Robservations: Brad Edwards still ‘CBS 2’s biggest cheerleader’; IBEW technicians go back to work at WTTW; Lisagor Awards finalists announced

Brad Edwards

Robservations on the media beat:

Despite losing his role as main news anchor at WBBM-Channel 2, a gracious Brad Edwards said he will “always be CBS 2’s biggest cheerleader.” After three years alongside co-anchor Irika Sargent, Edwards will shift next month to primary anchor for CBS News Chicago, the 24/7 streaming news service, and continue as an investigative reporter at the CBS-owned station. The move was prompted by the hiring of Joe Donlon, announced this week by CBS 2 president and general manager Jennifer Lyons and news director Jeff Harris. “I have always known that chair was not mine,” Edwards replied to my inquiry. “It was an honor, and Joe is a fantastic ‘next’ to join my dear friend Irika, and new pals [meteorologist] Albert [Ramon] and [sports anchor] Marshall [Harris]. They will make a great team. I’m excited about the new chair Jennifer and Jeff have pulled out for me — delivering our critically important content to new audiences. Let’s go!” The Michigan native came to CBS 2 via Indianapolis and Detroit as a reporter in 2012 and was an unexpected choice when he was tapped as anchor in 2019. Last summer Edwards was awarded the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow for Excellence in Writing, drawing praise from CBS 2 news boss Harris as “one of the finest storytellers and writers in our industry,” adding: “And what he produces is as close to art as we can get with words, sound and video.”

WTTW

As expected, broadcast technicians at WTTW-Channel 11 voted to ratify a new contract with the Window to the World Communications public television station Thursday, ending a 23-day strike by Local Union 1220 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. It’s back to work Friday for more than two dozen technicians, graphic artists and floor crew members who walked out March 16 over proposed changes in work jurisdiction and job protection. Although the union did not achieve all its goals, the new agreement includes “full-time staff hiring guarantees which will partially protect the size of the IBEW bargaining unit as well as fair economic gains,” according to its statement. A WTTW statement said: “The terms of our new contract . . . embrace change and new ways of working, are critical to our collective and continued success, will protect and create jobs, and are finally in line with the contracts of other media companies across the city and the country.”

Peter Lisagor

Finalists were announced Thursday for the annual Peter Lisagor Awards by the Chicago Headline Club. (Here is the link.) This year’s awards dinner May 6 at the Union League Club of Chicago will mark a return to an in-person event after back-to-back virtual ceremonies. It also will highlight the organization’s delayed 100th anniversary celebration. The awards honor excellence in journalism in 100 categories, encompassing newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and digital media. They’re named for Peter Lisagor, Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Daily News from 1959 until his death in 1976. The Headline Club established the awards in 1977.

Jonathan Hood

Jonathan Hood, morning co-host on Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM, just added a role: He’s one of three national hosts of “Good Karma Wrestling,” a new weekly talk show across multiple social and digital platforms. New episodes post at 6 p.m. Thursdays. Calling it “a great way to give our fans even more compelling content,” Danny Zederman, director of content at ESPN 1000, said: “Having known Jonathan for almost 20 years, I know how much he loves wrestling. To have an outlet to talk wrestling and interact with fans is tremendous for him and his co-hosts.” Co-hosting with Hood are Milwaukee’s Gabe Neitzel and West Palm Beach’s Brian Rowitz.

Robert K. Elder

Robert K. Elder, Chicago journalist, author and digital media executive, has been named president and chief executive officer of Outrider Foundation, a nonprofit media group based in Madison, Wisconsin, focusing on security issues, public policy and social justice. “I look forward to building on the organization’s legacy of excellence and public service,” Elder said. “It’s an opportunity to increase the brand’s impact with new partnerships, programs and initiatives.” Elder most recently was chief digital officer at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Earlier this week Elder announced publication of his 16th book, The Doomsday Clock at 75, co-written with J.C. Gabel.

Paula Camp (Photo: Lenny Gilmore)

Recommended reading: Monica Eng, longtime Chicago reporter who writes a daily newsletter for Axios Chicago, profiles former colleague Paula Camp in the April issue of Chicago magazine. (Here is the link.) Through the 1980s Camp was known to Chicago Tribune readers as Paul Camp, the paper’s acerbic dining critic and later features editor. Now 73 and living in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Camp began her gender transition six years ago. “It’s never too late to be who and what you are,” she told Eng. “It’s never too late to do what you want and are meant to do. It took me a long time. But I am one of the luckiest people on earth to be where I am today, to be the woman I have always been.”

Thursday’s comment of the day: Doug Strickland: The main reason behind all the anchor turnover is all the leadership change. Right leadership = continuity. Proven many times, many ways.