Robservations on the media beat:
With the demise of Tribune Publishing’s Spanish-language weekly Hoy, a newcomer is hoping to fill the void. On Friday the Sun-Times will publish La Voz (“The Voice”) Chicago, a Spanish supplement wrapping around the regular paper. Featuring Sun-Times news and sports stories translated from English along with some original content, it’s being labeled an experiment for now. “The idea is to test how our content appeals to Spanish-speaking readers and then reach out to stakeholders in the Latino community — and advertisers more generally — to see if there’s a product we can build sometime next year,” Sun-Times Media interim CEO Nykia Wright and editor-in-chief Chris Fusco wrote in a letter to readers Tuesday. “We know Univision, Telemundo, La Raza, the Daily Herald’s Reflejos newspaper and others all serve Spanish-speaking people, and we respect the work those news organizations do. But the passing of Hoy seems like an opportunity for us to engage Latino readers, listen to what they want and potentially add a new voice into the mix.”
Two new Saturday morning programs are coming to Chicago’s classic music station in the New Year. WFMT 98.7-FM will air “Saturday Morning Listener’s Choice” at 8 a.m, and “Soundtrack” at 9 a.m., starting January 4. “Listener’s Choice” is billed as a weekly family-friendly classical request and dedication show, and “Soundtrack” will feature music from movies, TV shows and video games. Both one-hour programs will be hosted by Maggie Clennon Reberg. “We often hear from audience members that their very first exposure to classical music was on WFMT when they were young,” said George Preston, vice president and general manager of the Window to the World Communications station. “We want to open the door for our listeners to share that special experience, hopefully creating great memories and fostering a lifelong love of the genre in future generations.”
Television historian and archivist Steve Jajkowski has left Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications after 19 years. His position as director of digitization and preservation was eliminated. Susy Schultz, executive director of the museum, said she is working with Media Burn, the Chicago-based nonprofit video archive founded by Tom Weinberg. “We are very grateful to Steve for his work,” Schultz said. “But we know that Media Burn has the equipment and technical expertise to help us move quickly to preserve the historical treasures in our archives.” Valerie Kyriakopoulos continues as the museum’s archive director. Jajkowski also co-wrote Chicago Television, published in 2010 by Arcadia Publishing.
ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 is turning back the clock Wednesday with a nifty promo for “Eyewitness News” front-liners Alan Krashesky, Cheryl Burton, Mark Giangreco and Cheryl Scott. Produced with old-school style logo, graphics, music, announcing and editing, the retro promo will air during primetime to coincide with ABC’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” re-creating episodes of the ’70s sitcoms “All in the Family” and “Good Times” from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Congratulations to Chicago radio veterans Shel Lustig and Reed Pence on the 30th anniversary of Des Plaines-based MediaTracks Communications, the leading producer of nationally syndicated public affairs radio programming. The two co-founded the company in 1989 from a makeshift studio in Pence’s basement. Today its flagship broadcast, “Radio Health Journal,” reaches 3 million listeners a week on more than 600 radio stations. “Reliable, high-quality, syndicated public affairs programming is a must in today’s competitive radio landscape,” Lustig said in a statement. “The key to our success and longevity has always been our ability to adapt with the times and meet our affiliates’ changing needs.”
Monday’s comment of the day: Peggy Kusinski: This is too bad. I’ll never forget Mike Adams, our news director, giving me my BIG BREAK here in Chicago offering me a job on Christmas Day 1992. He told me: “You are raw and don’t have a lot of experience but you talk about sports like you are in a bar – keep that up!” My first week on the air Mike Ditka was fired and I did my first through who knows how many live shots every hour. From “SportsPage” guests like Jerry Reinsdorf and Stan Mikita to Mark Grace’s infamous appearance and yes, even Jim Shorts calling in when Kevin Butler was my guest. We were new and so many in the sports world were patient in allowing me to learn on the air. Thank you, CLTV!