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Afternoon Shift

Afternoon Shift: When do negative online reviews become defamation?

When do negative online reviews become defamation?

How often do you turn to a site like Yelp, Angie’s List or TripAdvisor to decide what companies to patronize? And how much does a bad review influence your thinking? Companies are clearly worried about negative reviews. It can affect the bottom line. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that more businesses are suing people who leave one-star reviews.

One such case happened here in Chicago earlier this year. North Park’s Zwick Window Shade company sued a customer who left a negative review on Yelp. Owner, Micahel Zwick joins us to talk about why he decided to sue. Plus, social media lawyer Scott Malouf and Patrice Perkins, an attorney for creative entrepreneurs, join the conversation.


General Admission: Why don't people attend artistic events?

Why don’t you go to art events? The National Endowment for the Arts tried to figure this out earlier this year. They did an analysis of other research out there. It also looked at a number of different factors like lifestyle, the values of people who attend, and ideas for to reach people who don’t go. Don Hall and Tyler Greene, co-hosts of General Admission, WBEZ’s arts podcast join us to discuss the analysis. Plus, Krissy Vanderwarker, Co-Artistic Director of Chicago’s Dog and Pony Theater Company, joins us in studio.


  • Don Hall is co-host of WBEZ’s General Admission podcast.
  • Tyler Greene is co-host of WBEZ’s General Admission podcast.
  • Krissy Vanderwarker is co-artistic director of Dog and Pony Theater Company.


U.S. Federal Reserve moves more resources to its Chicago office

The New York Branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve is shifting some of its resources to its satellite office here in Chicago. The move comes out of concern over future natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which flooded Lower Manhattan where the New York Fed is located. Jonathan Spicer broke this story for Reuters and he joins us on the line.

Guest: Jonathan Spicer is a reporter for Reuters.

Illinois is getting a new superintendent of education

Illinois’ new superintendent of education starts next month. Tony Smith will take office on May 1st, replacing current State Superintendent Chris Koch. WBEZ education reporter Becky Vevea joins us with more.

Guest: Becky Vevea is a WBEZ reporter.

Remembering Chicago Chef Homaro Cantu

Chef Homaro Cantu, owner of the critically acclaimed Moto and Berrista restaurants, was found dead yesterday of an apparent suicide. He was 38 years old. We’re joined by Cantu’s friend, neighbor, and former chef at Charlie Trotter’s, chef and restaurateur Matthias Merges.

Guest: Matthias Merges is a Chicago chef.

Tech Shift: Cyberbullying and threats plague messaging app, Yik Yak

If you haven’t heard of Yik Yak, you’re not alone. The messaging app is meant to be used exclusively on college campuses. Going through a Yik Yak feed feels like going through tweets or Facebook statuses, except the posts are anonymous. The app bills itself as a sort of online bulletin board where people can “find their herd,” but in practice, it can read more like the wall of a men’s bathroom. The app has become a breeding ground for racism and sexism, and many feel it fosters an environment where bullying and threats are allowed to flourish. Social media lawyer Scott Malouf joins us again to talk about the legal issues with Yik Yak.

Guest: Scott Malouf is a social media lawyer.

Alderman Michelle Smith will keep her seat in the 43rd Ward 

The numbers are in, and Alderman Michele Smith will keep her seat in the 43rd Ward on the North Side following a close runoff election. But there are still four other undecided aldermanic elections around the city. Mike Fourcher of Aldertrack joins us with updates on the remaining races.

Guest: Mike Fourcher is the co-founder of Aldertrack.

A coin toss could decide a close aldermanic race in McHenry County

When Chicago’s aldermanic races are tied, candidates go to the Board of Elections Warehouse to help determine the winner. But in McHenry County, the toss of a coin or the draw of a high card might be the determining factor. McHenry County Clerk, Mary McClellan, joins us with details.

Guest: Mary McClellan is the McHenry County Clerk.

West Loop auction provides intimate look at belonging from Oprah's Chicago home

There is a rather intimate collection on display in an auction showroom in the West Loop. It’s filled with furniture, art and home decor from one of the world’s most powerful women: Oprah. Auctioneer Leslie Hindman joins us in her showroom with details on the upcoming display and auction.

Guest: Leslie Hindman is the president and CEO of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

Court-appointed lawyer finds possible Burge victims

The City of Chicago announced a $5.5 million reparations package for the victims of police torture at the hands of former Chicago Police Detective, Jon Burge, which the City Council will vote on next month. In march of 2014, David Yellen, Dean of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, was appointed to comb through the case files of hundreds of men put behind bars by Burge and his officers. The task was to identify if anyone was still in prison as a result of a coerced confession. David Yellen joins us with an update on his review.

Guest: David Yellen is the Dean of Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

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