Robservations: Reporter Marie Saavedra comes home to CBS 2

Marie Saavedra

Robservations on the media beat:

Marie Saavedra, who grew up in Evanston and began as an intern at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, has returned home to join CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 as a reporter. Since 2013 Saavedra has been a reporter and weekend news anchor at WFAA, the ABC affiliate in Dallas. A graduate of Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette and the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, she previously worked at KTVK in Phoenix and KYTV in Springfield, Missouri. "SWEET HOME CHICAGO: It's official!" Saavedra tweeted Thursday. "I'm back in my hometown and proud to join the team at @cbschicago. Excited to hit the ground running. Here's to the next chapter!" Continue reading

Robservations: Newcity special edition celebrates best of Black Chicago


Robservations on the media beat:

Brandis Friedman

The editors of Newcity have put a new twist on their annual "Best of Chicago" edition. Featuring alternate covers designed by Andrea Coleman and Nikko Washington, and guest-edited by Tara Betts and Scoop Jackson, the entire November issue is devoted to celebrating Black Chicago. Among the 137 "bests" are media-related honorees Brandis Friedman, co-anchor of WTTW-Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight," as best new news host; Jonathan Hood, morning co-host on sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM, as best radio breakthrough; Morgan Sherm as best radio producer and trans activist; and The Triibe, digital platform for Chicago Black Millennials, as best alternative journalism. Copies of Best of Chicago 2020 are on sale for $10 at Continue reading

Chicago radio ratings: Another big victory for V103

Steve Harvey

WVAZ 102.7-FM, the iHeartMedia R&B station, extended its winning streak to a second month, according to Nielsen Audio figures released Monday.

V103 also finished first in mornings with the syndicated Steve Harvey, afternoons with Joe Soto, and evenings with the syndicated Keith Sweat. All that prevented another clean sweep of all four dayparts by V103 was Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, which captured middays with Cisco Cotto. Continue reading

Robservations: Nexstar promotes Sean Compton in 'strategic realignment'

Sean Compton

Robservations on the media beat:

Nexstar Media Group

Sean Compton, the Chicago broadcasting executive who reprogrammed news/talk WGN 720-AM and launched the "News Nation" primetime newscast on WGN America, has been rewarded with a new title by parent company Nexstar Media Group. Under a "strategic operational realignment" effective November 1, Compton will move up from executive vice president to president/networks overseeing WGN America, AntennaTV, and WGN Radio. Under the restructuring, which is designed to reduce expenses, Nexstar will combine its broadcast and digital operating subsidiaries and rename Nexstar Broadcasting simply Nexstar. The Texas-based company acquired the former Tribune Media — including WGN-Channel 9, WGN Radio and WGN America — in a $6.4 billion transaction last year. Compton, who had been president of strategic programming and acquisitions for Tribune Broadcasting, shifted to Nexstar in September 2019. Continue reading

Ron Britain 1934-2020

Ron Britain

Ron Britain, a gifted radio performer with a brilliantly creative mind and a sensitive soul, left a legacy of laughter for generations of Chicago listeners.

"King B," as he was known to fans around the world, died Sunday at home in Louisville, Kentucky, according to his son, Mark Magel, who confirmed that Britain took his own life. He was 86.

Friends said Britain was inconsolable after losing his wife and constant companion of 62 years. Helen Louise “Peach” Magel, 83, died October 19 after falling ill at home. Her burial will be today. Continue reading

Chicago Tribune names Michelle Lopez director of content

Michelle Lopez

For the second time in a month the Chicago Tribune has added a woman to its masthead.

On Thursday Michelle Lopez, manager of editorial operations for Tribune Publishing, was named director of content for the Chicago Tribune. In a role equivalent to associate managing editor, she will report to editor-in-chief Colin McMahon.

"Michelle is universally respected and admired for her skills, patience and collaborative nature," McMahon wrote in an email to staff. "Those talents and that background will be critical as Michelle leads an audience team charged with widening our reach, super-serving subscribers and leveraging the excellent journalism produced across Tribune Publishing." Continue reading

Joel Daly 1934-2020

Joel Daly

Joel Daly was a modern day Renaissance man — a lawyer, actor, author, pilot, country singer and champion yodeler.

But his most famous role was as a news anchor, including a 38-year run at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, where he was part of one of Chicago’s most successful and influential news teams of all time. Continue reading

Robservations: Support grows to save Chicago Reporter

Chicago Reporter

Robservations on the media beat:

A chorus of powerful voices has joined the outcry over the survival of The Chicago Reporter. A letter signed by 80 prominent civic, religious, advocacy and community leaders calls on the nonprofit Community Renewal Society to resume publication of the Reporter and restore its editorial independence. (Here is the link.) The fate of the 48-year-old investigative news organization has been in limbo since Fernando Diaz was ousted as editor-in-chief and publisher. The loss of the Reporter "would leave the metropolitan area without crucial reporting and data that we rely upon in our efforts for equity and justice,” the letter said. Noting that no new content has been published since September 15, Thom Clark, co-founder of Community Media Workshop/Public Narrative, said: “Any halt in publication damages the Reporter's reputation and its ability to function as an independent, professional news organization.” The uproar comes on the heels of an open letter from more than 100 current and former employees also fighting to save the Reporter. Waltrina Middleton, executive director of Community Renewal Society, dismissed the controversy as “manufactured hysteria” and said the Reporter was “restructuring.” Continue reading

'Dream realized' as Jennifer Keiper moves up to CBS News Radio anchor

Jennifer Keiper

Come November a lot more people will be hearing Jennifer Keiper every day.

The highly regarded Chicago radio news veteran, who now works for Entercom all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, has been hired as a national news anchor for CBS News Radio, starting November 9.

Based in Chicago, Keiper will be heard on the network’s hourly newscasts, which air on WBBM Newsradio and more than 1,000 affiliates nationwide. Continue reading

Robservations: Block Club Chicago launches free coronavirus hotline

Hannah Boufford, Hillary Flores and María Guerrero

Robservations on the media beat:

A free coronavirus information hotline is being launched today by Block Club Chicago, the nonprofit digital news godsend. The hotline — (312) 248-4876 — will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the public invited to call or text with questions. (After hours, callers can leave a message.) Assistance in Spanish will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Question topics may range from symptoms, city rules and testing access to housing aid, unemployment benefits, free food and other resources for those out of work. “We field dozens of coronavirus-related questions from readers each week," said Stephanie Lulay, Block Club managing editor and co-founder. "As Chicago grapples with a second surge of the virus, this hotline will allow us to match readers with the information they need in real time.” Hannah Boufford, a former Block Club intern, has joined the staff full-time as hotline manager. "We’re excited to launch this hotline to remind Chicagoans they are not alone," she said. Hillary Flores and María Guerrero, editor in chief and managing editor, respectively, of La DePaulia, the Spanish-language arm of DePaul University’s student newspaper, will work with Boufford on the hotline. Block Club’s afternoon coronavirus newsletter, written and managed by director of strategy Jen Sabella, reaches nearly 100,000 people daily. Continue reading