Robservations on the media beat:
In the latest Chicago media partnership, Weigel Broadcasting and Block Club Chicago are joining forces to launch an innovative weekly newsmagazine show. Starting in April, “On the Block” will bring to life stories from the award-winning nonprofit neighborhood news site. The half-hour show will air multiple times each week on CW affiliate WCIU-Channel 26, WMEU-Channel 48.1 and MeTV Chicago. “Social media has a played an important role in how people access the news, and with ‘On the Block’ we are taking some of the visually compelling themes and amplifying those for television. You won’t see any anchors reading copy behind a desk,” said Afua Owusu, director of news and local content for CW26 and The U. Brandon Pope, who’s been a reporter for The U since 2017, will host “On the Block” with stories from Jon Hansen and Block Club reporters. Hansen also will serve as coordinating producer for the show and continue to host Block Club’s “It’s All Good” podcast. “Block Club prides itself on telling a wide range of unique stories from all over the city, including for people often ignored by legacy media,” said Shamus Toomey, publisher and co-founder of Block Club. “We are absolutely thrilled to team up with Weigel Broadcasting and get these stories out to a wider audience.”
There’s an opening for a new editor at Time Out Chicago. The job posting calls for “an experienced Chicago-based editor and writer to spearhead our editorial coverage across multiple platforms—including digital, social and video—with an eye toward expanding our audience with engaging new content.” Zach Long, a one-time intern who rose to editor, left last week to join Eventbrite, the event management and ticketing website, as an editorial specialist. “In the current media landscape, spending eight years on staff at a publication feels like a lifetime,” Long tweeted. “The best part of working at Time Out has always been talking to the folks who make Chicago such an amazing city.”
WKSC 103.5-FM, the iHeartMedia Top 40 station, has announced a nationwide search for a new cast member to join the top-rated morning show hosted by Christopher “Fred” Frederick. The job has been open since Kristie Graybill left last month. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Kiss FM ranked first in mornings among all listeners between 18 and 34 and among women between 25 and 54. “We are excited to find an additional family member for ‘The Fred Show,’ further investing in the No. 1 morning show in Chicago,” said James Howard, iHeartMedia senior regional vice president of programming and Kiss FM program director.
Good news for Bill Bellis, former chief meteorologist at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. He just signed on with KSNV, the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas. Bellis had spent 10 years at Fox 32 before his contract ran out in February 2021. The native of Long Island, New York, previously worked for KNXV, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix. “I’m pumped to get back in the game and join a super talented staff at KSNV,” Bellis told me.
Rick Kogan, the preeminent senior writer and columnist for the Chicago Tribune, will be filling in all this week for Bob Sirott as morning host on Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM. The show airs from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Hosting morning drive is a first for Kogan, who’s been the distinctive voice of WGN’s “After Hours” on Sunday nights since 2013 and has graced Chicago radio’s airwaves for decades.
Paige Tortorelli, an investigative producer at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, has been hired by the investigative unit of CNBC. A 2017 Fulbright Scholar with degrees from College of the Holy Cross and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, she was an intern at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 before joining CBS 2 in 2019. CBS 2 news anchor Brad Edwards called Tortorelli “a star,” tweeting: “She made mundane utility bills into three consecutive Emmys for ‘Getting Hosed.’” At CNBC Tortorelli will be working with Scott Zamost, senior investigative producer for the network, headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Natalie Moore, veteran reporter for Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM, just had her latest literary effort published by Haymarket Books. The Billboard, a play about a fictional abortion clinic in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, is available in hardcover, paperback and e-edition. (Here is the link.) Premiering June 23, “The Billboard” will be presented onstage by 16th Street Theater at Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center, 710 North Lake Shore Drive. Directed by TaRon Patton, co-founding executive director of the African American Museum of Performing Arts, it will run through July 17.
Friday’s comment of the day: Charles Edward: Whether on NBC 5 or WGN, Lauren Jiggetts has been and is the essence of class, stylish, sophisticated, professional, affable, sincere, dedicated, believable, credible, supremely watchable and profoundly real. The exact opposite of Cheryl Burton.