Robservations: ABC 7’s ‘Windy City Live’ reconnects from hosts’ homes

Ryan Chiaverini

Robservations on the media beat:

Val Warner

For the first time since it stopped production on March 13, “Windy City Live” is returning with new content — just as the May rating sweep gets underway. Starting Tuesday, Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini will host the first half-hour of the show from their respective living rooms, followed by material from past seasons. Their first new guest will be Deon Cole of ABC’s “Black-ish.” No word yet on when a live studio audience will return to the talk and entertainment show, which airs at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Said Chiaverini: “We are certainly excited to reconnect with our viewers in this new normal. I think this has made everybody appreciate the little things in life a lot more, and how fast it can be taken away.”

Milton “Trey” Arline

At a time of newsroom cutbacks throughout the country, it’s encouraging to see the addition of five new reporters to Chicago area news organizations this week. They’re among 225 reporters just deployed by Report for America. Joining the Daily Herald to cover Lake County and its minority community is Milton “Trey” Arline, a graduate of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Other local hires include Anthony Vazquez and Manny Ramos at the Sun-Times, and Jake Wittich and Pascal Sabino at Block Club Chicago. “The COVID-19 crisis underscores how vitally important a strong local media ecosystem is,” said Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation, a leading funder of the positions. “Journalists will be at the forefront of helping us search for answers as we rebuild and address so many challenging public policy questions laid bare by the virus. Investing in journalists is investing in our future, so we’re proud to support Report for America as it adds much needed muscle to newsrooms.”

Kelly Bauer

Also at Block Club Chicago, reporter Kelly Bauer was promoted this week to breaking news editor. The Northern Illinois University graduate and former editor-in-chief of the Northern Star student newspaper worked for DNAinfo Chicago before joining Block Club Chicago at its inception in 2018. Most recently she has led coronavirus coverage. “As a breaking news editor, Kelly will help us get vital information to our readers as quickly and accurately as possible,” said Jen Sabella, director of strategy and co-founder of the nonprofit digital news site.

Rory Spears

“Golfers on Golf Radio,” billed as Chicago’s longest running golf show, tees off its 30th season on a new station this weekend. Through the end of September it will air at 10 a.m. Saturdays on Newsweb Radio news/talk WCPT 820-AM. “Even though things are tough right now for everyone with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all of us at ‘Golfers on Golf’ are looking forward to returning to the airwaves at our new home,” said Rory Spears, who hosts the show with Ed Stevenson and Bill Berger. Len Ziehm, the Daily Herald golf columnist, joins the show as a contributor once or twice a month.

WVON

WVON 1690-AM, the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station, has canceled the 10th annual Taste of WVON scheduled for July 18. The popular summer festival drew more than 30,000 participants to Chicago State University. “It was a tough call because of the pre-planning associated with our milestone celebration, but we are confident that we have made the right decision,” said Melody Spann Cooper, CEO of Midway Broadcasting. Plans are underway to produce a virtual version of the festival.

Thursday’s comment of the day: Thom Serafin: John Kass earned his way the hard way; he’s a man of principal and family. His journalism career is a credit to his family’s blue collar work ethic. He writes from his heart. And it’s OK to disagree with him and with each other. But there is no need ever for the ridiculous personal attacks. Healing with each other is the only path into the future. As Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”