Robservations on the media beat:
The radio world was saddened Sunday by news of the untimely death of Kris Kelley, former midday personality on urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7 and former program director of urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5 and Top 40 WKSC FM 103.5. Kelley, who was 45, was found dead last week in her Philadelphia apartment, according to published reports. A 15-year employee of Clear Channel Radio, the predecessor of iHeart Media, Kelley exited the company in December 2013. “While Kris Kelley took great pride in her ratings, her joy came from discovering new talent and developing leaders,” Tony Coles, senior vice president/programming for iHeart Media, wrote on Facebook. “She did not make the process easy for them – because she knew that getting what you really want is never an easy process. She left us too soon, but we are so thankful for her legacy.”
Antonio Mora, former news anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, says he has no regrets about his two-year stint with Al Jazeera America, where he most recently anchored the 9 p.m. international news hour. The cable news network owned by the Qatari government announced last week it will cease operations by April 30. “I have loved working at a network that was dedicated to smart, serious non-partisan news,” Mora told Media Moves. “I felt AJAM provided a valuable news source to most of the country and I am very sad this chapter in my life is ending.” Mora had been main news anchor at CBS 2 for six years until 2008. Among other former Chicagoans affected by the shutdown are Ray Suarez, onetime reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and host of Al Jazeera America’s “Inside Story.”
Univision Chicago WGBO-Channel 66 has added award-winning Colombian journalist Adriana Cardona-Maguigad to its staff as a full-time investigative producer and reporter. Cardona-Maguigad is co-founder and former editor of The Gate, a hyperlocal bilingual community newspaper on Chicago’s Southwest Side. As a contributor to “This American Life” and Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, she drew acclaim last year for her investigation into how Puerto Rico exports drug addicts to the streets of Chicago through a network of unregulated rehab centers. Earlier she was a Pritzker Journalism Fellow at Chicago Public Media and in the inaugural class of Northwestern University’s Social Justice News Nexus Fellowship.
There’s life after TouchVision for Molly Adams, who delivered commentary on the now-defunct multi-platform digital programming service. Before joining TouchVision last March, Adams was co-host of “The Morning AMp” call-in talk show on Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo. Now she’s shifting her focus to entertainment media, including a show developed with former Vocalo partner Brian Babylon at the Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Premiering Tuesday, “First Amendment” will be accessible in video segments online and as an audio podcast. “I’m excited to see what other projects I create in the coming months,” Adams said.
Thirty-four years after they first published their landmark book Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television, Harry Castleman and Walter J. Podrazik have just released the third edition, now titled Watching TV: Eight Decades of American Television. Published by Syracuse University Press (and weighing in at 576 pages), it’s a meticulously researched history and analysis of programs and trends, chronicling every primetime fall schedule since 1944. Chicagoans know Podrazik as a prominent media historian and curator of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. He also teaches television history, media and politics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Castleman is a Boston lawyer and media consultant.