Robservations: Gaynor Hall to co-anchor WGN weekend mornings with Sean Lewis

Sean Lewis and Gaynor Hall

Robservations on the media beat:

Gaynor Hall, a general assignment reporter at WGN-Channel 9 since 2008, has been named co-anchor of the Nexstar Media station’s Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts alongside Sean Lewis. Starting this weekend she’ll succeed Tonya Francisco, who shifted to co-host of “Daytime Chicago,” the new weekday morning lifestyle show, with Amy Rutledge. “Gaynor is an outstanding reporter who is tenacious, driven and knowledgeable,” said WGN news director Dominick Stasi. “As one of Chicago’s Very Own, she will be a huge asset to our WGN weekend morning news, bringing her unique perspective to the stories of the day.” Hall, a Chicago native and graduate of Whitney Young Magnet High School and Syracuse University, previously worked for CLTV, the former Chicago cable news channel, and WMGT, the NBC affiliate in Macon, Georgia. Continue reading

Robservations: B96 leaves listeners wondering: ‘Where’s Nina?’

Nina Hajian

Robservations on the media beat:

Chicago radio’s latest guessing game involves the whereabouts of Nina Hajian, who co-hosts mornings with Gabe Ramirez on Audacy Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM. For nearly three weeks Hajian has been missing from the show with no explanation to listeners. “We have given Nina an extended period of time off to spend time with family and friends,” B96 program director Todd Cavanah said in response to an inquiry Tuesday. “I’d like to respect everyone’s privacy on this matter at this time.” No word on when (or whether) she’ll return. In June Hajian was named winner of a 2021 Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation for her show’s coverage of protests and unrest in Chicago last summer. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, “The Gabe and Nina Show” ranked 25th with 1.3 percent share and a cumulative weekly audience of 233,400. Continue reading

Robservations: Mark Giangreco snubs Silver Circle induction ceremony

Mark Giangreco

Robservations on the media beat:

Former Chicago sports anchor Mark Giangreco was a no-show Sunday when the long-delayed 2020 Silver Circle Awards finally were presented. Anchorman and 2018 Silver Circle inductee Jim Williams, who emceed the virtual program for the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, presented and accepted the award on Giangreco’s behalf. (Here is a link to the video.) Giangreco was the only one of the six living honorees who did not submit a video biography or record an acceptance speech. Initially selected for the career honor in November 2019, Giangreco was fired last March after 27 years at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Reached Monday, he said he had planned to travel out of the country last week but canceled the trip and ran out of time to select a presenter or prepare a video. “I certainly didn’t mean to demean the award or disrespect the other honorees,” he said. Continue reading

NBC 5 journalists team up for weeklong series on ‘Violence in Chicago’

NBC Tower

Eight news anchors and reporters from WMAQ-Channel 5 are collaborating on a weeklong series focusing on the epidemic of gun violence and bloodshed in Chicago.

“Violence in Chicago” will air on the NBC-owned station’s 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts all week through Friday.

“Whether you live in Chicago or simply drive down for a weekend, safety is the top concern for many of our viewers,” said Kevin Cross, president and general manager of NBCUniversal Local Chicago. Continue reading

Robservations: New local talk shows set to debut on WGN, ABC 7

Tonya Francisco and Amy Rutledge (Photo: WGN)

Robservations on the media beat:

“Daytime Chicago,” a new lifestyle and entertainment show, will premiere Monday on Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9. Airing from 10 to 11 a.m. weekdays, it will be hosted by Tonya Francisco and Amy Rutledge. Topics are expected to include food, fashion, culture, health, fitness, style, wellness, relationships and parenting. “We are very excited to launch more local programming for our viewers,” said Paul Rennie, vice president and general manager of WGN. “Tonya and Amy are Chicago’s Very Own seasoned veterans who know our market inside and out. They will be a fantastic duo.” The syndicated “Rachael Ray,” which now airs at 10 a.m., will move to 1 p.m.

Windy City Weekend

Today marks the debut of “Windy City Weekend,” a weekly half-hour show highlighting entertainment and leisure activities in and around Chicago, on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Airing at 11:30 a.m. Fridays, it will be hosted by Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini, who just ended their 10-year run on “Windy City Live,” the former weekday talk show. Regular contributions to the new show will include Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper’s movie reviews, meteorologist Tracy Butler’s weekend forecasts and traffic reporter Roz Varon’s “Weekender Report.” Warner and Chiaverini also will continue the popular “host chat” segment from their old show. Continue reading

Carol Marin on the legacy of 9/11: ‘I don’t want us to forget’

Carol Marin (Photo: Don Moseley)

It took nothing less than a miracle — and a courageous New York firefighter who has never been identified — to save Carol Marin from the collapse of the second tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Then as now one of Chicago’s most respected journalists, Marin was working as a “60 Minutes” correspondent for CBS News in Manhattan on the morning of the attacks. She raced to the site to cover the story and was a block or two away when she heard a roar and felt the ground rumble.

A firefighter screamed at Marin to run just as a fireball of ignited jet fuel consumed the base of the north tower, causing the building to come crashing down. As she started to run, Marin fell and the firefighter picked her up. “The firefighter threw me against a nearby building and shielded my body with his,” she would recall. “I could feel the pounding of his heart against my backbone. In seconds the air was black and thick with debris.” Continue reading

Robservations: 2020 Silver Circle winners finally have their day

Silver Circle Awards

Robservations on the media beat:

The long-delayed induction of Chicago’s Class of 2020 Silver Circle Award winners will finally happen this weekend. Jackie Bange, Mark Giangreco, Alan Krashesky, Jennifer Lyons, Marda LeBeau and Richard Bernal will be among honorees at the virtual event, airing from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday on The U, Weigel Broadcasting’s WCIU-Channel 26.2/WMEU-Channel 48.1. Posthumous inductees will be Marlin Perkins, Lynn Hauldren and Jack and Elaine Mulqueen. Sponsored by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the event will be emceed by Jim Williams, news anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and 2018 Silver Circle inductee. Continue reading

Bittersweet farewell closes out ABC 7’s ‘Windy City Live’ after 10 years

Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner

Today the curtain falls on “Windy City Live,” closing out a 10-year run for the locally produced talk and entertainment show on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.

Genial hosts Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini, who’ve been there from day one, will look back at highlights of the past decade and test each other’s knowledge of the show with a trivia contest moderated by Roe Conn. Continue reading