Lewis Lazare: Happy to be back on the business beat

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Lewis Lazare, the veteran Chicago journalist who covered advertising, marketing and media at the Sun-Times for more than a decade, debuted Thursday as Chicago correspondent for bizjournals.com. His hiring marks an expansion of American City Business Journals to include Chicago among the more than 40 markets it covers. At the outset, Lazare will focus on marketing and advertising, media, airlines and entertainment business stories — all areas he has reported on extensively in the past. “I am so, so happy to be doing local business reporting for a national company with great people who know what that kind of journalism is all about and specialize in it,” he said. The company is a unit of Advance Publications Inc., which also includes Conde Nast and other media properties. Lazare is expected to continue to write for Ruth Ratny’s ReelChicago.com, where he’s been free-lancing since his position at the Sun-Times was eliminated in 2011. He previously worked for the Chicago Reader, Crain’s Chicago Business and the Chicago bureau of Variety.

  • Say goodbye to Eight Forty-Eight. Starting Monday, WBEZ-FM (91.5) will rename its flagship newsmagazine program The Morning Shift with Tony Sarabia and start it 10 minutes earlier — at 8:50am each weekday. “The move is an opportunity to dive in earlier to news and stories that are relevant to our listener community,” Torey Malatia, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media, told staffers Thursday. “It's also an acknowledgment of how much the current program has moved away from the original Eight Forty-Eight with more live conversation and music as well as voices and perspectives that reflect our community.” The show originally was named for the station’s Navy Pier address at 848 East Grand Avenue.

  • NBC 5 unveiled a stunning new set Tuesday, featuring a video wall of five Panasonic HD plasma panels behind the anchor desk measuring nearly 21 feet wide and more than seven feet tall. “They allow us to give our viewers a spectacular, live view of our city in high definition,” said Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news. “Rain or shine, viewers will be able to see what’s going on outside. Nobody else in town can offer such a unique view of our city.”

  • Author Jeff Pearlman took Tribune columnist John Kass and other local journalists to task Thursday for condemning Pearlman’s 2011 biography of Bears legend Walter Payton without ever reading it. In an essay on ChicagoSideSports.com, Pearlman accused his brethren of basing their attacks on Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton solely on a Sports Illustrated excerpt about the late running back’s infidelities and human flaws. “One after another after another, members of the Chicago (and nearby) media damned to eternal hell a book they had yet to read and an author they had yet to meet or attempt to contact,” he wrote. “It was simultaneously heartbreaking and crushing.”

  • Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart will broadcast live for the first time from the Crown Sky Garden of Lurie Children’s Hospital, 225 East Chicago Avenue, when the WTMX-FM (101.9) morning duo kicks off its 13th annual radiothon at 6am Friday. The 36-hour fundraiser for children and families at the former Children’s Memorial Hospital will run through 6pm Saturday on the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station. Since 2000, The Eric & Kathy Radiothon on the Mix has raised more than $20 million.

  • Tony Ray, a former suburban radio personality whose two runs on Joliet’s WJOL-AM (1340) spanned three decades, was remembered as “a man of integrity — just an awesome, gentle spirit.” He began his career at age 15 as a sports reporter and gospel show host on WJRC-AM (1510) in his native Joliet. Ray, who also worked as operations manager for three radio stations in Hammond, Indiana, died August 24 at age 53 after suffering from kidney problems.



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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)