Robservations on the media beat:
After six months away battling a rare blood disease, veteran Chicago news anchor Rob Stafford is ready to return to WMAQ-Channel 5. He’ll be back on the 10 p.m. newscast August 28, according to the NBC-owned station, and will resume anchoring at 5 and 6 p.m. “after a couple of weeks.” Stafford, 58, underwent a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy for amyloidosis, a blood disorder that affected his kidneys. On Wednesday, Stafford posted a photo on Facebook reunited with anchor partner Allison Rosati. “We can’t wait to get Rob back,” said Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5. “We’ve missed him, and our viewers have missed him. We’re so happy he’s doing better, and are looking forward to his return.”
With Rob Stafford’s imminent homecoming, NBC 5 plans to reconfigure its daily anchor lineup. Patrick Fazio, the station’s newest news anchor and reporter, will co-anchor the 4 p.m. weekday newscast with Marion Brooks, starting August 28. Fazio and Dick Johnson will share anchoring duties with Allison Rosati at 5 and 6 p.m. until Rob Stafford returns to those newscasts. Once that happens, Johnson will go back to anchoring Saturdays and Sundays, as he did before Stafford went on medical leave.
Wednesday’s front page of the Chicago Sun-Times — branding Donald Trump as “FAKE PRESIDENT” — drew widespread and extreme reaction from fans and foes. “We’ve never been strangers to putting columnists or editorial content on the front page of the Sun-Times. It’s in our DNA,” said managing editor Chris Fusco. “Tuesday was an extraordinary day in the news cycle, and both [columnist] Mary Mitchell’s and Tom McNamee’s editorial board words expressed strong opinions. We’re not going to shy away from those opinions as a newspaper. Clearly it landed with a lot of discussion and commentary. That’s what a good newspaper does.” Fusco conceded the intensity of reaction across social media came as a bit of a surprise: “It’s heartening to know that we can still draw that response. It shows how relevant we are in the media mix in Chicago and nationally.”
The president of the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Dealers Association will sing the praises of radio advertising in a one-minute spot to air simultaneously on more than 40 Chicago area radio stations at 4:29 p.m. Tuesday. John Alfirevich, operator of Apple Chevrolet, will be spotlighted in the latest joint effort of Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland. “The RBC is committed to delivering tangible results to the Chevy dealers and all of our valuable advertisers,” said Matt Scarano, chairman of RBC and president of iHeartMedia Chicago. In July, the RBC aired a similar interview with Ed Wehmer, CEO of Wintrust Financial Corp. Last November, it sponsored a 30-minute “Chicago Radio Town Hall Meeting” with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that aired on 47 stations.
On second thought, Jamie Sotonoff Bartosch won’t be leaving the Daily Herald after all. Two weeks ago she announced on Facebook she was resigning to join United Airlines as a senior writer for digital engagement. But this week Bartosch confirmed that she’s staying on at the paper as a metro staff writer, adding: “I look forward to doing more great stories.” Meanwhile, another Daily Herald reporter has left for real: Anna Marie Kukec resigned to take on a new job, which she declined to disclose.