Veteran Chicago newsman Craig Wall, who signed off last April after 19 years as a general assignment reporter at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, soon will be joining ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as chief political reporter, sources said Thursday.
Wall is expected to replace Charles Thomas, who retired last February after more than 25 years at ABC 7, including the last eight as political reporter for the top-rated station. Thomas most recently has been co-hosting mornings with Maze Jackson on Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk WVON AM 1690.
Wall, who chose not to renew his contract before stepping down April 14, is waiting for Fox 32’s 90-day period to match other offers to run out before making his agreement with ABC 7 official, sources said.
Reached at home, Wall declined to comment. But he hinted at his return when he tweeted last week: “Life is good. Is semi-retirement over yet? Soon. Stay tuned.”
The University of Wisconsin graduate worked in Salisbury, Maryland; Lexington, Kentucky, and Salt Lake City before joining Fox 32 in 1998. For part of his time as a reporter and substitute news anchor, Wall served as shop steward for colleagues represented by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
Wall isn’t the only former Fox 32 reporter who appears to be making a happy landing at another station in Chicago.
Lisa Chavarria, whose contract was not renewed last April after five years as a reporter and substitute news anchor there, has been hired as a freelance reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.
Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, confirmed that she’ll start appearing on the air next week.
“I’m excited to share with you that I will soon be reporting for NBC 5 Chicago,” Chavarria wrote on a Facebook post. “Thanks for all of your messages of support over the past month! You guys are truly the best. I hope you’ll stick with me as I embark on this new journey!”
The Chicago native and graduate of Columbia College began as an intern in the Chicago bureau of NBC News and at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. She later worked for stations in Traverse City, Michigan; Nashville and Houston before joining Fox 32 in 2012.