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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Feder’

Chicago Station Plans Return to ‘Eyewitness News’ Brand

wls_304Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports ABC owned Chicago station WLS will once again brand itself as “Eyewitness News.”

Feder said the “Eyewitness News” name ran from 1969 until 1996 on WLS. Today, WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, KTRK in Houston and WTVD in Raleigh-Durham use the brand.

WLS general manager John Idler told Feder, “The reality is ['Eyewitness News'] still has a very strong identity with this station — even though it was dropped a number of years ago. It’s still very important to our viewers, and they associate it with ABC 7. That’s principally why we’re bringing it back.”

Idler emphasized that the goal isn’t to go retro. “The execution of this is going to be very contemporary,” he said. “It is not going to be a look back to ‘Eyewitness News.’ It is going to be a look forward to what ‘Eyewitness News’ means to viewers today.” Read more

Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling Marks 35 Years with WGN

Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist for Chicago CW affiliate WGN, celebrated 35 years with the station this week.

The station marked the occasion yesterday after his 9:00 p.m. forecast with a low-key mention from anchor Micah Materre, “35 years on the air here,” said Materre. “35 years, isn’t that something?” replied Skilling. “Congratulations!” said Materre. They then showed footage of Skilling in the early years doing his forecast wearing the yellow team blazer with the nine on the breast pocket. “That was burlap,” Skilling said of his blazer.

Last year, Skilling signed a new 10 year multimillion dollar contract. Shortly after signing he told Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I have marveled at the support I’ve received from my viewers all these years — at their loyalty and kindness. We are nothing in our line of work without those who offer us the gift of taking time out of their busy days to grace us with the honor of checking out what we do and what we have to say. I’m beyond words over the whole thing.”

As part of the celebration of his 35 year tenure, Skilling, along with the some of the WGN weather team, sang “Take Me Out to The Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch at yesterday’s Cubs game against the Cincinnati Reds. As a side note, listen to the Cubs announcer put the wrong em-PHA-sis on the wrong sy-LLAB-le when pronouncing meteorologist. For the record, the Reds blanked the Cubbies 5 to zip.

You can watch video of Materre wishing Skilling happy anniversary and Skilling singing at the Cubs game after the jump. Read more

Anchor Rob Johnson Re-Ups with WBBM

TVSpy has confirmed WBBM evening anchor Rob Johnson has signed a multi year contract renewal with the Chicago CBS owned station.

“My philosophy is to not make my personal business public,” Johnson told media blogger Robert Feder who broke the news. “But given the multiple inaccuracies that have been reported, I am happy to report that I’m going to sign a multi-year contract with CBS to continue the great work we’re doing. And I couldn’t be happier.”

Several media web sites had been reporting Johnson was on his way out due to poor ratings at the station. But Johnson told Feder no one contacted him before the news of his impending doom was published. Read more

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.

Gremlins Plague WLS Broadcast Again

With the Chicago teacher’s strike at the forefront of local news, technical glitches hampered WLS‘ newscast for the second time in weeks, reports Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.

As local stations competed Sunday night with live coverage of press conferences at the outset of the Chicago teachers strike, ABC 7 was hampered by severe signal problems.

The glitches even prompted weekend anchor Ravi Baichwal to tweet out an apology to viewers:

 

 

 

Read more

WMAQ’s Alex Perez Joins ABC News’ Chicago Bureau

WMAQ reporter Alex Perez is joining ABC News as a Chicago-based correspondent, ABC News president Ben Sherwood announced today.

News of Perez’s departure from the Chicago NBC O&O was first reported by Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. He is the third WMAQ staffer to join ABC News in the last five months, following meteorologist Ginger Zee and anchor Paula Faris.

In a memo to staffers, Sherwood called Perez “a skilled and energetic reporter who understands the power of words and images.” Perez, who has been a reporter and fill-in anchor for WMAQ for six years, will spend a few weeks in New York before returning to Chicago.

Read Sherwood’s full memo at TVNewser.

Rod Blagojevich Bids Farewell on Chicago TV

Set to spend at least the next dozen years in prison, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared to savor his final moment in the spotlight on Wednesday evening as he held a public farewell that conveniently coincided with Chicago stations’ 5 o’clock newscasts.

Every major news station in Chicago brought live, uninterrupted coverage of Blagojevich’s sendoff, which lasted roughly 40 minutes.

Covering the event, anchors for every station commented on the circus-like atmosphere, but it was clear that their colleagues were making up a large percentage of the crowd, as news choppers hovered overhead. Read more

Stefan Holt Moves to Weekday Mornings at WMAQ

WMAQ‘s Stefan Holt has been named weekday morning anchor at the NBC O&O, Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports.

Holt, who currently anchors the weekend morning newscasts, is the son of NBC News anchor Lester Holt. Starting Monday, he will anchor the 4:30 – 7 a.m. weekday newscasts.

“Since joining us last June, Stefan has distinguished himself both in the field and on the anchor desk,” WMAQ station manager Frank Whittaker wrote in a memo to staffers obtained by Feder. “His reassuring style and pleasant personality are a perfect fit for our morning team.”

Rob Elgas, who currently helms WMAQ’s early morning newscasts, will take over as co-anchor of the weekday 4:30 p.m. newscasts.

Reporter Kristyn Hartman Leaving Chicago’s WBBM

After eight years at WBBM, reporter Kristyn Hartman is leaving the Chicago CBS O&O.

“There are certain things I want to get out of life, and I’m pursuing them,” Hartman told Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder. “We all come to these points in our careers where we have to make really tough decisions. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity I’ve had here.”

Hartman joined WBBM in 2004 from WCCB, the Fox-affiliate in Charlotte, where she was a reporter and anchor. She is expected to sign off from WBBM in April.

KPRC’s Daniella Guzman Joining WMAQ in Chicago

KPRC reporter Daniella Guzman is leaving Houston for a job at WMAQ in Chicago.

“I’ll be heading to NBC5 in March,” Guzman told Houston media blogger Mike McGuff. “Opportunity knocked and I opened the door. I will miss Houston very much!”

Guzman is a reporter and weekend anchor at KPRC, the NBC-affiliate in Houston. She joined the station in 2006.

Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Guzman is the likely successor to morning anchor Zoraida Sambolin, who left the station for CNN in November, at NBC O&O WMAQ.

>Update: WMAQ has made the official announcement (read it after the jump). Read more

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