Mike Ward 1951-2014

Mike Ward

Mike Ward

Longtime television executive Mike Ward, who was a key figure in WMAQ-Channel 5’s news operation for 10 years, is being remembered as a valued colleague and mentor.

Ward, who never fully recovered from a stroke he suffered in 2008, died at his home Wednesday in Washington, D.C. He was 63.

“To say that Mike Ward impacted a generation of television news professionals is not an overstatement,” marketing consultant Martin Gould, a former TV reporter and producer, wrote in an online tribute. “He mentored, taught, cultivated and celebrated the professional development of dozens — maybe hundreds — of people whose work was made better under his tutelage.” Continue reading

Broadcast museum to honor Rich ‘Svengoolie’ Koz

SvengoolieRobservations on the media beat:

The great Rich Koz will be honored for his 35 years as “Svengoolie” October 10 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street. Hosted by the museum and Weigel Broadcasting’s MeTV Network, “An Evening with Rich Koz” will feature an interview with the Chicago television icon, the unveiling of a “Svengoolie” exhibit including his original coffin and other artifacts from the set, a Halloween costume contest and screening of a horror film with classic Sven bits. General admission tickets are available online for $35 at museum.tv. Museum board member David Plier will talk with Koz about the event at 5:35 p.m. Monday on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720. Continue reading

Grant helps insure Tribune’s coverage of Obamacare

Wes Venteicher

Wes Venteicher

A $30,000 grant from a private foundation focused on health care issues is helping defray the salary of a Chicago Tribune reporter covering Obamacare.

Wes Venteicher, who’d been a TribLocal suburban reporter since June 2013, recently shifted to the Chicago Tribune consumer watchdog and investigative reporting team as a full-time reporter covering the Affordable Care Act and consumer health issues — a new position funded in part by Kaiser Health News. Continue reading

Norville renews with ‘Inside Edition’ at the right time

Deborah Norville

Deborah Norville

Happy to see our old friend Deborah Norville has extended her contract for two more years with the syndicated newsmagazine “Inside Edition.”

The start of Norville’s 20th season as host September 8 coincides with the show’s move back to its familiar 3 p.m. weekday time slot on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. For the past two years it was on at 2 p.m. to accommodate Katie Couric’s now-canceled talk show. Continue reading

WGN welcomes ‘Outside the Loop’ creator back inside

Mike Stephen

Mike Stephen

Mike Stephen, an acclaimed storyteller who began as an intern for Spike O’Dell at WGN AM 720 and went on to host and produce one of Chicago’s longest-running and most ambitious podcasts, is returning to his radio roots.

Starting October 4, Stephen’s “Outside the Loop Radio” will air from 6 to 7 a.m. Saturdays on the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station, leading in to WGN’s “Mr. Fix It with Lou Manfredini.” Continue reading

Brant Miller weathers all challenges

Brant Miller

Brant Miller

Robservations on the media beat:

Jack Diamond

Jack Diamond

Brant Miller must lead a charmed life. The veteran Chicago broadcaster survived not one but two career threats last week and emerged stronger than ever. First was the news that Cheryl Scott was leaving WMAQ-Channel 5 after three years as weekend meteorologist, removing Miller’s rival for the top weather job at the NBC-owned station. Then came word that Washington radio personality Jack Diamond had turned down an offer to replace Miller in his other job as morning host at Cumulus Media classic hits WLS FM 94.7. (Miller would have shifted to weather reporting and co-hosting on the show.) Instead, Diamond accepted a longer-term deal with 105.7 Max FM in San Diego. Now Miller’s ratings on WLS are the highest they’ve been. Continue reading

Univision unifies Chicago TV, radio stations under Doug Levy

Doug Levy

Doug Levy

Doug Levy, an 18-year veteran of Univision Chicago Radio who’s also known as a former Chicago rock radio personality, has been promoted to vice president and general manager of Univision Local Media here.

He now adds Univision WGBO-Channel 66 and UniMás WXFT-Channel 60 to the five Spanish radio stations he already oversees — WOJO FM 105.1, WPPN FM 106.7, WRTO AM 1200, WVIV FM 103.1, and WVIX FM 93.5. Continue reading