Robservations: PBS documentary recalls Chicago’s ‘First Rainbow Coalition’

“The First Rainbow Coalition”

Robservations on the media beat:

In 1969 the Chicago Black Panther Party formed an unlikely alliance with the Latino Young Lords Organization and the southern white Young Patriots group to combat segregation, police brutality and substandard housing in Chicago. Although the “Rainbow Coalition,” as it was called, lasted only until 1973, it served as an organizing model for future activists and politicians across the nation. Now it’s the subject of a one-hour documentary by filmmaker Ray Santisteban. Featuring rare archival footage and interviews with former coalition members, “The First Rainbow Coalition” premieres tonight on the PBS series “Independent Lens.” It airs here at 10 p.m. on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11.

Meredith Kachel

Now in its fifth season, Tony Lossano’s “Lossano and Friends!” podcast this week welcomes a new co-host. Meredith Kachel, a Chicago comedian, producer, artist, teacher and frequent guest on the show, debuts Tuesday as Lossano’s partner. Their guests include LeeAnn Trotter of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, Danielle Tufano of Alpha Media classic hits WERV 95.9-FM, and Adam Burke of NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” The weekly podcast originates from the Radio Hall of Fame studios at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Sheldon Cooper

Sheldon Cooper was eulogized Friday as one of the “founding fathers of American television” who never lost his humility or his gift for connecting with people. Family and friends gathered at Temple Sholom of Chicago to share stories of his life and career, including his crowning achievement — “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault” in 1986 — which still stands as the highest-rated syndicated special in TV history. The former general manager of WGN-Channel 9 and first president of Tribune Entertainment died January 19 at 93.

Sheldon Drobny

Sheldon Drobny, the Chicago investor who founded Air America Radio, the first progressive talk radio network, died of pancreatic cancer Friday at his home in Highland Park. He was 74. With Al Franken, Rachel Maddow and Marc Maron among its initial hosts, Air America Radio ran from 2004 to 2010. Drobny and his wife, Anita, also founded Nova M Radio to acquire stations in areas where liberal talk radio was underrepresented. A graduate of Von Steuben High School and Roosevelt University and a certified public accountant, Drobny was founder, chairman and managing director of the investment firm Paradigm Group II. He wrote two books, Road to Air America: Breaking the Right Wing Stranglehold on Our Nation’s Airwaves and The Dark Side of American History. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie.

Friday’s comment of the day: Carol Marin: Paul [Meincke], you’ve always had a great heart . . . now greater still! Get well, be well. Love, CM