Tribune’s parenting magazine has familiar pedigree

Just KiddingWhen a crying 8-month-old baby sparked national controversy by spoiling a recent Saturday night dinner for patrons of Chicago’s famed Alinea restaurant, parents of young children were in a quandary.

Many wondered aloud whether they could ever bring their offspring to a fine-dining establishment — or even to a moderately decent eatery.

Here to the rescue comes the new issue of Just Kidding magazine with a cover story on “No-drama dining: 42 ways to enjoy a family meal out,” serving up everything from “toddler-friendly restaurants” to ethic hot spots and upscale joints that set aside certain days for younger diners (and their parents).

The latest edition of the quarterly publication was delivered Sunday to Chicago Tribune subscribers in targeted zip codes. Later this week it will be distributed free in racks at Jewel-Osco supermarkets throughout the Chicago area. Continue reading

Fallon makes a splash in Chicago ratings

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon, who plunged into the icy waters of Lake Michigan on a dare from Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier this month, continues to get a warm reception in Chicago.

Four weeks after he took over NBC’s “Tonight Show” from Jay Leno, Fallon is leading the ratings here among all four late-night talk shows — and his Nielsen numbers in Chicago are up substantially over those Leno drew during the same period last year. Continue reading

Time Out editor jumps to the Reader

Jake Malooley

Jake Malooley

Jake Malooley, senior editor of Time Out Chicago, has been hired as managing editor of the Chicago Reader.

Reader editor Mara Shalhoup confirmed Thursday that Malooley is replacing Sam Worley, who resigned as deputy editor in December to focus exclusively on his writing.

“I’m an admirer of Jake’s work — particularly his deep knowledge of Chicago and his ability to write intelligently on a wide variety of topics,” Shalhoup told me. “I think he’s a natural fit for the Reader.” Continue reading

Feder flashback: When Chicago met Spike O’Dell

Spike O'Dell

Spike O’Dell

Twenty-seven years ago today, Chicago got its first look at Spike O’Dell. By the time he left town 21 years later, he had succeeded two legendary figures at WGN AM 720 — and had become something of a legend himself.

Hired to replace Wally Phillips in afternoons at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station, O’Dell settled in comfortably until 2000 when he suddenly was tapped to take over mornings from Bob Collins, who died in a plane crash. O’Dell rose to the occasion and kept WGN’s huge morning audience intact. For the next eight years, his show delivered top ratings. Continue reading

Chicago stations cash in to sell health coverage at a premium

Last Friday Chicago’s top-rated morning news program cut short its final hour to air a 30-minute government-sponsored infomercial about health insurance.

Viewers who tuned in to see “WGN Morning News” at 9:30 a.m. were subjected instead to “Get Covered Illinois: A Half Hour Special,” part of a monthlong statewide enrollment campaign for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Continue reading

Another Chicago editor jumps to Crain’s

Cassie Walker Burke

Cassie Walker Burke

Cassie Walker Burke, the No. 2 editor at Chicago magazine, has quit to join Crain’s Chicago Business as an assistant managing editor.

Burke, whose title was executive editor, is the third Chicago magazine veteran to jump to Crain’s and the latest in a list of editorial staffers to leave the Tribune Co.-owned monthly since Elizabeth Fenner became editor in chief in September 2011. Continue reading

Hoekstra ends great Sun-Times run


Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra, a respected journalist and celebrated storyteller who brings the heart of a newspaperman and the soul of a poet to everything he writes, exited the Chicago Sun-Times Friday in the latest round of staff cutbacks.

A 29-year veteran of the paper, Hoekstra, 58, negotiated a buyout after Sun-Times Media disclosed plans last week to eliminate five editorial positions covered by the Chicago Newspaper Guild, including one columnist/critic whose name was not disclosed. Hoekstra was one of 10 Sun-Times staffers in that classification.

Continue reading

‘Chicagoland’ redefines a city to the world

Chicago LandBy and large over the last 30 years, Chicago was defined on the world stage by three personalities — Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Richard M. Daley. Since they all bowed out, the image of the city has been a lot less clear to those on the outside.

Until now.

With the debut tonight of “Chicagoland,” CNN’s extraordinary eight-part documentary series, a new Chicago emerges — a vibrant, vital and often violent 21st century metropolis — along with a new set of iconic figures (all of whom seem to be connected in one way or another to Mayor Rahm Emanuel). Remember the name Elizabeth Dozier in particular. Continue reading