Quick Takes makes hasty exit from WBEZ blogs

Robservations on the media beat:

  • Zay N. Smith, the former Sun-Times columnist who resurrected his popular Quick Takes feature last May on the blogs of Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM (91.5), is on the move again. Starting Wednesday, Quick Takes will appear three times a week on BeachwoodReporter.com, the blog edited and published by Steve Rhodes. As he did for 13 years with QT at the Sun-Times, Smith serves up quirky news items, political punditry and random observations mixed together with his wry commentary. “I'm looking forward to setting up shop at the Beachwood Reporter,” Smith said. “Always keep in mind that a writer needs only one thing in life, which is all the readers he can get.” Confirming that Smith’s blog was dropped after five months, a Chicago Public Media spokesman said: “In developing the blogger ensemble, we're looking for multimedia contributors who offer an interesting and unique take on life — art and culture, politics, sports, headline news and so on — in the Chicago region.” No word yet on the fate of Punching Up Chicago’s News, the WBEZ daily news blog originated by Justin Kaufmann and written since August by Marcus Gilmer. Gilmer signed off last Friday to join the Sun-Times as digital editor/blogs and traffic.

  • I could have sworn it was only a week or two ago that Randy Michaels denied a report here that GTCR, the private equity firm that bankrolled Michaels’ Merlin Media, was looking to sell its stations. (I believe his exact words were: “Merlin Media is not for sale.”) On Monday, Merlin Media announced the sale of WRXP-FM, its station in New York, to CBS Radio for $75 million. Even so, Michaels still insists that for-sale sign is just an illusion: “This change allows us to increase focus on operating a successful company, he wrote in a memo to his staff. “Merlin is not for sale, and is looking at possible additions to our portfolio. Let’s focus building the Chicago and Philadelphia stations into great, profitable brands and great places to work.”

  • Chicago will be the focus of a special report on the effects of climate change in major urban areas Tuesday on the PBS NewsHour. Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will examine Chicago’s effort to prevent the deadly impact of a heat wave like one the city endured in 1995. “The data suggested things like we will see more high heat days,” Karen Wiegert, the city’s chief sustainability officer says of a climate assessment commissioned by the city. “More heat events. More rain. More storm events.” PBS NewsHour airs at 6pm on WTTW-Channel 11.

  • Sean Ross, the veteran radio programming analyst whose column was among the casualties of the recent ownership change at Radio-Info.com, is back in business. Starting this week, Ross on Radio will appear Mondays on Billboard’s Top 40 Update (a free e-mail newsletter) and Wednesdays on Billboard.biz. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Ross, who is a former editor of Billboard Airplay Monitor. In the early ’90s, Ross worked in Chicago as program director of the former WGCI-AM. He continues as vice president of music and programming at Edison Media Research.

  • Jennifer Hoppenstedt, assignment manager at ABC 7, was promoted Monday to executive producer/social media and news. “Jennifer has done a great job taking the lead in social media in our newsroom, and this is a perfect transition,” Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director, said in a statement. Hoppenstedt joined the station as an intern for media critic Gary Deeb in 1992, and also worked as a desk assistant writer and assignment editor. (Considering that she’s the new social media maven, this might be a good time for Hoppenstedt to open a Twitter account. Just saying.)

  • Ruben Keoseyan, former publisher and editor of La Raza, the Chicago-based Spanish-language newspaper, has been named vice president of content at KVEA-TV, the Telemundo station in Los Angeles. He was appointed Monday by Celia Chavez, who became president and general manager of the station in May after holding the same position at WSNS-Channel 44, the Telemundo station here. Keoseyan most recently was executive editor of La Opinión, the L.A. Spanish daily.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)