Robservations: WDCB to celebrate Public Radio Music Day; Shardaa Gray joins CBS 2; Stephanie Wade joins ABC 7

Chad McCullough (Photo: Mark Sheldon)

Robservations on the media beat:

Public Radio Music Day

WDCB 90.9-FM, the west suburban College of DuPage station, will celebrate Public Radio Music Day Wednesday with a jazz concert and live radio broadcast. Trumpeter Chad McCullough and his quartet will perform a new interpretation of jazz trumpet legend Kenny Dorham’s classic “Quiet Kenny” album, recorded in 1959. Fans are invited to attend the concert at Fulton Street Collective, 1821 West Hubbard Street, or listen live on WDCB from 6 to 7 p.m. (Here is the link for tickets.) “What better way to celebrate Public Radio Music Day than to bring a live jazz concert to the airwaves,” station manager Dan Bindert said in a statement. “WDCB is driven by our live and local deejays who are deeply passionate about jazz. And we feel it’s important to not only present the best recorded music, but also to present the creativity of our great Chicago musicians in a truly live setting as often as we can.”

Shardaa Gray

Shardaa Gray, a Chicago native who began her career as an intern for Kurtis Productions, is coming home to join CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 as a full-time reporter. CBS 2 vice president and news director Jeff Harris confirmed the hire Monday. Since 2016 she has been a reporter for KOKH, the Fox affiliate in Oklahoma City. Gray, a graduate of Homewood-Flossmoor High School and Columbia College and a former production assistant and field producer at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, also worked for stations in Wichita, Kansas, and Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Under an agreement negotiated by her agent, attorney Joel Weisman, Gray starts at CBS 2 in December.

Stephanie Wade

Stephanie Wade, a reporter for WRTV, the ABC affiliate in Indianapolis, is joining ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 as a per diem reporter. Earlier the DePaul University graduate worked for WNWO, the NBC affiliate in her native Toledo, Ohio. Before that, she served as an investigative intern for Carol Marin at NBC 5 and for CNN in Atlanta. “Stephanie Wade has earned a reputation for tenacious, enterprising, solutions-based reporting,” said Jennifer Graves, vice president of news at ABC 7. “Passionate about news, she is also a team player who gives 100 percent to every assignment. We’re excited to have her on board with us and know she’ll be a great fit for our team.”

Jenna Barnes

Jenna Barnes, who’s been a per diem reporter at WGN-Channel 9 since September 2020, has been promoted to full-time status at the Nexstar Media station. Barnes, who grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and graduated from Boston University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, joined WGN from KSDK, the NBC affiliate in St. Louis. Earlier she worked as a reporter and fill-in news anchor for Spectrum News in Charlotte, North Carolina. Calling her “hard working and reliable,” WGN news director Dominick Stasi said Barnes has “proven to be a fantastic reporter.”

Stephanie Goldberg

Stephanie Goldberg has resigned as health care reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business to join Advocate Healthcare. Goldberg, a native of suburban Detroit and graduate of Michigan State University, began her career at CNN Digital in Atlanta and later worked for Business Insurance magazine before joining Crain’s in 2018. She also worked as a marketing communications specialist for a division of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Crain’s is expected to hire a replacement to cover the health care beat.

Injustice Watch

Injustice Watch, the Chicago-based nonprofit investigative journalism organization, is teaming up with the Chicago Tribune to examine critical issues shaping life in the metropolitan area. The partnership is expected to include several reporting and community engagement projects over the next 18 months. First up will be an examination of issues related to the aging immigrant population. “We plan to produce journalism that bridges divides and brings more clarity and urgency to issues of concern to all people of this region,” according to a statement by editors of both organizations.

Neighbors in Need

In partnership with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Daily Herald has launched a fundraising drive to address homelessness, hunger and lack of access to health care in the suburbs. For every dollar donated to Neighbors in Need, the McCormick Foundation will contribute 50 cents. (Here is the link.) A group of leaders from the newspaper and the foundation will jointly decide how to grant the money based on a review of applications. “The Daily Herald’s and McCormick Foundation’s core missions align perfectly for this purpose: to make our communities a better place,” said Jim Baumann, executive editor of the Daily Herald. “We hope you’ll join us in this effort.”

Monday’s comment of the day: John Rizzo: It’s never a waste of money to have working men and women perform the jobs that they were hired to do. That’s how they feed their families — union or not. Lazy newsgathering like this only leads to less information and conforming narratives. Why not let one station cover all of Chicago’s news and the other stations can just buy it? I think the only one being fooled is the one that thinks these companies can’t afford to do their own work. Nexstar has shown another quarter of record profits so this move will have zero impact on their bottom line with a better product in the end. Kudos to WGN. No apologies.