NBC 5 reporter left them smiling in Salt Lake City

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Although her hiring as a per diem reporter at NBC 5 flew under the radar, newcomer Emily Florez received a welcome fit for a star when she started her last job at KUTV-TV in Salt Lake City. (Watch the You Tube video — complete with Mary Tyler Moore graphics and music — here.) Two years later, they gave her a similar send-off when she left the station. One of nine children from Taylorsville, Utah, and a 2009 graduate of Brigham Young University, Florez joined KUTV after a year at KIDK-TV in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said Florez and her husband relocated to Chicago at the end of the summer, and she’s been free-lancing here since early September. Her husband, Reyes Florez, is pursuing an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

  • Proving that its Arbitron triumph in October was no fluke, WOJO-FM (105.1) again was Chicago’s top-rated station in November among listeners between 25 and 54 — the demo most coveted by advertisers. The continued success of Univision Radio’s regional Mexican La Que Buena underscores the growing influence of Spanish-language media in the market. How did they do it? “It is really a matter of concentrating on the fundamentals,” said Doug Levy, vice president and general manager of Univision Radio Chicago. “We instituted a few changes to our clocks, focused on our music, created some great commercials to air on WGBO Univision Chicago and ran some on-air promotional contesting — all of which are proving to be very effective with the results speaking for themselves.”

  • Kevin Cross, a South Side native and Columbia College graduate who began his career as a producer at SportsChannel Chicago in 1993, is expected to be named news director of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Since 2006 he has been assistant news director. Replacing Charlie Schumacher, who left after four years in October, Cross will oversee the network’s daily news operation, its locally produced sports news and talk shows and breaking news events. He previously worked for CLTV and Timeline Productions.

  • Andy Friedman, who headed operations at the monumentally unsuccessful FM News 101 for Merlin Media, has been named vice president of content operations at AOL Patch. “With Andy, we're taking another step in pushing our content team forward — making sure we're providing our editorial team with the information they need and, at the same time, committing to improving the way we get things done every day,” the company said on its blog. Before his yearlong stint as vice president of interactive content and programming for Merlin, Friedman was vice president of interactive content for Tribune Co. and vice president of news/talk sports online content for Clear Channel Radio. Earlier in his career, he was news director of CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (780).

  • The latest innovation from Chicago-based webcaster AccuRadio.com is Go.fm, a new way for consumers to build customized playlists from among more than 650 music channels simply by entering the name of an artist. “Launching a channel of Internet radio by typing in the name of a recording artist is an increasingly popular consumer behavior,” AccuRadio founder and CEO Kurt Hanson said in a statement.  “And we think we’ve developed a new approach that creates better-sounding channels than anyone has ever offered before.” And it’s free!

  • For the second year in a row, a team of bloggers from Chicago Now won the Asian American Journalists Association Chicago chapter’s Trivia Bowl. They emerged victorious after a three-way tie with teams from Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5) and Crain’s Chicago Business. (For the tie breaker, they had five minutes to name the second-largest cities by population in each of the 50 states. Chicago Now came up with the most — 14 cities — to retain the trophy and bragging rights.) The seventh annual event November 17 included 19 teams and raised more than $5,000 for the AAJA-Chicago scholarship fund.

  • Chicago Tribune columnists Mary Schmich and Eric Zorn will lead the singing at the second Scribe Aid event Friday at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 North Glenwood Avenue. Hosted by our friends from the Chicago Headline Club, the benefit raises funds for journalists who are out of work or have fallen on hard times. "I think it says to these people that they are not alone, which folks sometimes believe, and maybe it will help them hang on for a while," said Steve Franklin, one of the organizers. The first Scribe Aid in 2010 raised $1,600, with all funds distributed within six months.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)