When Geoffrey Baer was promoted to vice president of original content production for television at WTTW-Channel 11 in 2019, fans may have wondered whether the veteran producer might be giving up his role as Chicago’s most genial tour guide.
Fortunately for us, Baer has continued to turn out the engaging and enlightening travelogues he’s been hosting at the Window to the World Communications station for more than 25 years.
Premiering at 7:30 p.m. tonight, his latest effort is a one-hour tour de force called “Beyond Chicago From the Air.”
Written and narrated by Baer, it’s a sequel of sorts to WTTW’s “Chicago From the Air” special last year that used drone technology to glide over the city and suburbs with what I described in my review as “breathtaking clarity and almost hypnotic beauty.”
This time Baer and director of aerial photography Colin Hinkle welcome viewers to soar and swoop above iconic landmarks and other treasures across Illinois and even into neighboring states.
“After finishing ‘Chicago From the Air,’ we quickly realized there were so many more sights we wanted to explore,” Baer said in a statement. “In ‘Beyond Chicago From the Air,’ our viewers will discover stories we’ve never told before, including tales of the Mississippi River, Illinois farmlands and Native American lore – all from the POV of a high-flying drone camera.”
Close to home, the special flies over such familiar spots as the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, the riverwalk in Naperville and Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, showing them in a dazzling new perspective. It also spreads out over the towering Indiana Dunes, Starved Rock State Park, the site of prehistoric Native American civilizations at Cahokia Mounds and many more natural and historic wonders.
A companion website at wttw.com/beyondchicago features a handy map, guide and additional information about sites featured in the special as well as a “making of” behind-the-scenes video.
“Beyond Chicago From the Air” was produced and directed by Eddie Griffin.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Jeffrey T. Mason: DeDe McGuire is simply awesome! I had the pleasure of working with her in Philly for a couple years. Such a creative pro! I'm so glad she'll be back on the air in Chicago. Fun fact: her first Chi gig (even before the Doug Banks show) was at WPNT in the early-mid ’90s. Good luck, friend.