Robservations on the media beat:
With superstar weatherman Tom Skilling adding a leading role on WGN-Channel 9’s new 10 p.m. newscast starting Monday, something had to give. In this case, it’s the Tribune Media station’s midday newscast. “We all know there’s only one Tom Skilling, and with his role at 10 p.m., we needed to shift his schedule a bit,” said Greg Easterly, president and general manager of WGN. “He’ll continue his weather reports on the 9 p.m. news, as well as the evening news at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.” The incomparable Skilling, 63, has been WGN’s chief meteorologist since 1978. Replacing him on “WGN Midday News,” which airs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will be meteorologist Demetrius Ivory, who’ll also continue to appear on “WGN Morning News” from 4 to 6 a.m.
Three more Sun-Times staffers signed off from the paper last week in unrelated moves: Reporter Becky Schlikerman left to join the staff of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Graphics editor Max Rust accepted a position with the Wall Street Journal in New York. And columnist Michael Sneed’s legman, reporter Diana Novak Jones, is headed for Law360, a subscription-based legal news service.
Thanks to a major gift to the student newspaper of Northwestern University, the headquarters of The Daily Northwestern has been renamed The Holly and John Madigan Newsroom. “The Daily Northwestern is one of America’s greatest journalistic training grounds, so this gift is truly intended as an investment in the future of journalism,” said John Madigan, an NU trustee and retired chairman and chief executive officer of Tribune Co. “Holly and I are very excited to be able to give back to a field that is so crucial to society in so many ways.” The couple’s donation includes a $250,000 challenge grant that will match gifts to the Campaign for the Future of The Daily Northwestern. The five-year fundraising effort has a goal of $2 million.
Paul Webber, direct marketing manager for Hubbard Radio in Chicago, has been named interim program director of adult contemporary WSHE FM 100.3. He’ll balance both jobs while the company seeks a replacement for Marty Bender, who stepped down as program director for family reasons. “We are fortunate to have such a talented and versatile player right in our cluster to make sure we keep the ‘She’ brand growing and thriving,” Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio, said of Webber. Before joining the Hubbard stations in 2003, Webber was program director of WKMQ in Rockford, Illinois.
The newest voice on CBS Radio country WUSN FM 99.5 signed on Saturday as weekend and fill-in host. Just in from KQRS in Minneapolis-St. Paul is Jonathan West, a veteran of stations in Denver, Las Vegas and Seattle. “Ever since moving to the Windy City in September, I’m a huge fan of the breaded steak sandwich at Ricobene’s, teach golf lessons on the side, turned in my Giants hat to support the Cubs this off-season, and play ice hockey at Johnny’s Ice House,” West said.
Nominations for this year’s Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will be announced Tuesday by the regional chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Reporter Jake Hamilton and weekend news anchor Natalie Bomke of Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 will host the nominations party at the Godfrey Hotel Chicago, 127 West Huron Street. The 57th annual awards ceremony will be November 7 at the Redmoon Theater, 2120 South Jefferson Street, in the Pilsen neighborhood.
Sorry to note the passing last week of two former Chicago radio professionals. Steve Harris, an urban radio programmer who hosted overnights at WBMX (now WVAZ FM 102.7) in the late ’70s, later programmed WGCI FM 107.5, and was instrumental in launching Tom Joyner and Doug Banks in syndication, died following a stroke. Steve Yount, who was a news anchor and reporter at the former all-news WMAQ Radio and later became the author of Turner Brown Western novels, died after a battle with Parkinson’s disease at 64.