Robservations: Jenny Valliere joins The Mix as midday host, music director

Jenny Valliere

Robservations on the media beat:

Just in from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jenny Valliere has been hired as midday personality and music director at WTMX 101.9-FM, the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station. She succeeds Nikki Chuminatto, who shifted to Eric Ferguson’s morning show as a full-time contributor. Valliere most recently was program director, music director and afternoon host at KZIA in Cedar Rapids. “After an extensive nationwide search, we were pleased to find someone of Jenny’s talent right here in the Midwest,” Jeff England, vice president and market manager at Hubbard Radio Chicago, said in a statement. “The combination of programming and on-air experience will make for the perfect fit middays and serve as a great asset in the programming department.” A graduate of Mount Mercy University and part-time model, Valliere was crowned Miss Iowa USA 2018. Continue reading

Columnist Maudlyne Ihejirika to ‘pass the baton’ of Chicago media leadership

Maudlyne Ihejirika (Photo: Karen Kring)

Maudlyne Ihejirika, the prominent Sun-Times columnist and one of the most powerful women in Chicago journalism, has announced she’s stepping down as president of two influential professional organizations.

In relinquishing the top leadership roles with the Chicago Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter she has held since 2017, Ihejirika said she plans to concentrate on her “Chicago Chronicles” column for the Sun-Times. Continue reading

Springfield exhibit on ‘Music from Illinois’ remembers radio too

The State of Sound

An ambitious exhibition celebrating music from Illinois and the legendary musicians who made it — including a working radio studio available to DJs throughout the state — will open Friday in Springfield.

“The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois” will run through January 2022 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. (Here is the link.)

The immersive and interactive exhibit will take visitors through a recreated backstage area of a concert arena. Videos and instruments, memorabilia and personal items from scores of artists will be on display, spanning popular music from rhythm and blues singers, ’60s pop and “garage bands,” arena rockers of the ’70s and ’80s to country, jazz, modern day hip-hop, folk, alternative and more. Continue reading

Robservations: John Kass boosts ‘enemy of the people’ slur against media

John Kass

Robservations on the media beat:

John Kass retweet

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass must delight in alienating his co-workers. Just the other day he retweeted a comment from Tom Bevan, co-founder of the website RealClearPolitics, which referred to the media as “the enemy of the people.” Among those who called out Kass was Tribune reporter Greg Pratt, president of the Chicago Tribune Guild: “I expect better from @John_Kass than to elevate ‘enemy of the people’ rhetoric about journalists, but I guess I shouldn’t,” he tweeted. “It is language that puts reporters, editors and photographers in actual danger and diminishes newsrooms everywhere, including the Tribune.” Kass has been openly at odds with colleagues since last April when he came under fire for blasting media elites “doing just fine during the coronavirus shutdown” — days after Tribune Publishing furloughed hundreds of journalists. In July the Chicago Tribune Guild and the Anti-Defamation League accused him of invoking anti-Semitic tropes in a column about billionaire George Soros. Calling himself a victim of “cancel culture,” Kass said: “I will not soil my name by groveling to anyone in this or any other newsroom.” Continue reading

Robservations: Bill & Wendy pulling the plug on Cumulus podcast

Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder

Robservations on the media beat:

Ending their 15-month run as a podcasting team, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will record their final episode Monday. Since February 2020 the longtime Chicago radio duo have been co-hosting “The Bill and Wendy Show” for Cumulus Media, parent company of news/talk WLS 890-AM. But with the launch of “Toon In With Me” earlier this year, Leff has been focusing on his role as host of the weekday morning cartoon show on MeTV. “More than anything, I can’t thank the fans enough,” he said of the podcast. “The past year was so rough for so many people, and the idea that we helped people get through it means a ton. Does this mean that Wendy and I will never work together again? No, we’d love to. We just need the right opportunity.” Continue reading

Four journalists win 2021 Studs Terkel Awards

Brandis Friedman

Four prominent Chicago journalists have been named recipients of the 2021 Studs Terkel Community Media Awards by the nonprofit Public Narrative.

Winners announced online Tuesday include: Brandis Friedman, co-anchor and correspondent for “Chicago Tonight” on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11; Karen Hawkins, co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader and founder of feminist media company Rebellious Magazine for Women; Maureen O’Donnell, reporter and obituary writer for the Sun-Times; and Michael Puente, reporter for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM. Continue reading

NBC Sports Chicago boss Kevin Cross to head NBC 5, Telemundo Chicago

Kevin Cross

Kevin Cross, senior vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Chicago, has been named president and general manager of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44, Comcast NBCUniversal announced today.

The longtime Chicago media executive will succeed David Doebler, who is retiring June 1 after eight years in the top job at NBC Tower. In his new role, Cross will continue to oversee the regional sports network in addition to the two stations. Continue reading

Robservations: Chicago Journalism Review republishes Fred Hampton exposé

Chicago Journalism Review

Robservations on the media beat:

Fred Hampton

The Chicago police murder of Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton at his West Side apartment in December 1969 was so miserably reported by major media outlets that reporters turned to the Chicago Journalism Review to get the truth out. The result was a 16-page special edition with a detailed account of the murder and its attempted coverup. Coinciding with release of the Academy Award-nominated film “Judas and the Black Messiah,” surviving editors of the Chicago Journalism Review have digitized and posted the complete issue online. (Here is the link.) It includes resources to learn more about police and FBI roles in the assassination. Hank DeZutter, a former Chicago Daily News reporter who became editor of the Chicago Journalism Review, said the story “reverberates to this day, informing new generations and reinforcing the shocking memories of those who lived through this horrendous chapter in Chicago’s and the nation’s history.” Founded in 1968, the nonprofit review was published monthly until 1975. Continue reading