Punching Up the News: Gilmer joins WBEZ bloggers

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Marcus Gilmer, who’s been winning friends and influencing people since he was editor-in-chief of Chicagoist, is about to get a new daily platform for his take on what’s happening around Chicago and in the news. Gilmer, 33, who most recently was associate editor of The A.V. Club, is joining the lineup of WBEZ bloggers at Chicago Public Media. Starting August 13, he’ll write Punching Up Chicago’s News. The blog was originally written by Justin Kaufmann, who’s too damn busy to do it now that he’s a big fancy executive producer. "When Marcus Gilmer became a free agent, we jumped at the chance to bring his personality to the WBEZ Blogs,” he said. “WBEZ has a great history with bloggers — Jim DeRogatis, Steve Dolinsky, Achy Obejas, Claire Zulkey, Lee Bey and that one guy who wrote about TV anchors at the Sun-Times. Best blogs in the city, hands down.” Added Kaufmann: “It will undoubtedly be impossible to replace me. So go easy on him, Chicago."

  • Now we know who’ll be filling in for Blair Kamin when the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic takes a year off from the Chicago Tribune for a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. Cheryl Kent, a Chicago architecture critic and author, will cover critiques of new buildings and evaluations of major design plans. And veteran Tribune reporter Ron Grossman will focus on historic preservation issues and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. “It's enormously important to me that our first-rate coverage continue while I'm on the fellowship,” Kamin told readers Wednesday. “I have every confidence that it will through Kent’s criticism and Grossman’s reporting.”

  • Over the years, CBS 2 has had some memorable marketing campaigns. Who can forget the billboards proclaiming: “It’s Not Pretty, But It’s Real” over a picture of the cavernous, cluttered newsroom? With the arrival of the first portable minicams, the station took on the snappy slogan: “They’re Everywhere.” Later came the most simple and elegant branding of all: “THE 10 O’Clock News.” This week it introduced its latest marketing campaign with the tagline: “Original Reporting.” Somehow I doubt people will be remembering that one years from now.

  • This Friday isn’t just the 25th anniversary of the launch of Fox 32 News, as noted here the other day. On August 3, 1987, the Chicago airwaves also ushered in smooth jazz WNUA-FM (95.5). The adult-contemporary format that blended pop instrumentals and jazz influences wasn’t around long enough to celebrate its silver anniversary, unfortunately. Clear Channel switched WNUA to Spanish-language music in 2009. But keeping the smooth jazz flame alive is former program director and midday personality Rick O’Dell, who’s been collecting listeners’ favorite memories of the station on his website.

  • This could be another false alarm (like last time), but Mancow Muller is telling friends his long-awaited pilot for Fox News Channel finally will air this weekend. The network hasn’t said a word about it yet. But according to tweets posted Wednesday by two of Muller’s former publicists, Mancow TV will premiere at 9pm Saturday. Or not.

  • Luke Stuckmeyer, anchor and reporter for SportsNet Central, will host a new weekly sports trivia show with sports personality Susannah Collins. Gas Money will air at 7pm Sundays Comcast SportsNet Chicago, starting this weekend. The pitch: “Fans take a shot at answering three trivia questions that could win them a total of $130 to fill up their tank and then some. However, if they get one question wrong, they walk away with nothing.” Stuckmeyer also hosts The Batter’s Box, a Chicago baseball trivia game show.

  • It’ll be bumper-to-bumper food trucks in the parking lot of WTTW Studios, 5400 North St. Louis Avenue, when the public television station hosts its first Check, Please! Food Truck Fest on September 21. The event, running from 5 to 8pm and featuring more than 20 Chicago vendors, will be taped for a Check, Please! special to air during its 12th season this fall. Tickets are $25 ($20 for station members) and include two drinks and a variety of selections from the food trucks. (Here’s the link to buy tickets.)


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)