Robservations: Former TV reporter César Rodríguez headed for City Hall

César Rodríguez

Robservations on the media beat:

César Rodríguez, a former reporter for two Chicago TV stations, soon may have a new job at City Hall. Sources said Rodríguez is expected to join the press office of Mayor Lori Lightfoot under communications director Kate LeFurgy. The position of press secretary has been vacant since Anel Ruiz stepped down in December. For six years Rodríguez worked as a general-assignment news reporter and sports anchor at WSNS-Channel 44, the Telemundo Spanish-language station. He later served as a per diem reporter at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 for about a year. Most recently he was a freelance correspondent for The E.W. Scripps Company. The journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began his career in public relations with the Chicago firm of David Cordova and Associates.

Friday afternoon update: The mayor’s office confirmed Rodríguez’s appointment as press secretary.

Phil Rosenthal

Yes, that was former Chicago Tribune sports media columnist Phil Rosenthal filling in Thursday for afternoon host Big John Howell on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. “Phil is a pleasure to work with and I would definitely invite him back to fill in,” said Stephanie Tichenor, program director of WLS. On Monday, look for former Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn to turn up as guest afternoon co-host with Joan Esposito on Newsweb Radio progressive news/talk WCPT 820-AM. Rosenthal and Zorn were among the 40 or so journalists who left the Tribune with buyouts last month.

Nichole Berlie

NewsNation, the Chicago-based cable news network owned by Nexstar Media, has announced a July 19 premiere date for “On Balance with Leland Vittert,” airing at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s billed as “unpredictable, engaging, intelligent, thought-provoking, and visually compelling, with Vittert taking a critical look at some of the day’s hottest topics.” Vittert joined NewsNation in May after more than 10 years with Fox News. Also on July 19 “NewsNation: Early Edition,” which now airs at 5 p.m. weekdays, will be rebranded “Rush Hour with Nichole Berlie.” “I’m energized by the promise of this new no fluff, no filler, newscast,” said Berlie, who joined NewsNation in September from WCVB, the ABC affiliate in Boston, and began anchoring “Early Edition” in March.

Thursday’s comment of the day: Bill Figel: Beverly neighbors have missed Bill Barnhart quietly walking his massive dogs around Crescent Park over the last year. Bill was a gifted, modest man with great business journalism skills. He and his wife were especially instrumental in the on-going importance of the Ridge Historical Society in Beverly/Morgan Park and their efforts will be felt for years.