Robservations: ABC 7 promotes ‘Windy City’ producer to programming chief

Matt Knutson

Robservations on the media beat:

Matt Knutson, executive producer of “Windy City Live,” has been promoted to director of content innovation at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. He’ll supervise all local programming at the station. “Throughout his tenure at ABC 7, Matt has been a source of innovation and has brought his creativity to every project in which he has been involved,” John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, said in a statement. “His hands-on ability to strategize around premium content across all of our platforms will serve him well in his new role.” Knutson, who grew up in Joliet and graduated from Northern Illinois University, joined ABC 7 after six years at Tribune Media, where he worked as a producer at CLTV and as a supervising producer on “Chicago’s Best.” He helped launch “Windy City Live” as a line producer in 2011 and moved up to executive producer in 2015.  No word yet on his successor at the weekday talk and entertainment show.

Amy Rutledge

Look for Amy Rutledge, the traffic and feature reporter at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, to sign on as a co-host of “The Jam,” the weekday morning talk and entertainment show on Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26. The move will reunite her with executive producer Afua Owusu, former supervising producer of “WGN Morning News.” Monday was Rutledge’s last day at WGN, where a station spokesperson said: “We wish her well.” A native of Schaumburg and graduate of Schaumburg High School and Southern Illinois University, Rutledge joined WGN and CLTV in 2005 after working for stations in Knoxville, Tennessee; Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Evansville, Indiana; and Marion, Illinois.

Olin Kreutz

Olin Kreutz will join former Chicago Bears teammates Lance Briggs, Alex Brown and Matt Forte this season as game-day studio analysts on NBC Sports Chicago. They’ll appear after every Bears game with host Laurence Holmes on “Football Aftershow.” “Olin has established himself as one of the very best NFL analysts in the city and we couldn’t be more pleased to have him join our expert Bears game day coverage team beginning this season,” Kevin Cross, senior vice president/general manager of NBC Sports Chicago, said in a statement. Kreutz will continue to contribute to pregame Bears coverage on Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM.

Mike North

The latest press release from Mike North trumpets his new role as media consultant and spokesperson for VegasScoresAndOdds.com. The longtime Chicago broadcaster (who “retired” from sports radio in 2017) also will host a live sports-betting show for the site on Mondays and Wednesdays. “I’ve immersed myself into the sports handicapping business, like I did the radio talk show industry, when I made the transition from hot dog stand owner to nationally recognized media figure,” North said in a statement. Co-host and producer is Aldo Gandia, North’s partner on the Bears Barroom Radio Network.

David Greising

Chicago’s Better Government Association hopes to tap into an additional stream of financial support with the launch of a new membership program. The nonprofit investigative news organization and government watchdog group this week began offering invitations to special events, quarterly reports and other benefits to members who contribute one-time donations of $100 or more or recurring donations of $10 a month or more. (Here is the link.) “The BGA for nearly a century has fought for honest and accountable government,” said David Greising, president and CEO of the BGA. “Our new membership program will help the public become more a part of that fight, standing with us as we push to hold elected officials accountable and seek better government across Illinois. We demand better!”

Phil Blanchard

Colleagues are remembering Phil Blanchard as a journalist who raised the craft of copyediting to an art form. The former copy editor and wire editor for the Sun-Times died of cancer Friday at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at 65. “His commitment to editing went beyond punching a clock in a newsroom,” recalled longtime friend and former Sun-Times co-worker James Montalbano. “An early adopter of internet technology, he was the creator and longtime administrator of Testy Copy Editors, an online refuge for unheralded wordsmiths worldwide and a place ‘where newspaper copy editors and their fans talk shop.'” Blanchard also worked for The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune News Service.

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Jim Wyman: What a shame that McHenry County is without a local news/sports radio station. The irony is that when the station [WAIT] featured the “Music of Your Life” format, it showed up consistently in the ratings book. The ghost of Mal Bellairs must be troubled at this latest development.