ABC 7’s Hosea Sanders shares news of prostate surgery

Hosea Sanders

Hosea Sanders, veteran news anchor at WLS-Channel 7, said he will undergo surgery for prostate cancer Wednesday and added that he was “very optimistic about the outcome.”

Sanders, 59, told friends in a Facebook post Tuesday night that he had been diagnosed several weeks ago and would be “taking some time off” from the ABC-owned station, where he’s now in his 23rd year as an anchor and reporter. Continue reading

WDCB closes the book on scam artist

John Valenta

For WDCB FM 90.9, the public radio station licensed to College of DuPage, the long nightmare finally ended Tuesday.

John Valenta, who was employed as the station’s engineer for 30 years, pleaded guilty in DuPage County Circuit Court to felony theft in connection with what investigators said was a 16-year scheme that bilked the station out of more than $400,000. As part of his plea agreement, Valenta faces a minimum of six years in prison. Sentencing will be May 19. Continue reading

As ABC 7 retirement nears, Charles Thomas ‘working as hard as ever’

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Charles Thomas

With the exception of sports — most notably during a winning season — there’s no livelier beat to cover in all of Chicago media than local politics. Year in and year out, it’s our town’s other spectator sport.

So who will fill the shoes of Charles Thomas when he retires Friday as political reporter at WLS-Channel 7? At the moment, there isn’t even a front-runner. Continue reading

NBC 5 promotes Siafa Lewis to lead sports anchor

Siafa Lewis

After three years on the sports staff of WMAQ-Channel 5, Siafa Lewis has been named lead sports anchor, the NBC-owned station announced Monday.

Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said in a statement: “Siafa has been an integral member of our team since joining us in 2014. We are thrilled to have him anchor our weeknight sportscasts alongside news anchors Rob Stafford and Allison Rosati.” Continue reading

Robservations: Traffic tie-up could jam Bart Shore

Bart Shore

Robservations on the media beat:

Bart Shore, who’s been Chicago radio’s premier voice of traffic for 17 years, soon may be off top-rated CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9. Starting April 1, CBS Radio is dropping its affiliation with iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic Network and launching its own traffic service with USTN (formerly Radiate Media). The catch is that Shore and other key voices of traffic and sports on WBBM Newsradio (including Kris Habermehl, Mike Pries, Bonnie Greene, George Ofman, Rick Gregg and Dave Kerner) are locked into contracts with Total Traffic Network. CBS Radio has begun staffing their positions under new traffic operations chief Kevin Scott. No comment from CBS Radio bosses here. Continue reading

ABC 7 suspends Mark Giangreco for ‘lunatic’ Trump tweet

Mark Giangreco

WLS-Channel 7 has slapped sports anchor Mark Giangreco with a multi-week suspension for a tweet in which he called President Donald Trump a “cartoon lunatic” and referred to Trump voters as “simpletons.”

Management of the top-rated ABC-owned station released the following statement Thursday: “Mark Giangreco’s Twitter comments are not in line with ABC 7 Chicago’s non-partisan editorial standards. We’ve reviewed the matter and are taking the appropriate action.” Continue reading

It’s Knight time for tronc's digital division

Timothy Knight

Timothy Knight, who was Michael Ferro’s right-hand man at Sun-Times parent company Wrapports for four years, is back in Chicago and working for his old boss again.

Knight, 51, has been hired as president of troncX, the digital content and commerce division of tronc, the company announced in its fourth quarter earnings report Wednesday. He starts in the newly created position immediately. Continue reading

Louise Kiernan named editor of ProPublica Illinois

Louise Kiernan

Louise Kiernan, a veteran Chicago journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, has been hired as editor-in-chief of ProPublica Illinois, an investigative news organization soon to be launched here.

Kiernan most recently has been an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and co-director of Medill’s Social Justice News Nexus, the school’s social justice and investigative reporting specialization.

Illinois will mark the first regional publishing venture for ProPublica, the independent, nonprofit producer of investigative journalism, founded in New York in 2007. Continue reading

Robservations: Surprise! It’s 65 and sunny for Tom Skilling

Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert, WGN general manager Paul Rennie and Tom Skilling

Robservations on the media beat:

Tom Skilling

Even Chicago’s spectacularly beautiful weather was in on the conspiracy to make Sunday a perfect day for Tom Skilling. Family, friends and co-workers from WGN-Channel 9 gathered Sunday night to surprise the superstar meteorologist, who turns 65 on Monday. What Skilling thought would be a quiet birthday dinner with friends became a grand and heartfelt tribute to Chicago’s most beloved broadcaster and America’s greatest weatherman. “I’m a senior citizen now — it’s official!” he told the roomful of well-wishers. “And by God, there’s life after senior citizenship!”  Happy birthday, Tom. Continue reading