Chicago’s NPR news station WBEZ 91.5 FM is announcing today that Jennifer White will be the new host of The Morning Shift, WBEZ’s live morning talk show. She will start in the host chair Jan. 7, 2019. This news comes as WBEZ veteran host Tony Sarabia signs off the air next Friday, Dec. 21 after nearly three decades at the station.
“The Morning Shift is vital to Chicago’s daily news conversation and to fostering thoughtful public discourse that connects Chicagoans to each other and to the most important issues and ideas in our region,” said Israel Smith, managing director for programming and audience development at WBEZ. “Jenn’s ability to ask the right questions at the right moment and her passion for the region come through each time she sits behind the microphone. We’re excited to begin the next chapter of The Morning Shift with her in the host chair.”
White joined WBEZ in 2016 and has been the Friday host of The Morning Shift, notably leading the show’s Friday roundtable discussions. A familiar voice on WBEZ, she is also known for hosting several of WBEZ’s critically acclaimed podcasts, including Making Oprah, Making Obama, and 16 Shots, which chronicled the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald and the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.
White has worked in public radio since 1999. She was previously the local host of All Things Considered and the community outreach manager at NPR member station Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor, Mich. During her time at Michigan Radio, her work focused on special projects such as State of Opportunity, a five-year reporting project that explored how to improve outcomes for low income children in Michigan.
She also served as executive producer and host of the television program Out of the Blue: The Michigan Difference on the Big Ten Network, and was the host of the nationally distributed public radio documentary Finding Our Bootstraps: Americans Deal with Recession. She is a Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan.
“I am so excited to take over The Morning Shift chair. I have learned a lot from Tony and my other newsroom colleagues over the past three years. I look forward to taking The Morning Shift into its next iteration by building on the strong foundation Tony is leaving for us,” said White.
Earlier this year, Sarabia announced he would be signing off from WBEZ at the end of the year, following 28 years with the station. A native Chicagoan, Sarabia will be moving to Iowa to pursue new opportunities outside of radio.
For the last six years, Sarabia has been the host of The Morning Shift. He started as an intern at WBEZ in 1990, later moving over to the news department. He was WBEZ’s first midday anchor, and has also been the local host of Morning Edition, a Reporter, Arts Editor, and music host of Radio M on Friday nights on WBEZ. Sarabia’s last Radio M also will air on Dec. 21.
“We are deeply grateful to Tony for the
significant impact he’s made on WBEZ and our community during his tremendous
career here. While it is never easy to say goodbye, he will always be part of
the WBEZ family,” said Smith.
To celebrate Sarabia’s final week on air listeners are invited to share their gratitude, best wishes and fondest memories by on social media with the hashtag #ThanksTony or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s odd when I realize I’ve spent half my life at WBEZ, but I can’t think of a finer institution to have laid down roots, grow, learn and contribute,” said Sarabia. “Having Jenn, with all her talents, take over The Morning Shift is a great parting gift.”