Robservations on the media beat:
Veteran Chicago broadcaster James VanOsdol has been named to the new position of newsroom program manager at Rivet News Radio, the personalizable Internet radio news app. He most recently has been reporting and producing stories for Rivet while doubling as a weekend and fill-in host at Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720. VanOsdol will be responsible for “helping Rivet sound even better and further growing our audience,” news strategy boss Charlie Meyerson told staffers in a memo. “His background as a broadcaster (WGN, WKQX, WZZN, WXRT) and media trainer (Emmis Interactive) and his digital presence (as a podcaster, writer and social media icon) give him a tremendous set of skills on which to draw as he assumes the additional roles of coach and programming maestro.”
Rick O’Dell, Chicago’s preeminent smooth jazz programmer and personality, has been hired by AccuRadio as brand manager and program director of its smooth jazz audio channels. He joins a growing staff under chief operating officer John Gehron that includes Gary Berkowitz and Bill Gamble, who oversee the online radio service’s adult-contemporary and country brands, respectively. It’s a return to AccuRadio for O’Dell, who created the company’s smooth jazz channels in 2009 before launching SmoothJazzChicago.net, his 24/7 streaming digital station.
Peter Frost, who covered the business of health care for the Chicago Tribune, exits Tuesday to join Crain’s Chicago Business. He previously reported on military shipbuilding for the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia. “I was extremely lucky to have been able to cover the rollout of the Affordable Care Act for the Tribune, which kept me plenty busy over the past almost three years,” he said. “It was an honor working here and it will be hard to leave all the extremely talented people who make this place special.” Starting October 13, Frost will be covering the food and beverage beat for Crain’s — “marking the first time in my career I will be writing about something in which I have a personal interest,” he added.
Neal Sabin has done it again. The programming genius behind Weigel Broadcasting’s MeTV, Me-Too, The U and its other channels just launched a new digital television network — Heroes and Icons — on Channel 23.2 in Chicago. “Strong main characters featured in iconic series will populate the schedule of H&I,” Sabin told staffers Monday. “These will include series such as the ground breaking police dramas ‘NYPD Blue’ and ‘Hill Street Blues.’ . . . A substantial and impressive list of additional series will be added to the network’s library shortly, insuring it has a deep and focused supply of series for years to come, just as MeTV has going forward.”
A who’s who of Chicago media heavyweights attended the rooftop Video Ball at the Wabash-Randolph parking garage Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of the nonprofit Media Burn Independent Video Archive. The celebration was a tribute to the vital work of founder Tom Weinberg and executive director Sara Chapman, whose site has preserved and archived more than 2,500 hours of documentaries and other independent videotapes from the past four decades. "When we started making video in 1972, our fantasy was that some day there would be a place where everyone could tune in and see 'our kind of video' . . . offbeat, exciting, and provocative, that's different from TV,” Weinberg said. “It's almost magical that our dream came true, and decades later, Media Burn is a reality, 24/7 on the Internet."