Robservations: Ryan Chiaverini turns up on sports; Reader honors ‘Best of Chicago’; ABC 7 adds digital producers

Ryan Chiaverini (Photo: ABC 7 Chicago)

Robservations on the media beat:

It was deja vu for Ryan Chiaverini, who filled in for two days this week as sports anchor on WLS-Channel 7 newscasts. Before he spent a decade as co-host of the now-dead “Windy City Live,” Chiaverini anchored sports for five years at the ABC-owned station. Since September he’s been co-hosting “Windy City Weekend” with Val Warner at 11:30 a.m. Fridays. “This is what happens when you buy a hot tub time machine,” Chiaverini joked on Facebook Wednesday. “First time in a decade I filled in anchoring weekday sports for ABC 7 Chicago.” A station representative said Chiaverini will fill in on the sports desk “as needed.”

Best of Chicago 2021

Just out with its latest Best of Chicago issue, the Chicago Reader poll cites local media winners: WGN-Channel 9 as best local TV broadcast news; WBEZ 91.5-FM as best overall radio station; Lin Brehmer of WXRT 93.1-FM as best radio DJ; Block Club Chicago as best email newsletter; CHIRP Radio as best blog; and City Cast Chicago as best podcast. And best newspaper? Chicago Reader won that one. (Here is the link.) The 96-page special edition also features Jack Helbig’s profile of Charlie Meyerson, the Chicago journalist and media innovator, whose indispensable Chicago Public Square newsletter is proclaimed “best free daily roundup in your inbox.”

Michelle Corless

Michelle Corless, who started as a freelance writer/producer at ABC 7, has been promoted to full-time digital newscast producer, overseeing the station’s 7 p.m. weeknight streaming newscast with Cheryl Burton and Rob Elgas. Corless, who grew up in southwest suburban Bolingbrook and graduated from Bolingbrook High School and North Central College in Naperville, previously was a producer at WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis. Tony Smith, senior producer at Black News Channel, has been hired to produce ABC 7’s 7 a.m. weekday streaming newscast with Terrell Brown and Val Warner. Smith grew up in southeast suburban Lynwood and graduated from Thornton Fractional High School in Lansing and Barry University in Miami.

Anna Marie Kukec Tomczyk

Women’s History Month brings two more appearances for Anna Marie Kukec Tomczyk, the former Daily Herald reporter who wrote We Are Eagles: Inspiring Stories of Immigrant Women Who Took Bold Steps in Life through Literacy. The book focuses on the founding and first 25 years of the Dominican Literacy Center in Aurora as seen through the eyes of immigrant students whose lives were changed. Tomczyk will discuss the book at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, and at 12:15 p.m. March 24 at St. Peter’s Church in Chicago’s Loop.

Kevin Matthews

Recommended reading: Kevin Matthews, the legendary former Chicago radio personality, is busy as ever at home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Kogan caught up with him the other day. (Here is the link.) Matthews tells Kogan he’s done with radio but continues to pursue his interest in “Elevator a GoGo,” creating free music videos for bands on the way up. “I want to change the way the world sees, hears and discovers entertainment,” Matthews said.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Arthur Holland: I would remind you of a time when Channel 5 news gave Channel 7 stiff competition. Channel 5 had Ron Magers and Carol Marin. Then someone decided that it was a good idea to hire Jerry Springer to do commentary on the 10 p.m newscasts. Long story short, Magers and Marin quit and Channel 5 ratings tanked. And this was during a sweeps period. So if people are outraged enough, they will change their viewing habits. The outrage toward Cheryl Burton is minuscule and the ratings show she is no detriment to the station’s success. If she was truly bad (which she isn’t) the station would have reassigned her or let her go already.