Out of left field: Santita Jackson joins Fox News pundits

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Santita Jackson’s media career takes an unexpected turn Friday when she debuts as a contributor to Fox News Channel, appearing during the 7am hour of Fox & Friends. Jackson, an outspoken liberal and the eldest daughter of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, most recently hosted middays at Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk WVON-AM (1450). Although she’s been off the air (and off the station’s payroll) since December, the door is open for her to return via syndication. “I have a great deal of respect for Santita and think she’s extremely talented,” said Melody Spann Cooper, chairman of Midway Broadcasting and general manager of WVON. “If she ever were to get a syndication deal, I would love to put her on in the evening.” Perri Small, who’s been filling Jackson’s former 9am-to-noon slot since December, is expected to be named her permanent replacement. But Cooper said it’s not official yet — despite a change to that effect on WVON’s website. “That’s not correct,” she said. “I would say it’s likely, but it's still a little premature because it has not happened.”

  • Terms of the agreement that ended the four-day stalemate between Tribune Co. and DirecTV late Wednesday were not disclosed. But based on the statement released by DirecTV (“ . . . in the end we reached a fair deal at market rates similar to what we originally agreed to on March 29”), it would appear that Tribune caved in. In any case, the end of the blackout restores WGN-TV, WGN America and other Tribune station programming to millions of DirecTV satellite subscribers — and comes just in time for the Cubs’ Opening Day broadcast from Wrigley Field Thursday.

  • In a departure from its usual lighter fare, the April issue of Today’s Chicago Woman features a serious examination of sex trafficking in Chicago. Written by free-lancer Daniel P. Smith, author of a book on the Chicago Police Department, it reports that 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are involved in the commercial sex trade in metropolitan Chicago. "Human trafficking is an incredibly pervasive problem in Chicago and the U.S., but few people realize that it's happening here in our neighborhoods,” said Cassandra Gaddo, managing editor of Today’s Chicago Woman. “Given that the majority of victims will be girls and women, we felt that it was an important issue to share with our readers. But both women and men need to be aware of the criminal nature of the sex trade. This is a problem that must be addressed at the source: the pimps who sell women, and the johns who purchase them."

  • With Playboy shutting down its editorial operations in Chicago at the end of next week, at least one key figure won’t be moving out to the West Coast with the company. Tim McCormick, who’s been editorial manager of Playboy here, has been named managing editor of Time Out Chicago, starting April 16. He replaces Liz Plosser, who resigned to move to New York with her family and join Canyon Ranch Enterprises as an editor covering health and fitness. McCormick previously worked for Time Out Chicago as sports editor and editorial coordinator.

  • Three more Chicago stations — all-news WBBM-AM (780) and WCFS-FM (105.9) and sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) — have just been added to TuneIn, a free service that lets people listen to music, sports, talk and news from around the world. The service reaches more than 30 million monthly listeners through streaming and mobile apps. It’s part of partnership announced Wednesday involving more than 40 CBS Radio stations nationwide. Tribune Co.-owned news/talk station WGN-AM (720) signed on last month.

  • Actor Jeremy Irons has been signed as host of the fundraising benefit for Window to the World Communications’ public television WTTW-Channel 11 and classical WFMT-FM (98.7) May 9 at the Harris Theater. Theme of the event will be The British Are Coming, to highlight the influence of British arts and culture on the two stations’ programming (and to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympics). Guests will include Simon Callow, the Chicago Children’s Choir, the Joffrey Ballet and Under the Streetlamp. Tickets are $50.



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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)