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.
Struggling to find an audience, NewsNation has hired Chicago ad agency Leo Burnett Worldwide to develop a multimillion-dollar promotional campaign for the Nexstar Media Group cable news network. After eight months on the air, Chicago-based NewsNation has been “plagued by minuscule ratings and internal strife over allegations of meddling in news coverage,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The network averaged 27,000 viewers in prime time during April, compared with 2.2 million viewers for Fox News, 1.6 million for MSNBC and 1 million for CNN. “Viewers in the 25-to-54 age group preferred by advertisers for news programming has been in the range of 9,000 viewers — nowhere near the 100,000 viewers in the demographic that Nexstar has targeted,” reporter Stephen Battaglio noted.
In partnership with the University of Chicago’s Center for Effective Government, Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM will launch “Re-Imagine Chicago,” an ongoing series to premiere Monday on the midday talk show “Reset.” From May through August the series will investigate how institutions and systems operate in Chicago and how they might work better. “We’ll hear directly from people making the decisions in our city,” said host Sasha-Ann Simons. “Listeners will get to weigh in with their questions, ideas, and experiences. We’ll also check in with people working and living in other cities around the country and the world to ask ourselves: ‘Could what’s working there work here in Chicago?’” “Reset” airs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Thirty students and young professionals have been named to the first Junior Board of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. All are under age 26 and study or work in one of the regional chapter’s eight markets. “We look at the Junior Board as another means for NATAS to provide outreach to the younger people in our community, who are of vital importance to our industry’s future,” said chapter president John Owens. It’s the first of its kind among the 19 academy chapters nationwide.
“Those Were the Days” celebrates its 51st year on the air this weekend with a nod to WDCB 90.9-FM, the College of DuPage station that’s been its radio home for the past two decades. Host Steve Darnall will air four old-time radio broadcasts that play off the call letters WDCB — “The Whistler,” “Duffy’s Tavern,” “The CBS Radio Workshop” and “The Big Show.” “We’re enormously proud of our affiliation with WDCB and wanted to thank them for their part in allowing us to celebrate these sounds every Saturday,” Darnall said. Founded by Radio Hall of Famer Chuck Schaden in 1970, “Those Were the Days” airs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and streams on wdcb.org.
Rehan Aslam, former executive producer at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, has been named vice president and news director of WABC, the top-rated ABC-owned station in New York. He most recently was vice president of news at KTRK, the ABC station in Houston. A Pennsylvania native and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Aslam joined Fox 32 as a producer and moved up to executive producer of “Good Day Chicago” and the 9 p.m. weekday newscast. He was among those cited in 2009 when Fox 32 won a Peabody Award for its coverage of the beating death of 16-year-old Fenger High School honor student Derrion Albert.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Bob Jordan: Seeing Maudlyne Ihejirika step down from two key positions is bittersweet. While I completely understand her desire to focus more intently on wanting to “go deeper in unearthing stories at this critical juncture we find ourselves, with race and policing, social justice and equity, politics and division,” we will miss her steady hand in guiding CJA and NABJ. I am relieved, though, to learn that we will still be able to read her insightful work in the “Chicago Chronicles” column for the Sun-Times.