Robservations on the media beat:
Famed Chicago hip hop artist and songwriter Che “Rhymefest” Smith has been commissioned to create original music for “The Jam,” the new weekday morning show soon to premiere on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26. The Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner is working with other seasoned musicians, including Daniel Crawford. “This theme had to have live instrumentation and sound like a beautiful new day dawning . . . a day people always look forward to,” Smith said. “And I believe together we were able to accomplish that.” Steve Bailey, head of local programming and creative for The U, made the deal on the front porch of Smith’s South Side home. “Our goal was to have the music rooted in Chicago so when Che agreed to do it we were beyond ecstatic,” Bailey recalled. “This collaboration goes beyond just this theme music. It opens the door to other artists on future projects here at The U.”
Natalie Perez, a reporter for Univision Chicago WGBO-Channel 66, has been promoted to 5 and 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday news anchor of Noticias Univision Chicago. Starting this weekend she succeeds Enrique Rodriguez, who shifted to the new Edición Digital: Chicago at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Perez, a graduate of the University of Sacred Heart in San Juan, Puerto Rico, joined Univision Chicago in 2015 from WVEA, the Univision station in Tampa Bay, Florida. “I am thrilled to have Natalie in the anchor seat,” Teri Arvesu, vice president of content for Univision Chicago, said in a statement. “Her expertise and passion for issues affecting the lives of Latinos in Chicago run deep.”
Rick Hibbert has been named publisher of Chronicle Media, parent company of Cook County Chronicle and 13 other hyperlocal print and digital properties. He’ll also oversee the company’s FreeShopper advertising publication. The veteran Chicago journalist and longtime editor of Pioneer Press Newspapers joined Chronicle Media as editor-in-chief in 2015. “Rick has been instrumental in developing and executing Chronicle Media’s editorial mission, which brings a focus on traditional, comprehensive news and investigative reporting,” John Blais, president of the company, said in a statement. “His experience and excellent judgment has brought our young company credibility and respect in our industry.”
Happy to hear from Marilynn Preston, the former Chicago Tribune TV critic who continues to write Energy Express, the longest-running fitness column in newspaper syndication. She’s just out with a new book, All Is Well: The Art (and Science) of Personal Well-Being, published by Creators Publishing. It covers everything “from eating clean to going green, from losing weight to adding muscle, from living longer to dying more easily.” Preston will be in Chicago August 1 for a book signing and benefit for Girls in the Game, a nonprofit health and fitness organization for girls, at Leslie Hindman Galleries, 1328 West Lake Street. For ticket information see girlsinthegame.org.