Robservations on the media beat:
Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic who wrote 17 books, will be inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame August 19. The ceremony, emceed by Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Kogan, will be at the new American Writers Museum, 180 North Michigan Avenue. Other 2017 inductees include Margaret Ayer Barnes, Fanny Butcher, Eugene Field, Fenton Johnson and Ring Lardner. “I am thrilled,” said Chaz Ebert, who will accept the honor on her late husband’s behalf. The movie critic for the Sun-Times and nationally syndicated television host died in 2013 at 70.
Seventeen years after Chicago rock music critic and journalist Jim DeRogatis first reported shocking allegations about singer and songwriter R. Kelly, another blockbuster hit this week. BuzzFeed published new revelations by DeRogatis that Kelly is holding six young women against their will in a “cult,” accusations Kelly denies. At Kelly’s 2008 trial on charges of making child pornography (for which he was acquitted), DeRogatis risked imprisonment when he took the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify about his confidential sources. The former Sun-Times critic co-hosts “Sound Opinions,” the syndicated rock music talk show produced by Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, and teaches at Columbia College.
An extra hour of jazz is joining the weekday morning lineup at WDCB FM 90.9. Starting Monday, the College of DuPage station will air jazz from 5 to 6 a.m., replacing the newsmagazine show “Daylight Edition.” Starting with Leslie Keros from 5 to 7 a.m., WDCB will air 19 hours of jazz each weekday, including Paul Abella from 7 to 10 a.m., Barry Winograd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Bruce Oscar from 2 to 7 p.m., and Matthew Hermes from midnight to 5 a.m. “As our audience has evolved over the past 40 years, this great American art form — jazz — has emerged as the clear preference of our listeners,” station manager Dan Bindert said in a statement.
Another loss for Crain Communication this week is the departure of David Klein as senior vice president and group publisher. His exit follows the move by Rance Crain to sell his 50 percent stake in the company to his brother, Keith Crain, and step down as president, editorial director and member of the board. Klein joined Crain in 1984 for the launch of the industry magazine Electronic Media, where he served as editor until 1994. He most recently oversaw Advertising Age, Crain’s New York Business, Investment News, Pensions & Investments, Business Insurance, and Modern Healthcare.
Just two months after his induction in the WGN Radio Walk of Fame, “Flying Officer” Mike Mathis died this week at 67. Starting in 1983, Mathis was an airborne traffic reporter at Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720. He retired in 2008. “My heart is broken,” former WGN morning host Spike O’Dell wrote on Facebook. “You will never find a more decent human being in the world than Mike Mathis.” He also was a longtime deputy with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department. Funeral services will be Friday in Palos Heights.