Robservations on the media beat:
Crain’s Chicago Business and The Daily Line, the subscription newsletter on state and local politics, are teaming up to launch The Chicago Index, a quarterly opinion poll on policy and government issues in Chicago and Illinois. Along with ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as broadcast partner, The Chicago Index will debut in February with results of a survey that will gauge public sentiment and voter satisfaction with government leaders, elected officials and the governments serving them. (Here is the link.) “By pairing the Daily Line’s deep focus on public policy and governmental issues with Crain’s authoritative politics coverage and commitment to fostering useful public policy discussions, we believe this project will help us all better understand the evolving priorities of Chicago-area residents and drive positive change,” said Jim Kirk, publisher and executive editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. Added Daily Line publisher Don Vincent: “This project fills an unmet need in Chicago for an ongoing, independent assessment of public sentiment on key issues that will give decision-makers the baseline knowledge they need to implement useful policies.” Survey participants may sign up for free at TheChicagoIndex.com.
Kim Gordon, afternoon news anchor at WGN 720-AM, has resigned after 15 years as an anchor and reporter at the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station. Until a permanent replacement is named, reporter Lauren Lapka will be filling in as news anchor on Steve Bertrand’s afternoon show, according to Mary Sandberg Boyle, vice president and general manager of WGN. All signs point to Gordon joining Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM where she would replace John Dempsey as news anchor on Big John Howell’s afternoon show. But WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor said nothing is official. “We are still working on this with two to three finalists,” she said. When Tichenor was director of news and operations at WGN, she promoted Gordon to succeed Judy Pielach in afternoons in 2019. Pielach now co-hosts mornings at WLS. Soon all three could be working together at WLS.
Alumni of The Chicago Reporter will gather for an online reunion this week as the nonprofit investigative news organization approaches its 50th anniversary. Ayana Contreras, host of “Reclaimed Soul” on Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo platform, will appear as special guest at the celebration, which will stream live on the Instagram account of the Chicago Reader, starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. (Here is the link.) “We’re hosting the event to celebrate all of the Reporter’s supporters over the years — from alumni to civic leaders — and the racial justice activism that swept across the city in 2020,” said Laura Washington, former editor and publisher of the Reporter. Washington now is political analyst for ABC 7 and columnist for the Sun-Times.
Chicago, hello: The death of talk show legend Larry King at 87 Saturday brought back memories of an autumn afternoon in 1984 — about a year before he joined CNN — when King came to Chicago to promote his all-night call-in show on the Mutual Broadcasting System, then airing on WIND 560-AM. “You can’t teach curiosity,” King told me at that first meeting. “If you’re more interested in the sounds of your own voice, you’re a bad interviewer. If you’re complicated, you’re a bad interviewer. And if you’re really not curious, you’re a bad interviewer. You can tell when someone’s really curious or just going through the motions. I think it’s an in-born thing. I’ve always had it.”
Friday’s comment of the day: Joseph Carano: If NBC Sports Chicago has no intention of covering Chicago sports, declare bankruptcy and please move on. Paying plenty on satellite, cable, etc. to support what is left of their coverage.