Robservations on the media beat:
Are two meteorologists better than one? Alicia Roman this week joined Andy Avalos on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5’s weekday morning newscast. “We’re going to kind of tag-team the weather together and bring you a closer look at some metro forecasts on a daily basis,” Avalos told viewers. Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said Avalos continues as the main morning meteorologist with Roman joining him three days a week with “additional coverage on the big weather story of the day.” She also will appear on Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts. In addition to Avalos and Roman, NBC 5’s weather team includes Brant Miller, Pete Sack and newcomer Paul Deanno.
Chicago radio veteran Tommy Edwards is stepping down Saturday after 25 seasons as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. He and his wife, Mary Lou, have sold their house in Lake Forest and are moving to California. “My time with the Bulls has been a dream come true, and I feel so fortune to have spent a total of 25 seasons with this iconic franchise,” he said in a statement. “I will forever be a Bulls fan.” Edwards, long known as the late Larry Lujack’s “Animal Stories” partner Lil’ Tommy, retired from local radio in 2014, capping a 54-year career as a major market star.
A longtime west suburban Chicago publisher is taking a radical approach to staying in business. Oak Park-based Wednesday Journal Publications, which includes four award-winning weekly newspapers, is going nonprofit after nearly 40 years. Publisher Dan Haley told the Illinois Press Association he hopes up to 40 percent of the funding for print and digital operations will come from philanthropic donations. Advertising and print subscriptions will continue to be sold. “Our roots are deep in our communities,” Haley was quoted as saying. “If anyone could pull this off, it might be us.”
Joe Ward, a former reporter for DNAinfo Chicago and The Real Deal, has joined Block Club Chicago as a full-time reporter covering the Uptown and Rogers Park neighborhoods. The nonprofit subscription-based digital news site was founded by former editors of DNAinfo Chicago. “I’m honored to be working again with my ex-DNAinfo family to bring vital neighborhood news to Chicago,” he tweeted. Ward grew up on the South Side and graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Since its launch in 2018 Block Club has grown from five to nine full-time reporters.
Alex Luke, former program director of alternative rock WKQX 101.1-FM, has been named senior vice president of digital content for SiriusXM and Pandora. Luke, who has held senior posts at Napster, Apple and EMI Music, most recently was global head of programming and content strategy at Amazon Music. SiriusXM and Pandora boast a combined reach of more than 100 million listeners. Under Emmis Communications Luke headed programming at WKQX from 1997 to 1999.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Mike Leiderman: Derk Zimmerman was the best general manager I ever had. He knew the business, he knew corporate structure, he knew people. He had vision. He allowed me and my family to stay in Chicago. God bless Susan and the family. An incalculable loss.