Robservations: Chicago Reporter names Glenn Reedus interim editor

Glenn Reedus (Photo: WTTW/Chicago Tonight)

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago Reporter

Glenn Reedus, a longtime Chicago journalist and former editor at the Chicago Defender and Chicago Crusader, has been named interim editor and publisher of the Chicago Reporter. The future of the 48-year-old investigative news organization has been in doubt since September when Fernando Diaz was ousted as editor-in-chief and publisher, and the Reporter suspended publication. “The interim role gives me the opportunity to bring Chicago Reporter readers true in-depth journalism that digs deep for the facts, present them with balance and avoid conjecture and speculation as too often is the case today,” Reedus said in a statement. News of his hiring was hailed by alumni of the Reporter, who pressed for its continued editorial independence. “Reedus faces many challenges,” said Laura Washington, a former editor and publisher. “He must hire a staff of reporters and other personnel; fulfill The Chicago Reporter’s commitment to collaborations with other news organizations; and initiate new investigations and data projects.” Continue reading

Jeannie Morris 1935-2020

Jeannie Morris (Photo: Chicago Bears)

Jeannie Morris, a celebrated journalist, bestselling author, globe-trotting adventurer, and award-winning producer and reporter, blazed a trail for women as Chicago’s first female sports broadcaster.

Morris, who turned 85 on December 2, died Monday at her Chicago condominium. For the past year she had been undergoing chemotherapy for appendiceal cancer, according to her family. Continue reading

‘New guy’ Bruce St. James launches morning show at WLS 890 AM today

Bruce St. James

For Bruce St. James it’s only about a block’s walk from his Streeterville apartment to the studios of Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM at NBC Tower.

But when he takes the predawn stroll there today he’ll be making the biggest move of his career.

Airing from 5:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on the once-glorious 50,000-watt powerhouse, “The Bruce St. James Show” will mark the pinnacle of a radio odyssey that began on an overnight shift in Tucson, where St. James attended the University of Arizona. Continue reading

WGN’s Dean Richards bounces back from COVID-19 experience

Dean Richards

Dean Richards, the veteran Chicago media personality, entertainment critic and talk show host, returns to work this weekend — two weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19.

For at least the next week or so, Richards said, he’ll broadcast from his home. On Sunday he’ll be back on Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM, where “Dean Richards’ Sunday Morning” airs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The following day he’ll return to “WGN Morning News” on Nexstar Media Group WGN-Channel 9. Continue reading

Robservations: ABC 7’s Alan Krashesky ‘doing well’ after surgery

Alan Krashesky

Robservations on the media beat:

Alan Krashesky, principal news anchor at top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, has been off the air since November 25. Now comes word he’ll be out for the rest of the year following surgery for an undisclosed ailment. “After a planned surgical procedure, I’m recovering at home and doing well,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers and am looking forward to being back on the ABC 7 anchor desk sometime in January. Until then, wishing our viewers a very happy and safe holiday season.” Krashesky, 60, joined ABC 7 in 1982 and succeeded Ron Magers in the 10 p.m. anchor chair in 2016. Continue reading

Robservations: ABC 7’s Terrell Brown hosts ‘Living While Black’

Terrell Brown

Robservations on the media beat:

Terrell Brown, morning news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, spent days inside the South Shore home of Tierra and Jermaine Muhammad, where they raised five children in a neighborhood of crime and violence. The result is “Our Chicago: Living While Black,” a half-hour special airing at 11:30 p.m. Sunday. “I was with the Muhammad family from sunup to sundown,” said Brown, who doubles as host and producer of the segment. “I learned how they played the hand they were given, and navigated tough circumstances to find solid footing and success. I didn’t want to narrate or get in the way of their truth. This is their story and I wanted them to tell it in their own words.” The ABC 7 special also reports on the struggle for healthcare services in Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods. Continue reading

WGN’s Paul Konrad suspends social media as ‘healthy personal decision’

Paul Konrad

It’s been more than two weeks since Paul Konrad surprised fans by announcing he was “taking the rest of the year off of social media.” No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. No Snark.

“I have been growing in my conviction that social media is taking me away from things that are really important to me. It distracts me and doesn’t help me be my best,” Konrad declared in his final post of the year on November 22. “See you in 2021.” Continue reading

Robservations: Melissa McGurren ‘really sorry’ to be missing from The Mix

Melissa McGurren (Facebook video)

Robservations on the media beat:

As her disappearance from the popular WTMX 101.9-FM morning show she co-hosts with Eric Ferguson continues without explanation, Melissa McGurren released a Facebook video expressing sorrow for her monthslong absence. “I just wanted to say I appreciate all the messages and notes on Facebook and Instagram, and I just don’t want anybody to worry that anybody’s sick or has COVID or anything like that,” McGurren said. (Here is the link.) “We’re, thank goodness, all healthy in our family and I hope that you’re all healthy in your family. I pray for that every single night. But I just didn’t want anybody to worry. And I’m really sorry that I haven’t been there. I really truly am. I want to just make sure that I wished everybody a happy belated Thanksgiving and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and miss you all. Thanks, you guys. OK, love you all. Thank you for all those great messages. Thank you so much. Bye bye.” Asked to comment on McGurren’s status with the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station, vice president of brand and content Jimmy Steal said: “Melissa is taking some additional time off around the holidays.” Continue reading

Robservations: Dish Network blackout of Nexstar stations exploits viewers

Dish Network

Robservations on the media beat:

While Dish Network and Nexstar Media Group continue to play hardball on a retransmission agreement, viewers of “Chicago’s Very Own” WGN-Channel 9 and WGN America cable network were plunged into darkness Wednesday night by the satellite TV provider. WGN and 163 other Nexstar stations in 115 markets nationwide were affected by the dispute over carriage fees. “This record-breaking blackout is not only exploitative, but also an endangerment to the health and safety of countless Americans who rely on their local news for up-to-date coronavirus information,” said a spokesperson for American Television Alliance, a coalition of interested groups. Noting a similar move Tuesday involving AT&T and Tegna stations outside of Chicago, the ATVA added: “We thought the ongoing global pandemic may have curbed big broadcast from leveraging consumer access during retrans negotiations. Unfortunately, two separate major blackouts this week alone have proven us wrong.” Continue reading