Robservations on the media beat:
Phil Kadner, the Chicago journalism legend and veteran columnist who accepted a buyout at the end of 2015 after 37 years at the Daily Southtown, is making a comeback via the Sun-Times. Starting September 29, his column will appear twice a week. “With this incredible political season upon us it is so wonderful to have Phil’s analysis back with the Sun-Times,” said Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief. “He’s a pro who can write honestly and eloquently on just about any subject. He is a welcome addition to an already strong bench of voices here.”
Former Chicago Tribune editor Gerry Kern and his wife, Jewell Blecke Kern, have endowed their alma mater, Indiana University, with a $100,000 scholarship to advance media management and innovation in journalism. Named for his late parents, the Raymond and Joanna Phillippe Kern Scholarship will be awarded to graduate students at IU’s Media School. “We must develop new concepts, content and techniques that advance civic enlightenment and engagement, especially through public affairs, political and investigative reporting and commentary,” Gerry Kern said. “The scholarship provides support for this kind of innovation.” Capping a distinguished career in Chicago journalism, the longtime editor retired from the Tribune last February.
Morning news editor Jim Benes, who’s been a mainstay of WBBM AM 780 for 48 years, has announced his retirement from the CBS Radio all-news station, effective October 14. He signed on as a summer vacation-relief writer in June of 1968 while still in college. Calling Benes “a sensational writer, fabulous editor, consummate journalist, and the longest tenured member of the WBBM Newsradio staff,” director of news and programming Ron Gleason wrote in a memo: “He’s seen our behind-the-scenes newsroom evolve from typewriters, carbon paper and tickers to VDT’s and to our current computer and digital age.”
Wendy Turner, vice president of digital and technical operations at Chicago Public Media, has been named executive director and general manager of WKSU, the public radio station of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Turner joined the parent company of WBEZ FM 91.5 as membership manager in 2000. “Wendy has been such a tremendous asset to the organization and has contributed to CPM in so many ways during her tenure,” said Goli Sheikholeslami, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media. “She has played almost every role at the station — from helping us create our High Fidelity sustainer program, to leading us into the digital world, to leading Vocalo in its initial years and running our broadcast engineering team. She has done it all and done it well. That is why she will make a terrific general manager at WKSU and I’m so thrilled that the public radio system will continue to benefit from her immense talents.”
Anabel Monge and Alfonso Gutierrez will anchor a new 4 p.m. weekday newscast on Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44, starting Monday. Monge and Gutierrez continue to co-anchor at 4:30, 5 and 10 p.m. The latest expansion of Noticiero Telemundo Chicago was announced in June. “I am excited that our station will break new ground by offering Spanish-language viewers in our market the news and information they need, first, and in the language they prefer,” Chris McDonnell, president and general manager of Telemundo Chicago, said in a statement Wednesday.
Comedian Pat McGann has been tapped to host the 58th annual Emmy Awards ceremony of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The event December 3 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown will stream live on chicagoemmyonline.org. “I realize no one really knows who I am, so it is flattering to be invited,” said McGann, a South Side native. “They wanted a true Chicagoan to host.”