Robservations: WCPT hires Edwin Eisendrath as Saturday afternoon host

Edwin Eisendrath

Robservations on the media beat:

Even he knows you don’t replace a Dick Kay. But in the nine weeks Edwin Eisendrath has been filling in Saturday afternoons on WCPT 820-AM, he’s shown himself to be an adept, articulate and inspired choice as successor. Now it’s official: Eisendrath has been hired to host “The Big Picture” from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays — the slot held by Kay’s “Back on the Beat” for 13 years at the Newsweb progressive talk station. A native Chicagoan with a Harvard education, Eisendrath, 63, brings a wealth of experience — from alderman of Chicago’s 43rd Ward to CEO of the Sun-Times — to his new role. “His point of view is informed and progressive but not dogmatic,” said WCPT general manager Mark Pinski. In a statement Eisendrath said: “I step into this mindful that Dick Kay came before me. Dick was the first person who interviewed me after I was elected to the City Council and the last to interview me when I ran for governor many years later. He was a giant and one of a kind. No one can replace him, so this will be a new adventure that the radio audience and I can go on together.” Kay died May 13 at 84.

Zoraida Sambolin

As mysteriously as she disappeared, Zoraida Sambolin returned Monday as weekday morning news anchor on WMAQ-Channel 5 after a four-month leave of absence from the NBC-owned station. She rejoined Patrick Fazio on the anchor desk with no reference to her extended time off. Except for a two-year stint with CNN in New York, Sambolin has been the face of morning news at NBC 5 since 2007. She joined the station as a free-lance weekend news anchor in 2002. NBC bosses declined to comment on Sambolin’s absence or return.

Adam Kinzinger

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been named Illinoisan of the Year by the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. He’ll be honored Saturday at the INBA fall convention in Rockford. “After the vote was taken and Congressman Kinzinger was announced as the winner, there was some concern over his eligibility as a sitting politician,” the organization explained in its newsletter. “After doing some research and speaking with INBA resource manager H. Wayne Wilson, it was determined the congressman’s eligibility, nomination and selection were within the rules. . . . It is not an election year and he is not actively campaigning for reelection.” Keynote speaker at the convention will be Cherie Grzech, vice president of news/managing editor of NewsNation.

Maggie Clennon Reberg

Sunday marked the farewell appearance of Maggie Clennon Reberg as weekend morning host on WFMT 98.7-FM, the Window to the World Communications classical music station. As reported here in August, she’s headed for San Francisco to host weekday mornings on KDFC, the noncommercial classical station owned by the University of Southern California, starting October 7. Reberg, a Detroit native who moved to Chicago in 1993, spent most of her career pursuing acting, singing and dancing professionally. She landed her first radio gig in 2015 after she filled out an online application in response to an open call at WFMT.

Heidi Goldfein

From 2013 until earlier this year the StoryCorps booth at the Chicago Cultural Center recorded interviews with more than 7,500 people — all archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. This week they’ll be celebrated in a weeklong series airing during “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” on Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM. (Here is the link.) “Thousands of people in our community were able to share their stories and memories and really listen to one another at the booth,” said WBEZ program director Heidi Goldfein. “This week we’re listening back to a small sample of some of those honest, funny, inspiring and thoughtful conversations, just a selection of all of the wonderful StoryCorps recordings we have aired over the years.”

Friday’s comment of the day: Zeke Razby: Gaynor [Hall] also graduated from Beasley Academic Center in 1996. She always won the oratory contest as a youngster.