Crain’s video updates missing Leiter touch



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Back on the beat with a bonanza of Robservations:

  • I’ve always thought Lisa Leiter did a terrific job as anchor and reporter of the Crain’s Chicago Business daily online video updates. So I was sorry to see that the former Bloomberg and CNN correspondent is no longer fronting Chicago Business Today after almost a four-year run. The new face of Crain’s video is Danny Ecker, who joined the company as a part-time videographer/editor and moved up to full-time status last fall. Although Leiter’s contract expired at the end of the year, she’s still expected to work on small business coverage in print and in video as well as on other projects. “I'm a huge fan of Lisa's and glad she's continuing to work with us,” said Jim Kirk, Crain’s chief of editorial operations.

  • Also new to Crain’s is Steve Reiss, enterprise editor of the Washington Post and former deputy assistant managing editor of its Style section. He’ll sign on next month as assistant managing editor in charge of features, overseeing Crain’s Business of Life section as well as major feature stories for both print and online. He replaces Andrea Hanis, who jumped to the Chicago Tribune last June as business section planning editor. Before joining the Post in 1990, Reiss had been a reporter and editor at the Miami Herald.

  • NBC 5 is about to add another star producer to its Unit 5 investigative team. Lisa Capitanini, who spent 13 years as senior investigative producer at CBS 2 before stepping down in 2006, will join producer Katy Smyser, news anchor Rob Stafford and others at Unit 5 later this month. Before her award-winning work at CBS 2, Capitanini wrote for The Chicago Reporter, now a nonprofit partner of NBC 5. “Lisa took time away from the business to attend to her two children,” Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news, told staffers. “She’s excited now to get back into action by joining our Unit 5 team.”

  • Lauren Petty, a weekend news anchor and reporter at WVIT-TV in Hartford, Connecticut, moves up the NBC ladder by joining NBC 5 here as a general assignment reporter. Starting January 30. It’s a homecoming for Petty, who grew up in west suburban Burr Ridge and attended Lyons Township High School. A journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University’s Medill School, she previously worked at WICD-TV in Champaign and at CNN International in London.

  • Steve Dahl may have suffered collateral damage from last week’s shakeup at Fox Chicago. The ouster of Carol Fowler after three years as news director and her replacement by market retread Phyllis Schwartz coincided with the termination of Dahl’s Friday night commentaries after six months. Dahl believes the two events are related, but said Fowler wasn’t aware of the demise of the Friday Fox DahlCast until he told her about it. Although he plans to spend the coming months in Florida (where he’ll originate his daily podcast), that wouldn’t have kept him from taping his segments for Fox. “I had a studio lined up in Florida so I could keep doing it every week,” Dahl told me. “Now I won't have to buy a sport coat and sweater down there.”

  • The new year brought a new look to Chicago’s top-rated Spanish-language television station. Univision WGBO-Channel 66 converted its news operation to HD and unveiled a new set for Noticias Univision Chicago, the 5 and 10pm newcasts anchored by Jorge Barbosa and Angelica Atondo. “It is important for our station to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to reporting news to our viewers,” news director Marisol Seda said in a statement.

  • Eight Forty-Eight returned to WBEZ-FM (91.5) this week from its annual hiatus with new host Tony Sarabia replacing Allison Cuddy, who’s moved to reporting on arts and culture for the Chicago Public Media station. Under executive producer Justin Kaufmann, everything’s up for grabs on the flagship morning show. “We are working on a gradual transition to a new show and format,” Kaufmann told listeners. “Essentially, the news magazine is out and the live talk show is in . . . The goal is for us to try some live experiments in the next month.” Joining Eight Forty-Eight and Worldview on the station’s weekday lineup in February will be a new afternoon show, hosted by Steve Edwards.

  • Raising the cash for some of Kaufmann’s big ideas at WBEZ will be the job of Judy Lindsey, who was named vice president of philanthropy at Chicago Public Media on Tuesday. She most recently was director of development for the University of Chicago’s six libraries. Lindsey replaces Jill Seltzer, who is now head of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation in Los Angeles.

  • Happy to see the great Dave Eanet recognized by his peers as one of the best in the business. The veteran sports director of WGN-AM (720) was just named 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Before joining the Tribune Co.-owned station as morning sports anchor (and the voice of Northwestern football and basketball) in 1996, Eanet was sports director of CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (780).

  • Darren Davis, who once headed programming and operations for Clear Channel Radio’s seven-station cluster here, has left Chicago after six years and moved to Dallas. Now senior vice president and general manager of national programming for Clear Channel, Davis said he made the move because the morning show his partner hosts relocated production to Dallas last fall. “After a few months of flying around like a crazy person — even more than I normally do — I decided it was silly not to just move down there,” he told me. “I can operate from anyplace with an American Airlines hub.”

  • Marshall Rosenthal was a genuine Chicago original — a journalist of great passion and wit whose career encompassed everything from the underground press and the free weekly Reader (where he originated the Hot Type column) to daily newspapers, magazines and television news. He died of cancer Monday at 71. He was, said Roger Ebert, "a good man, a valuable writer, and a life force."

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)