Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago journalist and author Lee Bey, who gained a wide following as architecture critic of the Sun-Times, is returning to the paper as a part-time editorial writer. He’ll work three to four days a week with editorial page editor Tom McNamee. “Lee brings a deep understanding of our city, its people, its architecture, its physical and social landscape and its politics to our newspaper, which helped give him his start as a celebrated writer, photographer, teacher and consultant,” Sun-Times editor-in-chief Chris Fusco told staffers in an email. After five years on the architecture beat, Bey left the Sun-Times in 2001 to serve as deputy chief of staff for architecture and urban planning under former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Now a senior lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago, Bey is author of the critically acclaimed Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side. Other former Sun-Times staffers who’ve recently returned to the fold include Stephanie Zimmermann, David Roeder and Lorraine Forte.
In a followup to the November ratings sweep, Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9 continued its nine-year run as No. 1 from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays among viewers between 25 and 54. “WGN Morning News” won the key demo from 4 to 10 a.m. by substantial margins in most hours. Still dead last in mornings: CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 — despite the latest change of personnel, with Ryan Baker replacing Mike Puccinelli as news co-anchor alongside Erin Kennedy, and Yasmeen Hassan replacing Derrick Young as traffic reporter.
Year-end budget cuts at Mid-West Family Broadcasting have eliminated the position of Mark Zander as operations manager/program director of active rock WXRX 104.9-FM and sports/talk WNTA 1330-AM in Rockford. “I am extremely proud of what we were able to do with WXRX heading into its 30th year of rockin’ Rockford,” he said. Also out is Lori Williams as interactive/digital production manager. Before joining the company in 2016 Zander was program director of Weigel Broadcasting’s soft rock/oldies WRME 87.7-FM and weekend host at Hubbard Radio classic hits WDRV 97.1-FM.
Veteran Chicago news anchors Bill Kurtis and Felicia Middlebrooks will host a fundraiser Monday for the Chicago Headline Club Foundation. Billed as a “Toast to the Truth,” the event will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Narcissus Room of Macy’s Loop store, 111 North State Street. (Here is the link for tickets.) Proceeds will benefit scholarships and intern grants to help train young journalists.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Mark Edwards Edelstein: There are few broadcasters in Chicago with the professionalism, knowledge, and personality of Derrick Brown. If anybody deserves VP “stripes,” it’s him. Congratulations on a very well deserved recognition of your talent and leadership skills.