Robservations: Bill Geist named to Illinois Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame

Bill Geist

Robservations on the media beat:

Bill Geist, who retired in 2018 after 31 years as a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning,” will be inducted this spring in the Illinois Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Champaign, Illinois, Geist graduated from the University of Illinois and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service as a combat photographer in Vietnam. He began his career as a reporter and columnist for the Suburban Trib and later became a New York Times columnist and bestselling author. “Bill Geist’s career is a blueprint for every aspiring journalist,” said John Idler, president and general manager of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and board chairman of the IBA. “As a renowned broadcast and print journalist and award-winning war photographer, Bill’s legacy is one of excellence.” Geist will be inducted June 11 at the IBA’s annual conference in Bloomington-Normal.

Kristen McQueary

Kristen McQueary, columnist and member of the editorial board at the Chicago Tribune, has been promoted to editorial page editor. Effective March 23, she will succeed John McCormick, who has headed the board since 2016. “Kristen’s column is a must-read for political leaders and our digital and print readers,” said Bruce Dold, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Tribune. “As editorial page editor, she will find new ways to grow our readership and will enhance the editorial board mission: to hold public officials to account; push for government transparency, honesty and efficiency; and support free-market principles.” McQueary joined the Tribune in 2012 from Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM and the Chicago News Cooperative. She previously worked for the Daily Southtown and Peoria Journal Star. The Rockford native is a graduate of Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Springfield.

J.P. Anderson

Michigan Avenue magazine, which began as a monthly in 2008 and reduced its frequency to eight issues a year and then to six, is shrinking again. Dickey Publishing’s Modern Luxury Media, which also produces CS (Chicago Social), is moving Michigan Avenue to twice-a-year publication with distribution exclusively in hotels in order to target affluent travelers. “By evolving Michigan Avenue in this way, Modern Luxury can continue to serve our strong hometown audience built up over the past 25 years with CS, while also directly catering to the millions of visitors from around the world who want to live their best life while in Chicago,” said J.P. Anderson, editor-in-chief of Michigan Avenue and CS.

Bob Collins

It’s hard to fathom it’s been 20 years since Radio Hall of Famer Bob Collins died in a plane crash. It’s still harder to fathom the magnitude of the loss of Chicago’s No. 1 radio personality at the peak of his power and popularity. On February 8, 2000, the small plane Collins was piloting collided in mid-air with another aircraft over Zion, killing three. Collins, who was 57, had recently signed a five-year, multimillion-dollar renewal with WGN 720-AM, where he dominated the ratings by a 2-1 margin. A native of Lakeland, Florida, who started in radio at age 14, “Uncle Bobby” joined the news/talk station as afternoon host in 1974 and succeeded Wally Phillips as morning host in 1986. His funeral at Holy Name Cathedral, attended by governors, senators, mayors and 1,300 other mourners, was broadcast live on television and radio. “Some say he lived life on the edge,” Rev. Tom Mulcrone, chaplain of the Chicago Fire Department, said in his eulogy. “But I don’t think that’s fair. Bob Collins simply lived life to the fullest.”

Thursday’s comment of the day: Steve DuBose: I hope the Joliet Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a true rock hall of fame and doesn’t induct folks whose playlist is on heavy rotation on The Lite FM . . .