Robservations on the media beat:
Look for Sarah Spain, Jeff Dickerson, Jonathan Hood and Ben Finfer to turn up with David Kaplan when “Kap & Co.” debuts September 16 on ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP AM 1000. The new show will air from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays, shifting John “Jurko” Jurkovic and Carmen DeFalco to 9 a.m. to noon. After 20 years at Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720, Kaplan last week secured an early release from his contract to join ESPN 1000. “Kap is by far one of the most recognizable voices in Chicago, and few in the city have the breadth of knowledge and passion for sports and relationships with the people here that he has,” said program director Adam Delevitt, who first worked with Kaplan as an intern at WGN in 1998. Friday marks the final broadcast of Kaplan’s morning show on WGNplus.com and Comcast SportsNet Chicago with David Haugh, who continues as Chicago Tribune sports columnist.
Television legend Regis Philbin will join Melissa Forman and Jeanne Sparrow as guest host of “You & Me This Morning” on Friday, September 18. The show airs from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26. (Philbin will be on from 7 to 9 a.m.) Philbin, 84, hosted the nationally syndicated “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” and “Live! with Regis and Kelly” from 1988 to 2011. He’s also an old friend of executive producer Rob Morhaim, whom Philbin called “as smart as any TV producer I’ve ever met,” adding: “I’m looking forward to being in Chicago again.”
After 43 years as one of the nation’s premier journals on race relations and poverty, the Chicago Reporter is going out of print. Editor and publisher Susan Smith Richardson announced last week that her team’s work will continue strictly online except for one annual issue “highlighting our best investigations from the year and a few new features — interviews, essays, book reviews.” Published by the nonprofit Community Renewal Society, the Reporter began as a monthly newsletter in 1972 and shifted to a quarterly magazine in 2014.
Maggie Wartik, who’s been a rising star at Chicago Tribune Media Group since 2005, has been named general manager of the company’s newly formed Young Adult vertical, including RedEye Chicago, Metromix, The Mash and ChicagoNow. At RedEye and Metromix she succeeds Amy Guth, who resigned in May. Wartik most recently was general manager of suburban weekly publications, including Pioneer Press and TribLocal. She previously oversaw all communications and public relations initiatives for Chicago Tribune Media Group and was the first project manager for The Mash, the weekly newspaper and website for teens.
Chicago’s newest columnist is Kerry Lester, award-winning senior writer and veteran political reporter for the Daily Herald. The Suburban Rundown, described as “an energetic look at what’s happening in the suburbs and at the people who make it happen,” appears Mondays and Thursdays. Between stints at the Daily Herald, Lester served as Springfield bureau chief for the Associated Press.
Dave McKinney, former Springfield bureau chief and political writer for the Sun-Times, has joined the Midwest bureau of Thomson Reuters as a full-time reporter focusing on breaking news and analysis on Illinois and Chicago finance, government and politics. McKinney quit the Sun-Times after 19 years last fall, citing interference from the campaign of Republican candidate (and now governor) Bruce Rauner. Since then McKinney has written for the New York Times, Chicago magazine and Crain’s Chicago Business.
Alejandra Cancino has resigned after six years as labor and manufacturing reporter for the Chicago Tribune to begin a journalism fellowship with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago. “Sometimes a dream job is better than you expected,” she told colleagues in an email. “Some days, it was a fucking nightmare. But, now, as I face the end of my road at the Trib, I’m thankful. Thankful to have worked with such talented reporters and photojournalists; thankful to have given people a voice and thankful to have learn to ‘be myself and speak my own name.’ ”
David Axelrod, the former White House senior advisor who now directs the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, has been named a senior political commentator for CNN. He previously was a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. “Thrilled to join excellent CNN team as senior political commentator,” he tweeted. “ ’16 race already fascinating. No better forum to talk about big stories!” Before he became a political consultant, Axelrod spent eight years as a reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
Jeff Goldblatt is “exploring all options” after three years as chief news anchor and managing editor at KENS-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Antonio, Texas. His contract was not renewed. A former Chicago-based correspondent for Fox News Channel, Goldblatt spent two years as main news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. He later worked as a freelance reporter and fill-in anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.
It’s “wait until next year” for Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart when it comes to the National Radio Hall of Fame. Nominated for the first time, the top-rated morning team fell short when the 2015 winners were announced last week. This year’s class: Ron Owens (San Francisco), Kurt “Big Boy” Alexander (Los Angeles), Elvis Duran (New York), Clark Howard (Atlanta), Dave Ramsey (Nashville), Bob Kevoian & Tom Griswold (Indianapolis), Dan Mason (New York) and the late Scott Muni (New York). Induction ceremonies will be November 5 in Chicago.
Donald M. Schwartz, who was a reporter and feature writer for the Sun-Times for 33 years, died Friday at his home in Northfield. He was 88. A native of Clayton, Missouri, and graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism at University of Missouri in Columbia, Schwartz worked for radio stations in Gary and South Bend, Indiana, before joining the Sun-Times, where he covered a wide range of stories from the late 1950s until the early ’90s. Funeral services will be Tuesday.