Robservations on the media beat:
Anna Davlantes & Corey McPherrin
- You read it here first, Part 1: Anna Davlantes, the reporter and contributing anchor to WFLD-Channel 32’s 9 p.m. newscast, and Corey McPherrin, the principal sports anchor at the Fox-owned station, will become the new co-hosts of “Good Day Chicago” from 7 to 10 a.m. weekdays. Starting Aug. 2, they’ll succeed Jan Jeffcoat, who shifts to the noon newscast with Patrick Elwood, and David Novarro, who moves to Fox-owned WNYW-TV in New York. Kori Chambers and Dawn Hasbrouck will co-anchor from 5 to 7 a.m. weekdays. Jill Carlson will succeed McPherrin as 9 p.m. sports anchor (either permanently or temporarily, depending on whom you believe). In making the announcement Thursday, Mike Renda, vice president and general manager, said:
“We are thrilled to bring together this very talented group of television journalists to form the core of what we believe will be one of the most informative and enjoyable morning newscasts in the Chicago market.”
- You read it here first, Part 2: Ben Bradley has been promoted to weekend morning news anchor at top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. He joined the station as a general assignment reporter in 2002 after four years at Tribune Co.-owned CLTV. Under his new deal negotiated by agent Joel Weisman, Bradley will anchor alongside Stacy Baca at 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays, effective Sept. 5, and continue reporting during the week. Channel 7 also confirmed the hiring of Eric Horng, a Chicago-based ABC News correspondent, as a general assignment reporter, starting Aug. 9. Of the two moves, Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director, said:
“Ben has proved to be not only an aggressive, enterprising reporter, but a solid and capable substitute anchor. With this well-deserved promotion, he’ll continue his important reporting role during the week while having an opportunity to regularly anchor on Sunday mornings… . We couldn’t be happier that Eric is joining our news team. He is a respected journalist, has an outstanding reputation and, as a native Chicagoan who has worked here as an ABC News correspondent for the past seven years, brings a wealth of experience.”
- You read it here first, Part 3: Dan Ponce, a scion of Chicago’s first family of television news, has been hired as a general assignment reporter at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, starting Sept. 1. Via agent Brian Musburger, it’s a return to the business for Ponce, who left Channel 7 after three years in January 2009 to sing full-time with his a capella group Straight No Chaser. Said news director Greg Caputo:
“As a Chicago native, Dan understands all the different communities that make up the region.‚ An excellent writer and storyteller, he’s a reporter that has a unique ability to highlight the people inside the stories. Dan is also an active participant in social media and we’re looking forward to him doing that here.”
- Our hearts are heavy over the passing of Chicago radio giant‚ Dick Buckley, a broadcast legend for more than 50 years and the premier voice of jazz on Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5) from 1977 until he retired in 2008. He also hosted jazz programs on‚ the former WXFM, WAIT, WNIB and WAAF. Buckley, who’d been in failing health for some time, was admitted to the hospital for breathing problems Tuesday, according to his son, Jeff Buckley, and he died Thursday at 85. (Here is the link to a WBEZ audio tribute.) (And here is a link to remembrances from fans, co-workers and family.) Said Torey Malatia, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media:
“When Dick spoke energetically about the music or musicians he admired, no one within earshot could resist hearing what he had to say. In even the most musically uninterested, Dick could awaken a craving to share Dick’s passion.‚ People always say that Buckley’s strength was that he knew jazz, and that he was a brilliant broadcaster because of his knowledge.‚ It was in fact much more.‚ Dick was great because he radiated his love for what he knew.”
- A star has risen: Bill Weir, who made a huge impression during three years here — from 1995 to 1998 — as morning sports anchor at WGN-Channel 9, has been named co-host of ABC’s “Nightline.” He replaces Martin Bashir, who shifts to MSNBC and NBC’s “Dateline NBC.” Weir, who most recently has been weekend co-anchor of “Good Morning America,” joined ABC News in 2004.
- Big news at the Chicago Reader, where staffers are still coping with the firing last month of editor Alison True after 26 years at the weekly: On Thursday, managing editor Kiki Yablon, who had been serving as acting editor, was moved up to editor. And Geoff Dougherty, editor and president of the online and print Chicago Current, was named associate publisher of the Reader. Dougherty, who previously headed the late Chi-Town Daily News, said he’s pulling the plug on Current after nine months. “I clearly can’t‚ serve both organizations at the same time, so the Current will cease operations effective immediately,” he told readers in his goodbye message.
- Chicago had only a modest showing among nominees for the National Association of Broadcaster 2010 Marconi Radio Awards: CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (780) is up for major market station of the year; Univision regional Mexican WOJO-FM (105.1) is up for Spanish station of the year; and Omar Ramos of Univision Spanish hot adult-contemporary WPPN-FM (106.7) is up for Spanish personality of the year. Winners will be announced Sept. 30 at the NAB’s 2010 Radio Show in Washington, D.C.