Robservations on the media beat:
The third year of WLS-Channel 7’s agreement to broadcast Chicago Cubs baseball will begin with something new — a World Series Ring Ceremony. The first of 25 games to air in primetime, daytime and weekends on the ABC-owned station this season will be the Cubs matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on April 12. It will be preceded by the on-field presentation of the rings to players (including the participation of 20 fans), starting at 6:30 p.m. “When we began this partnership in 2015 we knew good things were going to happen, but a World Series win in Year 2 was magic,” John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, said in a statement. “We know the Cubs will generate a tremendous amount of excitement again this year and we’re thrilled to showcase the World Champions on ABC 7 Cubs broadcasts.”
“Stranded by the State,” an important two-part documentary about the Illinois budget stalemate and its toll on individuals, will debut Thursday on City Colleges on Chicago’s WYCC-Channel 20 and February 23 on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. The two 30-minute segments were produced by Chicago-based Kartemquin Films in cooperation with Illinois Public Media for airing on every public television station statewide. “The Illinois budget impasse is unprecedented. Now a new question emerges — not just when or if a budget will finally pass but how long will it take to reverse the damage done?” said independent filmmaker Liz Kaar, who directed, edited and produced the series. “The stories we presented show that the repercussions of the budget impasse will be felt for a very long time.”
One year after he was cut from WLS FM 94.7, Chicago radio veteran Danny Lake is returning to the Cumulus Media classic hits station as weekend and fill-in personality. “Great to have Danny back – we missed him,” said program director Brian Thomas. The Chicago native and Columbia College graduate, who also calls himself Bob Worthington, first joined WLS on weekends in 2008. Starting in 2013 he worked weekday afternoons until his position was eliminated last February. “Can’t wait to get back on the radio!” Lake wrote on Facebook. He’ll be on from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturdays, starting this weekend.
Lifetime achievement honors will be presented this summer to John Gehron, the esteemed Chicago radio executive who’s been a beacon of the business since he began his career in 1970. Gehron will receive the 2017 Rockwell Award at the 42nd annual gathering of The Conclave, a leading industry conference in Minneapolis. Now chairman and chief operating officer of Chicago-based AccuRadio, Gehron previously served as general manager of WLS AM 890 and the former WNUA, and held executive positions at American Radio Services, Infinity Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio and Harpo Radio. “What an honor to receive the Rockwell Award,” Gehron said in a statement. “I have great respect for The Conclave and how hard the board works to provide a true learning experience for broadcasters.”
Wally Podrazik, the Chicago author and broadcast historian, will appear on C-SPAN this weekend to talk about Watching TV: Eight Decades of American Television, the latest edition of his history of primetime programs and trends since 1944. His interview with “Book TV” host Peter Slen will air at 5 p.m. Saturday and at noon Sunday on C-SPAN 2. The half-hour program was taped late last year in Washington, D.C. Podrazik, television curator at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, also teaches television history, media and politics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He co-wrote Watching TV with Harry Castleman, a Boston lawyer and media consultant.
Remember Connie Szerszen? Chicago’s “Top Rock Girly Jock,” who was a pioneering radio personality starting in the late ’60s, has a new book out in paperback. Comforts: Blessed Are They . . . is a Christian guide to mourning that tells personal stories of coincidences in everyday life from a spiritual point of view. It’s available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats. Szerszen said the labor of love was inspired by her volunteer work at church. “I run into so many people who have had similar experiences. There’s a truth hiding here somewhere and it never hurts to dwell on what made you feel comforted,” she said.