Robservations on the media beat:
- A hearty high five to my old pal Dave Hoekstra, one of the great unsung writers, columnists, storytellers and journalism treasures in town, on his 25th‚ anniversary at the Chicago Sun-Times.‚ The pride of Naperville Central High School (Class of 1973), Hoekstra, 54, brings the heart of a newspaperman and the soul of a poet to everything he covers -- from his odysseys on Route 66 and around the world to his definitive profiles of Chicago legends. On his Sun-Times blog last week, Hoekstra posted a beautiful reflection on his career. (Here is the link.) Asked how he continues to do such great work after so many years and so many miles, Hoekstra told me:
"Basically what keeps me going is the ability to make the unknown known. I love the sense of adventure and discovery that comes in our jobs. Always tell students about the Jimmy Breslin at JFK gravesite story -- to paraphrase -- how everyone flocked around the gravesite; Breslin wandered off in the distance to interview the gravedigger. That's kind of how I approach my job. Don't know how much of that remains in fashion, but I try to fight the good fight."
- "An Evening with Sarah Palin" will be presented May 12 by WIND-AM (560), the Salem Communications conservative news/talk station. Tickets for the event at the Rosemont Theater go on sale Monday via Ticketmaster and the theater box office. "We are so excited to bring Gov. Palin to Chicago," said Jeff Reisman, general manager of WIND. "There is no stronger voice for the conservative movement than Sarah Palin, and our listeners want to hear what she has to say." The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate now delivers commentary for Fox News Channel.
- Three Chicago stations are among 50 finalists for the National Association of Broadcasters' 2010 Crystal Radio Awards. Two Bonneville International outlets -- hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9) and classic hits WDRV-FM (97.1) -- and Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720) are competing for recognition of their "year-round commitment to community service." Winners will be announced April 13 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
- Polnet Communications, Chicago-based owner of four time-brokered radio stations here, just closed on its long-awaited acquisition of WPVN-Channel 24, a Class A television station and its digital companion, licensed to Aurora. Bob Heymann of Media Services Group brokered the $1.6 million deal with Nelson TV Inc.
- Chuck Buell, one of the top rock jocks at WLS-AM (890) in its late '60s and early '70s heyday as "The Big 89," makes a fascinating subject for this week's "Chicago Radio Spotlight." Buell, now a busy voice-over specialist, tells Rick Kaempfer: "People ask all the time if I miss being on the air. . . . After morning shows now though, there's no longer the opportunity to have fun and, most importantly, be entertaining. Unfortunately, what I miss does not exist." (Here is the link.)
- Wendi Power, a 15-year veteran of WGN, resigned Monday as director of sales to become general manager of three FM stations owned by Cox Radio in Tampa, Fla. Succeeding her at WGN is Jeff Hill, who was promoted from local sales manager.
- Georgeann Herbert, former operations manager at CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (780) and the late WMAQ-AM, has resigned after nearly 10 years as program director of WWJ-AM in Detroit. She plans to launch her own business involving music, according to AllAccess.com.
- Speedy recovery wishes to Dick Kay, the veteran Chicago newsman and weekend host at Newsweb Radio progressive talk WCPT-AM (820), who's having knee surgery next week. After this Saturday's show, he'll be off recuperating for several weeks.