WIND may draft Joe Walsh as talk show host

Robservations on the media beat:

  • We haven't heard the last of tea party firebrand Joe Walsh. The one-term former GOP congressman, who was defeated for reelection last November by Democrat Tammy Duckworth, may be headed for a new career as a radio talk show host. Walsh is close to signing with WIND-AM (560), the Salem Communications conservative news/talk station, to host a Monday-through-Friday nighttime talk show. If it's a hit, insiders said, national distribution could follow. Walsh said last month he's been encouraged to run for Dick Durbin's U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

  • Here's a Mike Adamle video you have to see. During a live NBC 5 promo Sunday, the veteran sports anchor appeared to be struggling to keep some sort of appliance in his mouth. The twitterverse labeled it “the Mike Adamle slobber tease.” Explained Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5: "Mike had some dental issues which became apparent during the newscast Sunday night. The problem was fixed for Sports Sunday."

  • Thanks to Justin Kaufmann, executive producer at Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5), for unearthing a remarkable 2001 audio interview with Aaron Swartz, the North Shore native and Internet prodigy who took his own life last week. The conversation with Eight Forty-Eight contributor Lew Koch was taped when Swartz was just 14 years old. “Computers will be able to do all the mundane tasks in our daily lives,” Swartz predicted.

  • Look for WYCC-Channel 20, the City Colleges of Chicago's public television station, to unveil a new branding and launch several new local shows next month. Among them will be In the Loop, a weekly public-affairs talk show that's being billed as "edgy and imaginative." If all goes as planned, it will debut February 14.

  • Will this be the year Janet Davies, Mike Flannery, Mike Parker and Jim Rose get inducted in the Chicago TV Academy's Silver Circle? Stay tuned.

  • Although The Chicago Reporter turned 40 last year, they're celebrating the milestone this week with a special edition — and a party. Staff and friends of the nonprofit investigative news organization will gather from 6 to 8pm Thursday at the M Lounge, 1520 South Wabash Avenue, to toast release of the January/February 40th anniversary special edition. It focuses on four of the publication's key beats — criminal justice, immigration, labor and housing. "The Reporter is proud of its award-winning, high impact run over four decades," said interim publisher Laura Washington. “There is much more muckraking to come. Being on the other side of 40 can be a very good thing.”

  • In a signal honor for a Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan will be feted by the Union League Club of Chicago at a reception Friday. The Chicago Tribune senior writer and interim host of The Afternoon Shift on WBEZ will be a recipient along with author Alex Kotlowitz of Distinguished Writer Privileges in recognition of their “distinctive contributions to the rich and vibrant cultural tapestry of Chicago.” Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, will emcee the event and interview Kogan and Kotlowitz onstage.

  • While the Sun-Times just began tracking Chicago’s 2013 body count with Homicide Watch, another local news outfit is looking back on the city’s 2012 murder tally. Chicago this week posted Murder in Chicago: The Human Toll, a geographic and statistical analysis of last year’s 506 victims — including an interactive timeline. “Chicago’s murder rate made international news in 2012. We wanted to take readers beyond the statistics and tell the stories of the people we lost,” Shamus Toomey, managing editor of Chicago, said in a statement. “The victims were Chicagoans; they were part of our communities. They deserve to have their stories told.”

  • Ericka Pino, who's been a weather anchor at Univision stations KMEX-TV in Los Angeles and WXTV-TV in New York, has joined WGBO-Channel 66 as chief meteorologist. The native of Peru holds a degree in meteorology from the University of Mississippi and a bachelor's degree from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. “Ericka Pino’s background as a certified meteorologist and her experience formulating accurate forecasts strengthen our audience’s confidence in our weather reporting,” Marisol Seda, news director of Univision Chicago, said in an oddly translated press release.

  • Tom Hebel, former vice president of local programming and creative services at ABC 7, has been named director of marketing at WFLA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Tampa, Florida. The move reunites him with Brad Moses, a former ABC 7 promotion manager who's now president and general manager of WFLA. Hebel, who left ABC 7 last October after 15 years, previously was promotion manager at CBS 2.

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