‘Fight on,’ ailing anchorman Rob Stafford tells friends

Rob Stafford

Veteran Chicago news anchor Rob Stafford, who’s been on leave from WMAQ-Channel 5 since March while battling a rare blood disease, said he hopes to return to the NBC-owned station at the end of August.

In a message posted on his Facebook page Thursday, Stafford thanked well-wishers for their “support and prayers” during his ordeal. “My friends at NBC have had my back every step of the way,” he wrote. Continue reading

NBC 5’s Whittaker to lead Illinois Broadcasters Association

Frank Whittaker

Frank Whittaker, longtime news boss of Chicago’s NBC-owned station, has been chosen to lead the state’s alliance of television and radio broadcasters.

Whittaker was elected board chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Association at the group’s annual conference this week in Bloomington-Normal. He continues as station manager and vice president of news at WMAQ-Channel 5, where he has headed news operations since 1998. Continue reading

Tronc cuts back Hoy to weekly

Hoy

Another tronc newspaper in Chicago is reducing its frequency in print.

This time it’s Hoy, the Spanish-language paper that began as a daily and later shrank to three days a week. As of this week, it will appear in print only once a week — on Fridays. The companion publication Fin de Semana, which covers entertainment, shopping and fashion, will continue on weekends. Continue reading

Robservations: New edition to update Hall of Famer Landecker

John Records Landecker

Robservations on the media beat:

The acclaimed autobiography of radio legend John Records Landecker is being reissued to coincide with his induction in the National Radio Hall of Fame. Records Truly Is My Middle Name, first published in 2013, is tentatively set for re-release October 23. As announced this week, Landecker will enter the Chicago-based shrine honoring radio’s greatest stars on November 2. Branded as a limited “Radio Hall of Fame edition,” it will include new photos and Landecker’s reflections since he quit WLS FM 94.7 in 2015, according to David Stern, co-founder and publisher of Eckhartz Press. “This is a perfect opportunity for us to publish all the stories John forgot to include in the first one,” he said. Stern’s partner in Eckhartz Press is Rick Kaempfer, who served as producer of Landecker’s morning show on WJMK FM 104.3 and co-wrote the book. Continue reading

Landecker elected to Radio Hall of Fame on first ballot

John Records Landecker (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

John Records Landecker, a giant of Chicago radio and one of the most celebrated disc jockeys in rock and roll history, has been voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame after his first appearance on the ballot.

Landecker was announced Sunday as one of eight who’ll be inducted this fall in the Chicago-based shrine honoring radio’s all-time greatest performers and programs. Continue reading

WTTW CEO Dan Schmidt announces retirement

Dan Schmidt

Dan Schmidt, the controversial president and CEO of the parent company of public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical radio WFMT FM 98.7, will retire at the end of the year, Window to the World Communications Inc. (WWCI) announced Thursday.

Schmidt, 62, joined the company as senior vice president of WFMT and its radio network in 1991 and was promoted to president and CEO in 1998, succeeding the late William J. McCarter, the visionary architect of public broadcasting in Chicago. Continue reading

WBEZ brings back Steve Edwards as chief content officer

Steve Edwards

Steve Edwards, one of the brightest stars to have guided WBEZ FM 91.5 in a generation, is returning to the public radio station as vice president and chief content officer, parent company Chicago Public Media announced Thursday.

Edwards is stepping down as executive director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, where he has worked since leaving WBEZ in 2012. At the time, he was anchor of “The Afternoon Shift,” a live, two-hour weekday call-in program that showcased his enormous talents as an inquisitive journalist, brilliant interviewer and affable host. Continue reading

Former NBC 5 anchor Lauren Jiggetts to join ‘WGN Morning News’

Lauren Jiggetts

Lauren Jiggetts, who resigned last April after 10 years at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, is about to return to Chicago television as a Monday-through-Friday news anchor for the top-rated “WGN Morning News,” sources said.

Jiggetts is expected to join Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 next month as co-anchor with Dan Ponce from 4 to 6 a.m. She will succeed Lourdes Duarte, who shifted to the station’s 4 p.m. newscast alongside Ben Bradley earlier this year. Continue reading

Robservations: Robin Amer to launch investigative podcast series on ‘The City’

Robin Amer (Photo: Alissa Pagels)

Robservations on the media beat:

Robin Amer, a stellar investigative journalist and former deputy editor of the Chicago Reader, has joined Gannett’s USA Today Network to launch “The City,” an ambitious podcast series examining how cities really work. Debuting in 2018, the first season will focus on Chicago. “It’s clear that there is an investment in podcasting as a news medium, and I’m excited to start working with local journalists at publications across the country,” she said in a statement. “These writers are deeply rooted in their communities and have a strong grasp of the core issues and struggles America’s cities and citizens face.” Before joining the Reader in 2015, Amer was a reporter/producer for Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5 and a contributor to DNAInfo/Chicago. Continue reading

Exclusive: Eisendrath wants Sun-Times to serve ‘the 99 percent’

Edwin Eisendrath

Armed with $15 million from an investment group that includes organized labor and about a dozen well-heeled individuals, Edwin Eisendrath made a stronger than expected bid for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader Monday to secure what he sees as a progressive voice for working men and women.

“Only coming out of Chicago could we put together something that’s progressive but not elite,” he said in an interview. “Great journalism in a great democracy means that the 99 percent should recognize themselves in what gets written.” Continue reading