Robservations on the media beat:
Nice guy Joe Donlon had it made as the No. 1 news anchor at WGN-Channel 9 when he took a flier on NewsNation, the Chicago-based cable news startup launched by parent company Nexstar Media Group in 2020. Overcoming a rocky start, he’s been hosting “The Donlon Report,” a news and talk show airing at 6 p.m. weeknights, for the past year. Now he’s calling it quits. Donlon’s last show will air March 25. “It has been an honor to occupy this seat for the past year,” he said in a statement. “Not many people get to host a national show like this, and I will always appreciate the opportunity. I have learned more than I ever could have imagined. I want to thank the incredible team at ‘The Donlon Report’ for all their hard work. I have the utmost respect for what everyone at NewsNation is trying to accomplish, and I wish my friends there nothing but the best moving forward.” Donlon is the third of four original on-air hires to bail out of NewsNation, following news anchor Rob Nelson and meteorologist Albert Ramon. The fourth, Marni Hughes, continues to anchor “NewsNation Prime.”
Word of Donlon's departure came in a press release announcing another expansion of NewsNation programming, bringing its total output of live news, analysis and talk to 61 hours a week. New to the lineup is a late evening newscast, anchored by Hughes and Leland Vittert from 10 to 11 p.m. weeknights. Starting March 28, Nichole Berlie's "Rush Hour" will double to two hours — airing from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays — incorporating the time slot Donlon is dropping. Starting in early June, the addition of a fourth hour to "Morning in America," anchored by Adrienne Bankert, will expand the show from 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays. Nexstar officials continue to push NewsNation as "balanced, unbiased news."
Former Chicago Cubs Cliff Floyd and Cameron Maybin have joined the roster of studio analysts who'll contribute to pregame and postgame coverage this season on Marquee Sports Network. “Each brings a unique baseball perspective to the Marquee studio, both as former players and two individuals with great personalities, showcasing a sense of humor and genuine passion for the game," said Mike Santini, senior vice president of programming and production. Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Jim Deshaies return to the Marquee broadcast booth after signing multiyear extensions in February. Spring Training opens Thursday against the Chicago White Sox.
CHGO Sports, the new digital media outlet from All City Network, this week launched a podcast dedicated to coverage of Chicago Sky WNBA basketball. It's hosted by Janice Scurio, a contributor to NBC Sports Chicago, SB Nation and Sports Illustrated, and Subria Whitaker, founder of Grow The Game, an initiative to increase awareness, attendance and fan engagement for women’s sports. (Here is the link to the premiere.) Kevin Kaduk, head of content for CHGO Sports, said Scurio and Whitaker also will write for the website.
Talia Soglin, a Yale University history graduate who served an internship on the metro desk at the Chicago Tribune and wrote the Tribune’s weekly dining, entertainment and travel newsletter last year, returned to the newspaper this week as a full-time business reporter. "I'm so excited to be back," she tweeted. Earlier Soglin held internships with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Chicago-based Injustice Watch. She also worked as a reporter and editor for the Yale Daily News.
There's still time to submit nominations for this year's Studs Terkel Award and other 2022 Community Media Awards sponsored by the nonprofit Public Narrative. The deadline has been extended to March 22. (Here is the link.) Named for the legendary broadcaster, historian and author, the prestigious Terkel Awards honor excellence in covering and reflecting Chicago’s diverse communities. Awards will be presented online May 12.
Known to generations of fans as “The Blues Man,” Pervis Spann was a legendary overnight disc jockey, concert promoter and radio station owner. He died at 89 Monday in his South Side home from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Spann was among the original stars of WVON, known collectively as “The Good Guys,” at the station launched by Chess Records founders Leonard and Phil Chess in 1963. As a promoter, Spann was credited with advancing the careers of Aretha Franklin, B.B. King and the Jackson 5. In 1975 with partner Wesley South, Spann formed Midway Broadcasting, current operator of news/talk WVON 1690-AM. South died in 2010. Spann’s daughter, Melody Spann Cooper, oversees WVON as chair and CEO of the company.
Monday’s comment of the day: Candace Jordan: I love Jerry Springer, both as a person and TV personality. I hope he comes back in a new format. Jerry! Jerry!