WTTW promotes Geoffrey Baer to lead program production

Geoffrey Baer (Photo: WTTW)

Geoffrey Baer, who’s been Chicago’s genial tour guide and unofficial historian at WTTW-Channel 11 for more than 25 years, is taking on a major new role at the public television station.

Baer has been named vice president of original content production for television, effective Monday. In his new position, he’ll oversee creation of programming in such areas as local history, documentary and lifestyle. Continue reading

Russ Ewing 1923-2019

Russ Ewing

For decades “Call Russ Ewing!” was a familiar refrain among fugitives, hostage-takers and suspects in the Chicago area before they would turn themselves in to police.

A trusted and courageous reporter for two local television stations, Ewing escorted more than 100 suspects to custody in the course of his celebrated career. His calm and reassuring presence guaranteed their safety — and their appearance on the 10 o’clock news.

Ewing died of cancer Tuesday at his home in Paw Paw, Michigan. He was 95. Continue reading

Robservations: Dave Fogel on the mend after repeat performance

Dave Fogel

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago radio veteran Dave Fogel says he expects to be back on the air today after spending two days in the hospital for treatment of a brain aneurysm. Fogel, 58, who hosts mornings on Cumulus Media classic hits WLS 94.7-FM, reminded me that I wrote about an identical occurrence in 2003 when he hosted afternoons at hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM. That time he was called live on the air by his former morning colleagues, Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart. On Tuesday he took a call from his WLS co-host, Kim Berk. “I’m a healthy guy, Mr. Feder! Really!” he texted, adding that he’ll be on medication for his condition for the rest of his life. “I much prefer making it into your column for the ratings — which I plan to do again July 10!” Continue reading

Robservations: Crain’s hires Daily Line’s A.D. Quig

A.D. Quig (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Robservations on the media beat:

A.D. Quig, a reporter and producer for The Daily Line, a subscription newsletter on state and local politics, has been hired to cover government and politics for Crain’s Chicago Business. Her hiring signals an expansion of the “power and influence” beat for the publication and its website. Working closely with political columnist Greg Hinz, Quig will “zero in on the government news that matters to our business-minded readers — as well as what our business-minded readers are doing (and spending) to influence those government players,” according to Crain’s editor Ann Dwyer. A graduate of Indiana University, Quig previously worked for Rivet Radio and NPR. Continue reading

Radio legend Terri Hemmert leaving midday shift at WXRT

Terri Hemmert (Photo: Mary Rafferty)

Terri Hemmert, the Radio Hall of Famer who’s been the heart and soul of WXRT 93.1-FM for 45 years, says she is cutting back her workload at the Entercom adult album alternative station but will “continue to be proud of being part of the XRT family.”

Hemmert, 71, told colleagues in an email today that she plans to step down from her Monday-through-Friday midday shift in a few weeks and switch to “a schedule with much more flexibility.” Continue reading

Hubbard Radio president Drew Horowitz calls it a career

Drew Horowitz

Drew Horowitz, the highly respected and admired Chicago radio executive who rose to become one of the industry’s premier leaders nationwide, is going out on top after 43 years in the business.

Horowitz, 67, announced today he’s retiring at the end of the year as president and chief operating officer of Hubbard Radio, parent company of three stations in Chicago and more than 25 others across the country. Continue reading

Robservations: Jim Lovell shares heavenly thoughts with Sirott & Murciano

Bob Sirott, Marianne Murciano and James Lovell (Photo: WTTW)

Robservations on the media beat:

Capping a week of special programming tied to the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing, WTTW-Channel 11 will air a half-hour interview of former astronaut James Lovell, hosted by Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano. “Sirott & Murciano with Astronaut Jim Lovell” debuts at 10 p.m. July 11 on the Window to the World Communications station. In a wide-ranging and engaging conversation, Lovell, 91, recalls the historic missions of Apollo 8 and Apollo 13, and shares insights about his early years at NASA, his 67-year marriage to Marilyn Lovell and his thoughts about Heaven. The special, taped at Booth One in the Gold Coast and produced by Steve Fanizza, marks a return of sorts for Sirott, who hosted WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” from 2002 to 2005. Continue reading

Robservations: New Crain’s Forum tackles area’s toughest problems

The Crain’s Forum (Image: Daniel Hertzberg)

Robservations on the media beat:

Crain’s Chicago Business has launched an ambitious yearlong project online and in print to address what it calls the “seemingly intractable problems” facing Chicago and Illinois. Starting today, The Crain’s Forum will explore a specific topic in depth each month with a dedicated website (outside the publication’s pay wall) and a six-page special section in print. First up is the state’s unfunded pension system and the path to solvency. (Here is the link.) Future topics will include affordable housing, gun violence and education funding. Hugh Dellios, a former editor at the Chicago Tribune, Associated Press and NPR, is editing the collection of stories, columns and editorials. “The goal is to respectfully and objectively raise the conversation about these issues,” said Jim Kirk, publisher and executive editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. “Most important, we want to make readers aware of the power that information can bring to creating meaningful change in regard to the challenges ahead for our city and state.” Continue reading