Robservations on the media beat:
Brandon Pope, a reporter for Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting, has been elected president of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. He succeeds Maudlyne Ihejerika, who stepped down after two terms. Saying he was “honored to lead this outstanding chapter,” Pope added: “When I started the student chapter [of NABJ] at Ball State, we took a few field trips to Chicago. But I never fathomed I would be representing and fighting for the city’s Black journalists. I don’t take the responsibility lightly. Scholarship, mentorship and training are the hallmarks of our organization. Let’s get to work.” Pope previously was a reporter and weekend news anchor at WBND, the ABC affiliate in South Bend, Indiana.
Chuck Duncan, longtime broadcast executive and radio station owner, has stepped down as general manager of north suburban Evanston Broadcasting news/talk WCGO 1590-AM/95.9-FM, GAB Radio Network and SmartTalk Radio Network. He came out of semi-retirement to run the station in 2014. “I am proud to observe the great achievements of the countless men and women I’ve been fortunate enough to work with through this great journey,” Duncan told me. “I had no expectations or destination in mind when I took my first job selling local television time in Tucson in the late 1970’s, but could never have imagined that an industry would have rewarded me with such complete fulfillment.”
Sam Alex has assembled an impressive lineup of guests to participate in his Camp Broadcast July 12 to 16 at the Hampton Inn in Skokie. It’s an expert-led “day camp” for high school and college-aged aspiring journalists and broadcasters. (Here is the link.) Among Alex’s guests will be former network correspondent Dean Reynolds, NBC Sports Chicago analyst Kendall Gill and Chicago radio professionals Stephanie Tichenor, Brian Haddad, Chris Petlak and Andy Masur. Alex, who was born in Park Ridge and raised in Hoffman Estates, hosts and produces a syndicated country music radio show and doubles as a correspondent for “Celebrity Page TV.”
PBS has announced a September 19 premiere date for “Muhammad Ali,” an eight-hour documentary on the legendary boxer, directed by Ken Burns. Jonathan Eig, the acclaimed Chicago writer and author of the best-selling biography Ali: A Life, serves as a consulting producer on the film and appears as an interview subject. “I’ve been working on this for six years — one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been part of,” Eig told friends. “Can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
Colleagues are remembering Joe Howard as an award-winning producer for NBC News and NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and as a link to the Golden Age of Chicago Television. Howard, who retired from NBC in 1990, died May 11. He was 90. “Joe Howard could have come out of Ben Hecht’s ‘The Front Page,'” said former NBC 5 news anchor Carol Marin. “He was a newsman, smart, funny, tough. He knew the politicians, the cops, and respected working people. Skeptical, yes, cynical no. And careful always, always with the words he wrote that told a story straight. But with heart.”
Sunday’s comment of the day: Les Jacobson: Is it heresy to think the answer lies in abandoning print, a dying medium? Figure out a way to attract a growing audience of paying subscribers to an exclusively online product. The savings in delivery fleets, press maintenance and personnel, ink and electric costs will free up the “paper” (i.e. online news) to hold newsroom head count steady. Welcome to the 21st century. We can’t expect an 18th century model to work anymore. Obviously it isn’t.