Memo to WBEZ: Call off search; give the job to Kogan

Rick Kogan

Rick Kogan Photograph: Bill Healy

Robservations on the media beat:

  • In case you missed it, here’s the link to Rick Kogan’s opening monologue last week as host of The Afternoon Shift on WBEZ-FM (91.5). The veteran Chicago Tribune columnist agreed to serve as interim host of the show (from 2 to 4pm weekdays) while the Chicago Public Media station seeks a permanent replacement for Steve Edwards. If you’ve got five minutes, give his introductory essay a listen and hear for yourself what makes him unique in all of Chicago media. I know it’s only supposed to be a temporary gig, but after hearing Kogan’s impressive first week on the show, I say they should call off the nationwide search now and give him the job for keeps.

  • This should be good: Sun-Times columnists Roger Ebert, Carol Marin, Mary Mitchell, Richard Roeper, Neil Steinberg, Mark Brown and Steve Huntley will be live tweeting during the presidential debate Wednesday night.

  • The current issue of Broadcasting & Cable puts the spotlight on Chicago television and recent changes in the front offices of CBS 2, ABC 7 and Tribune-owned WGN.  “There’s an abundance of new leadership in Chicago television, which will likely usher in fresh strategies and looks for the stations,” writes B&C deputy editor Michael Malone. Describing the local economic picture as “fairly bleak,” Malone quotes John Idler, the new president and general manager of ABC 7: “We’re starting to see some good signs, but the marketplace always could be better.”

  • Walter Jacobson will sign copies of his just-published book, Walter’s Perspective: A Memoir of Fifty Years in Chicago TV News, at noon Saturday at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street. An early review by Chicago magazine blogger Carol Felsenthal calls Jacobson’s life story “as lively and jumpy as its author’s on-screen presence.” Writes Skyline columnist Ann Gerber: “Married three (or is it four?) times, likable Walter has many stories to tell, but this book appears to be a more scholarly account of the inner workings of Chicago TV news, the rating games, media power and meddling by corporate and network executives.” Published by Southern Illinois University Press and featuring a foreword by Bill Kurtis, it’s available on

  • Lora LeSage, a former executive producer at NBC 5, has been promoted to senior vice president of digital media for NBC Owned Television Stations. In her new role, she’ll oversee editorial and special content, audience development and digital marketing coordination for the websites, social platforms and mobile apps of the 10 NBC-owned stations. “Lora is a strong leader with a perfect balance of journalism, digital and business experience and a record of success,” Valari Staab, president of NBC Owned Television Stations, said in a statement Tuesday. After graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and working at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, LeSage joined NBC 5 as an investigative producer in 1997. She moved up to executive producer in 2005 and eventually became director of integrated media at the station. Since 2010, she has been vice president of digital media for NBC Owned Television Stations in New York.

  • The Chicago Bulls have re-upped with Univision Radio news/talk WRTO-AM (1200) through the 2014-15 season. The new deal, announced Tuesday, calls for Omar Ramos to continue as play-by-play, with Matt Moreno joining him for his first full season as analyst. They’ll also host the weekly show El Corral De Los Bulls, which translates to The Bullpen. “Our Hispanic fans are most important to us, and so reaching them through these radio broadcasts in the Spanish language plays a critical role in our attempt to grow new and more passionate Bulls fans in this important demographic,” Bulls exec VP Steve Schanwald said in a statement.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)