Robservations on the media beat:
As Steve Baskerville wraps up his 30-year run at WBBM-Channel 2 this week, the CBS-owned station has not yet named a successor as chief meteorologist. Friday will mark Baskerville’s last day on the air as 5, 6 and 10 p.m. weekday weather anchor. After that, “a variety of fill-ins from amongst the weather team” will appear on the newscasts, according to Jeff Kiernan, vice president and news director of CBS 2. In other words, look for Mary Kay Kleist and Ed Curran to take turns until further notice. Baskerville, 67, announced his retirement last month, telling colleagues: “It is a natural time for me to step away and be more available for my family and loved ones.”
Ben Finfer is unemployed again. Announcing his ouster as part-time host at ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP AM 1000, Finfer told Facebook friends the timing may have been related to a tweet in which he called President Donald Trump racist — a violation of ESPN’s social media guidelines. “I’m okay with this because I don’t think I had much of a future there anyway,” he wrote. “It was clear I wasn’t going anywhere at ESPN and I’ve been exploring other options for a while now. At some point soon I was going to have to move on.” In 2014 Finfer delivered an on-air tirade that went viral when he learned from my tweet that he was being fired along with the rest of the staff of The Game 87.7, Tribune Broadcasting’s short-lived sports/talk station. (Here is the link.)
Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper will host a monthlong marathon of 75 Academy Award-winning movies on HDNet Movies, the digital cable and satellite network. For the second consecutive year, he’ll introduce “And the Oscar Goes To: Presented by Richard Roeper,” an around-the-clock lineup of some of Hollywood’s most honored films, including “Birdman,” “Braveheart,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Fighter,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Black Swan.” The series will run from February 1 to March 4.
Cindy Ballard has resigned as chief human resources officer at tronc, parent company of the Chicago Tribune, effective at the end of the year. A spokeswoman said Ballard was stepping down voluntarily to spend more time with her family. Tronc is seeking a “dynamic, strong HR leader” to replace her. Before joining tronc predecessor Tribune Publishing in 2015, Ballard served as senior vice president of human resources at 20th Century Fox for eight years.
Congrats to veteran Chicago public relations exec Dominic Calabrese, who just started a second term as president of of the Publicity Club of Chicago, the nation’s largest independent public relations membership organization. “I am honored to be able to serve another year as president of one of the finest PR organizations in the country and look forward to working with our board to enhance the professional experiences for all our members,” he said in a statement. Calabrese is senior vice president of public relations at The Chicago Lighthouse and adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago.
Friday’s best comment: Dan Miller: Two more hours of wasted TV on New Year’s Eve. Forced gaiety, clunky ad libs, moronic observations about decorations and people, all overlayed with wretched music. Sheesh.