Cornelius took Hall of Fame call from Illinois Broadcasters

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Just weeks before his death, Soul Train legend Don Cornelius was selected for induction in the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  Although the news had not yet been announced, the Chicago native was chosen shortly before the end of last year. Dennis Lyle, president and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association, said the group had been in contact with Cornelius about setting a date for his induction, which now will occur posthumously. “It’s just tragic Don passed before entering IBA's Hall of Fame, but we're so thankful that he learned of — and accepted — our invitation for induction prior to his death,” Lyle said. “There's no rhyme or reason to the timing of our invitation to him for induction, but one need only read the passionate accolades being expressed of this talented icon since his passing to understand why a person of his caliber and talent was nominated and then received unanimous IBA board approval for induction. It certainly opens our eyes to the fact that, like Don, there remain many outstanding qualified candidates destined for IBA Hall of Fame consideration that are getting along in years." Oprah Winfrey and Bob Newhart were inducted last year.

  • In another footnote to Don Cornelius and his early career here, Chicago radio veteran Dave Baum was reminded of the future star’s very brief stint at WIND-AM (560) in the 1960s. “He interviewed at WIND for a reporter's job and was hired,” recalled Baum, who was a newsman there along with future CNN anchor Bernard Shaw at the time. “A few days after he joined, I saw Don sitting forlorn at a desk. I asked him what was up. He wasn't sure he made the right decision because we had to go out and get the news — write it and broadcast it — and he was used to rip-and-read at WVON. Last but not least, he couldn't type. His 'VON job was still open so he decided to go back. Might never had gotten to Soul Train if he had decided to stay at WIND.”

  • In a terrific interview with Rick Kogan to open the new season of Chicago Live! last Thursday, Jonathon Brandmeier broke the news: His NBC 5 weekly variety/talk show is coming back. Brandmeier, which aired Friday nights on NBC 5 (and multiple times on Chicago Nonstop Digital Channel 5.2) late last year, is expected to return March 16 and run through Memorial Day weekend. When he signed on to host mornings at Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720) in December, Brandmeier said he was eager to continue his television work as well.

  • Check out the list of job openings these days at Fox Chicago and you’ll find one for vice president and general sales manager. The top sales post at WFLD-Channel 32 and WPWR-Channel 50 has been vacant since Debbie Carpenter left without fanfare to focus on the antiques store she owns in Winnetka. For those keeping track, it was Carpenter’s third tour of duty at the station. She previously headed sales from 1994 to 2000, came back as vice president and general manager from 2004 to 2006, and returned again as general sales manager in 2009.

  • The format change and staff shakeup at Rosie O’Donnell’s struggling talk show has cost Stacy Robinson her job as an executive producer. Robinson, who’s the sister of Fox Chicago news anchor Robin Robinson, was one of numerous staffers cut from The Rosie Show, produced at Harpo Studios for the Oprah Winfrey Network. Crain’s Chicago Business reported that as many as 30 jobs were lost in the move to streamline operations and make the show more intimate. Robinson oversaw the program’s reality show segments, which were dropped in the format change.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)