Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a legion of colleagues past and present honored columnist Mary Mitchell Friday on her stepping down after 29 years as a daily voice of compassion and clarity at the Sun-Times. She’ll continue to contribute occasional columns and attend editorial board meetings. “You are to be celebrated as a great Chicago icon,” Lightfoot told Mitchell at the gathering at Taste 222 on the Near West Side. “And I am really, really grateful for everything that you’ve brought and for the path that you’ve blazed for other women of color — and particularly black women — in a really tough industry.”
Ron Mott, an NBC News correspondent based in Chicago, turned up over the weekend as a fill-in news anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. He substituted on NBC 5’s Saturday and Sunday night newscasts for Dick Johnson, who returns next week. At this point, no further appearances on the anchor desk are planned for Mott, according to Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news. Mott worked as a news anchor and reporter for stations in Kansas City and Burlington, Vermont, before joining NBC News in 2005.
Bob Brynteson, the former morning personality on adult contemporary WLIT 93.9-FM, is using his considerable media skills to raise awareness of a progressive lung disease. Brynteson, 72, was diagnosed three years ago with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which causes scarring and irreversible loss of human tissue’s ability to transport oxygen. He just launched IPF Network as an online platform for podcasts with patients and caregivers to provide their personal stories. (Here is the link.) “I feel that there is a huge need to draw more attention to our battle, and in my mind there’s nothing more powerful than the spoken word,” he said. “It is my hope that this will lead to a greater understanding of what this terrible disease is.” In addition to his 12-year run on Lite FM, which ended in 2000, Brynteson’s Chicago radio career included stints with news/talk WLS 890-AM and the former adult-contemporary WCLR.
The future of northwest suburban WAIT 850-AM is up in the air since Newsweb Radio ceased broadcasting “La Promesa,” the time-brokered Spanish-language Christian format, in July. Since then the Crystal Lake-based station briefly played an eclectic mix of music before shifting to nonstop InfoTrak public-affairs talk shows. If the company is trying to sell WAIT, they’re not saying so. “We are weighing various options as to our future brokered programming,” said Mark Pinski, general manager of the Newsweb Radio stations.
WGN-Channel 9 has confirmed a September 16 premiere date for “The Mel Robbins Show,” a syndicated daytime talk show being launched by Tribune Broadcasting and Sony Pictures Television. Robbins, a motivational speaker, life strategist and author, is CEO and co-founder of The Confidence Project, a media and digital learning company. WGN will air the show at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, replacing one of two daily runs of “Maury,” the execrable syndicated talk show hosted by Maury Povich.
Friday’s comment of the day: Alan Solomon: Always have been a Schanowski fan and look forward to his work in a new role. But a question: Is there a college or university that teaches the art of cranking out farewell statements that sound as if they were generated by one of Putin’s lower-echelon bots? (I’d wager Mark didn’t write this.) “Basketball has always been my favorite sport, and I am excited about the prospects for the Bulls to show significant improvement in the season ahead. I will be watching the Bulls and the rest of the NBA teams very closely and look forward to continuing to contribute to NBC Sports Chicago’s coverage on all our various platforms.”