Robservations: Bertrand, Landecker round out new WGN Radio lineup

Steve Bertrand

Robservations on the media beat:

John Records Landecker

Overshadowed by the firing late Friday of afternoon host Roe Conn and overnight host Nick Digilio was news of two new shows coming to Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM. Starting September 28, “Chicago’s Afternoon News,” hosted by longtime news anchor Steve Bertrand, will air from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining," said Bertrand, who's been with WGN since 1985. "With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” Also September 28, Radio Hall of Famer John Records Landecker signs on as host from 7 to 10 p.m. weeknights. It's a return to the nighttime airwaves Landecker dominated when he first joined Top 40 powerhouse WLS 890-AM in 1972. "Boogie Check," anyone?

Michelle Relerford

Michelle Relerford, morning news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, just became a first-time author. Her new book, Khi Has Fun at Home, tells how children can stay healthy and safe while dealing with a pandemic. (Here is the link.) "Families navigate the tough task of keeping kids occupied during stay-at-home orders, but despite crisis, creativity can bring people together,” said Relerford, who wrote the book under her married name, Michelle Relerford Okafor. “I hope to inspire families to dream big and inspire children to never set limits on their potential.” On Friday Relerford became the first Chicago celebrity to read her own book on the Chicago Public Library's "Live From the Library" online program.

Justin Kaufmann

No word yet on a permanent host for "Reset," the flagship midday talk show on Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM. Justin Kaufman had been filling in since June 15 after Jenn White departed to become host of NPR’s “1A.” Now Kaufmann is taking a break while Kimberley Egonmwan, afternoon co-host on Midway Broadcasting news/talk WVON 1690-AM, fills in this week; and Becky Vevea, a political reporter for WBEZ, fills in the week of September 14. Kaufmann is expected to return as interim host September 21. "It truly was a great experience to work on the best show in Chicago," Kaufmann told Facebook friends. "Thanks for listening!" "Reset" airs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Reporter Odette Yousef investigates white supremacy and the rise of the youth hate movement in America in the just-released third season of "Motive," the WBEZ podcast series. (Here is the link.) “Nobody’s really told the story of what happened 30 years ago when punks and skins in Chicago battled in the streets,” Yousef said. “What I’ve discovered on this journey is that story relates directly to the racial reckoning happening in America today.” Among issues examined in the eight-episode series are the role punk music played in spreading racist propaganda and the allure that far-right extremism continues to have for young white men.

Nostalgia Digest

Just out, the autumn issue of Nostalgia Digest features Steve Darnall's fascinating cover story celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of radio (illustrated by Chicago artist Mark Braun). (Here is the link.) "We're proud to celebrate this milestone anniversary within our pages," said Darnall, who's editor and publisher of the quarterly magazine and host of the old-time radio showcase "Those Were the Days." "At a time when the world has more options for absorbing information and entertainment than ever before, it's important to remember that of all of the technical innovations we've enjoyed over the last century, they all started with radio." Nostalgia Digest also carries a complete program guide to "Those Were the Days," which airs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays on College of DuPage WDCB 90.9-FM.

Friday’s comment of the day: Steve Dahl: Radio is like a half-dead fish flopping around on the deck of a bass boat. Good luck, @RoeConn and @NickDigilio!