Robservations on the media beat:
Straight from his native El Paso, Texas, Juan Carlos "JC" Navarrete has been hired as a reporter and weekend morning news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Starting January 18, he'll co-anchor Sunday mornings with Kate Chappell at 5, 6, 8 and 10 a.m. The role has been open since Siafa Lewis resigned in October to become a weekday news anchor at CBS-owned KYW in Philadelphia. Navarrette, a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, most recently has been a reporter and weekend anchor at KVIA, the ABC affiliate in El Paso. “We’re excited to welcome Juan Carlos to the NBC 5 newsroom," Frank Whittaker, vice president of news for NBC 5, said in a statement. "He comes with experience and passion that will help us continue to serve both our English and Spanish speaking communities.”
Chicago Blackhawks legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios and his daughter, NBC Sports Chicago broadcaster Caley Chelios, will team up for the first time as pregame and postgame analysts for tonight’s game. With coverage starting at 5:30 p.m., they’ll join host Pat Boyle when the Blackhawks face off against the Montreal Canadiens. “We are delighted to have the first father and daughter duo on NBC Sports Chicago,” John Schippman, vice president of content at NBC Sports Chicago, said in a statement. “We believe fans will enjoy the depth and commentary of this true Chicago hockey family.”
Nostalgia Digest, the indispensable quarterly guide to old-time radio and the golden age of Hollywood, kicks off its 48th year of publication by going digital. (Here is the link to subscribe.) Founded by Radio Hall of Famer Chuck Schaden in 1974, the print and digital editions continue to include complete program listings for "Those Were the Days," the weekly classic radio showcase on College of DuPage's WDBC 90.9-FM. Steve Darnall has been publisher and editor of Nostalgia Digest since 2004 and host and producer of "Those Were the Days" since 2009. "While we have no plans to convert to an online-only publication, we understand that for a lot of people around the world, the Internet has changed their definition of 'reading,'" Darnall said. The winter edition features an interview with Carol Burnett and articles about Humphrey Bogart, Mel Blanc, Johnny Mercer and more.
Thanks to veteran Chicago broadcast engineer Rick Garofalo, a fascinating website of documents, photos, articles and other memorabilia on "Chicago's Very Own" WGN Radio and TV has been created at World Radio History. (Here is the link.) Garofalo's digitized treasures include a hardcover book on the history of WGN, a brochure on the station's new RCA color studios on Bradley Place from 1961 and a collection of "Closed Circuit" company newsletters from the 1970s. Garofalo notes this coming June will mark the 100th anniversary of WDAP — the predecessor to WGN.
Pat Szpekowski, a freelance writer and president of PR Strategies & Communications in Elgin, has been elected president of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association. “It is an honor for me to serve as president of NINA as we enter into its 60th anniversary year,” Szpekowski said in a statement. “Newspapers have been a part of me every single day of my life, whether cutting clippings as a child, reading up to date news, sharing news releases, writing stories or working for 10 years as an advertising account representative. Our local newspapers are the lifeblood of communication and democracy. . . . NINA is proud to support and salute the accomplishments of so many publishers, editors, and journalists who carry the torch every single day.”
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Michael O'Connor: The operating philosophy of WGN under new owners is chaos. They treat people shabbily. I am sick to death of all the piped-in, out-of-town-programming, overnight and weekends and the mostly rehashed daytime content run on weekend overnights. You cannot tell me live, local on-air talent wouldn't have more listeners than Rollye James, Jim Bohannon or Bill Cunningham. Chicago is still a parochial place. We like people that say “viaduct" and “pop" and “frunch room."