Robservations on the media beat:
- Jenniffer Weigel, the amazingly versatile broadcaster, author, actress, singer, producer and blogger, will soon add Chicago Tribune columnist to her credits. Starting Sept. 1, she’ll be writing for the newspaper’s new lifestyle section, to be called TribU. It’s a three-tiered job that also will involve her making regular TV and radio appearances to promote the section. Since July 2009, Weigel has been blogging for the Tribune’s ChicagoNow network. She’s the daughter of Tim Weigel, the late Chicago sportscaster, and Kathy Worthington, the former radio news anchor. Her brother is Rafer Weigel, sports anchor on HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade.” Her second book, I’m Spiritual Dammit, will be published this fall.
- The other shoe has dropped after the layoffs of 10 employees last June at Window to the World Communications, parent company of public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical WFMT-FM (98.7). Another 13 staffers just took early retirement buyouts as part of the company’s effort to cut $3 million in operating costs. The retirees include Channel 11 director and production operations chief Mike Lorentz, director Jack Ginay, associate director Cynthia Malek, engineers Kim Breitenbach, Bob Dove, Ray Meinke, John Oppy, Rafael Ramirez, Tim Snell, Carlos Tronshaw and Rich Wells, WFMT chief engineer Gordon Carter and mailroom staffer Phil Day.
- A pilot for a Chicago-based reality series about a father-and-daughter team of plastic surgeons is set to air three times next month on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. “Plastic Royalty,” following the Gold Coast practice of Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian and Leslie Forrester, will tell before-and-after stories of their Liposuction and Cosmetic Surgery Institute. Produced by Chicago-based Towers Productions, the pilot will air in late-night slots Sept. 4 and 5, and at 2 p.m. Sept. 7 on Channel 5.
- Yet another Chicago radio veteran is joining the all-star lineup of Chicago Radio Online. Connie Szerszen, who billed herself as “The Top Rock Girly Jock” on WJMK-FM (104.3), WIND-AM (560) and the former WSDM, among other stations, will co-host the Classic Hits Channel with the legendary Fred Winston on the free online music service. It’s the latest addition of name-brand talent assembled by Kurt Hanson and John Gehron of Chicago-based AccuRadio.com. Szerszen recently published her memoirs (appropriately titled Top Rock Girly Jock), available at toprockgirlyjock.com.
- Bill Leff, the Chicago radio veteran who’s been conspicuously absent from the air since he called it quits as host of “ChicagoNow Radio” on Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720), is getting a guest shot down the dial. Filling in for morning co-host Amy Jacobson on Salem Communications news/talk WIND-AM (560), Leff will join host John Howell on Friday and guest host Ed Curran on Monday.
- Heartfelt condolences to Neal Sabin, executive vice president of Weigel Broadcasting, on the death Tuesday of his father, Arthur J. Sabin, who was a distinguished author and professor of law at John Marshall Law School. Funeral services will be Thursday in Glencoe.