Robservations on the media beat:
“I’m Back,” a one-hour podcast chronicling Michael Jordan’s return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995 — including the revelation that he secretly worked out with the Golden State Warriors before his comeback to the NBA — has just been produced by NBC Sports Chicago. It includes new interviews with players Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Horace Grant, Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Rod Higgins, Dominique Wilkins, Robert Horry, Glen Rice and LeBron James, agent David Falk, trainer Tim Grover and former NBA exec Brian McIntyre. (Here is the link.) It’s the first in a six-episode series of “Sports Uncovered” podcast documentaries being produced by the various NBC Sports Regional Networks. Hosted by Mike Tirico, future episodes will be released on successive Thursdays through July 2.
David Snyder, former publisher of Crain’s Chicago Business, has been named president and CEO of the Economic Club of Chicago. It’s a perfect fit for Snyder, whose 33-year career with Crain’s put him in the forefront of local business. Since leaving Crain’s at the end of 2016 he’s been chief operating officer of Chicago CRED (Creating Real Economic Destiny), a nonprofit initiative focusing on gun violence on Chicago’s South and West Sides. “As we approach the club’s 100th anniversary, I look forward to building on its rich history, global stature and local commitment, in a way that honors past successes and bridges to the future,” Snyder said in a statement. “With deep knowledge of the club and experience creating both in person and virtual content, my mission is to deliver the highest quality programming and relationship building in new ways to best serve our members now and in the future.”
In addition to eliminating the positions of legendary investigative reporter Pam Zekman and at least five other on-air employees, Wednesday’s mass layoffs at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 cost the jobs of numerous other staffers. One who spoke out Thursday was Wendy Widom, who had been social media manager at CBS 2 since 2014. “I am so deeply grateful for every single day that I got to listen to your stories, opinions and ideas and do my best to share them,” Widom wrote on Facebook. “Over just one week during this pandemic, more than two dozen people had their voices heard because of your comments, tags and messages here. That’s only one week. Multiply that out by six years, and that means we did some really important work together. Thank you so much for trusting me.”
The Illinois Rock and Roll Museum on Route 66 in Joliet isn’t even open and it’s already winning awards. An interview taped for the museum with legendary Chicago radio personality Clark Weber shortly before his death earlier this year just received a Telly Award in the online biography category. (Here is the link.) The awards, founded in 1979, honor video and television made for all screens. Weber was interviewed by Bob Sirott, morning host on Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM and a member of the museum advisory board. Weber and Sirott were old friends, which made a great interview that much more special.
Recipes from more than 90 top chefs and bartenders in Chicago area have been compiled in a new cookbook published by the Chicago Reader. Reader Recipes: Chicago Cooks and Drinks at Home is available as a PDF download for $30 and as a print edition and PDF download for $55. (Here is the link.) Fifteen percent of the book’s sales will benefit Comp Tab Relief Fund, an alliance to help hospitality workers who’ve been laid off or furloughed. The Reader has lost 90 percent of its advertising in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to publisher Tracy Baim.
The Illinois Press Association announced plans Thursday to sell its headquarters in Springfield. The 12,000-square-foot building, built in 2000, is too big for the current needs of the association and its foundation. “The need for office space lessens with advances in technology,” said Sam Fisher, the group’s president and CEO. “The association plans on finding more suitable space, and the sale of the building will provide additional money for the foundation to expand support of its many efforts, in particular Capitol News Illinois.”
Thursday’s comment of the day: Steve Robinson: It was my great pleasure to have worked with Rich Warren for 16 of his 37 years at WFMT. I always marveled at his dedication, passion, commitment, feistiness (yes, there is that) and his complete devotion to Chicago’s folk music scene and to folk musicians around the country. I remember one fundraising broadcast that originated at a folk music conference in Texas. Because he never liked the spotlight, Rich stationed himself for one concert broadcast in a corner of the room but the headliner spotted him. It was Judy Collins and before she started her set she launched into a five-minute tribute to Rich and all that he had done for folk music in his career. I know there are hundreds if not thousands of musicians who would echo her thoughts, and I also know there are countless loyal “Midnight Special” listeners over the years who have loved Rich and shown that love by making the “Special” one of the great fundraising success stories of every single pledge drive WFMT ever conducted. To have gone 37 years without missing a single Saturday night program is a great achievement, and I take my hat off to Rich for his singular contribution to broadcasting and folk music.