Robservations: Layoffs hit DNAinfo

DNAinfo Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Even a lean and efficient digital news operation backed by a billionaire isn’t immune to economic pressures. Two full-time editorial employees were cut last week at DNAinfo Chicago, sources confirmed Thursday. The layoffs follow the recent departure of columnist Mark Konkol after four years at the hyperlocal news source. His position is not expected to be filled. Shamus Toomey, managing editor of DNAinfo Chicago, said in a statement: "We’re always working to find the correct size for our team covering Chicago’s neighborhoods." Joe Ricketts, billionaire patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, bankrolls DNAinfo, which he founded in New York in 2009. He expanded to Chicago in 2012.

Pat Quinn

Pat Quinn, talk show host? The former Illinois governor will fill in for Wayne Besen from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday on WCPT AM 820, the Newsweb Radio progressive news/talk station. Quinn, who appears monthly on Besen’s show, will talk with guests and take calls from listeners during his one-day hosting stint. Could it lead to regular radio work? Other than perhaps having Quinn fill in again if available, say Newsweb bosses: “We do not have any such plans.”

Chicago magazine

A nasty remark about Chicago by candidate Donald Trump during the presidential debates last fall had at least one positive result. It turned out to be the inspiration for the March edition of Chicago magazine and its splendid cover story, “67 Reasons to Love Chicago.” Susanna Homan, editor and publisher of Chicago, credits culture editor Elly Fishman with suggesting a push-back to negative news about the city, and executive editor Terry Noland with the idea of devoting a whole issue to the theme. “We all got swept up in the magic of this package, layering ideas on top of each other,” Homan said of their “love letter” to the city. “Literally every hand in the office touched the issue in some major way.”

Ryan Chiaverini

Ryan Chiaverini made an emotional return to “Windy City Live” this week after a month away from the daily talk show he co-hosts on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. He thanked his bosses for giving him an open-ended leave to be with his gravely ill mother in California. “Even though we’re on TV, we’re humans too, and we hurt too,” Chiaverini told viewers. “I got to spend three weeks at my mother’s bedside, and I got 10 days with her when she was awake and able to speak. And that time is invaluable.” As his mother continues to hang on, he added: “We’re hoping for another miracle.”

Patty Martin

Patty Martin, longtime Chicago radio programmer, is back in business. She’s been hired by AccuRadio to program the World Music and Celtic groups of channels for the Chicago-based multichannel music webcaster. Other formats, including adult rock and adult alternative, will be added to her duties. “It’s all the fun of radio programming without the headaches!” said Martin, who stepped down in 2014 after 13 years as program director of Hubbard Radio classic hits WDRV FM 97.1 (and eight years before that as music director at CBS Radio adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1). In 2016 she joined Columbia College Chicago as adjunct professor of radio programming.

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