Graceless move or oversight? CBS Radio snubs Shila Nathan

Shila Nathan

Shila Nathan

When the winners of this year’s Gracie Awards were announced Monday, I wasn’t sure if I’d be writing about them.

The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation bestows the honors each year for “exemplary programming created by, for about women” in all facets of media. I remember Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey won one back in 2008 (a year before they were inexplicably canned from WGN AM 720), but otherwise I haven’t paid much attention to the awards, which are named after the late comedienne Gracie Allen. Continue reading

Robservations: Lilia Chacon joins GreenMark Public Relations

Lilia Chacon

Lilia Chacon

Robservations on the media beat:

Fresh from her stint on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, veteran Chicago journalist Lilia Chacon has joined GreenMark Public Relations as director of public affairs. Sue Markgraf, founder and president of the Chicago-area firm, said Chacon will oversee Food and Agriculture RoadMap for Illinois (FARM Illinois) among other accounts. Chacon was a Peabody Award-winning reporter for Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and spokeswoman for the city treasurer of Chicago before serving as Iowa press secretary for Sanders. “It’s a perfect fit for me,” Chacon said of her new job. “Sue Markgraf is a connector and I feel that I am too.” On May 20 Chacon will be inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Continue reading

‘Live Doppler 7 Max’ to fortify ABC 7 weather arsenal

Cheryl Scott

Cheryl Scott

The newest weapon in Chicago TV’s weather wars is a radar system previously available only to the National Weather Service and the U.S. military.

ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 has declared itself the first television station in the country to secure a dual pole S-band Doppler radar license from the federal government. ABC 7 will debut “Live Doppler 7 Max” on its 4 p.m. newscast Monday. Continue reading

Robservations: Carol Marin’s life-or-death story inspires play

Carol Marin

Carol Marin

Robservations on the media beat:

An Off-Broadway play inspired by legendary Chicago journalist Carol Marin’s interviews with a former Death Row inmate is getting rave reviews in New York. “Natural Life,” written by Eduardo Ivan Lopez, recounts how the reporter (renamed Rita Hathaway) brought to light the shocking abuse suffered by Guinevere Garcia (renamed Claire McGreely) before she murdered her husband and daughter. Marin’s stories prompted Governor Jim Edgar to commute Garcia’s death sentence hours before her scheduled execution in January 1996. “I think they honored Guin’s truth,” Marin said of the play, which she saw earlier this month. “They raise truly serious questions, because there are so many people in prison — men and women — who have been sexually abused by family members and whose lives are utterly warped as a result.” Added Marin: “It certainly is strange to sit in an audience and watch someone play you onstage.” Continue reading

Top story in ratings: WBBM Newsradio

Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy

Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy

Was it “traffic and weather together on the eights” that did it? Or an especially busy month for news of politics and crime?

Either way, the CBS Radio all-news combo of WBBM AM 780 and WCFS FM 105.9 again was Chicago’s most popular station, according to the Nielsen Audio survey released Monday. The anchor duo of Felicia Middlebrooks and Pat Cassidy won morning drive, while Kris Kridel and Keith Johnson topped afternoon drive in the period from January 28 to February 24. Continue reading

Kathy Chaney leaves WBEZ to join Ebony as managing editor

Kathy Chaney

Kathy Chaney

Multimedia Chicago journalist Kathy Chaney, most recently a producer/reporter at Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, has been named managing editor of Ebony magazine.

Monday marked her first day on the job with the monthly African-American lifestyle magazine and website published by Chicago-based Johnson Publishing. “I’m very excited to part of the legendary JPC family,” Chaney said.

As managing editor she fills the vacancy left by Wendy Wilson, who exited last April. Chaney reports to Ebony editor-in-chief Kierna Mayo. Continue reading

Susanna Homan named editor and publisher of Chicago magazine

Susanna Homan

Susanna Homan

Susanna Homan, the high-profile Chicago media executive and celebrity journalist, was named editor-in-chief and publisher of Chicago magazine Friday in a move that reunites her with Tribune Publishing chairman Michael Ferro.

Homan previously worked for Ferro at Wrapports LLC, where she founded Splash, the lifestyle and fashion supplement, and served as publisher and general manager. Continue reading

Garry Meier to launch subscription podcast Saturday

Garry Meier

Garry Meier

Borrowing a page from ex-partner Steve Dahl, Chicago radio personality Garry Meier is about to offer a premium subscription podcast service to listeners who pay a monthly fee.

Back behind a microphone after 16 months away, Meier will launch his new independent venture Saturday at GarryMeier.com. Initially he plans to produce three one-hour shows each week for free as he seeks to convert listeners to paid subscribers. Continue reading