Robservations: On eve of cancellation, ‘Worldview’ host wins Studs Terkel Award

Jerome McDonnell

Robservations on the media beat:

Just days before ending his 25-year run as host of “Worldview” on Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM, Jerome McDonnell has been named recipient of a 2019 Studs Terkel Community Media Award. His Monday-through-Friday noon talk show on international affairs was canceled to make room for a new local talk show to air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting October 14. McDonnell’s last broadcast will be October 4. He’s expected to shift to reporting on energy and environmental issues for the public radio station.

Deborah Douglas

This year’s other Studs Terkel Award winners are Deborah Douglas, managing editor of MLK 50: Justice Through Journalism; Annie Sweeney, criminal justice reporter for the Chicago Tribune; and Britt Julious, freelance writer and editor. Now in their 25th year, the prestigious awards are presented by Public Narrative, the nonprofit community media organization. They’re named for the late Chicago author and broadcaster. The group also will cite Jeff McCarter, founder and executive director of Free Spirit Media, with its Uplifting Voices Award, and Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead reporter of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project, with its first Ripple Effect Award. All six will be honored October 17 at Zhou B. Art Center, 1029 West 35th Street. (Here is the link for tickets.)

Paul Deanno

A fifth meteorologist is about to join the weather front at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. Paul Deanno, chief meteorologist at CBS-owned KPIX in San Francisco, will sign on October 21 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. The Syracuse University graduate previously worked at KOMO, the ABC affiliate in Seattle, and WTVJ, the NBC-owned station in Miami. At NBC 5 he’ll work with Brant Miller, Andy Avalos, Alicia Roman and Kalee Dionne. Roman and Dionne will be helping Avalos with morning weather “as well as continuing to handle weekend weather and creating additional weather content for our digital platforms,” according to Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news.

Tracy Butler

Tracy Butler, morning meterorologist at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, disclosed this week that she recently underwent treatment for breast cancer. She delivered an emotional public service announcement about early detection. “I’m good. I’m really doing so very well,” she said. “The strength and support of my family and my very close friends has been instrumental in such a positive outcome. But my message is one of motivation to everyone to pay attention to you. Give yourself a gift and take care of you.” Colleagues and viewers have rallied to her side. Butler, who grew up in Pittsburgh, joined ABC 7 in 1994 from ABC affiliate WRIC in Richmond, Virginia.

Fox 32

Here we go again: This time it’s all Fox-owned stations (including WFLD-Channel 32) dropped from Dish Network and Sling TV in the latest retransmission dispute. Both sides blame each other for the blackout, which began Thursday. Dish says Fox is “demanding a double-digit percentage rate increase for continued carriage of its local channels” and “attempting to ‘force bundle’ its local channels and unrelated cable networks to get more money and gain negotiating leverage.” Fox says Dish is “choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers . . . in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands.”

Comment of the day: Lawrence Peter Yolles: Bravo to you, Jerome [McDonnell] for your great service to all the listeners these many years. “Worldview” was a unique show and part of BEZ’s programming, and one of the best on WBEZ. Its proposed replacement, as it has been described and explained, does not give one much hope or trust that it will be something original or indispensable enough to be worth the loss.

A personal note: I’ve been posting sporadically here lately, 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.”