Robservations on the media beat:
You won’t see Ben Bentley and his cadre of cigar-chomping scribes from the original “Sports Writers” show, but get ready for a 2022 homage to the venerable Chicago sports roundtable. Starting May 1, Marquee Sports Network will launch “The Reporters,” a half-hour weekly show featuring a rotating panel of Chicago media members, airing at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. “We’re excited to launch ‘The Reporters’ as part of our Sunday morning programming lineup, discussing the biggest sports stories with the writers and broadcasters closest to the action,” Mike McCarthy, general manager of Marquee Sports Network, said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing additional coverage across the Chicago sports landscape to Marquee viewers.” Bob Sirott, morning host on Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM, will appear as a regular contributor, but no word yet on other talent for the show. Premiering as “The Sportswriters” on WGN in 1975 (with Bentley, Bill Jauss, Bill Gleason and George Langford), the original radio show inspired the long-running “Sports Writers on TV.”
Jackie Bange, weekend news anchor at Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9 and 2020-2021 inductee in Chicago TV’s Silver Circle, will host this year’s Silver Circle ceremony May 13 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. Sponsored by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the event will honor Mary Margaret Bartley, Derrick Blakley, Phil Ponce, Martha Teichner, Roz Varon and posthumously Don Cornelius, Dick Johnson and Morris Jones. (Here is the link for tickets.) Established in 1992, the Silver Circle recognizes individuals who’ve devoted 25 years or more to the industry and made significant contributions to Chicago broadcasting. An edited version of this year’s program will air May 29 on Weigel Broadcasting WMEU-Channel 48.1 “The U.”
Despite news that Kid Kelly would cease production of his daily syndicated radio show April 29, he won’t be signing off as evening personality on Cumulus Media classic hits WLS 94.7-FM. The longtime New York-based disc jockey and Radio Hall of Famer has been hosting a customized show from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday for the Chicago station since January 2021. Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago, confirmed an extension of Kelly’s deal “while we review various talent.” In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, 94.7 WLS tied for 11th place in evenings with a 2.7 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 182,200.
Chicago freelance writer Bob Chiarito reports the inside story of how Meredith Goldberg, a Chicago-based freelance photojournalist, managed to capture the arrest last week of the man suspected of shooting 10 people on a New York subway. Buried in Chiarito’s account — published in the latest Gateway Journalism Review — is this nugget: Goldberg first offered her photo to the Chicago Tribune, which turned it down and shuffled her off to The Associated Press. (Tribune photo editor Todd Panagopoulos later cited “tight budgets.”) AP bought the photo, which landed on front pages across the country. (Here is the link.)
Chris and Stefan Caray, 22-year-old twin great-grandsons of Hall of Fame announcer Harry Caray, just became the fourth generation of their family to broadcast professional baseball games. They’re the radio voices of the Amarillo Sod Poodles, Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. “We’re over-the-moon happy for them and proud of them,” their father, Chip Caray, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You know, a Caray has been doing baseball since 1945, so we’re up to 77 years. We’re hoping to make it to 100 while I’m still alive.” Harry Caray’s 53-year baseball broadcasting career included 27 years in Chicago, first with the White Sox and then with the Cubs. He died in 1998.
Laura Podesta, former reporter at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 who became a New York-based correspondent for CBS News and CBS affiliates, has filed her last story after more than four years with the network. She just joined Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelance services, as public relations manager. “As we go through this #greatresignation and more and more people prioritize meaningful work and #remotework, Fiverr’s mission is one I am proud to get behind,” she wrote on social media. Before joining ABC 7 in 2015, Podesta worked at KOAT, the ABC affiliate in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A newly released survey of news consumers on Chicago’s South and West Sides cited ABC 7, WGN and the Sun-Times as legacy news outlets they use most. Among recently launched digital news sites, Block Club Chicago, Chicago Public Square and The Daily Line topped the list. (Here is the link.) The survey was conducted by the Metro Media Lab of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, a project funded by the McCormick Foundation. “News consumers on the South and West Sides don’t believe Chicago media are meeting their information needs, despite the growth in new neighborhood and niche news outlets,” said Tim Franklin, Medill senior associate dean and professor, who leads the Medill Local News Initiative. “But the general unhappiness covers up nuances about how some organizations do well and others not.”
Alumni of the Daily Illini and WPGU, the independent student newspaper and radio station at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have launched an ongoing fundraising campaign to support Illini Media, nonprofit parent company of the two campus media outlets. (Here is the link to donate.) “DI and WPGU alums have deep and fond memories of their days on campus and don’t want to see student journalists of today and tomorrow lost the opportunities they had,” said Ed Epstein, a former managing editor of the DI. “Independent student media is also important because it is a training ground for journalists learning to stick to facts, get things right and expose things that the powerful would rather keep secret. We can’t lose that.”
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Dan Haley: What a wonderful match between Susy Schultz and the Evanston RoundTable.