Robservations: WTTW series to spotlight ‘Art & Design in Chicago’

Art & Design in Chicago (Photo: WTTW)

Robservations on the media beat:

A four-part series on “Art & Design in Chicago” will premiere October 5 on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11, airing at 8:30 p.m. Fridays. Produced and written by Dan Andries as part of the yearlong Art Design Chicago initiative, each episode will focus on an aspect of the city’s creative history — “from the impact of Chicago’s institutions to its importance in the fields of design and advertising; from the history of African-American artists who shaped the city to an in-depth look at the city’s most fiercely independent artists.” An upcoming companion website at will feature original content, a guide to highlighted works and video. The series is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Tracy Sulkin

A political science professor with no background in journalism has been named dean of the College of Media at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Tracy Sulkin, a professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, served as interim executive associate dean of the College of Media since May 2017. She'll head the Department of Journalism, Department of Advertising, Department of Media and Cinema Studies, Institute of Communications Research and the Division of Broadcasting, which includes Illinois Public Media/WILL, according to the Champaign News-Gazette. As dean, Sulkin will make $241,500 a year.

Ken "Hawk" Harrelson

Sunday’s broadcast of the Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs “Crosstown Classic” on NBC Sports Chicago will mark the final game call of legendary White Sox announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. He’ll be joined in the booth by longtime partner Steve Stone and numerous special guests who’ll be stopping by. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday with “White Sox Pregame Live.” Harrelson, who’s retiring after a 33-year Sox broadcasting career, will continue with the club next season as an ambassador.

John “Shaky” Siuntres

Chicago radio veteran John “Shaky” Siuntres, host and producer of the wildly successful pop culture podcast Word Balloon, has launched “The Big Bout Podcast” — a new podcast series on boxing — with an audio documentary on the rivalry between heavyweight champions Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. (Here is the link.) Saturday marks the 91st anniversary of the controversial “Long Count Fight” between Dempsey and Tunney at Soldier Field in 1927. The half-hour documentary features interviews with Studs Terkel (who listened to the live radio broadcast as a teen), screenwriter and sportswriter Budd Schulberg, Dempsey biographer Roger Kahn, Tunney biographer Jack Cavanaugh, boxing historian Bert Sugar and magazine writer David Zivan.

Kali Om

As a prominent freelance journalist, Cara Jepsen wrote a monthly column on Chicago media for the Illinois Entertainer for 20 years. But in 2014 she legally changed her name to Kali Om and devoted her life full-time to practicing, teaching and writing about yoga. Now she’s published her first book, Beyond the Mat: Don't Just Do Yoga—Live It, a collection of her Yoga Chicago columns from 2007 to 2018. Available on Amazon and Kindle, it offers personal anecdotes with yoga philosophy and techniques in practical ways that anyone can relate to. “This book combines two of my greatest loves -- yoga and writing,” Om said.

Kris Long

A former Chicago anchorman was suspended this week after he defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a Facebook post. “You are beyond dreaming if you think 17 year old boys are not going to misbehave from time to time as they begin to attempt relationships with the opposite sex,” Kris Long wrote. “That is just the way we animals are made!” The post was later deleted with apologies, and Long was temporarily taken off CBS affiliate KPSP in Palm Springs, California, where he anchors evening newscasts. “I wish I hadn’t written [the post] because it’s caused me a lot of headache," he said. From 1987 to 1993 Long was a news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.

Comment of the day: Alex Garcia: It seems like WCIU went from a perfectly respectable morning show hosted by [Jeanne] Sparrow and [Melissa] Forman to a train wreck of a show helmed by nameless, faceless folks that is some kind of hip-hop and celeb tidbit mashup. And no increase in viewers for all that effort.