Edwards kicks off WBEZ’s ‘Afternoon Shift’ Monday

Robservations on the media beat:

  • After thousands of meetings and months of strategizing, Monday finally will mark the debut of Chicago Public Media’s first new local program in more than five years. Afternoon Shift with Steve Edwards will air from 2 to 4pm Monday through Friday on WBEZ-FM (91.5). A cornerstone of the station’s new midday programming initiative, it also will mark the return of former Eight Forty-Eight host Edwards to full-time duties on the air. To accommodate the addition, Fresh Air will move to 11am and All Things Considered will start an hour later at 4pm. What will the new show be like? “I don’t want to brag, but it’ll be somewhere between Johnny B. on the Loose and The Cheap Show,” said executive producer Justin Kaufmann.

  • The Federal Communications Commission has slapped WLS-AM (890) with a $44,000 fine for airing commercials that sounded too much like newscasts. The Cumulus Media news/talk station was cited for not including disclaimers identifying spots that supported Illinois capital improvement legislation as paid ads for Workers Independent News. At the time they ran in 2009, the station was owned by Citadel Broadcasting. Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS, declined to comment.

  • Chicago’s first Spanish-language Christian ministry station debuted Monday, courtesy of Moody Bible Institute. Under the slogan Compartiendo Esperanza, Siempre Contigo ("Sharing Hope, With You Always"), WMBI-AM (1110) flipped from English to Spanish. "There are approximately two million Hispanics living in Chicago, and with no Spanish-speaking, Bible-based Christian radio station serving them, we believe this station and its programming will fill a significant need for this community," Collin Lambert, vice president of Moody Radio, said in a statement.

  • Calling it “an experiment in niche streaming,” classical WFMT-FM (98.7) will allow fans to listen in online to its third in-studio Immerson Day seminar Saturday. Henry Fogel, former president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will lecture on great opera singers of the 20th century. Current.org reports those who attend the daylong event at the Window to the World Communications station will pay $150. Others can access it remotely for $20. So far 50 participants have signed up, Current reports.

  • The Second City, the world famous comedy company born in Chicago, will receive the Spirit of Broadcasting Award from the National Association of Broadcasters. The award honoring excellence and leadership in broadcasting, will be presented at the NAB convention April 16 in Las Vegas. "For over 50 years, The Second City has been a leader in innovative comedy and theater, and a training ground for some of America's finest comedic performers and writers," Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the NAB, said in a statement. "Every day, millions of broadcast TV viewers bear witness to the influence it has had on both comedy and drama.”

  • Jim Avila, the former Chicago newsman who’s been a network correspondent for more than 15 years, is relocating to Washington as senior national correspondent for ABC News. He most recently has been in New York. In announcing the appointment Monday, ABC News president Ben Sherwood said Avila would focus on a new enterprise unit covering regulatory agencies. “Jim will break stories on just about everything we purchase, eat, drink, drive, fly and encounter in our lives at home, work and play,” he said. In addition to his new role, Avila will continue to contribute to 20/20.

  • Bob Simone, who headed programming and promotion at WFLD-Channel 32 for 14 years under three ownerships, has been named vice president and general manager of WLNS-TV in Lansing Michigan. He most recently ran KMSB-TV and KTTU-TV in Tucson, Arizona. That position was eliminated when the stations entered into a share services agreement.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)