Robservations on the media beat:
I thought it was all over. But apparently Steve Harvey didn’t. Last week he decided to dredge up an embarrassing email I posted here May 10 in which Harvey lambasted his Chicago production staff for daring to approach him in the hallways or his dressing room. At an appearance before the Television Critics Association to promote his upcoming talk show, Harvey said he thought his memo was “cute” — even if no one else did. “That email,” he said, “I learned two things from that email. Number one, I can’t write, and number two, I should never write. It was something I wrote a year ago. And somebody didn’t get a job coming to L.A., and they got pissed and they sent it to [Robert] Feder in Chicago. I was OK until I saw it on CNN, and that’s when I knew I was in a lot of trouble. It’s not a big deal to me. I’m a congenial guy.” Harvey, who never apologized for writing the memo, acknowledged earlier: “I probably should’ve handled it a little bit differently.”
Country music legend Willie Nelson is very much alive, contrary to a rumor broadcast last week by Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890. Stevens, who spent 26 years at CBS Radio country WUSN FM 99.5 before joining WLS last year, cited “very credible sources” in the country music industry when he shared the bogus report on his morning show and social media Thursday. “On air, John and Ray were careful to add this was not confirmed but were endeavoring,” said Peter Bolger, operations manager and program director of WLS. “In the 8 a.m. hour, they announced they had confirmation Willie was alive.” Of course that didn’t stop competitors from making light of the snafu.
All signs point to another blockbuster for famed Chicago journalist and bestselling author Robert Kurson. His latest book, Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon, is set for publication this spring by Random House. But it’s already been picked up for adaptation as a major television series. Rocket Men recounts the 1968 Apollo 8 space mission and the personal stories of astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders. Kurson, a former reporter for the Sun-Times and contributing editor to Chicago magazine and Esquire, burst onto the literary scene with his first book, Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II, published in 2004.
Jamie Sotonoff Bartosch, a talented and versatile reporter and editor at the Daily Herald for 20 years, is leaving to join United Airlines as a senior writer for digital engagement. “A big part of my job will be finding and telling positive stories about the company,” she told friends on Facebook. “I’m indescribably excited for this next chapter of my career.” A graduate of Indiana University and former staff writer for Pioneer Press, Bartosch also freelances as a travel expert for USA Today and other sites.
Fans (including myself) will miss Danny Ecker’s always smart and insightful blog on the business of sports for Crain’s Chicago Business. After more than five years on the beat, he’s been shifted to covering commercial real estate for Crain’s. “It has been a privilege to write about the marketing, media, products and personalities tied to the area’s professional and college teams,” Ecker wrote in announcing the blog’s demise. “And I don’t plan on stopping entirely. I’ll continue to share news and perspective on the local sports business scene on Twitter, so be sure to follow me there.”
Veteran Chicago television news producer Don Moseley will be honored by his alma mater, Auburn University, with an award for special achievement in journalism. He’ll be among five recipients cited for career achievement by the Alabama university’s Journalism Advisory Council on September 15. Along with longtime collaborator Carol Marin, Moseley is director of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence at DePaul University, and a political/investigative producer at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.
Funeral services were held Saturday for Ted Lauterbach, former Chicago radio host who died July 31 at 70. According to his family, he’d fought “a long brave battle” with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. In 1982 Lauterbach replaced “Chicago Eddie” Schwartz as all-night host at WIND AM 560 and later worked late shifts for the former WCFL and WMAQ, where also he co-hosted the nightly “Sports Huddle” show. After a stint as regional general manager and program director for TCI, he returned to radio as a weekend and fill-in host on WLS AM 890 in the 1990s.