WGNs' new parent / Coal, fired / An AOC first

WGNs’ new parent. In a vote that one Federal Communications Commissioner warns “runs counter to our fundamental tenets of promoting competition, localism and diversity,” the FCC has cleared Texas-based Nexstar Media Group to buy Chicago’s WGN-TV and Radio, along with the rest of the Tribune Media broadcast chain …

 … casting a shadow over the future of the radio station* and the WGN America cable channel.
About Nexstar’s politics: A December roundup by the Center for Responsive Politics concluded its political action committee “favors Republicans, but only slightly.”

Gas price tension. At least one analyst says attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil supply chain could raise the cost of filling your tank in Chicago by up to 30 cents a gallon in the days ahead.
The world’s worst “oil shock” in years comes as the planetary economy is already feeling shaky.
But President Trump’s deference to Saudi Arabia on what to do next is drawing fire from critics like presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii: “Having our country act as Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not ‘America First.’” (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
Republican political strategist Rick Wilson in the Daily Beast: The attack exposes Trump’s shit-tier leadership for what it has always been: weak, strategically unmoored, and capricious.”
 Updating coverage: The House Judiciary Committee today holds its first official impeachment investigation hearing.

Coal, fired. One of Illinois’ dirtiest coal plants is closing—the state’s fifth such announcement in a month, and, the Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne says, a sign a climate-changing power source is on the way out in the U.S.
Chicago’s inspector general says the city’s doing a lousy job of monitoring air pollution, but he gives the city props for acting “relatively quickly to air-quality complaints.”
16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg is at the forefront of plans Friday for a young people’s Global Climate Strike, which could be one of history’s largest environmental protests.

But, ironically enough, no hard time. A guy accused of plying a then-Chicago alderman with Viagra faces a $25,000 fine for failing to register as a lobbyist.
Headed to the City Council: A proposal for a blanket ban on e-cigarettes …
 … and a plan to stop suspending driver’s licenses for non-moving violations—like sticker violations and parking tickets.

An AOC first. New York’s social-media phenom Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making her first endorsement for the 2020 congressional election—and it’s going to a candidate challenging a Chicago-area representative.
A Sun-Times editorial demands federal monitoring of the Cook County official whose office oversees suburban voting.

Still in jeopardy. Game show host Alex Trebek says he’s back on chemotherapy.
Longtime ABC and NPR political reporter Cokie Roberts is dead at 75.

‘It isn’t just any old space vehicle.’ Ahead of his appearance at a Park Ridge showing tomorrow of 2001: A Space Odyssey, star Keir Dullea reveals 10 things you probably didn’t know about the movie and his career.
Trump-loving rapper Kanye West promised a year ago that he’d move back to Chicago, but his homecoming has yet to manifest itself.

Thinking about a new phone? The New York Times’ Brian X. Chen says the new iPhones don’t justify an upgrade unless your current phone is at least five years old.
Amazon Music is the first of the three major music streaming services to offer a new tier of “high-definition” music.
ProPublica: Millions of Americans’ medical images are on the internet for anyone to see—unprotected by password or other security.

‘GET YOUR UN-HELMETED HEADS OUT OF YOUR KEISTERS AND STRAP ON A DANG HELMET.’ The Trib’s Rex Huppke turns his column over to “my future self, Old Man Huppke,” to read bicyclists the riot act.
Or ride the bus and take advantage of one of Pace’s best-kept secrets: Good Wi-Fi.

Thanks …
 … to reader Mike Braden, who flagged a missing article above.

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* Where your Chicago Public Square publisher served as news director for two years.

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