Robservations on the media beat:
An Indiana judge granted an order of protection Wednesday against Rafer Weigel, morning news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, in a case involving texts of nude photos and allegations of revenge porn. The order was sought by a Valparaiso woman who alleged she was the victim of harassment by Weigel and his former fiancee. During testimony in Porter County Circuit Court, Weigel invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in declining to answer whether he knew his former fiancee, Kathy Browne, had downloaded explicit photos of the woman from Weigel’s phone and emailed them back to her. Earlier, Weigel received a protective order against the Valparaiso woman in Cook County Circuit Court. In a statement to the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, Weigel’s attorney, Walter Alvarez, said: “I think it’s very shameful that such sexual misadventures between these two must be aired in a court of law. All of Mr. Weigel’s actions were certainly never in a harassment manner towards [the Valparaiso woman].” Weigel, 50, who has not been charged with a crime, was suspended without pay as co-anchor of Fox 32’s “Good Day Chicago.” He’s the son of the late Chicago sports anchor Tim Weigel.
Not even retirement can diminish the love Terri Hemmert’s fans have for her. Four months after she signed off as midday personality at Entercom adult album alternative WXRT 93.1-FM, the Radio Hall of Famer this week was named best radio DJ in the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago 2019 poll. Other media favorites included Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9 as best local TV broadcast news, Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM as best overall radio station, and Charlie Meyerson’s Chicago Public Square as best blog. More than 30,000 people voted in more than 300 categories. Winners will be honored at the Reader’s Best of Chicago party November 19 at Thalia Hall, 1807 South Allport Street. (Here is the link for tickets.)
Chicago’s broadcast industry elite turned out Wednesday night to honor Drew Horowitz on his retirement as president and chief operating officer of Hubbard Radio. Among well-wishers at Joe’s Chicago toasting Horowitz’s 43 years in radio were Eric Ferguson, John Idler, Derek Dalton, Doug Levy, Jeff England, Greg Solk, John Gehron, Paula Hambrick and Harvey Wittenberg. Horowitz, who helped transform hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM into one of Chicago radio’s greatest successes, is stepping down at the end of the year.
Sad to learn of the death in Los Angeles this week of Derk Zimmerman, a smart and savvy television executive who twice served as vice president and general manager of WFLD-Channel 32. He was 85. “The most exciting thing about this business is to be involved in creating product, putting it on the air, nurturing it and seeing it become a success,” he once said. Over a distinguished career, the Buffalo, New York, native rose to president of Group W Productions, president and chief operating officer of Fox Television Stations, and senior vice president of new ventures and business development for CBS. “In my mind he was one of the all time great guys in the biz,” said Al DeVaney, who succeeded Zimmerman as general manager at Fox 32.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: David Juhl: Congratulations to Lisa Labuz! You and Steve Edwards summed up her radio presence perfectly. She has been reliable, authoritative, warm and engaging during mornings on WBEZ these last 20 years. We have been lucky to have her.