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Robservations on the media beat:
- Jessica D’Onofrio, who began her career as a part-time news writer at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, is returning home to become a full-time general assignment reporter at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Starting in September, she will be assigned to Channel 7’s weekday morning newscast. Her hiring coincides with the expansion of the newscast, which will start a half-hour earlier — at 4:30 a.m. — as of this Monday. D’Onofrio most recently has been a reporter at WKMG-TV in Orlando, Fla. She joined the CBS affiliate in 2005 after stints at WXIN-TV in Indianapolis and WHOI-TV in Peoria. The Chicago native is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
- Patti Haze, one of Chicago radio’s all-time great rock jocks, is the latest personality to join the all-star lineup of Chicago Radio Online. The free online music service (also available as an app for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch platforms) is headed by Kurt Hanson and John Gehron of Chicago-based AccuRadio.com. Haze, who now lives in Detroit, will turn up with Mitch Michaels as co-host of the Classic Rock Chicago format. Perfect. Just perfect.
- There’s an interesting radio footnote to the recent departure of Joe Ahern as president of the Rosebud Restaurant chain. As briefly noted here last month, the former Chicago television executive (who once ran CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7) apparently had a falling out with Rosebud owner Alex Dana and left the company after only six months. Unfortunately, Ahern’s early exit also meant curtains for live broadcasts of “The Smooth Jazz Sunday Brunch” from Rosebud Prime in the Loop. The show, hosted by Rick O’Dell, had been airing from the site since April on Venture Technologies Group’s smooth jazz WLFM-LP (87.7). It’s still being heard (but not seen) from the station’s studio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
- Now that Anna Davlantes is headed for morning anchor duties with Corey McPherrin at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, she won’t be turning up anymore on Drew Walker’s afternoon show on CBS Radio country WUSN-FM (99.5). As of this week, Fox Chicago News anchor Robin Robinson will join Walker with news updates at 6:40 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Is Robinson a country music fan? Who knew?)
- Little Red Corvette: Citadel Broadcasting oldies WLS-FM (94.7) is giving away a cherry red 1972 Corvette Stingray Convertible. If there’s a cooler prize being awarded by any radio station this summer, I haven’t heard about it.
- Programming changes coming to Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5) next week include the addition of three new shows — CBC’s “Q,” NPR’s “Snap Judgment” and CBC’s “WireTap” — and the expansion of CBC’s “Ideas” from one day a week to five. Leaving the station’s lineup will be “Living on Earth,” “Definitely Not the Opera,” “The Story” and the nightly repeat of “Worldview.” (Here is the link to a complete rundown of the revised schedule.)