Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes has been named winner of this year’s Ring Lardner Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism in the broadcast category. Also cited are sportswriter and author Dan Jenkins in the print category, and the late Joe Mooshil, an Associated Press sportswriter for 42 years, in the posthumous category. Named for the world famous sportswriter, humorist and satirist, the awards will be presented April 13 at Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Boulevard. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs. For tickets call (312) 765-0405 or see www.ulbgc.org.
Charlie Meyerson, the veteran Chicago journalist and digital news innovator, has launched an ambitious new daily email newsletter and website. Monday marked the debut of Chicago Public Square, providing curated links to news stories and other content. Click here to subscribe for free. In 1998, Meyerson pioneered the form as editor of chicagotribune.com Daywatch and did similar ventures at Crain’s Chicago Business and Chicago Public Media. He continues as vice president, editorial and development, at Rivet News Radio.
Chicagoans figure prominently in Vegas Stats and Information Network, announced Monday as the first multi-channel network dedicated to sports gambling information. Originating from studios in Las Vegas, VSiN will encompass live streaming, digital site and a dedicated channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Headline talent includes sportscasting icon Brent Musburger and veteran boxing announcer Al Bernstein, both former Chicagoans. The network is the brainchild of Musburger’s nephew, Brian Musburger, founder and chairman of VSiN, and Chicago media and sports agent. Following a preview on Super Bowl Sunday, the enterprise will officially launch February 27.
A deep bow to Lin Brehmer, “Your Best Friend in the Whole World,” marking his 25th year as morning personality on CBS Radio adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1. To celebrate the milestone he’ll host a 25th anniversary live broadcast from 6 to 10 a.m. Friday at Kings Bowl at MB Financial Park in Rosemont. The invitation-only event will feature highlights of his morning show and tributes from colleagues, celebrities and fans. Brehmer first joined WXRT as music director in 1984. After a brief detour in Minneapolis, he returned in 1991 and was named morning host the following year. Recalled ex-program director Norm Winer: “I offered him the morning show job with the belief that his intelligence, humor, knowledge of Chicago, and insatiable appetite for music and food would provide suitable entertainment for XRT listeners.”
Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips has been named recipient of the 2017 Roger Ebert Award from the African American Film Critics Association. Chaz Ebert, widow of the late Sun-Times film critic, will present the award Saturday in Los Angeles. “This award recognizes critics who follow in the tradition of Roger,” Gil Robertson, president of the association, said in a statement. “He felt film was a vehicle that brings members of a society together and we look for people whose work reflects those sentiments. Michael has demonstrated his ability to recognize the world in his writing.” Previous recipients include Justin Chang of Variety, Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, and Susan King formerly of the Los Angeles Times.
Tom Couch, former creative director at Hubbard Radio classic hits WDRV FM 97.1, has landed as associate director of programming at WDET, the public radio station licensed to Wayne State University in Detroit. “This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m thrilled to be joining the talented staff of this great radio station,” he said. “I’ll be updating the production sounds of the station, assisting with the producing of their Detroit radio magazine, ‘Culture Shift,’ and working on other programming and podcasts.” Couch, who previously worked at WXRT FM 93.1 and WSCR AM 670, was forced out at the end of 2015 in a budget cut after almost 15 years at Hubbard Radio.
Colleagues and readers are mourning the passing of Jim Mateja, the award-winning columnist who reviewed cars and covered the automobile industry for 47 years at the Chicago Tribune. Mateja, who was 71, died of cancer Monday at Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview. He collapsed at his computer after filing a story for the Tribune about the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, according to his wife, Sue Mateja. Straight out of Western Illinois University, Mateja joined the Tribune business copy desk in 1967 and began writing about cars in 1970. He semi-retired from the paper in 2007, but remained “a reliable, trustworthy source to understand the complex relationship between both man and machine and dealers and automakers,” the Tribune obituary said.