Robservations on the media beat:
After three decades with College of DuPage's public radio WDCB 90.9-FM, Brian O'Keefe is stepping down as news director at the west suburban Glen Ellyn-based jazz station. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, O'Keefe joined WDCB in 1991 as assistant news coordinator before moving up to coordinator of news and public affairs in 1995. "I am proud to have been part of WDCB and to have served the station’s audience for so many years," O'Keefe said in a statement. "There are great stories in every community and it has been my pleasure to tell some of those stories.” He'll continue hosting and producing the public-affairs show “First Light,” airing at 7 a.m. Sundays, through April. “Brian’s professionalism has been an important part of WDCB’s growth from small suburban station to respected player in the Chicago public radio landscape,” said station manager Dan Bindert. O’Keefe also served two terms as president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.
One year after WGBO-Channel 66 launched a two-hour local morning news show, the Univision Spanish-language station is committing new resources and personnel to the effort. Joining "Primera Hora" from 5 to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday as full-time meteorologist is Ericka Pino, who previously forecast weather on the 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts. (Returning to those newscasts as meteorologist is Ligia Granados.) Also joining "Primera Hora" as traffic reporter is Diego Guirado. Diana Pérez and Alex Hernández continue as morning news anchors. The show features daily interactions with Mau Mauricio, morning personality on Univision “Latino Mix” WVIV 93.5-FM. "We had very high expectations for the only early morning, local Spanish language newscast in Chicago," said Doug Levy, president and general manager of Univision Chicago. "We are well on our way to achieving our ambitious goals and setting our sights on even greater achievements."
Mary Ellen Kachinske, former program director of Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM, has been named operations manager for Cumulus Media's five-station cluster in Providence, Rhode Island. She also will serve as program director of the company's WWLI in Providence. Kachinske spent more than 18 years at 101.9 The Mix before she was forced out in 2018. She joined the station as assistant program director in 2000 and was promoted to program director in 2002.
Amy Louise Williams, the former Chicago TV producer who was driving the car in which sportscaster Chet Coppock was fatally injured last year, died January 5 in South Carolina, according to her family. She was 50. The cause of death was not reported, but Williams underwent numerous surgeries after the accident near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on April 6, 2019. The car she was driving veered across a highway median and struck another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Her injuries included two broken legs, four broken ribs and a broken arm. “After a lifetime of brilliant triumphs and crippling struggles, Amy is finally at peace,” her sister, Erin Clark, wrote on Facebook. In 2001 Williams won a regional Emmy Award for a documentary on elder abuse in Chicago produced for PBS station WYCC-Channel 20.
Joe Lacina, a retired Chicago area radio personality who hosted daily shows for ABC Satellite Network Radio in southwest suburban Mokena and Dallas, died January 6 at his home in west suburban Geneva. He was 87. Lacina graduated from DePaul University School of Music and toured professionally with bands across the country in the 1950s before moving into radio. Most notably he was on the air at the former WAIT 820-AM, where he also served as program director. At Satellite Music Network he hosted the "Stardust" and "Timeless Classics" formats of music from the '30s, '40s and '50s carried by 165 stations nationwide.
Friday's comment of the day: John Lampinen: Congratulations to Toni [Ginnetti]! Always an inspiration to me.