Robservations: Sun-Times political reporter Rachel Hinton joins BGA; Good Karma Brands acquires ESPN 1000; Tribune promotes Nina Metz to critic

Rachel Hinton

Robservations on the media beat:

Rachel Hinton, chief political reporter for the Sun-Times, is joining the Better Government Association as its first enterprise reporter. Her hiring, effective January 10, will be the first funded by the recent $10 million grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in partnership with the nonprofit investigative news organization. “Rachel Hinton’s eye for the nuances of news and her deep sourcing will enable us to provide exclusive reporting, insight and analysis that holds government accountable to the public,” said David Greising, president and CEO of the BGA. Hinton, who grew up in the far southwest suburbs and graduated from Plainfield South High School and DePaul University, joined the Sun-Times as an intern in 2017 and moved up to urban affairs reporter later that year. She was promoted to chief political reporter in 2020. “While we are happy for her and know she will continue to do great work, we will miss her as a fine colleague and first-rate journalist,” said Steve Warmbir, interim editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times.

ESPN Chicago

Good Karma Brands, which has been operating ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM under a local marketing agreement since October 2019, has agreed to acquire the station from ESPN owner Walt Disney Co. The deal announced Monday also includes the purchase of ESPN’s WEPN in New York and KSPN in Los Angeles by the Milwaukee-based company. Terms were not disclosed. All three stations will remain ESPN Radio affiliates. “These stations and teammates give us an expanded footprint and increased resources to help meet our mission of serving our teammates, fans and advertising partners at a best-in-class level,” said Good Karma Brands founder and CEO Craig Karmazin. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, ESPN 1000 ranked 24th with a 1.6 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 424,300.

Nina Metz

Nina Metz, the Chicago Tribune entertainment reporter who’s been covering television, movies and the local production industries, was promoted Monday to critic. She’ll continue her two weekly columns and contribute to deadline reporting, according to arts and entertainment editor Doug George. The Tribune has been without a staff TV critic since Maureen Ryan resigned in 2010. “Years ago, Nina Metz made a name for herself when the Tribune hired her full-time,” tweeted Tribune film critic Michael Phillips. “Today the Tribune (finally) gave her the ‘critic’ designation, and I couldn’t be happier for my pal and my valuable and valued colleague. On we go!” Before joining the Tribune, Metz worked as a news producer and editor at the former WMAQ Radio.

Derrick Young

Derrick Young, former engineer in charge of production at WTTW-Channel 11, is returning to Window to the World Communications as vice president, technology for WTTW and classical music WFMT 98.7-FM. “We are looking forward to bringing Derrick’s experience, diligence, focus and many talents to this important role,” the company said in a statement. “Derrick will be responsible for overseeing engineering and program distribution/production operations, IT, media archiving, facilities and security.” Young, a graduate of De La Salle High School and Southern Illinois University, first joined WTTW in 1981. In his new role, he replaces Michael Englehaupt, who left the company after 18 months.

Ryan Porth

Ryan Porth, program director of sports/talk WPRT in Nashville, has been hired as assistant brand manager at WSCR 670-AM, the Audacy sports/talk station, starting January 3. “He will assist us in multiple facets — from organization, digital ideation and assisting all of us moving The Score brand forward into the future,” said Mitch Rosen, operations director and brand manager of The Score. Porth, a Cincinnati native who dreamed of becoming radio voice of the Cincinnati Reds, joined Nashville’s The Game as a producer in 2012 and moved up to program director in 2016. He also served as executive producer of the Nashville Predators Radio Network.

Ruth Rosas

Ruth Rosas, an advocate for sustainable transportation and social justice, has been hired as the first bilingual Latine communities reporter at Streetsblog Chicago, the nonprofit news source focusing on sustainable transportation and livable communities. “I’m excited about Ruth helping us expand our coverage of livable streets issues relevant to Spanish-speaking communities in the city and the suburbs,” said co-editor John Greenfield, who added that Rosas’s articles will be published in both Spanish and English, “which will help us further amplify the voices of neighborhood advocates and draw new readers to the site.” Rosas, who was born in Mexico City, continues to work at Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, focusing on pedestrian and walkability issues in vulnerable communities.

Monday’s comment of the day: Ann Marie Lipinski: Critic Howard Reich is a marvel. He has reimagined his journalism many times over, each chapter a master class. Decades into covering the arts, his enthusiasm remains infectious and journalism schools should invite him to talk to their students about continual reinvention.