New lineup brings more ‘fact-based journalism’ to WBEZ


Nine months after he came back to WBEZ 91.5-FM as chief content officer, Steve Edwards is putting his mark on the daily programming lineup of the Chicago Public Media station.

Starting Monday, a revamped schedule at WBEZ will feature five new shows and an expansion of news designed to bring “new voices, fresh personalities and diverse perspectives to Chicago’s airwaves.” (Here is the link to the revised lineup.)

“We’re updating our weekday and weekend schedule to reflect an even greater commitment to the daily news cycle and to fact-based, independent journalism,” Edwards wrote in a letter to listeners.

Highlighting more local news and investigative reports from WBEZ's growing staff, the changes include extending “All Things Considered” by one hour to 7 p.m. weekdays, and airing “Marketplace” twice — at 4:30 and 7 p.m. “Weekend Edition Sunday” also will be extended by an hour, to 11 a.m. Sundays.

New programs will be: the national talk show “1A” (10 a.m. and 10 p.m. weekdays); The New York Times podcast “The Daily” (7:30 p.m. Monday though Thursday); NPR’s “It’s Been a Minute” (11 a.m. Saturdays); the political talk show “The Takeaway” (3 p.m. Saturday, starting June 2); and NPR’s “Hidden Brain" (8 p.m. Sundays).

Gone from WBEZ will be four shows — “Q,” “The World,” “Le Show,” and “BBC Newshour.”

Steve Edwards

Edwards, who was a longtime program host and program director of WBEZ, returned to station last summer after a five-year stint as executive director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

The programming moves follow the launch of a branding campaign to promote WBEZ as a premier local news organization. With the tagline “Hear the Whole Picture,” the multi-year campaign created by Chicago ad agency Two by Four includes streaming audio, digital media, TV, billboards and bus shelter posters.

“This campaign shines a light on what we’ve been doing all along at WBEZ Chicago – providing independent, fact-based news and original programming,” Goli Sheikholeslami, CEO of Chicago Public Media, said in a statement. “We hope the campaign will attract new listeners who are looking for an alternate news source to bring them balanced reporting and a deep understanding of the issues.”

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WBEZ tied for 18th in the market with a 2.5 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 500,200. NPR’s “Morning Edition” and the local “Morning Shift” on WBEZ tied for 13th in morning drive with 3.0 share and 248,000 weekly cume.

Thursday’s comment of the day: John Wilson: The loss of comments [at the Chicago Tribune] is a loss of journalism. It's like banning letters to the editor. Perhaps there need to be better systems for getting better comments, but that's no reason to give up entirely. It's easy to cheer the end of comments if you're a columnist who gets to reach a large audience and doesn't want to hear criticism. But comments (as this site shows) often provide insight, corrections, and contrarian views.