Robservations: WVON reports on missing women; Dick Allen book gets optioned; Block Club named Publisher of the Year

Candace McCollum

Robservations on the media beat:

A five-part radio documentary series on more than 50 Black women and girls in Chicago who vanished without a trace will air on WVON 1690-AM, the Midway Broadcasting news/talk station. “The Invisible Ones: Voices of the Missing,” hosted and produced by WVON morning news anchor Candace McCollum, will premiere November 29 and air four times daily throughout the week. “I sought to humanize many of these women whose names we never knew,” said McCollum, who was born and raised in Naperville and graduated from Neuqua Valley High School and Columbia College. “I cannot name one Black woman whose name is etched in the psyche of America because she went missing.” Continue reading

Robservations: Midday anchor Julie Unruh leaving WGN; The Mix wins Marconi Award; Betsy Leonard to lead Kartemquin Films

Julie Unruh

Robservations on the media beat:

Julie Unruh, midday news anchor at WGN-Channel 9, is signing off after 20 years at the Nexstar Media station. Her last day will be November 24. “I’ve been proud to work alongside you as I’ve watched Channel 9 grow from a few small, local newscasts each day to broadcasting nearly non-stop, earning our rightful place in a competitive news market. It’s been truly amazing to watch. Truly,” Unruh wrote in an email to colleagues Thursday. “I’m looking forward to stepping aside and spending more time with my family. The time is right.” A Chicago native and graduate of Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette and Indiana University, Unruh joined WGN as a general assignment reporter in 2001 after two years at CLTV, the former cable news channel. She was promoted to midday news anchor in 2020. No word yet on her replacement alongside co-anchor Dina Bair. Continue reading

New arts and culture podcast puts WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding in the spotlight

Lisa Fielding

Growing up in northwest suburban Lake Zurich, Lisa Fielding always thought of herself as a “theater kid.” Now a top-rated afternoon news anchor and reporter at WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, she’s never lost touch with the performing arts.

Starting the week of December 6, Fielding will put it all together as host of “Backstage Chicago,” a new weekly podcast on the local arts and cultural scene for the Audacy all-news station. Continue reading

Carjacking leaves radio host Maze Jackson ‘in complete state of shock’

Maze Jackson (Photo: ABC Television Stations)

Days after his national star-turn on the Hulu documentary series “Being Blago,” Chicago radio personality and podcaster Maze Jackson became the victim of a carjacking on the city’s Near South Side Tuesday.

Jackson was at 24th and South State Streets before noon when he said he was struck from behind by a truck and attacked by an assailant who stole his Porsche Panamera. He told me he filed a police report on the incident. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading

Robservations: Jennifer Lyons to keynote Chicago Journalists awards; Dorothy Storck finalists named; WGN News goes its own way; Fox 32 hires reporter Kasey Chronis

Jennifer Lyons

Robservations on the media beat:

Jennifer Lyons, president and general manager of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and formerly one of Chicago’s preeminent news executives, has been chosen as keynote speaker for the Chicago Journalists Association’s 2021 virtual awards ceremony November 19. Lyons was named to the top job at CBS 2 in August, following her tenure as vice president of news at NewsNation, the Nexstar Media Group cable news startup, and news director at Nexstar’s WGN-Channel 9. In her remarks, according to the organization, Lyons will “provide perspective on the current state and future of Chicago’s journalism landscape.”

Chicago Journalists Association

The Chicago Journalists Association also just named three finalists for this year’s Dorothy Storck Award, which honors outstanding work of columnists. Finalists for the $1,000 prize are: Deborah Douglas, co-editor in chief of The Emancipator; John W. Fountain, who writes a weekly column for the Sun-Times, and Neil Steinberg, veteran columnist for the Sun-Times. “I can’t say how excited we are to have Jennifer Lyons, such a well-respected news executive, as our keynote speaker,” said Stephanie Choporis, president of the Chicago Journalists Association. “And the Dorothy Storck Award finalists are once again top-notch. Our CJA board is working hard to put on a fantastic ceremony. We hope you’ll join us for this big night.” The CJA virtual event November 19 also will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to CBS 2 reporter Dorothy Tucker, Chicago Journalist of the Year Award to Block Club Chicago breaking news editor Kelly Bauer, and awards in 14 categories for journalism excellence. Continue reading

Robservations: Facebook hackers bilk WGCI, V103 fans; Megan Glaros subs on ‘CBS Mornings’; ‘Midnight Special’ salutes Mike Nichols

Leon Rogers (Photo: ABC 7 Chicago)

Robservations on the media beat:

Ericka Ingram

Fans of two iHeartMedia Chicago radio personalities have been swindled out of thousands of dollars after falling for a get-rich-quick scheme on Facebook. It started earlier this year when hackers took over the Facebook pages of Leon Rogers, morning host at hip-hop WGCI 107.5-FM, and Ericka Ingram, known as weekend late-night host “DJ Sundance” at R&B WVAZ 102.7-FM. The hackers then used the hosts’ pages to lure fans to invest in fake business deals, according to a report on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. (Here is the link.) Rogers and Ingram said they reported the hacked pages to Facebook numerous times but were ignored. “It is not me, no way, shape or form,” Rogers told ABC 7’s Samantha Chatman. “When it gets to the point where people are threatening to do some harm to you and your family for something you didn’t do, that’s kind of scary, you know?” Continue reading

Robservations: Hulu to premiere ABC 7’s ‘Being Blago’ docuseries; Colin McMahon joins journalism project; Jim Baumann kicks off book tour

Rod Blagojevich

Robservations on the media beat:

Disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been out of office for more than 12 years, but there’s still no letup in media fascination with him. On Friday, Hulu will premiere “Being Blago,” a four-part documentary series produced for ABC Owned Television Stations by WLS-Channel 7. (Here is the link to the trailer.) The streaming docuseries highlights two decades of coverage by ABC 7 chief investigative reporter Chuck Goudie and producer Barb Markoff — from Blagojevich’s rise to power to his release from prison after his 14-year sentence was commuted by former President Donald Trump in 2020. It includes unfettered access to his current day-to-day life at home. Matt Knutson, director of content innovation at ABC 7 and co-executive producer and director of “Being Blago” (with Justin Allen), called the series “a very raw look at a man trying to amend his past and forge a new, meaningful and untarnished legacy,” adding: “‘Being Blago’ reminds viewers what happened through a visual timeline of events while simultaneously following Rod in his next chapter.” Continue reading