V.J. McAleer, a Peabody Award-winning journalist and a highly respected 36-year veteran of Chicago television, is the latest senior executive at WTTW-Channel 11 to be forced out in response to a budget shortfall.
A spokesperson for Window to the World Communications cited “budgetary reasons” Thursday for McAleer’s departure as senior vice president of community partnerships. For many years he was senior vice president of production at the public television station, overseeing such programming as “Chicago Tonight” and “Check, Please!”
Budgetary reasons also were cited last week for the abrupt dismissals of Parke Richeson as senior vice president of WTTW National Productions and Mark Jahnke as vice president and chief technology officer at WTTW.
In all three cases, management declined requests for further comment.
In addition to the noncommercial public television station, Window to the World Communications also owns commercial classical music station WFMT FM 98.7.
McAleer joined WTTW as a producer for “Chicago Tonight” in 1987, and moved up to director of public affairs and executive producer of “Chicago Tonight” in 1991, to vice president of production and program development in 1996, and to senior vice president of production in 2001. In 2004 his role was expanded to include developing relationships with other Chicago cultural and educational institutions, community groups, foundations and corporations. He also oversaw collaborative productions, events and outreach projects.
A Chicago native who sold newspapers on street corners as a kid, Vincent Joseph McAleer began his TV career as a writer/producer at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 in 1980, and later was a producer at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. For his work in local news he won a Peabody Award and numerous regional Emmy Awards.
In 2010 McAleer was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is married to Katy Smyser, an investigative producer at NBC 5.