Robservations on the media beat:
Steve Cochran will celebrate his 1,000th show as morning personality on WGN AM 720 with a live broadcast event from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday from the Blackhawks Store at 333 North Michigan Avenue. The Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station will feature a multitude of on-air giveaways and “special surprises” throughout the show. “Cubs win, Trump wins, I go 1,000 shows without being fired,” Cochran said of the milestone. “A very strange time, but I’m honored to sit where Wally Phillips, Bob Collins, and Spike [O’Dell] sat and mostly just appreciative and humbled by the audience support.” In the latest ratings Cochran’s show tied for fourth place with a 4.5 percent audience share.
Chicago’s public television station is moving forward to find a replacement for Dan Schmidt as president and CEO of Window to the World Communications Inc., parent company of WTTW-Channel 11 and classical radio WFMT FM 98.7. In June Schmidt announced his retirement, effective at the end of the year. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on the process, but confirmed the signing of New York-based executive search firm Blinkhorn LLC to lead the effort. Ann Blinkhorn also was responsible for identifying Goli Sheikholeslami as president and CEO of Chicago Public Media in 2014.
Matt Watson, an expert on digital content and analytics, has been hired as chief digital strategist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Since 2011 he has worked at Vox Media, where he oversaw audience development and served as managing editor for analytics for SB Nation. “People all over the country are excited about what we are trying to do here at the Sun-Times,” CEO Edwin Eisendrath said in a statement. “Recruiting a person like Matt, with significant experience leading growth teams at Vox, says that we are serious about winning.” Watson, a graduate of the University of Michigan, previously was national NBA editor at AOL.
It’ll be mother-and-daughter day Thursday at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 for veteran traffic reporter Roz Varon and her daughter, Sara Janz, a senior at Columbia College. On the same day Varon guests on “Windy City Live” to promote her new book, On the Road with Roz: Adventures in Travel and Life, Janz will be starting her internship with the show. “I’m so proud of her because she did this on her own,” Varon said. “Because we have different last names, nobody knew she was even being considered until she came in for the final interview.” Janz is majoring in television production at Columbia.
Deadline for entries is October 31 in the Sarah Brown Boyden Journalism Awards competition, sponsored by the Chicago Journalists Association. Top prize is $500 for the best story in the Chicago area and northern Indiana. Boyden joined the Chicago Evening American after attending Northwestern University in the 1920s and later worked at the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun. New to the contest this year is the Daniel N. Moulton Award for the best sports story. Moulton covered hockey for Chicago Today and the Chicago Evening American before joining the Chicago Tribune as sports copy editor. Winners will be honored at CJA’s 78th annual dinner November 10 at the Union League Club, 65 West Jackson Boulevard.