Robservations on the media beat:
Sure and begorrah, we’ll be seeing the great Frank Mathie, 75, reporting from Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade at noon Saturday on WLS-Channel 7. The live broadcast will also be a kickoff to “50 Years of Frank,” a celebration of Mathie’s remarkable career on the ABC-owned station. The dean of “Eyewitness News” officially retired in 2006, but he’s continued as a freelance feature contributor since then. On April 3 — 50 years to the day after he started — he’ll sign off for good. Said Mathie: “A half-century doing the stories I love. What a lucky guy!”
Linda Johnson Rice is back in charge of Ebony magazine. The daughter of Johnson Publishing founder John H. Johnson had been chairman emeritus of Ebony Media Holdings after the company sold its Chicago-based flagship magazine to an Austin, Texas, investment firm. Crain’s Chicago Business reported Thursday she was returning as chief executive officer of the holding company that publishes Ebony (and Jet magazine online) following the departure last week of CEO Cheryl McKissack.
Alberto Terry “El Terrible” Cortez, who’s been hosting afternoons on Spanish Broadcasting System regional Mexican WLEY FM 107.9, has shifted to mornings and reunited with former partner Kimberly Kristel “La Kristy” Yanez. The move coincides with the relocation of “El Terrible” to Los Angeles and launch of the show in syndication on SBS stations here and in L.A. and San Francisco. On La Ley, "Al Aire Con El Terrible" airs from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays. Leti Aguilera, vice president and general manager of La Ley, said a new afternoon show will be announced soon.
“The Startup Showcase,” a weekly talk show on technology and innovation in Chicago, is joining the lineup on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720. Scott Kitun, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Technori, will host the show from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturdays, staring March 18. “There are a million great ideas and ‘The Startup Showcase’ will reveal the stories of how a great idea lives, thrives and becomes a business,” Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at WGN, said in a statement.
Colleagues and friends are mourning the passing of Tom LaPorte, a versatile and innovative communicator over four decades throughout Chicago media. LaPorte, who was 63, died Wednesday of heart failure, according to multiple reports. He most recently served as Chicago’s assistant water commissioner and spokesman for the department. Before that he was webmaster for CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780, webmaster, editor and managing editor of former all-news WMAQ, and producer and news editor for news/talk WIND AM 560. LaPorte also headed media relations for Burning Man Project, a nonprofit arts and performance festival, and taught broadcasting and production at Columbia College Chicago. A graduate of Southern Illinois University and six-time Peter Lisagor Award winner, he began his radio career as public affairs director and news anchor at WCIL in Carbondale, Illinois.