Robservations on the media beat:
Stacey Baca, weekend morning news anchor and reporter at WLS-Channel 7, surprised viewers Sunday by announcing her resignation after 20 years at the ABC-owned station. Her last day will be June 26. Calling it “the hardest career decision of my life,” Baca, 53, told viewers she was leaving to spend more time with her husband, retired naval aviator Todd Gilchrist. “We are not guaranteed tomorrow, my friends,” she said. “I realize my husband and I are incredibly fortunate to step back and take a breath right now. I’ve joked it’s our ‘gap year’ – maybe so, maybe not. Either way, we are shifting focus, making changes, because what’s important right now is clearer than ever. I will be forever grateful for my ABC 7 Chicago journey, but I have to admit, I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.” Baca, who grew up in Brighton, Colorado, and graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder, worked for the Denver Post, CBS affiliate WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia, and NBC-owned KNSD in San Diego before joining ABC 7 in 2002.
Nancy Turner, who’s been a mainstay of Chicago radio since the 1970s (when she first became known as “America’s Radio Sweetheart” at the former WMAQ), announced her retirement Friday as midday host on WMBI 90.1-FM, the Christian ministry flagship of Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute. “I think it’s important to know when it’s time to step away, to leave the stage as it were; to leave strong,” Turner told colleagues and friends. “So while I am not closing the book on broadcasting, it is time for a new chapter and for someone else to encourage you each day. As a little girl growing up across the lake in Niles, Michigan, I could never have imagined that I would celebrate over five decades of broadcasting all around the world from this city like no other.” Succeeding Turner in middays is June “Juni” Felix, who previously co-hosted mornings with Karl Clauson on Moody Radio.
Peter Oprisko, Chicago area singer and former syndicated radio host, will kick off a new Saturday night lineup on WDCB 90.9-FM, the west suburban College of DuPage jazz station. Starting this weekend, Oprisko will host “Saturday Soirée” from 5 to 6 p.m. He’ll spotlight such vocalists as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin and Ella Fitzgerald along with golden pop oldies of the ’50s and ’60s. Following that, WDCB’s Leslie Keros will host “Mood Indigo,” featuring blues, soul and jazz from ’50s to the present, from 6 to 7 p.m. Both shows replace “Midwest Ballroom,” which John “Radio” Russell Ghrist hosted for 21 years until his retirement last month.
Megan Reed, who was a beloved Chicago area radio personality for nearly three decades, will be honored posthumously with induction in the 2022 Hall of Honor at Batavia Public School District 101. She and seven others will be inducted September 15 at the Batavia Fine Arts Center. A native of the west suburb and 1982 graduate of Batavia High School, Reed started as a summer intern at WXRT and later worked at WAUR, WYSY, WLIT and WILV. In 2016 she died of cancer at 52.
Danny Bonaduce, former child star of “The Partridge Family” whose second career in radio hit it big in Chicago at The Loop in the ’90s, is taking “a temporary medical leave” from KZOK in Seattle. He’s been hosting mornings at the iHeartMedia classic rock station since 2011. Bonaduce, 62, who posted a photo of himself using a cane, has been dealing with undetermined balance problems, according to family. “I’m still working towards receiving a diagnosis,” he told fans on social media. “What I know is, I need time to focus on my health.”
Friday’s comment of the day: Patty Martin: Jerry Bryant is a treasure. The JBTV studio space on Grand was a fantastic, intimate place to see an artist — terrific sound and sightlines. Very happy Jerry’s made it through these difficult years and I fervently hope he finds an equally magnificent space to rebuild. The world of music needs him and so does Chicago.