NBC 5’s Marin, Ahern to host weekly show on politics

Robservations on the media beat:

  • In a spinoff of its Ward Room political blog, NBC 5 Chicago is launching a half-hour weekly talk show hosted by its crack political reporting team of Carol Marin and Mary Ann Ahern. Starting this week, the video version of Ward Room will air at 7pm Fridays on Chicago Nonstop Digital Channel 5.2. Taped at various locations, the show will feature interviews with local political figures, and focus on the hot stories of the week. “Ward Room has become a destination blog for local political news both in Chicago and nationally,” Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news, said in a statement. “Expanding the Ward Room brand to a weekly show is a natural evolution, especially as we head into a presidential election year.”

  • Two public radio broadcasters and a weekly print reporter are this year’s recipients of the prestigious Studs Terkel Community Media Awards. Maria Hinojosa, host of National Public Radio’s Latino USA, Chip Mitchell, a reporter in the Humboldt Park bureau of Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM (91.5), and Mick Dumke, political reporter for the Chicago Reader, will be honored March 14 by the nonprofit Community Media Workshop. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Terkel’s birth. “Studs was one of the world’s most effective communicators, multi-talented as a writer, an actor, a journalist, an orator,” CMW president Thom Clark said in a statement. "He brought dignity and hope to the hopeless and powerless, and had a raw, respectful and honest insight about those who succeeded in life.” For information on the benefit fundraiser, see communitymediaworkshop.org.

  • Chicago television veteran Mike Leiderman, who was hired last March to bring “a fresh eye to Fox Chicago at a key time,” resigned Wednesday as executive producer of the station’s 9pm weekday newscast. Insiders said the job fit was no longer right for Leiderman under news director Phyllis Schwartz, who replaced Carol Fowler last month. Producer Phil Landeros will fill in as executive producer until a permanent replacement is named. Leiderman previously worked with Fox Chicago news anchor Bob Sirott on public television WTTW-Channel 11’s Chicago Tonight.

  • Lee Abrams, who was forced to resign as chief innovation officer at Tribune Co. under former CEO Randy Michaels, is back in business. Abrams and two partners, Steve Saslow and Brandon Davis, just formed Think TeleVisual Network Inc. The Los Angeles-based startup is touted as “profound rewriting of the news/information blueprint where a completely new style of presentation will merge with the magic of 21st century technology and modern American culture.” In a statement, Abrams said: “News and information is what is steering our 21st century America, the equivalent of what rock ’n’ roll was 40 years ago. Think will merge this passion for information, knowledge, and insight with the revolution in technology to create an interactive multimedia experience that will redefine how people are informed and enlightened.” Say, how’d that all work out at Tribune, Lee?

  • Clark Howard Minutes, a syndicated feature on bargains, consumer advice, travel deals and the latest news on scams, has been picked up by Merlin Media all-news WIQI-FM (101.1), starting Monday. The two one-minute daily segments also will air on Merlin’s WEMP-FM in New York.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)