'Jay's Chicago' finds new purpose for old stories

October 7, 2010

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Jay Shefsky

    Jay Shefsky, who's been an award-winning producer and storyteller at WTTW-Channel 11 for almost 25 years, is about to get his own weekly showcase on the public television station. Starting Oct. 15, "Jay's Chicago"will air 7:30 p.m. Fridays --  following Joel Weisman's "Week in Review." (That's the slot previously held by "The Friday Night Show," hosted by the late John Callaway and, before that, Bob Sirott.) The new show will consist of features Shefsky originally wrote, produced and reported for Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight." In a blog he started Wednesday to promote the series, Shefsky referred to the reruns as "creative repurposing." Each half-hour show will have a theme, starting with the opener's "New Games/Old Games." Said Shefsky:
"These are stories about people who are not famous or powerful.‚  But they are people with stories to tell or passions to share. I'm excited that a new audience will have a chance to meet them on Friday nights."
  • New York Times reporter David Carr's blistering indictment of Tribune Co. under Sam Zell and Randy Michaels wasn't the only hit the troubled company took Wednesday. Arbitron Portable People Meter ratings released for September showed Tribune-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720) down from the previous month in every time period among listeners between 25 and 54. Overall, the station dropped from a tie for 14th‚ place to 20th‚ in the advertiser-coveted adult demo.
  • Buzz Kilman returns to the station that made him Chicago radio's most celebrated newsman/sidekick when he joins morning personality Pete McMurray from 6 to 10 a.m. Friday on Emmis Communications classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9). Kilman, who's been off the air since late 2008, will fill in for co-host Jane Monzures. "Buzz and I have never been in a studio together," McMurray said. "I grew up a fan listening to him on the Loop and now we're side by side. Who doesn't love Buzz?"
  • Remember Vincent Falk --  the whirling dervish in the Technicolor suits who danced on bridges and spun around at the end of local newscasts? Last spring he was arrested in connection with bomb threats at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Now comes word he was officially cleared by Chicago police, who continue to investigate threats against the station, according to Marina City News. Falk, who lives at Marina City, was the subject of the documentary "Vincent: A Life in Color."
  • For two hours last Saturday, legendary Chicago political reporter Dick Kay and I talked about everything from Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson's comeback at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 to Randy Michaels' poker party at Tribune Tower. My guest appearance on Kay's weekly talk show --  "Back on the Beat" from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays on Newsweb Radio progressive talk WCPT-AM (820) --  has been archived on his website as a podcast: Here is the link.
Categories