Robservations on the media beat:
Lakeshore Public Radio WLPR 89.1-FM, the nonprofit NPR affiliate serving Northwest Indiana, is about to expand its population coverage by 75 percent with the boost of its broadcast signal from 1,100 watts to 4,900 watts. The increase was approved by the FCC in November. “The upgrades will not only extend the range of our signal, but also allow us to broadcast with far fewer shadows and dead spots,” James A. Muhammad, president and CEO of Lakeshore Public Media, said in a statement. “This means more residents will have access to reliable news and information, which further serves our mission to enhance our community by creating a more informed and engaged citizenry.” The station also is accessible at LakeshorePublicRadio.org and on such streaming apps as Spotify, TuneIn Radio and iTunes.
“The Windy City Breeze,” a Chicago-based sports talk show hosted by Pat “The Designer” Morenzoni and Pete Casanova, has expanded to weekday mornings, airing live from 6 to 9 a.m. on The Kontender, the commercial-free sports talk streaming service and app. It’s also simulcast on YouTube. “I’m excited to continue partnering with The Kontender, and adding in this daily show is something we’ve wanted to do,” Morenzoni said. “It’s awesome that we can add that kind of content not only to our fans for ‘visual’ but also ‘audio only’ as well.” The Kontender launched last April with sports content focusing on Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Margaret Holt stepped down Friday as standards editor of the Chicago Tribune, capping a 50-year career in journalism. Holt had been among dozens of Tribune staffers who took buyouts last summer, but she agreed to stay on through the ownership transition. Holt joined the Tribune as sports editor in 1993 from the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “I can’t stress enough how much her experience, thoughtfulness, rigor and talent has meant to the Tribune over the years,” executive editor Mitch Pugh wrote in an email to staff. “We will miss her.” Pugh said standards and accuracy will be overseen by director of content Rochell Sleets.
Jon Hansen will host “Your Money Matters,” a financial advice show, from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday on Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM, starting February 7. Hansen continues to host “Let’s Get Legal,” sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association and area law firms, from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturdays on WGN. Also look for WGN to air a one-hour version of “The Mincing Rascals” podcast at 8 p.m. Saturdays, starting January 29. Regulars on the weekly news roundup are WGN midday host John Williams, Heather Cherone, Austin Berg, Eric Zorn and Lisa Donovan.
Tina Sfondeles, former chief political reporter at the Sun-Times, has left Politico.com after seven months as a White House reporter to return home to Chicago. She declined to say where she’s headed or whether she’ll continue in journalism. Sfondeles joined Politico last June after a year on the Washington-based political team of Business Insider. “I’ve truly had a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Washington — moving by myself, covering the White House and witnessing history,” she tweeted Friday. “But my head and heart are calling me back to Chicago to be with my family and friends and to start a new adventure.”
Hugo Balta, former news director at Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11, has been hired as a part-time writer/editor at Audacy all-news WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM. Ron Gleason, brand manager and news director of WBBM Newsradio, confirmed Balta’s tweet that he began last week. Balta continues to operate his digital news company, Latino News Network. He also is an associate editor for the Chicago Reporter.
Readers of all three Chicago area daily newspapers Sunday were surprised to see a celebration of “100 Years of Betty White” as the cover story of Parade magazine. The beloved actress and Oak Park native died December 31 at 99. “The story was intended to coincide with her 100th birthday and went to press before her death,” said an editor’s note in the Chicago Tribune. “However, Parade editors believe the story remains a fitting tribute to her career, spirit and impact on show business and her fans.” Chicago media observer Charlie Meyerson called it “an embarrassing thing” that could have been avoided by conscientious editors.
Friday’s comment of the day: Jeff Steven Kwit: I echo the sentiments of the folks who feel Eddie [Volkman] is one of the nicest guys in all of media. He’s filled with class and humor and remains just a down-to-earth guy. And he has his dad’s talent for puns as his Facebook fans know. Wonderful guy.