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Alissa Krinsky

After Three Decades with ABC, Chris Bury Shifts Focus to Local News

After more than thirty years with ABC News – much of it based out of Chicago for Nightline and World News — correspondent Chris Bury is looking to the future. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that after leaving the network last year, Bury has been “waiting out” his contract, finally making him an official free agent today.

First up is hosting a weekly public affairs show, In the Loop, for City Colleges of Chicago public station WYCC.  Interestingly, he’ll rotate anchor duties with another former ABC’er, reporter Barbara Pinto.

Also on the horizon: producing content via the newly-lunched Burcat Media Group, established with his wife Catherine Catalane, an anchor at Chicago’s WBBM-AM.

Another possibility is anchoring for a Windy City station. “That would be great,” Bury says. “Chicago is a great city where people still care about news. Most of the stations here are at least trying to do a solid job. It’s not the crap you see in Los Angeles or New York.”

Bury is a South Side native who worked in local news at KPRC in Houston, WTMJ in Milwaukee, and at St. Louis’ KTVI.

In Chicago, Al Roker Praises Fellow Weatherman WGN’s Tom Skilling

In chilly Chicago this morning, TVSpy caught up with Al Roker between his “Today” show weather reports. In addition to talking about this and that (we’ll post those stories on TVNewser later) we asked the 35-year NBC News veteran about longtime Windy City weatherman Tom Skilling. A few months ago the WGN meteorologist re-upped signing a whopping 10-year contract.

Roker says Skilling’s enduring presence – he’s been at WGN for more than three decades – is a real testament to the local legend. “People can get weather online, or on their phone, you can get weather any time you want.  But [viewers] trust him, they believe him.”

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It’s Print over TV in ‘Anchorman’-Inspired Jacksonville News Room Street Fight

Sorry, TV newsers, but print ruled the roost on Saturday at the first-ever real-life News Room Street Fight in Jacksonville, Florida.

Nine local newsrooms participated in the charity event, including three TV affiliates.  But it was the team from Jacksonvile Magazine – pictured left - that earned the dodgeball tournament’s prestigious Golden Trident.

Inspired by the cult classic movie ‘Anchorman’, the Street Fight ”was a hit,” said co-organizer and WJCT-FM anchor Melissa Ross.  “The audience loved seeing the city’s news teams have at it!”

More than $6,000 was raised to benefit the Jacksonville Police Athletic League. Read more

Jacksonville Newsers Hosting ‘Anchorman’-Inspired Street Fight

Like so many of your fellow local newsers, if you love the cult classic “Anchorman,” then you may want to head to Jacksonville, Florida this weekend.

In the spirit of the film, numerous Jax TV,  print, and radio newsrooms–including folks from WJXT, WTEV-WAWS, and First Coast News–are fielding teams to face off in tomorrow’s News Room Street Fight.  Journos will participate in a charity dodge ball tournament to benefit the Jacksonville Police Athletic League, with special appearances by Jacksonville Jaguars players Eben Britton and Rashad Jennings , and Ron Burgundy himself (sorry, no Will Ferrell – it’ll be a local actor dressed up).

Street Fight co-organizer Melissa Ross, a WJCT-FM anchor and former WOFL anchor, says that “since no one can forget the trident in the ‘Anchorman’ fight scene, an authentic golden trident trophy will be awarded to the winning news team!” Read more

After More Than Four Decades On-Air, Tom Skilling Says His Job is Still ‘An Awful Lot of Fun’

After 44 years in broadcasting, meteorologist Tom Skillinga Windy City icon and a viewer favorite nationwide thanks to his more than three decades at superstation WGN  - says not only is retirement of no interest right now, he’s still having a blast reporting Chicago’s weather.

“I tell young people that if they had to drop into a profession at a particular time in history, the last fifty years in meteorology has been the era in which to be there, and it continues to be to this day,” Skilling tells TVSpy.

“When I started, we had no real-time satellite imagery, we had no Doppler radar, computer models had not happened.”

Technology has changed, but Skilling’s on-air appeal has not.  His passion for his job is apparent to viewers, who’ve made him a weather superstar. We caught up with Skilling at Thursday night’s gala opening of the Museum of Broadcast Communication, which he helped make happen.

“I’ve been so lucky,” Skilling says. ”I think the first three-quarters of my career I thought they were going to fire me every day I came into work. Honestly. I’d look at tapes and I was so critical of myself.”

“I’ve always been fascinated by the weather.  I’m fascinated by its effect on people’s lives. It affects the way we feel, our moods, the way businesses proceed – it affects every facet of our lives. And to be a little piece of that, have a little role in communicating that information to people, is an awful lot of fun.”

(Photo: Alissa Krinsky)

Bill Kurtis, Tom Skilling Reflect as Chicago Newsers Gather at Broadcast Museum

WMAQ's Paula Faris and Dick Johnson attend the gala opening of the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Chicago’s TV news anchors and reporters were out in force for a sneak preview open house at the city’s new Museum of Broadcast Communications Thursday night. Joined by Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Museum President Bruce DuMont, the event officially marks the end of major construction of the 62,000 square foot, stand-alone facility.

Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Dave Garroway, Paul Harvey - the broadcast history of this city is just amazing,”  legendary WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling tells TVSpy. “We really have a story to tell here.  I think [the museum] is going to be of great interest. Bringing together the stories of these amazing broadcasters who have influenced broadcasting on a national scale is well worth telling.”

Local journos on hand included WBBM’s Bill Kurtis and Rob Johnson, former WBBMer Donna LaPietra, WMAQ’s Dick Johnson and Paula Faris, WLS’s Valerie Warner, former WLSer Andy Shaw, and former WMAQer Chet Coppock.

Mayor Emanuel noted that the museum is fitting for a city that hosted the nation’s first televised presidential debate, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960.

Party attendees got a glimpse at historic TV artifacts, including one of the cameras used during the JFK-Nixon matchup, an original Charlie McCarthy puppet, and the doorway that Oprah

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As ‘Morning Joe’ Broadcasts From Chicago, WMAQ Brings Viewers an Inside Look

When political reporter Mary Ann Ahern, of NBC’s Chicago O&O WMAQ, learned that MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was going to broadcast live from the Windy City today, she jumped at the chance to cover it.

“Once we heard that Senator [Dick] Durbin, David Axelrod, and of course Oprah, were going to be here, we thought, one of us has to be here,” Ahern told TVSpy at Chicago’s RL Restaurant, the site of the “Morning Joe” broadcast and from where Ahern did live shots for the NBC5 morning show.

Ahern shares political reporting duties with colleague Carol Marin, and the two discussed who would cover today’s visit by MSNBC’s Joe and Mika. “We talked about it, and we have a good relationship of kind of trading off of what stories are going on, and I said, ‘I’ll take this one, if you don’t mind!’”

WBBM’s Bill Kurtis Shares Personal Story in Aftermath of Tucson Shootings

Longtime Chicago broadcaster Bill Kurtis gave viewers a rare glimpse into his personal life during on-air comments he made Monday night.

While co-anchoring WBBM‘s 6 p.m. newscast, Kurtis spoke of his late son Scott, who had battled paranoid schizophrenia.   It happened during on-set crosstalk with reporter Vince Gerasole, who filed a package in the aftermath of the Tucson massacre, focusing on the the psychological state of Jared Lee Loughner.

“My son was schizophrenic,” Kurtis said from the anchor desk, “and I’ve been listening, of course, over the weekend, trying to draw parallels.”

Kurtis tells Time Out Chicago‘s Robert Feder, “I never wanted to exploit Scott and the illness, and always thought that if he wanted it to go public, he should be able to make the decision and talk about it…We’d been living with this for so long that when I heard some of the witnesses and observers who came forward Saturday [to describe Loughner] I felt this was the perfect time.”

Feder reports that Kurtis’ co-anchor Walter Jacobson was taken aback.  “Bill and I have been friends since 1973, and I was stunned by his willingness to open up about something so personal. I thought it was a very positive moment for him to have. I’m going to encourage him to talk more about it.”

Video of the segment after the jump… Read more

Former WTTG Anchor Brian Wilson Returns to His TV News Roots

Former Fox News Channel anchor and reporter Brian Wilson returned to the airwaves this month, at the Washington, DC O&O where he worked for twelve years before joining FNC in 1998.

“I like to keep my finger in the broadcasting pie,” Wilson tells TVSpy. He has appeared twice in December as a news analyst on WTTG’s morning show, the program he co-anchored for six years starting in 1992.

Wilson made his 2010 WTTG debut on December 9, followed by a lengthy segment on Monday. “It was lovely to get the opportunity to go back on a Fox-owned station,” he says. “And I was very happy to do it.”

So what does the Fox homecoming mean in the context of the FNC split that sparked headlines back in September? ”I’ll let you draw your own conclusion about that.  And I would never want to speak on behalf of Fox News,” Wilson tells TVSpy. “But I will say…that a lot of what was written about my departure from Fox News was a little off-base, because we did part as friends. And I continue to have only the highest regard for all my old friends at Fox News, and, of course, Mr. Roger Ailes.”

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