Robservations on the media beat:
Promising “a fresh new approach to morning news,” Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26 kicked off “The Jam” at 6 a.m. Monday. The two-hour weekday morning show, hosted by Jordan Cornette, Felicia Lawrence and Danielle Robay, replaces “You & Me,” which aired for more than seven years on The U. “‘The Jam’ represents the core of what it means to be a Chicagoan,” Steve Bailey, head of local programming and creative for The U, said in a statement. “It’s upbeat, it’s witty, it’s fearless, it’s in your face and it’s community oriented. Our hosts are unapologetic in their delivery and tapped into what’s going on around the city.” This week’s guests include singer Alessia Cara, actress and comedian Mo’Nique, and hip hop artist and songwriter Che “Rhymefest” Smith, who composed original music for the show.
Just in from Kansas City, Missouri, Patrick Fazio starts Monday at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 as the station’s newest news anchor and reporter. He’ll initially co-anchor at 5 and 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays alongside Michelle Relerford. His duties could change when Rob Stafford, NBC 5’s main anchor, returns from medical leave in late August, and Dick Johnson moves back to weekends. Fazio had been morning news anchor at NBC affiliate KSHB in Kansas City since 2013.
Lauren Chooljian, City Hall and political reporter at WBEZ FM 91.5, has signed off after more than five years as a reporter and producer at Chicago Public Media. She’s moving to New Hampshire with her fiancé, Matt Baer, where he’ll attend Dartmouth University and she’ll join New Hampshire Public Radio as politics and policy reporter. They’re planning a September wedding. Goli Sheikholeslami, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media, said she expects Chooljian to return to WBEZ after Baer completes his MBA.
Kenny McReynolds, longtime sports director at Weigel Broadcasting, will be inducted in the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame October 2 at Wintrust Arena. As recipient of the Media and Broadcast Award, he’ll join nine other 2017 inductees, including Jonathan Toews, Kerry Wood, Tim Brown, Hawk Harrelson and John Jurkovic. Now in his 20th year on The U and Me-TV, McReynolds is the voice of high school sports on Chicago television. He began on SportsVision in 1982 and worked as sports anchor and reporter for Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.
A legion of Chicago pals, including veteran reporters Dick Kay and Peter Nolan, were on hand Sunday to toast legendary former anchorman and commentator Jim Ruddle. Family and friends hosted a belated birthday celebration for Ruddle, who turned 85 in May and now lives in Rye, New York. From 1965, when he first teamed with Gary Park at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, until 1986 when he retired from NBC 5, Ruddle was one of Chicago’s most respected journalists and outspoken pundits. He’s currently working on a followup to his first novel, My Name Is Luke, published in 2014.
ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 has been nominated for a National News and Documentary Emmy Award for spot news coverage of the death of Joe Gliniewicz, the Fox Lake police lieutenant. ABC 7 was the sole Chicago station this year among 10 regional nominees. Also nominated was BBC World News America’s “Chicago's Deadly Streets,” an investigation of gangs and gun violence in Chicago. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will announce the winners October 5 in New York.
Services will be held October 7 for Wade Nelson, longtime journalist and husband of Chicago Tribune columnist Ellen Warren. Nelson died July 25 of gallbladder cancer at 70. He worked for the City News Bureau, Chicago Daily News (including a stint as columnist Mike Royko’s legman), the Sun-Times, the Tribune and the Baltimore Sun, before turning to politics and government as a press secretary, speech writer and consultant. Nelson grew up in River Forest and graduated from Fenwick High School and the University of Missouri. The celebration of his life will be at 2 p.m. October 7 at Unity Temple in Oak Park.