Robservations on the media beat:
The train wreck known as WBBM-Channel 2’s morning newscast is about to add a familiar face. Ryan Baker, longtime sports anchor at the CBS-owned staton, will join co-anchor Erin Kennedy from 4:30 to 7 a.m. weekdays, starting September 30. “I’m grateful to the station management for having the belief in me as a news anchor,” said Baker, who aced an on-air tryout in August. “I can’t wait to get started.” A south suburban native and University of Illinois graduate, Baker joined CBS 2 in 2008 after five years at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Mike Puccinelli, who’s been co-anchoring with Kennedy since Marissa Bailey was cut in March, will return to reporting duties. Joining the morning team as “breaking news anchor” will be reporter Audrina Bigos. No word yet on who’ll replace Baker as the station’s main sports anchor. It’ll take a miracle to lift CBS 2 out of fifth place in the ratings, where it’s been languishing for years. But Baker may be just the guy to do it. Other Chicago sports anchors who’ve made the leap to news include Corey McPherrin, Tim Weigel (for a short time) and Warner Saunders.
Also new to CBS 2’s morning news is Yasmeen Hassan, who’s signing on as the show’s traffic reporter. Just in from KOVR, the CBS-owned station in Sacramento, California, Hassan replaces Derrick Young, who was cut last week after eight years at the station. The Egyptian-born Hassan, a graduate of the University of Arizona, previously worked for KTNV, the ABC affiliate in Las Vegas; KVEW, the ABC affiliate in Kennewick, Washington; and KTVK, the CBS affiliate in Phoenix.
With Goli Sheikholeslami leaving to run New York Public Radio, the search is underway for her successor as president and chief executive officer of Chicago Public Media, parent company of news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM. Until then, Steve Edwards, vice president and chief content officer at WBEZ, will serve as interim CEO. “Goli leaves remarkably big shoes to fill, but I’m honored by the opportunity to build on her legacy and to lead the team during this interim period as we continue our efforts to serve more Chicagoans with the outstanding journalism and programming our community needs,” he said in a statement. Edwards has told friends he’s not interested in the top job permanently and has taken himself out of consideration.
Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 will mark the 25th anniversary of its top-rated morning newscast with a two-hour primetime celebration Tuesday. Airing live from 7 to 9 p.m. (and streaming at wgntv.com/live), the special will look back at memorable moments, including the infamous bridge implosion fail, Tom Skilling’s legendary cameos, and the anchors’ earliest days at WGN. Viewers are invited to vote on their favorite clips from an array of highlights. (Here is the link.) Heading the show’s superb ensemble cast are news anchors Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten.
An exhibit of political cartoons by the Chicago Tribune’s Scott Stantis will open Tuesday at Loyola University School of Communication, 51 East Pearson Street. The opening night event, starting at 7 p.m., will feature a panel discussion on “Political Cartoons: Then and Now” at Regents Hall, 111 East Pearson Street. Joining Stantis will be historian Tim Benson, avid collector Anthony Mourek and moderator Mariam Pera. Admission is free. (Here is the link to register.)
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Mark Quinn: The addition of Ann Dwyer and other Crain’s staffers to the regular lineup at “Chicago Tonight” will make Chicago’s best television program even better. Ann is personable, concise, and insightful, and everyone needs to know more about business and economics. Great move on WTTW’s part.
A personal note: I’m posting sporadically here for the next few weeks, but I’ll be back on the beat full-time soon. In the meantime, be sure to catch every post by signing up for free email alerts. Just enter your email address in the box to the right under “Subscribe to Feder.”