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Chicago

Jennifer Lyons Named News Director at WGN

Jennifer Lyons WGNTribune has promoted Jennifer Lyons to news director at WGN, the CW affiliate in Chicago. Lyons has worked at WGN for 21 years, most recently as assistant news director.

“As Chicago’s Very Own, I felt it was important to have a leader who knows Chicago. Jennifer is the entire package: a track record of success, forward thinking, with strong editorial judgment and her pulse on Chicago,” WGN general manager Greg Easterly said in a statement. “With over twenty years at WGN-TV, I am proud to honor that loyalty and experience with the news director post. It is well deserved.”

Before Lyons was assistant news director, she was the executive producer of the morning and midday newscasts. She has previously worked at WHO in Des Moines and KWQC in Davenport, Iowa.

Lyons replaces Greg Caputo, who recently retired.

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Courtney Gousman Jumps Stations in Chicago

courtney gousmanCourtney Gousman is joining WGN, the CW affiliate in Chicago, as a general assignment reporter. Gousman comes from rival WBBM, the CBS-owned station in the market, where she has been a reporter and anchor since 2012.

“A Chicago native, Courtney is a perfect fit for ‘Chicago’s Very Own’ news team,” WGN interim news director Jennifer Lyons told Robert Feder. “She’s experienced, dynamic and active in the community. She’ll be a great addition to our staff.”

Gousman will begin at WGN on July 9. She will be a reporter for the station’s evening newscasts.

Before WBBM, Gousman worked at KSDK in St. Louis, WEHT in Evansville, Ind., KRCG in Jefferson City, Mo., and WMAR in Baltimore.

WGN Adding 5 p.m. Weekend Newscast

wgn-logoWGN has announced another expansion of its news operation: the Chicago CW affiliate will launch an hourlong newscast at 5 p.m. on weekends, Robert Feder reports.

“Over the past year we’ve seen more and more major newsworthy events happening on weekends from serious weather to major construction projects,” interim news director Jennifer Lyons wrote in a memo obtained by Feder. “It will be a good thing to be in the Saturday and Sunday afternoon time slot.”

Robert Jordan and Jackie Bange, who currently anchor the 9 p.m. weekend newscasts, will co-anchor the 5 p.m. newscasts starting July 12. Jim Ramsey will handle weather and Rich King will report on sports.

Glenn Berk Named GSM of WFLD

wfld32Chicago FOX owned station WFLD has named Glenn Berk VP and general sales manager.

“Glenn has proven himself to be a strong sales leader with a proven track record of delivering results,” said WFLD VP and GM Dennis Welsh. “His breadth of experience along with his strategic and motivational approach make him the ideal choice to guide our sales team to the next level of success.”

Berk will oversee “all station sales initiatives” for WFLD and MyNetworkTV affiliate WPWR.

Berk comes to WFLD from WHBQ, the FOX owned station in Memphis, TN. He has also worked as national sales manager at FOX’s WTXF in Philadelphia and as an account executive at FOX Stations Sales in New York.

WBBM Shows Off New Mobile Weather Lab

Chicago CBS owned station WBBM is showing off its brand new weather tool.

The station said it took 100 hours to transform the BMW X5 into the Mobile Weather Lab.

WBBM meteorologist Megan Glaros called it “the weather nerd batmobile,” adding, “It’s that cool.”

Whether severe storms bring tornadoes, hail, extreme heat, or blizzard conditions, CBS 2 can bring viewers real-time data from the rooftop of the Mobile Weather Lab. The Columbia Pulsar 600 ultrasonic weather station can pinpoint inclement weather at precise locations; and monitor temperature, wind speed and direction, dew point, and barometric pressure – just to name a few capabilities. Read more

WCIU Expands Morning Newscast

wciu morning anchorsChicago independent station WCIU is adding an extra hour to its morning newscast, Robert Feder reports. Beginning in September, “You & Me This Morning” with Melissa Forman and Jeanne Sparrow will air from 6 to 9 a.m.:

“I always say ‘You & Me This Morning’ is the show that ‘zags’ when everyone else in the market is ‘zigging,’ ” senior executive producer Rob Morhaim said in a statement Monday.

“We are the show for people who are tired of waking up to the same news about what terrible thing happened the night before. We’re the show for people searching for a lighter and more fun way to start their day and viewers are responding. I’m delighted that we’re able to add an additional hour of local content with Jeanne and Melissa, who are so incredibly talented, relatable and without question, have the best teeth in morning television,” Morhaim said.

WMAQ Adds Sportscaster Siafa Lewis

siafa lewisSiafa Lewis has joined WMAQ, the NBC-owned station in Chicago, as a freelance reporter and sports anchor, Robert Feder reports:

Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, confirmed the new addition on Tuesday, adding that the hiring of Lewis “will mean less use of some of our other freelancers.” He did not say whose work would be cut back.

Lewis has previously worked as a traffic reporter for WCAU in Philadelphia and as a sports anchor and reporter for WNBC in New York.

WFLD Adds Alexa Helms as Weekend Anchor

helmsAlexa Helms will be joining WFLD as a weekend anchor.

Robert Feder, who first reported the news, writes Helms was once an intern at the Chicago FOX owned station and will be taking the spot vacated by Amara Walker in December.

Helms last worked as a reporter at WSVN in Miami. She has also worked at KTSM-KDBC in El Paso, TX.

WGN to Add 4 p.m. Newscast in September

wgn-logoWGN, Tribune’s CW affiliate in Chicago, is adding a 4 p.m. newscast this fall, Robert Feder reports:

Greg Easterly, president and general manager of the Tribune Broadcasting station, told staffers Wednesday the expansion would reinforce the brand of “Chicago’s Very Own.” “We have plenty of decisions and brainstorming in front of us . . . but I thought you all would like to know where we are headed,” he wrote in a memo. “It’s clear WGN has a unique place in the market and a true connection to Chicago — let’s build on it.”

No decision has been made on a talent lineup for the new 4 p.m. newscast, but insiders said it’s likely that news anchors Mark Suppelsa and Lourdes Duarte and chief meteorologist Tom Skilling, who currently front WGN’s 5 p.m. news hour, will be involved. There also may be a role for Micah Materre, who co-anchors at 9 p.m. with Suppelsa.

Zoraida Sambolin on Returning to WMAQ: ‘The Response Has Been Humbling’

zoraida sambolin_304x200As Zoraida Sambolin prepares to rejoin WMAQ, she does a Q+A with Robert Feder about her return to Chicago:

What’s been the response to your return to NBC 5?

The response has been humbling. Many of our loyal viewers followed my career at CNN, prayed for me during my health crisis and are now embracing my return to their morning routine. I feel incredibly fortunate. The team I left has changed a bit, but they’ve all been very welcoming, and the staff and crew have always been like family. It all feels right and Daniella [Guzman] is excited about her new opportunities in L.A.

Does the place seem any different since you left? Read more

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