Hall comes home to anchor morning news on CLTV

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Cortney Hall, morning news anchor and reporter at WKMG-TV in Orlando, Florida, has been hired as morning news anchor at CLTV, the Tribune Co.-owned news channel. Starting December 17, she will succeed Tonya Francisco, who shifted to Trib-owned WGN-Channel 9. Hall, a Chicago native who grew up in west suburban Oak Brook, holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Georgetown University and a master’s in journalism from Medill at Northwestern University. Before joining WKMG in 2010, she worked at WCIA-TV in Champaign, and Bloomberg News in New York.

  • Hanke Gratteau, the respected former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, has been retained as a consultant and senior advisor to Journatic, as the scandal-plagued company resumes providing material to TribLocal editions. Until last week, Journatic had been under suspension in the wake of plagiarism charges and the use of fake bylines. Despite such problems, Tribune bosses appear determined to salvage their investment in the company as a way to outsource content and cut costs. Gratteau, who left the Tribune in 2008 after 22 years as a reporter, columnist and editor, currently is vice president of public affairs for the nonprofit Ounce of Prevention Fund. She is married to Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown.

  • The west suburban Elmhurst College radio station that helped launch the careers of Terri Hemmert, Len Walter, Justin Roman, Patty Martin, Tom Teuber and Mick Kahler, among many others, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Student-run WRSE-FM (88.7) will host an open house and party tonight as a benefit for Relay for Life and student scholarships. In late August, the station completed a major renovation and equipment upgrade. WRSE has been on the air since 1947 but became a licensed broadcasting operation at 88.7 FM in 1962.

  • Public television viewers last year were privileged to see The Hayloft Gang, a film tracing the history of The National Barn Dance, a pioneering musical variety radio show that aired on Chicago’s WLS-AM (890) from 1924 to 1960. It was written, produced and directed by Stephen Parry and narrated by Garrison Keillor. Now Parry is seeking funds so the critically acclaimed documentary can be used in schools and libraries, and distributed through DVD and digital media. Parry said his initial production budget covered only the costs to license and clear the music rights for a limited PBS broadcast. The goal of his campaign with USA Projects is to raise $20,000 by the end of the year. For more on the project and rewards for tax-deductible donations, click here.

  • Speedy recovery wishes to Sun-Times film critic and national treasure Roger Ebert, who's checking in to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago while recovering from a hairline fracture in his left femur. "The pain is off the charts," he wrote in a blog post Saturday that featured a display of his X-ray. "It has nothing to do with cancer. It's plain bad luck." Ebert, 70, noted that it would be his fifth visit to the Rehab Institute. He still plans to keep right on writing — to which we can all say amen.

  • Rest in peace to Irene Hughes, the Chicago psychic and astrologer who was credited with predicting the Blizzard of 1967 and other history-making events. She went on to become a familiar presence on the local airwaves, making countless appearances (and predictions) with broadcast stars from Wally Phillips and Bob Sirott to Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon. Hughes, who lived in south suburban Crete, died Friday at 92.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)