Website helps keep idle anchor from drifting away

May 18, 2010

Robservations on the media beat:

Lauren Cohn 

  • Losing a job in broadcast news no longer means being exiled to oblivion. The newest entry in the Chicago media blogosphere is LaurenCohnReports.com (billed as "The Official Website of Newscaster Lauren Cohn"), launched by the former news anchor and reporter at WFLD-Channel 32. Cohn, who signed off from the Fox-owned station April 1, said she sees the website as a "marketing tool" to keep her name in front of the public --  and her resume in front of potential employers. She's already blogged about everything from her Blackberry Bold to the Highland Park girls' basketball team. Cohn, who previously worked at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, has been filling in on Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890).
  • Chicago television news icon Walter Jacobson, who was principal news anchor at Channel 32 for 13 years, had harsh words Monday for bosses of the Fox-owned station over their dismissal of Lilia Chacon. (As reported here, Chacon is being dropped after 21 years as a reporter for Fox Chicago News.) Jacobson, who now delivers commentaries for Channel 2, blasted Chacon's ouster in a message to this blog. In case you missed it, here's Walter's perspective:
"Select a subject, any subject, any time in Chicago television news, and it'd be darn-near impossible to find an 'expert' more of an expert than Lilia Chacon, or a reporter who can become an expert faster and better than Lilia Chacon", or a reporter or anchor in Chicago who can communicate on television better (if as well) as Lilia. Or a reporter or anchor who has more connections in the neighborhoods, more access to newsmakers, or more (if as much) persuasive power to get them on the air. Or who knows the streets and the hallways of political power as Lilia Chacon knows them. Or can tell a story as she does. Or is more capable of handling, live on the air, fast-breaking news" not to mention her being a minority, a woman, and beautiful. For what possible, conceivable reason can Fox News be letting her go?? I cannot remember a time in my 50 years in the business that Robert Feder was wrong about what's going on in Chicago television news. Maybe he imagined this Lilia story, or made it up??? What a stupid, stupid mistake that station is making. What a loss for Fox News, a loss for our profession, a loss for our community. Sometimes I can't help being ashamed of us."
  • Fans of another former Chicago news personality have launched a petition drive and started a Facebook page to get him back on the air. Kevin Roy, former weekend morning news anchor at Channel 7, was fired last month after failing to show up for work for the third time. Roy, who attributed his absences to "physical exhaustion," said he hopes to continue working in the market.
  • Victims of the latest bloodletting at Tribune Co. are Joanne Stern, longtime director of creative services at WGN-Channel 9, and two members of her department -- director of design Dennis Marinosci and assistant art director Ed Hansen. Their functions are being consolidated with creative services for WGN America, the company's superstation. Stern joined Channel 9 in 1997 after four years as vice president of advertising and promotion at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.
  • Dave Pawelek has resigned after four years as station manager of Radio Disney outlets WRDZ-AM (1300) here and WKSH-AM (1640) in Milwaukee. But he won't be leaving Walt Disney Co. altogether. He's been named director of sales for the Disney Vacation Club sales center at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. No replacement has been named at the Radio Disney stations.
  • Celia Chavez, who was named president and general manager of Spanish-language WSNS-Channel 44 last November, is profiled as "Telemundo's New Visionary" in the current issue of Today's Chicago Woman. A 14-year veteran of the Telemundo Station Group, Chavez said she hopes to expand the station's viewership beyond the Hispanic community:
"We need to be more inclusive as far as inviting everyone to visit our channel. We tell good stories. They're fun, entertaining and provocative. We have closed-captioning -- I think it's been more than a couple of years --  and getting the word out to the English-speaking population is part of our plan."
  • Gov. Pat Quinn proclaimed last Friday "Steve King & Johnnie Putman Day" in Illinois to honor the husband-and-wife overnight duo on their 25th anniversary at Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720). On receiving the honor, King quipped: "So does this mean we get a discount on the Grand Slam at Denny's today?"
  • Alan Colmes' syndicated radio show has expanded to five nights a week on Newsweb Radio progressive talk WCPT-AM (820). Starting this week, it will air from 9 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday. Taking the place of its former weekend "best of" airing is the Westwood One audio version of NBC's "Meet the Press" from 5 to 6 p.m. Sundays.
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