Robservations on the media beat:
Anita Blanton, a news anchor at NBC affiliate WAVY in Norfolk, Virginia, has been signed to co-anchor “Good Day Chicago” on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, starting April 4. Matt Piacente, vice president and news director of Fox 32, called Blanton “a dynamic journalist and storyteller who brings a passion to her work and to the community.” Before joining WAVY in 2013, Blanton worked for stations in Oklahoma City; Richmond, Virginia; and Waco, Texas. On Fox 32’s morning show, she’ll be part of an anchor rotation that includes Scott Schneider, Anita Padilla, Sylvia Perez, Terrence Lee and Roseanne Tellez. “I can’t wait to say ‘Good Day Chicago’ to the great people of the Windy City,” Blanton said in a statement. “Joining this team of respected journalists at a station dedicated to going beyond headlines with memorable, impactful coverage each day is more than a dream.” Also joining Fox 32 as a producer for “Good Day Chicago” is Slone Salerno, a morning news producer for CBS affiliate WMTV in Madison, Wisconsin. She’s the daughter of longtime Chicago TV news producer Irene Lobo Salerno and the late Chicago news anchor Randy Salerno.
Courtney Cronin, who’s been reporting on the Minnesota Vikings for ESPN since 2017, is coming home to cover the Chicago Bears for the network. She succeeds her mentor and friend, Jeff Dickerson, who died of cancer in December. Calling it “an opportunity of a lifetime to be back in the city that raised me and be near my family,” Cronin wrote: “I’m overjoyed to also continue to grow in my role as a national host for ESPN Radio and can’t think of a better market than Chicago to expand my reach. . . . JD set the standard for how to be a journalist, radio host, teammate and friend. I will strive to carry on that standard while honoring his legacy in my next chapter.”
Sonic45, the indie rock band launched by Chicago White Sox announcer Len Kasper, just released a video for “Different Man.” (Here is the link.) It’s the latest single from their debut album “Space and Time.” In addition to Kasper, who plays bass, the group features two other Chicago radio personalities — Matt Spiegel, afternoon co-host of Audacy sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, as lead singer and Dag Juhlin of Poi Dog Pondering and Steve Dahl podcast fame, on guitar. Kasper said the record explores “the passage of time from youth to middle age in a way that aims, at times, to acknowledge the fleeting nature of our time on earth and the constant struggle of balancing self-awareness with letting yourself go in the moment. Life is nuanced and my goal in writing these songs was to reflect that in as palpable a way as possible.”
“Murals and Mosaics,” a weekly feature on public art that’s been running in the Sun-Times since 2019, just added a free weekly email newsletter. (Here is the link to subscribe.) It’s the work of reporter Robert Herguth, who created and oversees the ongoing project with editor Paul Saltzman. “This has been a surprisingly popular feature with readers, and the stories not only delve into the visuals of the artwork, but often the important themes behind them and the voices of a lot of really creative local people,” Herguth said. The companion website includes an interactive map of 850 public paintings and mosaics throughout the Chicago area.
Fortified with more than $5 million from donors, the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies will launch this fall at the College of Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Funding will support such annual programs as the Ebert Symposium, Ebert Lecture and a screening series. “Unlike many centers on film studies, which focus primarily on the skills of making a film, Roger’s center will also focus on analysis and study of films, the state of the industry and the impact of film on individuals and society for personal and social change,” said Chaz Ebert, publisher of RogerEbert.com and wife of the late film critic. Roger Ebert, an Urbana native and University of Illinois graduate, won a Pulitzer Prize at the Sun-Times and hosted a nationally syndicated movie-review show. He died in 2013.
Nominations are being accepted through March 31 for 2022 inductees to the Radio Hall of Fame. (Here is the link.) “It is important to hear from those within the industry as well as the listening public to arrive at a deserving list of nominees for the 2022 Radio Hall of Fame class," said Dennis Green, nominating committee chair. "We welcome suggestions from around the country as we begin the process that will culminate with the induction of this year’s honorees later this year.” The national shrine to radio's outstanding performers and programs is based at Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Sherman Kaplan: Happy to see WBBM Newsradio continuing its news dominance, especially in all-important morning drive. Cisco Cotto brings the requisite energy and journalistic knowledge to the job.