Robservations: NBC 5 promotes Alex Maragos to morning co-anchor

Andy Avalos, Alex Maragos, Zoraida Sambolin and Kye Martin

Andy Avalos, Alex Maragos, Zoraida Sambolin and Kye Martin

Robservations on the media beat:

Alex Maragos, who’s been filling in alongside Zoraida Sambolin as morning news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 since March, just landed the gig for keeps. “He’s done a terrific job in the role, and I am delighted that we are able to make the assignment permanent,” Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, told staffers Wednesday. The Chicago native and graduate of Loyola Academy in Wilmette and Washington and Lee University in Virginia replaces Stefan Holt, who left for WNBC in New York. Maragos made news last August with his 184-market jump from West Lafayette, Indiana, to NBC 5 in Chicago. “NBC 5 News Today” airs from 4 to 7 a.m. weekdays with Sambolin, Maragos, meteorologist Andy Avalos and traffic reporter Kye Martin. Continue reading

Hear the latest gossip? Tribune rolls out Chicago Inc. column

Chicago Inc.

Chicago Inc.

Fifteen years after the Chicago Tribune pulled the plug on the INC. column, it’s back in the daily celebrity gossip-column business.

Without fanfare, the Tribune just launched Chicago Inc., a new version of an old franchise. Its resurrection follows the recent arrival of Michael Ferro, the celebrity-obsessed chairman of tronc (nee Tribune Publishing), parent company of the newspaper. Continue reading

Reed, Herguth quit in BGA shakeup

Better Government Association

Better Government Association

Two top officials of the Better Government Association resigned this week in a shakeup at the Chicago-based nonprofit investigative news organization and civic watchdog group.

Robert Reed stepped down as director of programming, and Robert Herguth stepped down as director of investigations. Both veteran Chicago journalists joined the BGA in 2010 and oversaw numerous award-winning investigations into corruption, fraud and waste. Continue reading

Fox 32 to launch 5 p.m. newscast July 5

Jeff Herndon and Dawn Hasbrouck

Jeff Herndon and Dawn Hasbrouck

It’s official: After years on the drawing board and weeks of rehearsals, Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 finally is set to launch a one-hour newscast at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Start date is Tuesday, July 5.

Fronting the show will be four principals of Fox 32’s 9 p.m. newscast — news anchors Dawn Hasbrouck and Jeff Herndon, meteorologist Bill Bellis and sports anchor Lou Canellis. Continue reading

Robservations: WCPT proudly presents parade play-by-play

Chicago Pride Parade

Chicago Pride Parade

Robservations on the media beat:

Ellen Miller

Ellen Miller

The only broadcast outlet for live coverage of Chicago’s 47th annual Pride Parade Sunday will be WCPT AM 820 and WCPT FM 92.5, Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk station. An overlay of this year’s LBGT festivities will be the poignancy of the Orlando nightclub massacre just two weeks ago. Airing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, WCPT’s coverage will be anchored by Ellen Miller, co-host of the station’s weekly “Out Chicago” show, who’ll be joined the first hour by “Out Chicago” host Scott Duff and WCPT afternoon personality Wayne Besen, and later by Robert Cornelius, a member of Poi Dog Pondering (and nephew of the late “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius). “We are the primary station that the gay community looks to,” said Charley Gross, president of Newsweb Radio. “The day after the parade we’re there, and our commitment continues throughout the year.” Newsweb Radio is owned by Fred Eychaner, the Chicago media magnate and prominent contributor to liberal candidates and causes. Continue reading

Sun-Times to reprint Roger Ebert reviews weekly

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

The immortal prose of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert will be appearing again in the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times, his home newspaper for 46 years.

Starting Friday, the Sun-Times will republish a classic piece, billed as “From the Ebert Archive,” in its weekly movie section. First up will be Ebert’s 2½-star review of “Independence Day,” the 1996 film starring Will Smith. Continue reading

Robservations: Telemundo Chicago to add 4 p.m. newscast this fall

Noticiero Telemundo Chicago

Noticiero Telemundo Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Chris McDonnell

Chris McDonnell

Spanish-language news viewers will have an additional choice this fall when Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 debuts a half-hour local newscast at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Chris McDonnell, president and general manager of Telemundo Chicago, confirmed the September 26 launch date but said news anchors and other personnel have not yet been finalized. Noticiero Telemundo Chicago now airs at 4:30, 5 and 10 p.m. Owned by NBCUniversal, Telemundo Chicago was one of 14 stations in the company to announce news expansions Tuesday. Continue reading

Robservations: WCGO back on its game

Daniel French

Daniel French

Robservations on the media beat:

Chuck Duncan

Chuck Duncan

In a rare victory for local ownership, Kovas Communications has pulled the plug on its time brokerage arrangement with Arizona-based Anthem Broadcasting and retaken control of programming on north suburban news/talk and foreign-language station WCGO AM 1590. The deal with Anthem, which had been in effect since January and included a purchase option for the station, was voided by mutual agreement, according to Chuck Duncan, who continues as general manager. Gone is syndicated host Rusty Humphries and the other shows Anthem imported. As of Monday, WCGO’s weekday afternoon lineup features “The Small Business Advocate” with Jim Blasingame from noon to 2 p.m., “The Kate Dalley Show” from 2 to 4 p.m., and Daniel French’s “Everyday with French and Friends” from 4 to 7 p.m. “Our focus remains to build the station’s relevance from the ground floor among the primary communities we serve and continue to expand each adjoining community from there,” Duncan said. Continue reading