Robservations: Chicago magazine pivots to cover pandemic

Chicago magazine

Robservations on the media beat:

When the first case of coronavirus in a downtown office building was disclosed at another company in the Prudential Building, employees of Chicago magazine were sent home March 11 — and plans for the May issue were revised from top to bottom. The result is out this weekend with a dramatic cover on “Life in the Time of COVID-19.” It includes a photo essay on eerily vacant venues of events that didn’t happen and a shut-in’s guide to not losing your sanity, among other timely features. “We did it all in two weeks, working from home, and using Zoom meetings and Slack to stay in touch,” said Susanna Homan, editor-in-chief and publisher of Chicago. “The issue is something we are all so proud of because this is an important moment in history and to do anything less than address it immediately and thoroughly wouldn’t have served our readers.”

ABC 7 Chicago

Ministers from eight churches on Chicago’s South Side will join together in a Good Friday service to be carried by ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. “7 Cries From Chicago: A Good Friday Worship Experience” will be presented from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday on ABC 7’s digital Channel 7.2 and streamed live at Each of the spiritual leaders will reflect on one of the last seven phrases Christ uttered from the cross. “We welcome the opportunity to bring this inspirational Good Friday service to those who are now unable to celebrate their religious traditions as they have in the past,” said John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7.

Originating live from Holy Name Cathedral in partnership with the Archdiocese of Chicago, Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM will broadcast Holy Saturday Easter Vigil at 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Easter Mass at 9 a.m. Sunday.


Check out, a remarkably rich and thorough resource for information on the pandemic, produced by Chicago-based AccuRadio and RAIN News. (Here is the link.) Billed as a "one-stop access to a wide variety of the best journalism, analysis, data, videos, and other resources," it's updated several times daily by AccuRadio curators. It includes the latest statistics, trends and highlights of government briefings, late-night shows and other media. Kurt Hanson, founder and CEO of AccuRadio and publisher of RAIN News, called it "a working prototype that we're trying our best to keep up to date."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

For the next two weekends "Those Were the Days" turns back the clock 75 years to recall radio's coverage of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945. "The death of President Roosevelt marked the first time that radio was on hand to deliver news about the death of a president to a national audience, and it did so with a combination of eloquence and emotion, produced on remarkably short notice," said host and producer Steve Darnall. "Very possibly, these sounds of a nation and a world in a time of uncertainty and sometimes frightening change will resonate with modern audiences." The old-time radio showcase airs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays on College of DuPage's WDCB 90.9-FM and streams online at

Wednesday’s comment of the day: James R. Anderson: The employer can’t unilaterally change the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. That’s the law. The company and the union may yet come to a sensible agreement, but the company has to ask.