Robservations on the media beat:
There’s a brand new masthead in town. The Chicago Star officially debuted this week as a subscription-based monthly publication with a focus on “uplifting news.” (Here is the link.) With an initial distribution of 30,000, it’s a combination and expansion of former hyperlocal monthlies New Eastside News and Streeterville News, using artificial intelligence to generate much of its content. “We are thrilled to launch this great resource for Chicago,” said Elaine Hyde, publisher and editor of Chicago Star Media. Candace Jordan, the former Chicago Tribune “Candid Candace” columnist, has been named contributing editor of the Chicago Star. Among its advisory board members are Leslie Hindman, Michael Kutza, Sherren Leigh, Sargent McCormick, Maria Pappas, Alexander Pissios, Howard Tullman and Phil Vettel.
Richard Maginn resigned this week as managing editor of NewsNation, the Chicago-based news startup launched by Nexstar Media Group. His departure follows that of Sandy Pudar, who quit after one year as news director. Maginn, a seasoned Chicago news manager, spent 19 years at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 (including 14 as executive producer of the 10 p.m. newscast) before joining NBC-owned WMAQ as managing editor in 2015. No word on replacements for Pudar or Maginn.
Erika Maldonado, news anchor at Univision Chicago WGBO-Channel 66, will moderate the 2021 Career Day this weekend sponsored by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the free virtual event will feature a panel of industry professionals offering employment tips and career advice. (Here is the link to register.) Among panelists will be Brad Edwards of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, Anita Padilla of Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, and Jeff Wilson of Nexstar WGN-Channel 9 and Antenna TV.
As one of the newest members of the board of Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications, Andrea Darlas is stepping up to moderate a panel on “Building Reputations and Resiliency: Women in Radio.” Starting at 7 p.m. Monday, the online event for Women’s History Month will feature Chicago broadcast luminaries Melissa Forman, Joan Esposito and Bonnie DeShong. Cost to participate is $10. (Here is the link to register.)
John Spataro has been named general manager of Franklin Media Group, overseeing daily operations of the Illinois Radio Network. Promoted from head of affiliate and sales operations, he joined the network in 2016 after working for stations in Elmhurst and Princeton, Illinois. Calling Spataro “an outstanding performer,” Chris Krug, president of Franklin Media Group said: “He’s set a standard for excellence in ensuring the highest quality content and delivery for Illinois Radio Network’s affiliates and partners. . . . John has played a significant role in our emergence as a statewide news, sports and information leader.”
Rick DiMaio, the longtime Chicago meteorologist, is now an author too. He’s just written Weather and Aviation Volumes I and II, online textbooks on meteorology and aviation released by Great River Learning Publishing. “If you see how pilots utilize weather information in the cockpit, gone are the bulky maps and long flight plans that are static and obsolete as soon as they leave the gate,” said DiMaio, who spent years as flight operations aviation meteorologist for United Airlines. “They all have iPads which update the weather via internet or satellite much more efficiently and effectively. I want my students at Lewis University to be those future pilots, air traffic controllers, and flight dispatchers that makes flying safer and more comfortable.”
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Joan Marie Esposito: I wish Cheryl [Burton] had gone to Mark [Giangreco], and he would have apologized. Do you know how many times on air he alluded to me having a plentiful rear end? I thought he was funny like a snot-nosed younger brother. I was never offended, but I know if I had been he would have felt awful. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. It would be tragic if his career ended over this.