Robservations on the media beat:
One month after undergoing heart surgery, Radio Hall of Famer Orion Samuelson returns Tuesday to Steve Cochran’s morning show on Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720. Samuelson, 81, will broadcast from his home while recuperating from heart-valve replacement September 14. “Now that I have this recovery time at home to contemplate life, world events, who will win the World Series and college football championship . . . and what our final crop production numbers will be for 2015, I have reached one very firm conclusion. We are very fortunate to live in a time when we have the people and their knowledge to improve our way of life and to make it healthier, safer and more enjoyable if we deal with it responsibly,” the legendary agribusiness reporter wrote Monday. “I know for sure that I do want to live in this world of technology, not in the world of anonymous bloggers.”
A deep bow to reporter Sarah Karp, whose diligent investigative work at Catalyst Chicago in 2013 led directly to the indictment last week of former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett for a $23 million bribery scheme. Politico’s Natasha Korecki hailed Karp’s achievement as a “triumph of beat reporting.” Karp joined the Better Government Association as a senior investigator earlier this year. A Chicago native and graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she previously worked for the Chicago Reporter and the Daily Southtown.
Not everyone is buying what Kendra Gilliams is selling. The morning co-host known as “Kendra G” on iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5 is challenging all middle school, high school and college girls to say no to sex for the school year. “The Abstinence is Kool movement is my baby,” she said in a statement. “I truly feel as though God put this initiative in my heart to help young girls know that they don’t have to have sex in order to be Kool. . . . I know this movement will have a major impact on the girls in Chicago.” The hypocrisy wasn’t lost on one skeptic, who wrote: “Has she listened to the lyrics of the music she’s playing on WGCI?”
Two Chicago radio morning personalities have guest-starring roles Wednesday on a couple of primetime network series. Mancow Muller, morning host on Cumulus Media classic rock WLUP FM 97.9, plays a DJ on “Criminal Minds,” the CBS police procedural drama. Series star Joe Mantegna directed the episode, “ ’Til Death Do Us Part.” And Mason Schreader, morning host on iHeartMedia country WEBG FM 95.5, plays a DJ on “Nashville,” the ABC country music drama. Joanna Kerns directed the episode, “The Slender Threads That Bind Us Here.”
Although she doesn’t start on the air until next week, Irika Sargent turned up Monday at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. Just in from CBS-owned WFOR-TV in Miami, she’ll co-anchor the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts with Rob Johnson. Sargent replaces Kate Sullivan, who was dropped after five years. “You have a lot of nerve,” one unabashed fan wrote the Miami Herald. “You move to Miami, you make everyone love you and now you’re leaving for a Chicago station? I haven’t been hurt like this since Eddie Fisher left Debbie Reynolds.”
You may never read a more devastating takedown of the Sun Times Network than this post for The Awl, written by former intern Sam Stecklow: The Chicago End-Times: The slow humiliation of Chicago’s most vital newspaper. For another view, there’s this post from Jackie Spinner, Columbia Journalism Review correspondent and assistant journalism professor at Columbia College: A plan to turn this local paper into a national brand helped make a mess of its website. Both expose an aggregated-content delivery scheme that’s all smoke and mirrors.
There’s a familiar voice back on WFMT FM 98.7. Dennis Moore has returned to the Window to the World Communications classical music station as program host and producer from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturdays and from 7 to 10 a.m. Sundays. He succeeds Candice Agree, who moved up to weekday afternoons. Moore first joined WFMT in 1990 and served as program director from 1997 to 2004. He signed off as a host and producer in 2014.
Louie Robinson, a pioneering African-American journalist who wrote for newspapers in Dallas and Baltimore before joining Chicago-based Johnson Publishing, died of heart failure October 2, two days before his 89th birthday. He was the father of veteran Chicago news anchor Robin Robinson and five other children. “Never in my life have I known a better man,” actor Sidney Poitier said in a tribute to the former Ebony magazine editor. “His life was an experience that will leave behind memories of major importance.”