Robservations on the media beat:
Trenier Ward, a multimedia journalist who grew up in Chicago and graduated from Northern Illinois University, is coming home to join ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as a per diem reporter, starting Monday. Ward most recently was a reporter for WBAL, the NBC affiliate in Baltimore. Earlier he worked for stations in Louisville, Kentucky; Huntsville, Alabama; and Davenport, Iowa. “When I set out on this journey to be a TV journalist, I honestly never expected a path would be paved back to my home city to work as a reporter at its No. 1 news station,” Ward tweeted. “I’m so overwhelmed. I am grateful for this opportunity to share the stories of my city where my dream first manifested as a child — watching this very station with my mother.”
The legendary Phil Kadner delivered his farewell column in the Sun-Times Wednesday, capping an illustrious career in Chicago journalism including a 37-year run at the Daily Southtown followed by a five-year encore at the Sun-Times. (Here is the link.) Kadner grew up on the Southwest Side and graduated from Bogan High School and Northern Illinois University. “Phil embodies local journalism at its best,” said Steve Warmbir, interim editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times. “He’s a fighter for working men and women. He gets it right. And if you were a regular reader of his columns at the Southtown or later at the Sun-Times, you know how much he cares. We have been so lucky to have him write for us and wish him the best.”
Teri Arvesu, former vice president/director of content at Univision Chicago WGBO-Channel 66, has been promoted to a new corporate role as senior vice president of social impact and sustainability for Univision worldwide. She’ll relocate with her family to her native Miami. Under Arvesu’s acclaimed leadership, Univision Chicago won the late-news ratings among viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 for the first time in May. She joined Univision’s Miami flagship WLTV in 2003 as a producer and moved up to executive producer in 2007. She was named news director at Univision Chicago in 2013 and VP/director of content in 2017.
Bob Kessler, a weekend and fill-in news anchor at WGN 720-AM, has moved up to midday news anchor Tuesdays through Fridays on the Nexstar Media news/talk station. He’ll work with midday hosts John Williams and Anna Davlantes. “Bob’s been an integral part of the WGN family for decades,” said news director Ryan Burrow. “A true teammate, he brings a positive energy and personality to the newsroom.” Kessler, who grew up in Crystal Lake and graduated from Crystal Lake Central High School and Marquette University, began his career as a producer at WGN and worked more than a decade for the former WNUA as executive producer of Ramsey Lewis’s morning show. He’s also been assistant managing editor of Chicago-based Rivet Radio since 2013.
Jill Testerman, who got her start in radio as news anchor Karen Hand’s producer at Audacy Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM, has been named program director of KKDM, the iHeartMedia Top 40 station in Des Moines. She continues as midday personality at the station, where she’s known on the air as Taylor J. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to grow the station at the pace the metro is growing and continue to evolve the relationships I’ve formed with our listeners throughout the past three years,” she said in a statement. A Hinsdale native and graduate of Hinsdale Central High School and Columbia College, Testerman previously worked for stations in St. Louis and throughout Illinois.
Delphine Luneau, a managing editor of The Center Square (formerly known as Illinois News Network), has been hired as press secretary for the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group and political lobbying organization. “I can’t describe how meaningful it is to have a chance to help ensure that LGBTQ+ topics get the attention they deserve in the national discourse,” she tweeted. “And of course I will be doing so from the perspective of a trans woman, which will inform everything I do in my new role. I feel like this is a real opportunity for me to help make the lives of trans and other LGBTQ+ better.” Luneau, who served four years as editor of Suburban Life Media in DuPage County, also worked for the Elmhurst Titan, Pioneer Press and Northwest Herald. The Chicago-based Center Square, owned by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, provides coverage of state and regional issues to media outlets across Illinois.
Chirag Badlani, a partner at the Chicago law firm Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., has been named executive director of Alphawood Foundation Chicago, the philanthropic fund established by Chicago media magnate and Democratic megadonor Fred Eychaner. It awards grants to local organizations primarily in the areas of advocacy, architecture and preservation, arts, the environment, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBTQ+ persons and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights. “We are thrilled to welcome Chirag to Alphawood,” Eychaner said in a statement. “With his leadership, enthusiasm and proven commitment to the Chicago community, we know the foundation will be able to continue its important work supporting our many grantees.” Badlani succeeds Jim McDonough, who retired October 1 after nine years as executive director. He will continue as legal counsel until next year. McDonough previously served as general counsel at Sun-Times Media.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Jackie Bange: Jim, you are hilarious! Perhaps that’s what we need to teach proper grammar. My pet peeve? Your versus you’re.