Robservations on the media beat:
Chicago’s next mayoral election may be 16 months away, but Crain’s Chicago Business is about to expand its coverage of politics and government in a big way. Monday will mark the launch of Juice, a new daily morning email focusing on “the intersection of power and politics.” Written by Crain’s savvy reporters Greg Hinz and A.D. Quig, it will include contributions from Washington-based public policy journalist Dan Vock. Along with the newsletter, Quig will host “A.D. Q&A,” a new weekly podcast featuring in-depth conversations with key newsmakers. “Our readers tell us they want more from us when it comes to news about policy as it intersects business,” Crain’s publisher and executive editor Jim Kirk told me. “Starting Monday, we deliver just that and more with the launch of Juice. We can’t wait to get started.’’
Steve Harvey, whose syndicated morning show airs on iHeartMedia R&B WVAZ 102.7-FM, just renewed his radio contract through 2026. Terms were not disclosed. “I’m happy to continue my fruitful partnership with Premiere Networks and host ‘The Steve Harvey Morning Show’ well into the future,” he said in a statement. “Entering into this agreement further underscores my commitment to serving the community and the people. I’m excited to continue giving people much-needed smiles and hard laughs in these uncertain times.” Harvey’s show airs here from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey V103 ranked second in mornings with a 7.0 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 354,000.
Melissa Forman, Thea Flaum and Joel Weisman are among Chicago broadcasting veterans profiled in a new podcast series produced by the Junior Board of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Presented in weekly episodes, “The Pursuit” features hourlong interviews conducted by students and young professionals. (Here is the link.) “‘The Pursuit’ fits perfectly into NATAS’s national initiative to mentor younger broadcasters and create valuable career opportunities,” chapter president John Owens said. “We’re excited to present this unique, entertaining podcast produced by our Junior Board to both our members and the wider community.” Episodes are also available on Spotify, Anchor, YouTube and Stitcher.
Recommended reading: The Reader at 50: A deep dive into how this city’s alt-weekly made it through five decades. (Here is the link.) It’s a fascinating and insightful history of The Chicago Reader as it marks its 50th year of publication. The prodigious account was meticulously reported and beautifully written by Mark Jacob, a former editor at the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times who now oversees the Medill Local News Initiative website at Northwestern University. “At the half-century mark, the Reader has built a legacy as a home for fine writing and in-depth reporting, a driver of arts and culture, and proof that an alternative publication can invent a successful financial model,” Jacob writes. “Now it’s trying to reinvent itself to survive as a nonprofit in a vastly different media environment. After 50 years, it’s still taking chances.”
Block Club Chicago was named winner Wednesday of the inaugural Game-Changer and Community Champion Awards from the Institute for Nonprofit News. The subscription-based digital news site was cited for merchandising its coverage of “Chance the Snapper,” the five-foot-long alligator found luxuriating in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon in July 2019. It sold more than 4,000 “Gator Watch” T-shirts, netting more than $100,000. The Community Champion Award cited Block Club Chicago’s free, bilingual coronavirus hotline. “While many newsrooms eventually copied aspects of their approach, Block Club was one of the first to realize the important, direct role newsrooms could play in keeping their communities safe by sharing trustworthy, accurate information, person by person,” the judges said. Block Club Chicago also was a finalist (and received honorable mention) for INN’s first Startup of the Year Award.
WMAQ-Channel 5 news anchor Stefan Holt is on paternity leave from the NBC-owned station following the birth September 25 of his third child. He and wife Morgan welcomed son James into the family with sons Henry, 4, and Samuel, 2. “Our sweet baby James has arrived,” Holt wrote on social media. Holt is expected back on NBC 5’s 4 and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts October 21. For the record, Holt’s father, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, prefers to be called “Granddude.”
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Mark Edwards Edelstein: I’m extremely impressed and happy for everyone at Weigel Broadcasting, especially Neal Sabin, for their impressive growth. I’m especially grateful that we have a full slate of Weigel’s networks available over the air here in St Louis. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was also happy that the comments are back.