Robservations on the media beat:
If you can’t trust an anchorman, who can you trust? On Tuesday, I asked Jeff Herndon about his employment plans after he signed off that night as 5 and 9 p.m. weekday news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. “As for the future, I’m not any closer to a decision,” he told me. “Just looking forward to some time away from television for most of September.” On Thursday, Herndon was hired as assistant news director and 5 p.m. news anchor at KSNW, the NBC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas. Pretty fast work, I’d say.
Roz Varon, who’s now in her 28th year as traffic anchor and transportation reporter at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, has just written On the Road with Roz: Adventures in Travel and Life. The book covers her travels to Israel, Ireland, the southern United Kingdom, the Jewish Deep South, Route 66 and other “sacred, joyous, and legendary places.” Published by IngramSpark, it features more than 100 photographs. Varon will launch the book October 1 with a signing at Anderson Bookshop in Naperville, starting at 2 p.m. A portion of sales at book events will go to breast cancer research and support groups.
Laurence Holmes, veteran evening personality on CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670, will host Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s game day coverage of Chicago Bears football this season. Starting September 10, he’ll host “Bears Pregame Live” and “Bears Postgame Live,” joined by a panel including former Bears Lance Briggs, Jim Miller and Alex Brown. “It happened really quickly & I'm excited about this!” Holmes tweeted Thursday. Look for CSN Chicago to be renamed NBC Sports Chicago, as of October 2.
The honors keep piling up for John Records Landecker, the legendary Chicago radio personality and 2017 inductee in the National Radio Hall of Fame. On September 8 it’ll be proclaimed “John Records Landecker Day” in Michigan City, Indiana (where he lives). He’ll also receive the Sagamore of the Wabash Honorary Award, decreed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. Introducing Landecker at the ceremony will be Rick Kaempfer, his longtime radio producer and collaborator on his memoir, Records Truly Is My Middle Name.
Chicago journalism colleagues and friends are pulling for Zay Smith, the former Sun-Times columnist, investigative reporter and features writer. Smith was expected to undergo emergency surgery at Rush Oak Park Hospital for a life-threatening infection in his right foot, requiring amputation of his leg below the knee, according to his family. Smith, 68, wrote the popular and witty QT (Quick Takes) column in the Sun-Times from 1995 to 2008 and later revived it on digital platforms as a blog.
A memorial service for Joe Collins, the veteran Chicago radio traffic reporter, will be held at 6 p.m. September 7 at Queen of Martyrs Chicago, 10233 Central Park Avenue in Evergreen Park. It will be followed by a celebration of his life. Collins, 58, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 2006, died of congestive heart failure August 1. He was best known for his long run as traffic reporter on CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9.