Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Recently in WSCR-AM Category

The Chicago Bears were a hot commodity in the final weeks of the pro football season -- as the possibility loomed that the team could wind up competing in the Super Bowl. Though the team was a hot topic of discussion throughout December on the city's two sports talk radio outlets -- WSCR-AM (670) and WMVP-AM (1000) -- all the talk wasn't enough to propel either station to the very top of the Arbitron rankings among males 25 to 54 in the holiday Arbitron book released this week.

WSCR did hold on to fourth place in the adult male demo in the holiday book, while WMVP was tied for ninth place overall. But in case you're wondering what station ranked first among males 25 to 54 in the holiday book, that would be WLIT-FM (93.9) and its round-the-clock holiday music format. We're told that males who may have a chance to pick what station the radio is tuned to at other times of the year, relinquish that right to the women in the house during the holidays. Apparently even when the Bears are closing in on a Super Bowl berth.

The thoughts and prayers of many of Chicago's most prominent radio personalities and executives are with freelance radio engineer Mark Zerang, who is mounting a brave fight against lung cancer. Zerang has in fact been battling cancer for more than two years, but only went public with his fight two weeks ago.

By all accounts, Zerang is considered a true legend in Chicago radio broadcasting circles, though he works behind the scenes, not in front of the microphone. Over the course of a career spanning more than 25 years, Zerang has worked with a wide array of familiar broadcasters, including Pat Foley, Tom Thayer, Troy Murray, Steve Dahl, Hub Arkush, Ed Farmer and many more.

"It was never about him; it is always about the games, the broadcasters and the fans," said Mitch Rosen, program director at CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670). Zerang's one goal in his job has been to ensure the sound of whatever show he was working on was exactly what it needed to be for the listening public. Over the past quarter century, Zerang has engineered countless sporting events for radio, including Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls games. He also has enhanced the broadcasts of various talents beyond sports, including Dahl, Kevin Matthews and Orion Samuelson.

Many of the people who have worked with Zerang over the years have in recent days paid a visit to his home in Rogers Park to thank him and once again acknowledge their respect for him and his amazing skills.

CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) made it official Wednesday. The station said it has inked a new five-year deal with the Chicago White Sox to broadcast all regular and post-season White Sox games, along with a number of spring training games. WSCR has been the home for radio broadcast of White Sox games since the 2006 season. "We looking forward to continuing this great partnership and growing our brands together," said Rod Zimmerman, senior vice-president and market manager for CBS Radio Chicago.

As part of the new deal, the White Sox said they would also launch a dedicated White Sox HD radio channel on 104.3-3 that will feature programming created exclusively by the club. "The potential growth in the HD radio industry presents a strong business opportunity for the White Sox," said Brooks Boyer, the team's marketing honcho, who also indicated the new channel would provide an additional opportunity to communicate with both White Sox and casual baseball fans. The launch date of the HD Channel will be announced at a later date.

The Chicago White Sox and CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) will announce as early as Wednesday that they have inked a new broadcast deal that gives WSCR exclusive radio rights to air all White Sox games -- more than 160 a season -- for each of the next five years.

The new contract extends by another five years the first five-year deal between WSCR and the White Sox. Prior to moving to WSCR, the White Sox were heard on ESPN Radio's sports talk WMVP-AM (1000).

Sources say WSCR is expected to stick with its current team of on-air talent for White Sox games, including pre- and post-show host Chris Rongey and the game play-by-play announcer team of Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson.

The White Sox have not performed up to their World Champion standard the past several seasons. But the baseball team remain an important sports franchise in the city, and WSCR negotiated long and hard to ensure the White Sox remained on board at the station.

Effective Oct. 25, CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) will end its delayed airing of the "Dan Patrick Show" from 1 to 4 a.m weekdays. In place of Patrick, WSCR talent Les Grobstein will do a new overnight show airing from midnight to 5 a.m. Grobstein has been with the Score on and off for 12 years. His most recent stint began two years ago. Grobstein had been doing a split-shift overnight show for WSCR that aired from 11 p.m to 1 a.m. and again from 4 a.m.to 5 a.m. Sources said the station likes Grobstein's work and wanted to give him more air time -- albeit in the wee hours of the morning.

Justin Craig, program director for the past 4 1/2 years at ESPN Radio's sports talk WMVP-AM (1000), is moving on to handle similar duties at the sports radio network's flagship New York station WEPN-AM (1050). Craig came to WMVP from ESPN's corporate headquarters in Bristol, Ct., where, among other things, he was involved in producing ESPN Radio's popular "Mike & Mike In the Morning" show.

Craig's departure leaves a key post vacant in the WMVP programming department. It is expected to take several weeks to fill the position. But one likely candidate for the job is Adam Delevitt, who has been assistant program director under Craig. Delevitt said Thursday that if he gets the job, he foresees no major overhaul of the current programming. His main goal, Delevitt said, is for WMVP to remain super competitive with WSCR.

It's reunion time. Sports talk WSCR-AM (670) personalities Dan McNeil and Terry Boers will reunite for one show only on the Score on Aug. 27, that will be broadcast from Bar Louis in Naperville from 1 to 6 p.m. McNeil and Boers previously co-hosted a WSCR show for 7 1/2 years that was called "The Heavy Fuel Crew." On the day of the reunion, Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein will fill in for Danny Mac on his regular 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. radio show.

Mark Grote joining WSCR-AM

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Mark Grote is joining CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) full time, effective Aug. 30. Grote had been doing sports updates for the station on a part-time basis for a couple of years. He now will do Scoreboard updates full-time on "The Mully and Hanley Show" and host on weekends. Grote previously was with Shadow Traffic doing reports for news/talk WBBM-AM (780).

There have been twists and turns along the way, but broadcast sources say CBS Radio Chicago's sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) is close to signing a new five-year contract to remain the exclusive radio home of the Chicago White Sox. A deal could be announced within a week.

Negotiations were protracted, in part because of rumored discussions among the White Sox and the team's owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Emmis Communications about the possibility of converting an Emmis radio property in Chicago to an FM sports outlet and putting the White Sox on that. But those talks, sources say, have collapsed, and the White Sox are now focused on getting a deal done with WSCR.

Meanwhile, it can't be ruled out that CBS Radio Chicago still could opt to simulcast WSCR on adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) if efforts to boost ratings at WCFS are unsuccessful.

CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) is bringing out some really big guns for its Business of Sports luncheon on Thursday, Sept.16. The panel will include Chicago Cubs owner Tom Rickets, Chicago Bears president Ted Phillips, Chicago Blackhawks president John McDonough, Chicago White Sox chief marketing honcho Brooks Boyer, and Northwestern University athletic director Jim Phillips. WSCR morning drive co-hosts Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley will co-host the event, along with WBBM-AM (780) Bears radio analyst Tom Thayer. "Anyone interested in finding out more on the business aspect of professional sports would be hard pressed to find such a breadth of information anywhere else," said Rod Zimmerman, CBS Radio Chicago market manager.

Tickets for the event go on sale today, and are available by calling 312-729-3936. The cost is $45 per person which includes a three-course lunch and the panel session.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the WSCR-AM category.

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