt Mellen, who became the first Chicagoland radio personality to lose his job in 2012. (Mellen has since left radio for good and is now an insurance salesman.) Zander also replaced Mellen as Interim Program Director at WERV-FM, with the Interim tag getting removed shortly after. At WRXQ-FM, Elwood took over as new morning show host and Raven moved to middays.

* * WGN-AM's Steve & Johnnie celebrated their 6,000th show on the station.

* * Roy Patterson was named as Station Manager for Moody Radio Chicago.

* * WMAQ-TV sportscaster Mike Adamle was arrested and charged with a DUI by Evanston Police. It was later revealed that his blood alcohol level was below the legal limit and the charges were eventually dropped.

* * Chicago Tribune Media Group, a division of Tribune Company, purchased Naperville Magazine from Oster Communications.

* * David Hernandez, the owner and founder of the short-lived Internet sports talk radio station ChicagoSportsWebio.com, was sentenced to spend close to the next 17 years in a Federal prison. The 50 year old Downers Grove man was also ordered to pay restitution of $6.4 million to the over 250 people he conned that amount out of in a Ponzi scheme.

* * WTMX-FM's Eric Ferguson won a contest to be the fill-in for Regis Philbin for on day on the nationally syndicated TV talk show, "Live with Regis & Kelly."

* * WCFS-FM parted ways with morning show host Steve Fisher -- just one of many DJs hired and fired from the failed concept of a radio station called "Fresh 105.9."

* * WLUP-FM changed from a Hard Rock station, to a Classic Rock station, trying to copy the success of WDRV-FM. Initial ratings were disappointing, as fans disliked the change, but eventually rose.

* * Longtime WGN-AM Producer and contributor Andy Hermann exited the station in January. He was best known as the right-hand man for WGN's Nick Digilio. Shortly after his exit, Hermann began his new full-time position as the Producer for HGTV's Frank Fontana's new online semi-weekly radio show, which is part of the Craftsman Experience website. Hermann was replaced at WGN-AM by Craig Collins.

* * Chicago Reader Editor Geoff Dougherty abruptly quit the weekly alternative newspaper.

* * Meteorologist Tammie Souza returned back to Chicago TV after over two years away, working in Tampa, FL. She is now the weekend and fill-in weather person for WFLD-TV.

* * WLS-AM's "The Roe Conn Show with Richard Roeper" did a live remote from Las Vegas, but was unable to bring a camera crew with them for their TV simulcast on Chicago Nonstop. In its place, Chicago Nonstop ran the live audio, but used puppets from Chicago's iO Theatre weekly live improvisational comedy show called "Felt," set up within the WLS-AM studios where the TV cameras were active, to act out the roles of the show hosts & guests. The result was a bizarre, but highly enjoyable program.

* * WMAQ-TV and WSNS-TV found themselves with new ownership, as all NBC Universal-owned properties gave controlling interest to Comcast. The new network name became NBCUniversal, Inc. -- basically the same name, just without a space in-between words.

* * Karen Rariden began as the new Assistant News Director for WBBM-TV.

* * Bill White began as Program Director for WGN-AM, filling the vacancy left by the firing of controversial PD Kevin Metheny a few months earlier. White, who was born in Oak Park, IL, came to Chicago from his previous job as Operations Director of WBT-AM, WBT-FM and WLNK-FM in Charlotte, NC.

* * With Emmis Communications placing WLUP-FM & WKQX-FM up for sale, a grass roots organization, run by a handful of Chicago radio veterans and calling themselves "Save The Loop," was formed in an attempt to gather up a large group of Chicagoans willing to try and keep the iconic rock station locally owned and operated. Ultimately, the innovative plan did not work as Emmis had entered into an agreement to sell the stations to a new entity, Merlin Media, of which Emmis became a 20% owner.

* * WBBM-FM hired Jason Cage to be the station’s new nighttime DJ, bringing him to Chicago from Little Rock, AR. He replaced Jerzy, who moved to weekends & fill-in.

* * Mara Shalhoup was named as the newest Editor of the Chicago Reader, coming to Chicago from the Reader's sister-paper in Atlanta, GA.

* * Garrard McClendon returned to the TV airwaves as the host of "Off 63rd" on WYCC-TV on Thursday nights. He had been off the air for five months after being unable to come to terms on a contract with CLTV.

* * Jim Kirk joined Crain's Chicago Business as its new Chief of Editorial Operations. He was the Managing Editor of Chicago News Cooperative, and previously worked for Bloomberg News, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and AdWeek Magazine.

* * Chicago-based podcast "The Abe Kanan Show" made its debut on the Sirius/XM channel "Howard 101" as a three day tryout. The shows went well and in June, the program was signed to a contract to appear weekly on the satellite radio station. The show features Chicago radio personalities Abe Kanan, Ryan Manno, and Dan "Bass" Levy.

* * The Chicago Cubs organization and WGN-AM officially named Keith Moreland as the color analyst for all Cubs radio broadcasts. The former Chicago Cub outfielder filled the void left when announcer and former Cub Ron Santo passed away just over two months earlier.

* * Bill Bellis made his debut as the new Chief Meteorologist for WFLD-TV, coming up from Phoenix, AZ, where he was a fan favorite. Bellis replaced Amy Freeze, who was released from the station at the end of her contract. Freeze has since found part-time work in New York.

* * Steve Chamraz exited WFLD-TV as a general assignment reporter, as well as their Interactive Producer. He left to join Milwaukee, WI's WTMJ-TV as its newest news anchor and investigative reporter.

* * Although an "official" announcement was over a month away, WCFS-FM began a new morning show team with Scotty Smith and Rebecca Ortiz. Smith was the afternoon DJ at the station and Ortiz was a part-time DJ at sister-station WBBM-FM. They replaced Steve Fisher, who was forced out the month before.

* * The hard rocking music format Rebel Radio was removed from the airwaves of WPJX-AM in mid-February. By the end of the month it had re-launched as an online radio station. Later in the year, Rebel Radio reappeared as an overnight program on WYKT-FM for a short while.

* * WFLD-TV hired veteran Chicago television newsman/producer Mike Leiderman as Executive Producer for the station’s weekday 9:00pm newscast, while Phil Landros was hired as Executive Producer for the station's weekend 9:00pm newscasts. Additionally, Jay Foot was hired as WFLD-TV's new Planning Manager.

* * Longtime morning show host & Assistant Program Director Maggie Peterson left WSSR-FM to take a job outside of radio. She continues to do a regular podcast with her former morning show co-host Laura Dixon-Hirsch, called appropriately enough The Maggie and Laura Podcast.

* * In one of the most talked about news events of the year, WMVP-AM host Harry Teinowitz was arrested in early March and charged with two counts of improper lane usage, one count of DUI and one count of DUI greater than .08%. After only one day on the air following the arrest, WMVP-AM then suspended Teinowitz seemingly indefinitely. After completing a rehab program and promising to be on his best behavior, Teinowitz had his suspension lifted and returned to work in mid-May. He also avoided jail time in May by striking a plea agreement by pleading guilty to the misdemeanor DUI charge, and having his other charges dropped.

* * After Ryan Chiaverini was selected to co-host the new Windy City Live morning show, WLS-TV hired Rafer Weigel to become its new weekend and fill-in sports anchor. In addition to making quite a national name for himself over the last few years, Weigel has quite the Chicago media pedigree. He is the son of beloved Chicago sports anchor/news anchor/reporter/sports writer Tim Weigel, the son of longtime WGN-AM news anchor Kathy Worthington, the brother of Chicago radio/TV/newspaper personality Jenniffer Weigel, and the grandson of John Weigel, a radio and television announcer, first known for his commercial voiceover work, and later known for founding Weigel Broadcasting.

* * James C. "Jim" Tyree, the Chairman of Sun-Times Media Holdings, as well as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mesirow Financial, passed away at the age of 53. Though he was battling stomach cancer and had spent much of his life in ill health, his death was later revealed to be due to a hospital accident which caused an air embolism. Vice Chairman Jeremy L. Halbreich then took over as Chairman & CEO.

* * Coming a day after the passing of Jim Tyree, the Sun-Times did yet another wave of layoffs, this one claiming the job of Media & Advertising columnist Lewis Lazare. In June, Lazare returned, as he began blogging about the Chicago advertising community and little about local media in a twice-a-week column on ReelChicago.com. Veteran entertainment reporter Misha Davenport was also cut this day, but also returned to writing in June, this time for BroadwayWorld.com.

* * WPWX-FM's Sam Sylk had a very touching on-air reunion with the son he never knew existed -- a young man from a relationship Sylk had with a woman almost 20 years ago.

* * It wasn't an April Fool's joke when on April 1st, John "The Rock" Mamola announced he was leaving WSCR-AM, where he had been since 2003, to become the Assistant Program Director at Tampa, FL's WDAE-AM.

* * One time morning radio ratings king Rafael Pulido, famously known also as "El Pistolero," made his return, now hosting weekday mornings from 6:00am-9:00am on WRLL-AM 1450.

* * Longtime WFMT-FM personality Andy Karzas, passed away at the age of 77, due to stomach cancer. He had been with WFMT for 35 years.

* * For the first time in 22 years, the Chicago Sun-Times won a Pulitzer Prize. The 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting went to the Sun-Times' Frank Main, Mark Konkol and John J. Kim. They won for their year-long extensive work in covering the strife and violence taking place within Chicago neighborhoods.

* * There was much talk about the "Meier Mojo" in April 2011. Whenever Garry Meier would host a live remote from the United Center during the 2010-2011 NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks would win. He went 11-0 with his record. The Blackhawks would send "Thank You" gifts to Meier after many of the springtime wins, including personalized cakes and a plaque. Unfortunately, if there indeed was any "mojo" with Meier, it was only at the United Center. The Blackhawks paid to have Garry Meier, their human good luck charm, fly to Vancouver to do a remote from where the Blackhawks had an important playoff game with the Canucks. Unfortunately, the Canucks ended up winning that game, eliminating the 'Hawks from the post-season.

* * Lynn Hauldren, aka the Empire Carpet Man, a staple of Chicago television advertising for almost 35 years, passed away at the age of 89.

* * Westwood One, owner of Metro Traffic and its subsidiaries like Shadow Traffic, SmartRoute Systems and Sigaltert, announced that it had sold its entire traffic division to Clear Channel Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. The sale was for $119 million and created a near monopoly in traffic reporting for Clear Channel.

* * Chicago-based Tribune Company named Los Angeles Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein as its new Chief Executive Officer and President and dissolved the four-person Executive Council that has been overseeing the company's operations and filling the role of CEO in the interim since last October when then-CEO Randy Michaels was pushed out due to a cloud of controversy. Eddy Hartenstein was one of the four executives of that council. Hartenstein did not relocate to Chicago, however, deciding to stay in Los Angeles, as his role was expected at the time to be temporary due to the company’s ongoing bankruptcy exit proceedings.

* * Former Chicago radio host and resident Jay Mariotti was once again arrested and charged with crimes. This time, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office charged Mariotti with three felonies and two misdemeanors -- all stemming from yet more confrontations with his ex-girlfriend, of whom, he was previously ordered to stay away from, but could not seem to do so. Just as he was able to do the year before, Mariotti struck a deal a few months later with prosecutors, pleading "no contest" to five serious charges he faced, with the agreement that they all be reduced down to misdemeanors, including the three felonies. This avoided a messy public trial and also a potential five years in prison.

* * WMAQ-TV sports anchor Daryl Hawks passed away at the age of only 38, while in Atlanta, GA to cover a Chicago Bulls playoff game. While the cause of death was unknown for months, Georgia medical officials concluded that the likely reason was a heart attack caused by hypertension. Hawks left behind a wife and two young children (ages 5 and 2), as well as a teenage son from a previous relationship.

* * WBBM-TV's low rated morning newscast, in an effort to help raise ratings of the program, held a contest to find its next traffic reporter. The winner was Derrick Young, a 42 year old teacher & coach from Chicago's south suburbs. Young has worked out well for the newscast and after his three-month tryout period, had his contract extended to a full year.

* * WRTE-FM, best known as Radio Arte 90.5, was placed for sale by its financially troubled owner, the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA). After working at a loss for the last few years, the NMMA can no longer support the low-powered Latino Public Radio station and is actively seeking to unload it. Also, separately up for sale is the museum building that houses WRTE-FM, located in the heart of Chicago's Latino-heavy Pilsen neighborhood. Most staffers have been cut and the station's future remains very uncertain.

* * Looking to fill the vacancy left by the end of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," WLS-TV chose to go the daring route of starting up a new live & local morning show, "Windy City Live." WLS-TV weekend sports anchor Ryan Chiaverini and former WGN-TV traffic/news anchor Val Warner were chosen as the main anchors of WCL. The show has received mixed reviews and not yet seen ratings like those achieved under "Oprah."

* * To help compete against "Windy City Live" in Chicago, WGN-TV's Pat Tomasulo was selected to fill-in for Regis Philbin one morning as co-host for the syndicated "LIVE! with Regis & Kelly." Tomasulo's appearance helped make "LIVE! With Regis & Kelly" the #1 rated show for the 9:00am hour and has helped keep the show neck & neck in the ratings with WCL since then. (The hoopla surrounding the exit of Regis Philbin from the show later in the year also helped.) It was Tomasulo's third time appearing on the morning program.

* * Just days after retiring from his show on WLS-AM, Tom Roeser passed away at the age of 82. The conservative pundit hosted a weekend talk show on WLS-AM for almost 17 years.

* * Jose Luis Marquez, also known by the nickname "El Pitufo" (which translates in English as "The Smurf"), resigned from Clear Channel Radio's WNUA-FM/Mega 95.5, where he was the station's Assistant Program Director, Production/Imaging Director and former afternoon on-air personality. He did so because he had accepted the position as Program Director and afternoon host at Spanish Broadcasting System's WLEY-FM/La Ley 107.9.

* * After almost 18 years with the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Paige Wiser was released after she admitted to a pair of major mistakes regarding a review she wrote of the "Glee! Live" concert. The problem stemmed from the fact she was forced to leave the show early due to her child getting sick. Wiser then mistakenly used information about the end of the show from a previous concert in another city. While that type of mistake could have been forgiven a few years ago, in a time when the Sun-Times was looking for reasons to get rid of staffers (and laid of hundreds before year's end), this mistake of Wiser's was enough for the newspaper to remove her and her column. She has since found work blogging and appearing regularly on WLS-TV's "Windy City Live."

* * WMAQ-TV hired a new reporter and weekend morning news anchor with a familiar last name. Stefan Holt came to the station after two years as a reporter and fill-in news anchor in Palm Beach, FL at WPBF-TV. Holt is the son of NBC News/MSNBC anchor Lester Holt, who spent over a dozen years in Chicago as an anchor for WBBM-TV. Stefan Holt grew up in Chicago's Lincoln Park area while his father worked here and was very happy to be returning back home.

* * In what was nothing short of a major shocker, Crawford Broadcasting Company's WPWX-FM/Power 92, acting upon the advice of an out-of-state consultant, fired all of its local DJs from its daytime weekday line up. Gone from the station within one hour on a Friday afternoon were veteran morning show host Trey Da Choklit Jok, midday host Shawn Knight and afternoon drive star Sam Sylk. The DJs were replaced by WPWX evening/weekend part-timers. Also jettisoned was the syndicated Tom Joyner morning show, which was replaced by Rickey Smiley's syndicated morning show.

* * Phil Rosenthal, who had been expertly covering media full-time for the Chicago Tribune since 2005, switched over from the media beat to becoming a business columnist for the paper.

* * While not replacing Phil Rosenthal on a full-time basis, the Chicago Tribune hired former Tribune freelance writer Robert Channick to cover the media beat when a major story arises. He was previously the General Manager of southwest suburban WCCQ-FM for a dozen years in the 80s and 90s. The radio station was owned by his father Herbert Channick at the time.

* * WGN-AM News Director Charlie Meyerson was released from the station. He had been there since in that capacity since August 6, 2009. He had been hired by then-Program Director Kevin Metheny to replace longtime WGN newsman Wes Bleed, who Metheny had fired for openly disagreeing with him. After Meyerson's exit, the new Program Director, Bill White, then took over as News Director, in addition to his programming duties. The following month, Meyerson resurfaced as part of the new FM News 101.1 station.

* * WMAQ-TV proudly announced the hiring of Shannon Hammel as its new Assistant News Director. She was to come to Chicago from KXAS-TV, the NBC station in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, where she had worked as Managing Editor for the past five years. Unfortunately, instead of starting a few weeks later, she decided that moving her family across the country was too difficult and backed out of the job in July, before she ever officially started.

* * WLFM-LP/Chicago's Smooth 87.7, has found a clever way to reach more listeners. The Smooth Jazz and Adult Contemporary station began simulcasting 24 hours a day on all Comcast/Xfinity cable systems on Xfinity channel 877. The partnership between WLFM and Comcast kicked off in mid-June with a "soft launch," but was made official on July 5th.

* * WGN-TV began airing the WGN Morning News at 4:00am, making it the earliest local newscast on Chicago television, and now running a full five hours. The show first launched as a one-hour program in September 1994.

* * Univision Radio Chicago moved its La Kalle format off of WPPN-FM 106.7 and over to the broadcasting bi-cast of WVIV-FM/WVIX-FM 103.1/93.5. That removed the Regional Mexican/Spanish Oldies format Recuerdo from those frequencies. Pasion, the Hispanic Adult Contemporary format then returned to the 106.7 frequency where it was before from late 2004 through early 2006.

* * WBBM-TV released morning news anchor Steve Bartlestein just a few weeks shy of the end of his one-year contract with the station. According to insiders, neither party felt it was a good fit and they mutually agreed to part ways.

* * In July, Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl announced his plans to change his free podcasts into a subscription model. Fans would need to pay an annual or monthly fee to hear his daily shows, which run approximately two hours. Other perks included access to past shows and bonus material. The paywall on his Dahl.com website went into effect on August 1st. While the pay version of his podcasts has only been around for a matter of a few months and it is too soon to call this experiment a success, it does appear that Dahl has been able to gain enough subscribers to keep his podcasts going for the foreseeable future. To help promote the DahlCasts, Steve Dahl is also making regular appearances on WFLD-TV newscasts with commentaries, and on WLS-AM is a fill-in for Richard Roeper. Later in the year, "Best Of" bits from the DahlCasts began airing on suburban stations WJJG-AM, WKAN-AM, and WYKT-FM.

* * Before Emmis Communications could dispose of all of Q101's belongings after selling the station to Merlin Media, a Chicagoland-based radio group, Broadcast Barter Radio Networks (BBRN) purchased Q101, including its website, logo, all related intellectual property, and social media assets from Emmis Communications. They are now keeping the station and its large community of fans together online at Q101.com. In the coming year, they plan on bringing back fan-favorite show "Local 101," as well as popular Q101 events like Jamboree.

* * Mike North, who has been producing short videos each day for his own NorthToNorth.com website each weekday, signed an agreement to also create similar videos for WIND-AM's 560WIND.com website. Each weekday, North records and posts up a "30-In-5" video (30 minutes of news & commentary compressed into 5 minutes) for the station's website. North's FOX Sports talk show can be heard on the station on Sunday evenings and North is also a contributor to the station's local weekday morning & afternoon shows.

* * WGN-TV launching a new late night block of comedies called the "WGN Night Cap." The six comedies over three hours each weekday night are hosted a new star: Frank Woolanski. This new host isn't a typical one, however. Frank Woolanski is a talking sheep with an attitude. According to his story, Frank Woolanski is an unemployed "sleep induction specialist." He lost his job because people are not counting sheep to go to sleep anymore, choosing to instead stay up late watching WGN-TV's late night comedies. The sheep puppet has proven to be a popular addition to WGN-TV.

* * WLS-AM released midday host Cisco Cotto in mid-July and moved the weekend team of Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft to take over the shift of weekdays 9:00am-11:00am. Cotto had first worked for the station from 2000-2006. At the very start of 2010, he returned to the station, first as a co-host for Roe Conn and soon after, as the host of his own midday show. Since his exit, Cotto has done some fill-in work on WMBI-AM/FM and has begun working on opening up his own ministry in his hometown of Oak Park.

* * Merlin Media's WLUP-FM hired PJ Kling, to be the station's Operations Manager. Kling had never before worked in Rock radio, a major market radio station, been an Operations Manager, or worked at a non-Clear Channel-owned radio station before. He was a Clear Channel lifer brought to Chicago by Randy Michaels, first to work at Tribune Company in a non-radio related capacity when Michaels was CEO there, and then to WLUP-FM, where Michaels is again CEO. Kling has already caused controversy by forcing all of WLUP's DJs to voice-track their shifts well in advance, instead of doing live radio. (The exception being Pete McMurray's morning show, which is still live.)

* * Mike Adamle was promoted from part-time to full-time as sports anchor at WMAQ-TV. Adamle fills the void left by the passing of Daryl Hawks.

* * Lenny McAllister, WVON-AM's rising star, exited the station at the end of July. The shocking parting of the ways happened because McAllister took up the cause of young man who was fired by a south side McDonalds, supposedly unfairly. Station management though McAllister may have taken his on-air stance a bit too far, suggesting a boycott of the chain's south side stores, which angered McDonalds, who is a large sponsor of the station. McAllister is now looking for a new radio home, while continuing to be seen weekly on CNN and being a highly sought-after political public speaker.

* * Weigel Broadcasting hired a veteran media executive and producer of entertainment content for both television and the web, as Rob Morhaim was named as the Senior Executive Producer for WCIU-TV's morning program "You & Me This Morning."

* * The Chicago-based private equity firm, GTCR LLC, who also is the primary financial power behind the newly formed radio corporation Merlin Media LLC, agreed to purchase the Global Traffic Network. GTN is a provider of custom traffic reports to radio and television stations outside the United States. Could a move toward competing against the Clear Channel's near monopoly of traffic services in the US be coming in the future?

* * In August of this year, Allison Payne announced she would be leaving WGN-TV after over 20 years as an anchor and reporter for the station. Exemplary for much of her career here, her later years on the air were marred by long absences due to various health & personal issues and concerns about seemingly odd on-air behavior.

* * WVON-AM was given the honor of gaining the exclusive right to broadcast live from within the White House a few days prior to the dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Not only was WVON-AM the only radio station in the country gaining this honor, but they also were able to get a live visit from President Barack Obama during the broadcast.

* * WMAQ-TV brought back veteran newsman Art Norman to the station in a part-time role. Twice each month on WMAQ-TV's 5:00pm newscasts, Norman now hosts a segment called "Art Norman's Chicago." The segments, which Norman used to do back when he was full-time with the station, are each uplifting stories that focus on an unsung hero of local communities. Art Norman first joined WMAQ-TV in July 1982 and became a multiple award-winning reporter and anchor for the station. He retired at the end of April 2009, after almost 27 years at the station, largely to care for his ailing wife. His wife passed away from cancer in August 2010.

* * WRXQ-FM has parted ways with their signature afternoon personality and former Program Director Freak. He had been with the station on and off for over 5 years. Freak resurfaced at the start of the following month as afternoon host, Program Director & Music Director for WYKT-FM 105.5. He also has been doing traffic reports part-time for NAVTEQ.

* * Elizabeth "Beth" Fenner became the first new Editor-In-Chief for Chicago Magazine in over 20 years. She replaced Richard "Dick" Babcock, who retired four months earlier.

* * WPWX-FM canceled Keno Greer's popular Sunday morning program "Street Sermonz with Keno" after 4.5 years on the air there.

* * After 15 years together, the radio team of Tomano & Touhy split. Mike Tomano left radio broadcasting to concentrate on his new role of STARadio's Vice-President, in addition to his previous role as General Manager of WYKT-FM, WKAN-AM and WXNU-FM. Steve Touhy now does the WYKT-FM morning show solo. The two remain close friends.

* * WLS-AM brought back Chicago sportscasting legend Chet Coppock to host its Notre Dame Football pre-game shows. The station also signed a three-year contract extension with Notre Dame University, keeping the exclusive Chicago broadcasts of Notre Dame Football and Men's Basketball games through the 2013-2014 seasons.

* * WLS-AM canceled the weekend radio show "Drive Chicago" with host Paul Brian at the start of September. However, three weeks later, the automotive talk show returned to the station's line-up, thanks in large part to the demands of WLS-AM's weekend audience.

* * WMAQ-TV hired Michelle Relerford, a Chicago native, as its newest general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor. She came to Chicago from WHDH-TV in Boston, where she has been a reporter and weekend news anchor since 2007. This is her second time working in Chicago, as she was previously a freelance reporter for WFLD-TV.

* * The Chicago Sun-Times asked Lori Rackl to become its new television columnist, replacing Paige Wiser who departed three months earlier. Rackl was previously the newspaper's Travel columnist and who continues to turn out the occasional travel column.

* * Even though, WMAQ-TV was searching for a new Assistant News Director, they found themselves somebody even better. Debra Juarez was hired to take over as the station's newest News Director. From 1993-2005, Debra Juarez-West (as she was then known) was the very successful Vice President of News/News Director of WFLD-TV.

* * The Chicago suburban newspaper, the Daily Herald decided to no longer allow visitors to read their newspaper content online for free. The Paddock Publications-owned newspaper began a paid subscription plan for all website visitors, even current subscribers.

* * For the second time in one summer, Chicago Radio superstar Robert Murphy returned to the Chicago airwaves. After doing a stunt for WKQX-FM/WWWN-FM for a little less than two weeks, "Murph" was brought on to do mornings full-time at WILV-FM/Rewind 100.3. Chicago radio veteran and former co-worker of Murphy, Scott Straus, was hired to be the show's producer.

* * Chicagoland radio veteran Matt DuBiel was hired as the new General Manager for WJJG-AM. DuBiel has been helping to reshape the sleepy suburban station into a real contender for local audience's ears. Within weeks, he had brought in the syndicated shows of Mancow and Michael Savage, as well as playing hourly "Best Of" bits from Steve Dahl's DahlCasts.

* * WMVP-AM opened up its street-side showcase studios, located in 190 N. State Street building, right next to the WLS-TV showcase studios, facing out to State Street.

* * WGN-TV brought in a new face to co-anchor its early newscasts from 4:00am-5:30am, alongside Erin McElroy. Frank Holland joined the station as the WGN Morning News co-anchor and as a feature reporter.

* * WMAQ-TV brought back its Noon newscasts with Marion Brooks as the solo anchor.

* * "The 12th Annual Eric & Kathy 36-Hour Radiothon" set a new donation record, raising $1,812,828 for Children's Memorial Hospital in under two days.

* * WMAQ-TV hired two new Meteorologists, Alicia Roman and Cheryl Scott. Roman took over as the weather person for the new Noon newscasts, while Scott was brought aboard as the new weekend weather person.

* * Jonathon Brandmeier returned to Chicago television with a new show entitled simply "Brandmeier." The 10-week long season aired weekends on WMAQ-TV and its digital sub-channel, Chicago Nonstop.

* * Chicago radio and television legend Art Hellyer returned to do a weekly Internet radio show. The one time radio "bad boy" Hellyer can now be able to be heard doing a show on Sunday afternoons on the Internet radio station Party 934.

* * Dina Bair was named as the new co-anchor of the WGN Midday News. Bair, WGN-TV's Medical Watch reporter, had been the main replacement for Allison Payne over the past two years while Payne was recuperating from various health & personal issues. WGN-TV management decided to make the substitution a permanent one.

* * Former WGN-AM star Steve Cochran started working full-time at WIND-AM as a host for a new two-hour drive-time radio show, airing weekdays from 5:00pm-7:00pm.

* * In a cost-cutting move, WLUP-FM parted ways with Jill Egan, its morning show news, traffic and weather anchor, producer and sidekick to Pete McMurray.

* * "Crazy Ray" Styles returned to the Chicagoland airwaves, when WRXQ-FM hired the former WLUP-FM overnight man as its new evening jock.

* * In what was the first major parting of the ways for the new news station WWWN-FM/FM News 101.1, newsman Dave Williams was released. Dave Williams was one of the first to join the fledgling radio station at the start of July. With his 42 years in the radio business, he added a depth of news & radio experience the experimental news station needed. No public reason has been given for the exit.

* * The Chicago Sun-Times hired a new food critic/columnist. Michael Nagrant began in October on a freelance basis, replacing former food critic Pat Bruno, who exited the previous month after 27 years with the Sun-Times.

* * Easily the one biggest request made by all fans of WLFM/Smooth 87.7 FM was for the station to begin streaming online. After two and a half years without it, the Smooth Jazz/Adult Contemporary station finally made their fans happy by adding the streaming feature to their website, as well as via mobile apps.

* * Not long after taking ownership of WLS-AM and WLS-FM, Cumulus Media began making their presence known within the offices of the two Chicago radio stations. First Cumulus Senior Vice President of Programming Jan Jeffries relocated from the Cumulus Media headquarters in Atlanta to the WLS offices on State Street in Chicago. Near the end of October, WLS-FM Operations Director Michael La Crosse was released as part of a nationwide cost-cutting strategy. (La Crosse soon after was hired by Clear Channel Radio to run a cluster in Washington.) Also released the very same day was top producer Jock "Jocko" Hedblade (who was quickly snatched up just a few days later by Harpo Productions), Zack Christenson, Chris Papendick, Bill Cavanaugh, Chelsea Johnson-Brooker, Jen Peterson, Adam Michael Zielinski, and Cassandra Wilson. These massive salary cutbacks from WLS-AM/FM are despite the fact that the Chicago cluster of stations were two of the most successful & profitable stations in the country for the previous owner, Citadel Broadcasting.

* * In yet another cost-cutting move, the Chicago Sun-Times and its suburban sister newspapers did away with its long-running weekly television schedule section called TV Prevue, which featured the weekly TV grid. In its place, the Sun-Times offering the glossy, 44-page magazine, TV Weekly Magazine, for an additional fee of $39 per year to subscribers.

* * WTTW-TV and its digital sub-channel, WTTW Prime, began airing global news coverage from Al Jazeera English six days a week. Al Jazeera English is so enamored with Chicago that by the end of the year, the organization had opened up a new Chicago/Midwest Bureau here and hired former ABC newsman John Hendren to run it.

* * The first Chicagoland radio station to flip to an all-Christmas music format was WXMS-FM. While the radio station from Ridgewood High School in Norridge, IL is usually known as "Jack FM" and WRWX-FM for most of the year, for November through January it is known as "Jack Frost," using the call letters WXMS-FM (X-Mas FM).

* * It was announced in early November that Chicago Nonstop, WMAQ-TV's digital sub-channel and Chicago-centric television station, will become part of NBCUniversal's new national platform, the NBC Nonstop Network. The station will now be a mix of local programming and national programming.

* * Chicago radio legend, John Records Landecker, returned to his roots, playing the hits of the 60s and 70s. Landecker has been doing an afternoon talk show format on WIMS-AM in nearby Michigan City, IN since the Fall of 2007 (with the exception of two weeks in 2009). As of November 7th, his show shifted to music, and the talk personality now is gracefully segueing back to being a fun DJ. The following month, WLS-FM gave JRL a long Saturday & Sunday shift and made him the chief fill-in for the other shifts on the station -- this is all in addition to his WIMS-AM weekday program.

* * Cumulus Media cutbacks cost the job of former Chicago radio superstar Kevin Matthews in mid-November, as his morning show at WLAV-FM in Grand Rapids, MI was axed. Matthews resurfaced a few weeks later, doing a paid podcast on Steve Dahl’s growing podcast network on Dahl.com.

* * WMAQ-TV announced a partnership with a pair of non-profit news organizations, The Chicago Reporter & ProPublica, to bring added local value and a deep look at investigative news stories for the station's newscasts. The partnership is part of an initiative taking part at all ten of the NBC owned & operated television stations nationwide, although the Chicago Reporter will work exclusively with WMAQ-TV and not the other NBC owned stations.

* * Sun-Times Media placed a paywall on the websites for all of their newspapers, meaning those who wish to view the newspaper content online will have to pay a monthly or annual subscription cost to do so. Online visitors are only able to access 20 pages of content for free on any Sun-Times Media website during any 30 day period. Beyond that, the visitor will have to be a digital subscriber to get past the paywall, which is an almost $78 annual fee.

* * Longtime Executive Producer for the Steve Dahl radio show and podcast, Mary Sandberg, announced that she would be exiting at the end of the year. Sandberg has been with Steve Dahl, through thick & thin, since the start of 2003.

* * WLS-FM named Jeff Andrews as its new Assistant Program Director, reporting directly Jan Jeffries, Cumulus' Senior Vice President of Programming, and filling the vacancy left when Operations Manager Michael La Crosse was forced out in a round of Cumulus cutbacks in late October. This is Andrews first time working in Chicago or a major market.

* * Jeff Kapugi, the veteran radio executive and Chicago area native, returned to Chicago to become CBS Radio's new Vice President of Country Programming, as well as the Program Director for WUSN-FM/US99.5.

* * WVIV-FM and its simulcast on WVIX-FM changed its branding from "La Kalle" to "Maxima." No staff changes occurred. The music on the station's playlist was already changed over the course of a few weeks before to be more of a Pop hit/bachata/Reggaeton mix, focusing on artists who have made a maximum impact on music.

* * WFMT-FM celebrated its 60th Anniversary. The celebration included an all-day live remote from the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall featuring numerous guest stars.

* * WLS-TV hired Diane Pathieu as a general assignment reporter on a part-time freelance basis. She is working primarily as a reporter on the weekend morning newscasts, with occasional assignments during other newscasts throughout the week. Pathieu is a Chicago native, happy to be working in television in her home town -- her life-long dream. The Columbia College Chicago graduate got her start working as an assignment editor and production assistant for Shadow Traffic in Chicago and interning at WMAQ-TV. She paid her dues working at small market TV stations in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, IA, and most recently WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, WI.

* * Mitch Michaels celebrated his 40th anniversary of starting in Chicago radio and becoming one of this market's biggest rock & roll DJs. Mitch Michaels is still going strong, and can be heard live each weekday afternoon on WERV-FM/95.9 The River.

* * Justin Kaufmann announced that he had been promoted to Executive Producer of Midday at WBEZ-FM. In this newly created role, Kaufmann will oversee programming between 9:00am and 4:00pm on the Chicago Public Radio station. Kaufmann has been with WBEZ in varying capacities since October 1994 and most recently held the title of Senior Content Developer, overseeing website content.

* * WGN-TV's Muriel Clair quietly "semi-retired" from the station where she had been a reporter since 1978. She will continue to turn in occasional special reports and her "Teacher of the Month" segments.

* * Roger Ebert's newest movie review program, "Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies," went on a "hiatus" at the end of the year. It turns out that outside of an initial $25,000 contribution from Kanbar Charitible Trust, no other foundations or corporations have stepped forward to help underwrite the show. Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz had been financing the show entirely out of their own pockets. With no sponsors, the show's "hiatus" looks to be permanent, sadly.

* * It was another record-breaking year for Chicagoland Radio Media, as the site further cemented its position as the #1 website in the world for Chicago media news and information. For 2011, the website had an incredible 52,730,199 hits. This was achieved completely naturally, without advertising or outside promotion to drive traffic to the site. A huge THANK YOU to all of the many visitors in the Chicago market, nationwide, and even worldwide, who are the true reasons for this site's success.


2011 Notable Names...

Making an entrance:
Bill White, Karen Rariden, Tisha Lewis, Jason Cage, Mara Shalhoup, Bill Bellis, Cumulus Media, Phil Laneros, K-Hits, Jack Taddeo, Dennis Gambino, Derrick Young, "Windy City Live," Stefan Holt, Carlos San Jose, Frank Woolanski, J.J. Duling, GTCR LLC, Merlin Media LLC, Mary Ellen Geist, Anne Kelly, Sarah Jersild, Jeff McKinney, Dave Williams, Mike Wilson, PJ Kling, Rob Morhaim, John St. Augustine, Frank Holland, Beth Fenner, "Don't Spit The Water!", Kurt Wallace, Che "Rhymefest" Smith, Mark Bazer, Alicia Roman, Cheryl Scott, Cumulus Media, Michael Nagrant, HighMotorGuy.com, Greta Johnsen, Brian Caffrey, Daniel Carcillo & "The Bomb Shelter," Jeff Andrews, News-Op.com, Diane Pathieu, Wrapports LLC.

Welcome back:
Steve Dale, Bill Moller, Mitch Michaels, Geno Brien, Garrard McClendon, Keith Moreland, Mike Leiderman, Jay Foot, Rafer Weigel, Eddie & Jobo, Gary Spears, Bo Reynolds, George McFly, Tommy Edwards, John Calhoun, Ken Cocker, Tim Pogo, Kerry Luft, Al Roker, Jr., Mick Dumke, Rafael "El Pistolero" Pulido, Guy Bauer, Shark (Eric Austin), Mike Murphy, Erin McElroy, Derrick Blakley, Tony Lossano, Tanya Ziegler Maher, Randy Hano, Clif Wilson, Q101.com, Robert Murphy (twice), Scott Kosak, Brant Miller, Charlie Meyerson, Sam Sylk, Ed Curran, Jill Urchak, Ryan Burrow, Scott Miller, Katherine Kelly, Art Porter, Steve Cochran, Art Norman, "Soul 106.3," Michelle Relerford, Eric Allen, Debra Juarez, Beth Sugrue, Matt DuBiel, Matt Bubala, Ray Flores, Mancow Muller, Dawn Avello, Jonathon Brandmeier (twice), Scott Straus, Art Hellyer, Steve Cochran, Paige Wiser, Tommy King, Crazy Ray, Jim Lemon, Jill Egan, Tim Virgin, Bill Leff, Jeff Kapugi, "Website Wednesday," Irene Mojica, Scott "Smokin'" Silz, Kyra Kyles.

Out the exit door:
Matt Mellen, Steve Fisher, Andy Hermann*, Simon "Rendezvous" Badinter, "Prickly Pair Podcast," Amy Freeze, Rebel Radio*, Johnathon Eltrevoog, Steve Chamraz, Maggie Peterson, Jack FM, Lewis Lazare*, Misha Davenport*, Ted Cox, Alberto Mier y Teran, Richard Babcock, John "The Rock" Mamola, Tommy Black, Marco Dennis, Jesus Gonzales, Floyd Evans, Geoff Dankert, Ivy Lester, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Dukes, Jerry Kersting, Paige Wiser*, Tammy Terwelp, Chris Pena, Trey Da Choklit Jok, Shawn Knight, Sam Sylk*, James VanOsdol, Charlie Meyerson*, Harvey Wells, Steve Bartlestein, WKQX-FM/Q101, Brian Sherman, Steve Tingle, Christine "Electra" Pawlak, Tim Virgin*, Tim Pogo, Chris "Payne" Miller, "Local 101," Cisco Cotto, Lisa Aprati, Qumar Zaman, Jeff Corder, Scotty Smith, Brooke Hunter, Eric "Shark" Austin, Lenny McAllister, Mike "Mully" Mulligan*, Elliot "Quick Hits" Harris*, Keith Hale, "Real Radio 106.3," RedEye weekend edition, Freak*, J.J. Duling, Keno Greer, "Street Sermonz," Len Prazak, Art Porter, Kyra Kyles*, Brian Rhodes, Carlos Mendez*, Jill Egan*, Dave Williams, Pat Bruno, Buddy Scott, Dave Williams, Jill Urchak, Michael La Crosse, Jock "Jocko" Hedblade*, Zack Christenson, Chris Papendick, Bill Cavanaugh, Chelsea Johnson-Brooker, Jen Peterson, Adam Michael Zielinski, Cassandra Wilson, Allen Green, Dan Hammill, Karen Moss, Joseph Cahill, Paul Kern, WWWN-FM, Greg Jarrett, Jim Wiser, Steve King, Johnnie Putman, Deb Segal, Karen Conti, Muriel Clair, "Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies," Mary Sandberg, Walter Sabo.

(*= Since returned to Chicagoland media.)

In Memoriam:
Ron Turner, Stefanie Kowal, Bob McBride, Guy Bona, Greg Adamski, Clarence Petersen, James C. "Jim" Tyree, Andy Karzas, William McCarter, Lynn Hauldren – The Empire Carpet Man, Daryl Hawks, Al Resnick, Anne Keegan, Tom Roeser, Ronna Davis, "Papa Joe" Chevalier, Bill Hamilton, Robert "Mr. Bob" Trendler, Larry "The Legend" Johnson, Lane Venardos, Al Hall, Joe Thompson, Eleanor Mondale, Steve Daley, Ted Pincus, Ed Wilk, Howard Dybedock, Arthur C. Nielsen Jr., Joe Gentile, Ed Planner, Perry Marshall, Hal Bruno, Tim Cuprisin.

All of the names and stories above (and a great deal more) have been previously covered this past year on this very website, much of which was done exclusively here or contained exclusive information. Use the SEARCH feature to find more details out on any of the above items.

A very happy 2012 to all of the readers and visitors of Chicagoland Radio & Media!

CRM Website Information

The Chicagoland Radio & Media website (abbreviated as CRM) is a celebration of all things relating to Chicago-area media matters. CRM is a news source, a location for fans to voice their opinions, and an online museum of Chicago media's past and present, with a hopeful eye to its future. For the visitors, readers, and fans of the website, CRM is a both a resource and a release, both educational and an escape, and both factual and fun.

If it has a connection to Chicago area radio, television, print, and/or other forms of media -- information on it can be found here at ChicagolandRadioAndMedia.com!