Robservations: Friends rally to support moribund Chicago Reporter

Friends of The Chicago Reporter

Robservations on the media beat:

Laura Washington

It’s been a year since The Chicago Reporter abruptly went on hiatus, halting the crucial work of the nonprofit investigative news organization focusing on race, equity and justice. Despite vague promises of an internal restructuring by Community Renewal Society, publication of original investigative reporting never resumed. Now nearly 100 prominent journalists and community leaders have formed Friends of the Chicago Reporter to urge its reinstatement as the local media treasure approaches its 50th anniversary next year. (Here is the link to their video.) The independent group is headed by Laura Washington, Sun-Times columnist, ABC 7 political analyst and former editor and publisher of the Reporter. “We are thrilled and grateful for the support of so many journalists and community and civic leaders who have officially signed on to this crucial campaign,” Washington said. Continue reading

Jonathon Brandmeier to host Radio Hall of Fame ceremony

Jonathon Brandmeier (Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

Chicago radio legend Jonathon Brandmeier has been tapped to emcee the 2021 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Museum of Broadcast Communications announced Tuesday.

Brandmeier, who was inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame in 2018, will host this year’s event October 28 at Wintrust Grand Banking Hall, 231 South LaSalle Street, in Chicago. (Here is the link for tickets.) Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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