Robservations on the media beat:
It’s a deal we’ve been waiting for all year: Look for Tribune Broadcasting finally to begin video simulcasting the drive-time shows of news/talk WGN AM 720 on the company’s cable news channel CLTV. Starting November 28, the 9 a.m. hour of Steve Cochran’s morning show and the 3 p.m. hour of Roe Conn’s afternoon show will air live on CLTV. If all goes as planned, according to insiders, the arrangement could be expanded beyond the two hours each weekday. Cameras in WGN’s Tribune Tower studios already have been used to simulcast four Sunday afternoon Chicago Bears post-game shows on CLTV this season.
Fresh from his 20-month run as morning host at Hubbard Radio classic rock WDRV FM 97.1, Pete McMurray turned up this week as a guest on Steve Cochran’s WGN morning show. Could it signal a return for the former evening host? Not quite yet, say those who know. For one thing, there are no openings on WGN’s lineup. For another, McMurray’s buyout from Hubbard permits only fill-in work for now. But the door is open: WGN program chief Todd Manley has asked McMurray to sub for Cochran when he’s on vacation. More to follow.
“Navy Pier: A Century of Reinvention,” a one-hour documentary on Chicago’s landmark attraction, will debut next week on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. Resident historian Geoffrey Baer will host the special at 8 p.m. Thursday. WTTW also has produced a mobile website with original content (including an interactive tour of Navy Pier guided by Baer) to be launched at wttw.com/navypier. “Navy Pier is one place everyone in Chicago has visited, but experienced in different ways,” producer Eddie Griffin said in a statement. “We wanted to capture a portrait of the Pier that revives old memories, but also transports you there today.”
Scott Cameron, director of news and public affairs at Illinois Public Media, has been named executive editor of Illinois Newsroom, the Downstate seven-station journalism cooperative, based in Urbana. In the new role, Cameron will lead a team of journalists covering education, health and environment, and state politics and policy for regional and national audiences. “I’m excited to help build the team and infrastructure that will serve Illinois audiences with the best news and information available on any platform,” said Cameron, former senior editor of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and a former producer at WGN. Illinois Newsroom operates under grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
Matt Rodewald, former traffic and transportation reporter at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, has been hired as weekend news anchor and reporter at KSAZ, the Fox station in Phoenix. Rodewald most recently was morning news anchor at WTVO and WQRF, the ABC and Fox affiliates in Rockford. He also was a weekend host and sports update anchor at CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670. “This is a tremendous professional opportunity to tell powerful stories and to learn from fantastic veteran reporters,” Rodewald said of his new role.
Chicago radio veteran Katherine Kelly Murphy has signed on as executive producer of “Brandwidth on Demand,” the weekly radio insiders’ podcast hosted by eminent programmers and consultants David Martin and Kipper McGee. Murphy, former operations manager at Harpo Radio and news anchor for “FM News 101.1,” most recently was morning show executive producer at CBS Radio country WUSN FM 99.5. Special guest this week on “Brandwidth on Demand” is Chicago rock radio legend Bobby Skafish, author of We Have Company: Four Decades of Rock and Roll Encounters.
Off the grid: I’ll be on vacation next week, but hope to see you back here on October 31. Happy Halloween and Go Cubs!