Robservations: ABC 7 newsroom has family ties to three politicians

ABC 7 Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

Tanja Babich

ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 isn’t just Chicago’s top-rated television station. With employees related to three prominent Democrats, it also may have the most politically connected newsroom in town. Morning news anchor Tanja Babich is the daughter-in-law of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, recently hired per-diem reporter Meghan Kluth is the daughter of Congressman Mike Quigley, and per-diem reporter Alexis McAdams is the niece of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. It’s strictly a coincidence, according to John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7. “These are all talented people who were hired on their own merit,” Idler said. “No other considerations were involved in their hiring.” Babich married Paul Durbin in 2018 — four years after she joined ABC 7. The station was aware of the connections before Kluth and McAdams started, Idler added.

Melissa McGurren

After more than 20 years as traffic reporter on Eric Ferguson’s morning show, Melissa McGurren is moving up at Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM. Expanding her on-air role on “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip,” she’s relinquishing her traffic duties to Violeta Podrumedic, who’s joining 101.9 The Mix from Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. Podrumedic is expected to start later this week. “Melissa now has the opportunity to focus 100 percent of her efforts on our show’s execution and content,” Ferguson said.

Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon has been promoted to news anchor of Roe Conn’s afternoon show on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. She succeeds Judy Pielach, who took a buyout last month after 32 years at the station. Gordon, who joined WGN as an anchor and reporter in 2006, previously worked at WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky. “For more than a decade at WGN, Kim has been a key player in our newsroom and in our hallways,” Stephanie Tichenor, director of news and operations at WGN, said in a statement. “Her ability to gather and deliver news with a Chicago filter makes her the best voice for our afternoon drive team.”

Lissa Druss

Lissa Druss, the veteran communications strategist and award-winning former producer for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and Comcast SportsNet Chicago, has founded Strategia Consulting, specializing in government relations and lobbying services. With offices in Chicago and Itasca (as well as Washington, D.C.), it will be one of the few women-owned government relations and lobbying firms in Illinois, according to Shia Kapos of politico.com. Since 2011 Druss has been a senior consultant with Chicago-based Serafin & Associates Inc.

Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor, who retired last month after more than 30 years as the radio industry’s preeminent reporter, is being honored by the National Association of Broadcasters. Taylor, whose Tom Taylor Now newsletter was a daily must-read, will receive the prestigious Spirit of Broadcasting Award at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 8. “Tom Taylor is a beloved friend of radio broadcasters and was daily chronicler of the industry for decades,” Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president of communications, said in a statement. “Tom’s love for the business of broadcasting is matched only by his journalistic integrity, and NAB is delighted to honor him for his lifetime of service to quality radio reporting.”

NBC Sports Chicago

“Béisbol y Vida,” a five-part digital series chronicling the recent visit of Chicago White Sox prospects to the Dominican Republic, premieres this week on NBCSportsChicago.com. Produced by Ryan McGuffey and Matt Buckman, the series follows the future White Sox stars as they participate in the inaugural “Culture Exchange Week.” Highlights include visits to the White Sox training facility, a local orphanage, a kids baseball clinic, and a Dominican Winter League game.

Monday’s comment of the day: Jim Vail: Each chapter of Mike North’s book will start with a letter of the alphabet, eh? I’ve got a great idea for the letter “A”!