NBC 5 wins Peabody Award for Laquan McDonald investigation

Laquan McDonald video

Laquan McDonald video

NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 this week was named winner of a George Foster Peabody Award for its investigative reporting on the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer.

“WMAQ’s relentless, unrivaled reporting brought to light a host of police procedural infractions, official disinformation and outright lies, and contributed to a police department shakeup,” the judging committee said in announcing the award. Continue reading

Michael Ferro’s media web gets more tangled

Michael W. Ferro Jr.

Michael W. Ferro Jr.

Michael W. Ferro Jr., the tech entrepreneur who says he’s out to “save journalism,” sits atop a growing Chicago media empire that encompasses the Chicago Tribune, RedEye Chicago, Chicago magazine and a string of 38 suburban daily and weekly newspapers stretching from Aurora to Waukegan to Gary, Indiana, among other publications and websites.

Rarely has one person held so much sway over so many Chicago area mastheads. Continue reading

Ron Magers is no fan of ‘breaking news’

Ron Magers and Carol Marin

Ron Magers and Carol Marin

As if we needed another reason to love Ron Magers, now the retiring anchorman has come out against television’s obnoxious fetish for branding every story “breaking news.”

‘Breaking news’ is a great idea,” he declared. “But if you label everything ‘breaking news,’ you’ve now become that fanatic who clings to the idea until the idea is no good anymore.” Continue reading

Todd Cavanah to head programming for CBS Radio Chicago

Todd Cavanah

Todd Cavanah

Todd Cavanah, a nationally respected programmer and 27-year veteran of Chicago radio, has been promoted to vice president of programming for CBS Radio Chicago.

In his new role, Cavanah will oversee programming for the group’s six formats — Top 40 WBBM FM 96.3; classic hits WJMK FM 104.3, country WUSN FM 99.5; adult album alternative WXRT FM 93.1; all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9; and sports/talk WSCR AM 670. Continue reading

Robservations: President pays tribute to Doug Banks

Michelle Obama, Doug Banks, Wendy Banks and President Barack Obama (2013)

Michelle Obama, Doug Banks, Wendy Banks and President Barack Obama (2013)

Robservations on the media beat:

Family and friends of Doug Banks gathered in Dallas Saturday to hear tributes to the late radio star, including one from President Barack Obama. Jerry Lopes, president of American Urban Radio Networks, read a letter from the president, who’d been a fan of Banks, as was First Lady Michelle Obama, since their years in Chicago. Banks died April 11 of complications from diabetes at 57. Among former Chicago colleagues at the memorial service were personalities Tom Joyner, DeDe McGuire and Rick Party; Marv Dyson, former president and general manager of WVAZ FM 102.7 and WGCI FM 107.5, and Derrick Brown, director of urban programming for iHeartMedia Chicago. Continue reading

Robservations: Another shakeup at Fox 32

Fox 32 News

Fox 32 News

Robservations on the media beat:

Jill Manuel

Jill Manuel

Once thought a leading candidate to become news director of WFLD-Channel 32, Jill Manuel now finds herself looking for work. Manuel exited the Fox-owned station Thursday after two years as assistant news director. She was passed over for the top job when Matt Piacente, just in from NBC-owned WVIT in Hartford, Connecticut, was hired to replace Tom Doerr as news director. Manuel, who joined Fox 32 from WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, previously had been news director at Tribune Media CLTV and an executive producer at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2. She declined to comment about her plans. Continue reading

It’s official: Anchorman Ron Magers to retire from ABC 7

Ron Magers

Ron Magers

Ron Magers made it official Thursday: After 51 years in television news — including more than three decades as an immensely popular and respected anchorman in Chicago — he’s retiring from ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.

Magers, 71, will sign off May 25 as anchor of ABC 7’s top-rated 5 and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts, according to an announcement by the station.

“I’ve been a night worker in television all of my adult life,” Magers said. “It’s time for a leisurely dinner and maybe a movie or the theater.” Continue reading

Robservations: Fox 32 finalizes 5 p.m. news plans

Fox 32 News

Fox 32 News

Robservations on the media beat:

On the heels of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 announcing the launch of a 4 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscast comes word that Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 is ready to pull the trigger on its own 5 p.m. weekday newscast. It’s been talked about for years, but insiders say it finally will happen this summer. Look for current 9 p.m. news anchors Jeff Herndon and Dawn Hasbrouck to front the new show as well. The expansion coincides with the arrival of Matt Piacente as Fox 32 news director — the station’s fourth in four years. Continue reading

NBC 5 to launch 4 p.m. newscast this summer

NBC Tower

NBC Tower

A new one-hour newscast at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday will debut in August on WMAQ-Channel 5, the NBC-owned station announced Tuesday.

The syndicated entertainment show “Extra,” which has been airing at 4 p.m. weekdays on NBC 5, is expected to move to Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 in a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. It’s expected to air there at either 6 or 6:30 p.m. Continue reading