Now you see it: Mirage returns as Sun-Times flashback

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Robservations on the media beat:



  • The most famous undercover investigative series in Chicago newspaper history is getting a digital replay — in real time. Thirty-five years ago this week, the Sun-Times began a blockbuster 25-part series about the Mirage Tavern, a bar the newspaper opened at 731 North Wells Street for the purpose of recording demands for bribes from city inspectors and other officials. Working with the Better Government Association and 60 Minutes, the Sun-Times documented a parade of shakedowns and shoddy inspections. Now Sun-Times digital editor Marcus Gilmer is reposting every story on the day it ran 35 years ago as a daily blog called The Mirage Archives.



  • Reboot Illinois, the website and social media enterprise advocating government reform, just received an infusion of capital and credibility. Chicago industrialists Lester Crown and Jim Crown have joined founder Anne Dias Griffin as investors. The effort launched last November amid concern about Griffin’s record as a major Republican campaign donor. Madeleine Doubek, chief operating officer of Reboot Illinois, pointed to the Crown family’s record as strong Democratic contributors, saying: “Their joining us in investing should put to rest any concerns anyone has about Reboot having a partisan agenda.” Added Doubek: “As we have said all along, we are a nonpartisan, professional media operation. . . . Executive editor Matt Dietrich and I, together, have more than 50 years’ experience as professional journalists. Matt and I make the editorial content decisions.”



  • Look for news/talk WLS-AM (890) to add a daily sports segment to the 5pm hour of Roe Conn and Richard Roeper’s afternoon show. It could start as soon as next week. Will the presence of a local TV sports anchor keep listeners tuned to the Cumulus Media station (and cut into Chicago’s two full-time sports/talk outlets)? At least that’s the strategy, according to station bosses.



  • Live productions of two radio dramas — The Screaming Woman, which first aired in 1948 on Suspense, and Early Model, which first aired in 1957 on X Minus One — will be presented at 6pm Wednesday at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street. Produced by the Chicago troupe Dramageddon, the show also will feature music by Ronen Kohn. Bruce DuMont, founder and president of the museum, said the program could be the start of a regular series.



  • Northeastern Illinois University officials have ended their six-month lockout of students from WZRD-FM (88.3), the freeform college radio station. The administration had demanded changes to the WZRD constitution, including adding “musical preference” to the prohibited nondiscrimination categories, and “a statement of civility and decorum,” according to John K. Wilson, co-editor of the Academe blog. “However, the students refused to agree and reportedly were allowed back into the station without submitting to any of the administration’s demands,” he wrote.



  • Joe Linstroth, who began as a production intern on Worldview and went on to produce the show and contribute to several others at WBEZ-FM (91.5), has left Chicago Public Media to head production of a new magazine show at Michigan State University’s WKAR-FM in East Lansing. The University of Michigan graduate began his journalism career at the Evanston RoundTable community newspaper, where he was a staff writer and editorial manager. From there he earned a master’s in journalism from Indiana University. In an earlier life, Linstroth founded two Chicago sketch-comedy groups, Teatro Bastardo and Robot vs. Dinosaur.


Programming note: Barring a news emergency, I’ll see you back here Monday.


 



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