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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Whittaker’

WMAQ Adds Veteran Producer To Investigative Reporting Unit

The renewed commitment to investigative reporting continues at NBC O&Os.

The latest hire is producer Lisa Capitanini, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports. She will join Chicago NBC O&O WMAQ later this month. Previously, Capitanini spent 13 years as a senior investigative producer for rival WBBM, as well as writing and reporting for The Chicago Reporter, which has a non-profit partnership with WMAQ.

“Lisa took time away from the business to attend to her two children,” WMAQ vice president Frank Whittaker said in announcing her hire. “She’s excited now to get back into action by joining our Unit 5 team.”

WVIT’s Lauren Petty Set To Join WMAQ In Chicago

Lauren Petty is joining WMAQ as a general assignment reporter at the end of this month, the Chicago NBC O&O announced today.

Petty joins WMAQ from WVIT, the NBC O&O in Hartford, where she has worked for the last six years. She currently anchors the weekend evening newscasts and reports during the week.

In a statement announcing her hire, station vice president Frank Whittaker called Petty a “great addition to our team” and said the station is “thrilled to introduce her to our viewers.” Petty, a Chicago native, will begin at WMAQ on January 30.

WMAQ Beefs Up Investigative Unit as NBCU Doubles Down on Local News

NBC O&Os are doubling down on investigative reporting.

Last month NBC Universal announced that it planned to hire for more than 130 positions across its 10 stations and it appears that a significant number of those hires will be committed to bolstering the stations’ investigative units.

Last week, veteran investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski announced that he was leaving KMGH for a “great opportunity” with NBC’s KNTV in San Francisco.  And this week WMAQ in Chicago announced the hiring of Peabody Award winner Katy Smyse, who will be one of two new investigative producers at the station.

“Quite simply, we believe our ability to develop more exclusive and impactful local stories will help us attract more viewers to our newscasts,” WMAQ vice president and general manager Frank Whittaker told Robert Feder.

Chicago’s WMAQ Names Debra Juarez News Director

Debra Juarez, the senior news director of New England Cable News, is joining NBC owned-and-operated WMAQ as news director next month, the station announced yesterday.

The move marks a return to Chicago for Juarez, who was vice president of news at WFLD for 12 years beginning in 1993. After leaving the Fox O&O in 2005, she founded a production company that handled commercials, videos and documentaries for both English and Spanish media. She joined NECN in 2010.

WMAQ has been searching for an assistant news director since June, when Shannon Hammel decided weeks after being hired she would stay at KXAS. TimeOut Chicago’s Robert Feder reported that although Juarez will fill the empty spot, her title will be news director in deference to her experience. The last person to hold the news director title at WMAQ was Camille Edwards, who left the station in 2008. Read more

WMAQ Replaces Daryl Hawks with a Familiar Face

WMAQ has filled the position left vacant by recently deceased sports anchor Daryl Hawks, and the NBC O&O didn’t have to look very far.

According to Chicago media blogger Robert Feder, the station has promoted longtime part-timer Mike Adamle to full-time status, effectively filling Hawks’s position. A graduate of Northwestern University and a former member of the Chicago Bears, Adamle has been working for WMAQ for the past seven years.

“Mike has been a key member of our sports team,” Feder quotes WMAQ station manager and VP of news Frank Whittaker as saying. “From his days playing for the Bears and the Wildcats through his many years covering our local teams, Mike’s knowledge of the Chicago sports scene is great. I am delighted he’s back to full-time status.”

Adamle worked as a sports anchor for WMAQ from 1998 to 2001 before leaving for crosstown rival WBBM. After a 3-year stint with the CBS O&O, he returned to WMAQ.

WMAQ Sports Anchor Daryl Hawks Found Dead

WMAQ sports anchor Daryl Hawks was found dead in an Atlanta hotel room this morning.

Hawks, 38, was in town to cover the Bulls’ playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks. After Hawks missed his wake-up call, the WMAQ photographer on assignment with him asked hotel employees to check on his room. They found him unresponsive.

Hawks was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to WMAQ. The cause of death is unknown at this time.

“We are all stunned right now,” said Frank Whittaker, WMAQ’s station manager and vice president of news, in a post on WMAQ’s website. “Daryl was a great member of our sports team, and was so excited about covering the Bulls during this playoff run.”

Lester Holt’s Son Set to Join NBC O&O

Stefan Holt, the son of NBC’s Lester Holt, is returning to the city where he grew up and joining Chicago’s WMAQ, an NBC O&O.

The junior Holt has been a reporter-anchor for WPBF in West Palm Beach, FL since 2009. He is set to join WMAQ as a reporter and weekend morning anchor beginning in June.

“We are happy to bring Stefan home,” Frank Whittaker, WMAQ’s station manager and vice president, said in announcing the move. “He spent most of his childhood growing up in Lincoln Park.”

Lester Holt worked in Chicago for 14 years as an anchor for CBS O&O WBBM in the 80s and 90s.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Phil Rosenthal points out that Stefan is joining other WMAQ staffers with Chicago broadcasting lineage, including Anthony Ponce (the son of Phil Ponce), Lauren Jiggetts (the daughter of Dan Jiggetts), and Christian Farr (the son-in-law of WGN’s Robert Jordan). Read more

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