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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Kurtis’

Chicago Declares Today ‘Bill Kurtis Day’

Legendary WBBM anchor Bill Kurtis is getting his own day.

Kurtis, who first joined WBBM in 1966 and currently co-anchors the CBS O&O’s 6 p.m. newscast with Walter Jacobson, will be honored at a gala tonight as city officials declare today “Bill Kurtis Day” in Chicago.

Kurtis will be recognized alongside his longtime partner Donna LaPietra (left, with Kurtis) for their “immeasurable contributions to the arts and our city,” according to WBBM.

Kurtis began as a reporter for the station in 1966 and joined Jacobson at the anchor desk in 1973, forming a duo that would rule Chicago TV news for decades.  Kurtis rejoined the station last year, reuniting with Jacobson.

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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Chicago Anchors Scrubbed from Controversial Video for Departing Mayor

After Chicago media reporter Robert Feder blasted a handful of local news personalities for appearing in a farewell video dedicated to longtime mayor  Richard M. Daley, WBBM, whose veteran anchor duo of Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis appeared in the video, is defending its staffers, saying that the producers of the video, an area furniture retailer, did not seek appropriate permission to use footage of the station’s on-air talent.

“The station did consent to having a few of its employees participate in what was described to us as a farewell video that would be given directly to Mayor Daley when he steps down after 22 years in office next week,” said Bruno Cohen, president and general manager of WBBM, in a statement.

Along with Jacobson and Kurtis, WBBM’s Rob Johnson and Ryan Baker appeared in the video, much of which was filmed in conjunction with a farewell party for the departing mayor and featured a handful of local celebrities.

After initially defending its inclusion of local anchors in the video, Walter E. Smithe, a major local advertiser, apologized and has since edited the WBBM staffers out of the video, as well as anchor Bob Sirott of WFLD. Read more

Chicago Anchors Criticized for ‘Kissing Mayor Daley’s Ass’ in New Video

Chicago media critics are up in arms about a new video celebrating the tenure of longtime mayor Richard M. Daley that features a handful of local news anchors, including Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis of WBBM and Bob Sirott of WFLD (video above).

Robert Feder of Time Out writes:

I’ve been stewing about this for days now, and I still can’t decide which is more outrageous: The idea of Chicago television news anchors appearing in a commercial for a furniture company–or the fact that it shows them shamelessly kissing Mayor Richard M. Daley’s ass.

The video, which features farewell messages from a handful of celebrities, was produced by Walter E. Smithe, a Chicago area furniture retailer and, according to Feder, a major advertiser on local TV. Read more

Former Anchor Bob McBride Passes Away

Bob McBride, an anchor known to viewers in Chicago, Detroit, D.C., and Cleveland, passed away this week at the age of 83.

McBride got his start with Detroit’s WJBK before making a high-profile move to Chicago’s WBBM in 1971, where he preceded the legendary anchor duo of Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis.

McBride left WBBM in 1973 to return to WJBK, eventually becoming the station’s general manager.

In the 80s, he made stops at the anchor desks of WRC in Washington, D.C. and Cleveland’s WKYC.

He walked away from TV in 1989 and spent his retirement in Bethesda, MD.

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

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