Robservations on the media beat:
Is Cheryl Scott about to take Chicago radio by storm? The WLS-Channel 7 meteorologist turned up twice last Friday with weekend weather updates on hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9. She first joined the top-rated morning team of Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, and later appeared on Kevin “Koz” Koske’s afternoon show. Sources say Scott soon could have a weekly role on all three Hubbard Radio stations — The Mix, classic hits WDRV FM 97.1 and adult contemporary WSHE FM 100.3. She’s been a rising star at the ABC-owned station since she signed on last December.
The Daily Herald is closing its Lake County bureau after 15 years, sources confirmed. Located most recently at 1795 North Butterfield Road in Libertyville, the office’s 10 editorial staffers are expected to be assigned to work in the field or moved to the newspaper’s main newsroom in Arlington Heights. The cost-cutting move will be finalized in December. The Daily Herald’s other bureaus in Lisle and Elgin are not affected.
Kristin Samuelson, who began as a production intern for Spike O’Dell’s morning show on Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720 and rose to become managing editor of RedEye Chicago, is leaving Tribune Tower after 10 years. The Chicago native and former Chicago Tribune business reporter and video product manager said she’s joining Northwestern University next month in the media relations department. Maggie Wartik, general manager of Chicago Tribune Media Group’s Young Adult vertical, including RedEye, confirmed Samuelson’s departure (first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business) and said a search for her replacement as managing editor is already underway.
Starting with the late James Ward and continuing with “The Hungry Hound” Steve Dolinsky, Chicago area restaurant reviews have been a staple of ABC 7’s Friday night newscast for more than 25 years. But not anymore. Now Dolinsky’s food reports will air at 4 p.m. Fridays (and also at 10 p.m. Saturdays). That’s too bad. “The Friday Night Special” often was a highlight of the broadcast — and always was a great way to start the weekend.
Michelle Relerford has been tapped to fill in as co-anchor of the 5 and 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday newscasts alongside Dick Johnson when Lauren Jiggetts begins maternity leave from NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Jiggetts and husband Patrick Donovan are expecting their first child later this month. Relerford, a Chicago native and graduate of Whitney Young High School and the University of Connecticut, joined NBC 5 as a reporter and fill-in news anchor in 2011.
Gerri Wells, a much-loved behind-scenes dynamo in Chicago radio for more than 30 years, is leaving WGN AM 720, where she’s been the right hand to Jimmy deCastro, the station’s president and general manager. “I am at that stage in my life and career where I want to stop and smell the roses more, and work on a different schedule,” she told colleagues. Effective next month, Wells said, she’ll continue to work as deCastro’s personal assistant at his Evanston office but on a more flexible schedule.