Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mike North, Ryan Burrow, INBA

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day! In some places, such as Thailand, elephants are popular and useful, and tourists like to ride them as well. Chicago doesn't have such an option, so I'll just post a decorative representation of one (since I haven't been to the zoo lately).
But I have much better and more legit pictures from the media world, because I was one of the few Chicagoans who made the trek to Springfield to attend the fall INBA (Illinois News Broadcasters Association) conference. I actually took the train, and at Union Station early in the morning, I saw former WLS Radio and current WCBS star Steve Scott (who[m] I've interviewed), who facilitated several seminars, even the auction, which benefits journalism students.

Steve Scott INBA
Those are train tickets, which my husband was bidding on, the timing of which wasn't planned btw. And I don't know why the light is so bright.

Another notable moment during the auction was when Rachel Lippmann, Reporter at
KWMU Public Radio in St. Louis, won a book in the auction and then gave it to WBBM reporter Bob Roberts (another news guy I've interviewed), who was attending his last INBA conference (after doing a ton of stuff for the INBA for like 20 years) as a board member.

Rachel Lippman Bob Roberts
A random journalist is clapping, Bob is on the right, and the lights are bright again for some reason.

The keynote speaker was John O'Connor, Political Writer for the Associated Press. Here he is (left) relaxing after his FOIA speech with Molly Jirasek, Assistant News Director at WEEK/HOI ABC-TV (who will probably work in Chicago eventually), and Bob.

John O'Connor, Molly Jirasek, Bob Roberts
I don't know what they're laughing about. Or maybe they're not, since
John seemed quite serious about doing big-time work.

  • And speaking of news reporting, I did an interview with the excellent radio news reporter Ryan Burrow, who's at WGN Radio and ABC Radio. Listen at this link.
  • But you might be thinking, "Who cares about news and news people?" Well, I have a decent response to that because I did a very interesting interview with lightning-rod sports guy Mike North. He was on The Score/WSCR for years and started doing digital with the failed Chicago Sports Webio...remember that? He actually talked about it (which he really hasn't talked about before) and much more. So skip the news and listen about the sports scene from a guy who isn't known for being reserved. I'm still thinking about it because he really talked about a lot and seemed very friendly.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

New Trib/tronc, new WGN, Esmeralda Leon, banking break

If you're planning on going to the bank on Monday, you're outta luck, because it's a banking holiday in Scotland. If you're not in Scotland but are in Chicago, or are interested in some Chicago-related media nerdiness, you're in luck, because I have some pictures.

  • First of all, I got a tour of the new Tribune/tronc digs, but I was told I couldn't take any pictures inside (I've also been to the Trib's Freedom Center, where they also print other stuff, but I couldn't take pics there either...but I swear I was really there). Suffice it to say, the new location is high-tech and beautiful. I know a lot of people were whining about the move and getting all dewy-eyed because the operation would no longer inhabit The Tower, but the new place is so open, so sleek, so cutting edge, I could easily work there, or even just hang out and gab with folks around the kitchen and other sociable areas, sipping coffee from their fancy maker and eating some snacks from their wired-in snack machine, while they wonder who I am :p Perhaps one day I will be able to take pictures of the interior, but in the meantime, this is what I got:

Chicago Tribune new entrance
A glimpse of its modernity is on the right. Believe me, I really went inside.

  • And speaking of fancy coffee machines, I saw the latest at the new WGN Radio home, which is also sleek and modern, though not at the same level as the Trib (not knocking the radio station, but it's simpler). Luckily, they seemed to not mind if I took a couple pictures.

WGN newsroom late at night. I don't know why this is vertical. But note the old typewriter.

Andrea Darlas Patti Vasquez WGN
Andrea Darlas and Patti Vasquez on the air in the brand new studios.

Bonne nuit!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

John Siuntres, Faruq Basir, Stephanie Trussell, Ricky Gieser, iced tea

Are you hot? Well have an iced tea, because today is National Iced Tea Day! There's also still time to hang out in Andersonville, where I will be volunteering for Midsommarfest...stop by the beer tent to say hello!

iced tea
I hope that green snack doesn't have some weird dye, or mold, or whatever.

  • Major congratulations goes to Faruq Basir, who is now full-time at iHeart Radio's Total Traffic Network, where he will continue to be on the air at WGCI, KISS-FM, and WLIT and continue to produce. He also is an editor at WBBM Newsradio, so he's quite busy.

Faruq Basir
Faruq Basir in charge of the newsroom late at night. 
  • And this just in: Rick Gieser's (who[m] I interviewed) son is going to be on Patti Vasquez's show on WGN (I'm assuming in the new studio) on Monday night at 11:30, so tune in to hear him talk about his passion, bees.

  • And in case you went to the WLS website and saw that Stephanie Trussell has a show on Saturdays from 1-3 pm, that would be wrong...they haven't updated the site, but she's now on the air from 3-6 pm on Saturdays. I highly recommend her interview with Larry Elder, who talks about the hardships his father faced, in addition to their strained relationship.

  • And speaking of interviews...I've just posted my latest one with John Siuntres, who's worked at several radio stations, including WSCR The Score in its early days, Hubbard Radio, WBBM...and is one of the *pioneers* of podcasting. He started his podcast, Word Balloon, in 2005, which is when podcasting was in its infancy. He's pretty much the only person I have met who was there when it all started, and his podcast has become very popular, with sponsors and thousands of listeners. The interview also includes samples of his voice and production work. I think it's a compelling interview, and I was very glad to talk to a long-time, established, successful podcaster. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ryan Denham, Jeff Burnett, Josh Morgan, Brooke Brighton, INBA, jelly beans

Today is the last day of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association conference in East Peoria, and I've had such a great time, I want to go to the next conference in the fall. A lot of people assume it's for newbies, but I have learned so much and feel really energized and motivated to keep doing stuff and staying on track.

  • One person who totally made the conference worth the trip is Ryan Denham, Digital Content Director at WGLT Radio. He did an amazing presentation about creating compelling digital stories. Every single person who creates digital content, not just news people, could apply what he talked about. Actually, when I asked a seasoned pro why more people don't join the INBA, he said it's because they say they already know what's needed. It was clear that what Ryan was talking about is not practiced by those pros, and he really should be speaking to all kinds of content-creating groups. He also deservingly [don't know if that's a legitimate word] won a couple AP awards.

WGLT's ​Ryan Denham and News Director Charlie Schlenker
btw--WGLT is at Illinois State University in Normal. 
  • Also, what's happening right now (I'm obnoxiously typing during a conference session) is that WEEK-TV (in Peoria) producer Jeff Burnett (who's also on the air at WBWN Radio and is also one of my supportive podcast listeners) is speaking about working in small markets. There are actually people who don't care about going to Chicago, or they end up not caring once they find their niche in a smaller market. He's presenting with WREX (in Rockford) News Director Josh Morgan and WMBD-WYZZ Meteorologist Brooke Brighton (who weirdly didn't show up in the photo, but I don't have time to solve that problem).
Jeff Burnett and Josh Morgan
Now back to my offline life, though I won't be eating jelly beans despite it being National Jelly Bean Day.

A modest selection to represent today.

Friday, April 20, 2018

INBA, WILL Radio, Craig Dellimore, Joe Ward

Greetings from East Peoria, where I'm at the Illinois News Broadcasters Association spring convention! I ended up joining the organization late last year when board member Jeff Burnett (who[m] I will meet in-person for the first time) asked if I was interested in signing up. I figured, why not? And here I am! 

So far, people seem very friendly, and I didn't realize how badly I needed to get out of Chicago to be able to relax and reflect. Here are a couple of people I met who work far away from Chicago, all the way in ChampaignUrbana at WILL RadioSteve Morck, who's a host and producer (left), and Brian Moline, who's the Morning Edition host and Managing Editor. They seem really friendly and are very content with what they're doing...and busy. Seems like that public radio station is doing lots of interesting stuff and is expanding...which is rare in the radio world!

Steve Morck and Brian Moline, WILL Radio
They had no idea about my podcast...guess it doesn't play in Peoria.
All right, back to my East Peoria adventure...stay tuned.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Christopher Robling, Martin Hawrysko, Caitlin Fry, Rey Diaz, waffles

Long time no see/write! In addition to working, I spent several weeks dealing with a very badly dented car (scroll down for photo), thanks to someone who crashed into me in a parking garage. It wasn't a matter of simply calling their insurance company and taking it in to the body shop to be fixed; there were mini battles and obstacles along the way, including on the last day when I finally got my car back. There are too many details to bore you with (if you see me elsewhere, I'll describe that "ordeal" if you want).

But it became a kind of mini-hobby, in addition to one of my more official ones...volunteering at the Swedish American Museum. Why do I mention this? Because today is Våffeldagen, aka Waffle Day. I've noticed the Swedes enjoy treats and relaxation, and the holiday season provides a valid excuse to enjoy life even more. So if you're in Andersonville today, go to the museum to eat waffles! I am actually helping out a bit before I close out the night at my radio job, so I might see you there!

waffle day
Courtesy of "Institutet för språk och folkminnen," a Swedish site I barely understand
because my Swedish is still quite awful.
  • Also today (or technically, tonight), Christopher Robling will be guest-hosting the "Beyond the Beltway" show from 6-8 pm. Mr. Robling is a very understanding person because one time I bluntly told him that his political analysis was off, and he didn't hate me for it (that's the risk of often having to be silent...I'm not allowed to express myself, so I sometimes blurt stuff out to kind people like him).
  • Time now for a public service announcement: Caitlin Fry, a writer/pro communicator who was at WGN Radio before moving out West, has a great blog post about a failed company that was initially celebrated on TV and had been giving her a hard time. I remember when blogs were pretty much mocked and derided by journalists in the early days before those pros jumped on the bandwagon. Now it's more difficult to find lengthy, heartfelt blog posts due to the proliferation of social media, but Caitlin does offer such a style, as in the days of yore. (btw--I'm not naming the company because their response to her seemed frightening, and I don't want to incur their alleged wrath either).
  • Another notable blog post (I love blogs, so if you have a good one, let me know) is from radio/media fan (and digital content pro) Martin Hawrysko about the White Sox on WGN Radio. I am *very* glad they made it to 720, but the style is still...well, it hasn't changed. I'll let Martin explain.
  • And speaking of sports and the White latest pod interview is with Rey Diaz, who works on the morning and midday shows at The Score (former home of the White Sox). He's one of the most decent guys I've met in radio, especially sports radio, and he's also an interesting guy. Listen to the interview here.  
My car...a Valentine's Day crumple at Northwestern. Yay.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Steve and Johnnie, John Siuntres, Elliot Abrams (again, interview this time), shortbread

If you have flour, sugar, and butter, today is for you because it's Shortbread Day!

french shortbread cookie
This is French shortbread. I hope the Scots don't mind.

  • The year started with witnessing history: for the last time, Steve King & Johnnie Putman had their New Year's Eve show in WGN's Showcase Studio. They're not giving up their show, but WGN will be moving across the river to 303 E. Wacker Drive. So if I get the chance next (this) year, I will attend that show at the new digs and post a picture. In the meantime, here's a picture of them on the air pretty much right after the clock struck midnight in freshly-minted 2018.

Steve and Johnnie New Year's Eve on WGN Radio
Steve and Johnnie on the air. Maybe I should've made this the first picture so it would be prominent.

And here's a picture of Steve in front of a bling Christmas tree and all the branding available:

Steve King on WGN. Maybe I should've made *this* the first picture.

  • Steve said he's working on an album and other projects, and they're pretty much doing what they'd say they do "some day," because Some Day is here. Bonus for reading this far: their book A Little More Les is currently being offered at a discount.
  • As you probably know, I've posted a couple essays by AccuWeather meteorologist Elliot Abrams (heard on WBBM Newsradio and stations on the East Coast that are probably buried in snow right now). He's not only a weather geek and linguist, but is a total radio guy as well. He discussed his long career, puns, and weather, of course. Listen to the interview here.
  • Speaking of podcasting and geek(s), John Siuntres, who does traffic on WBBM Newsradio and has a lot of radio experience that includes The Drive and The Score, has a popular podcast called Word Balloon, which is about comics, movies, and other "geek" culture (though at this point, I don't know if that's considered nerdy because it's become more mainstream, but that's another subject for another day). He's been doing his podcast longer than even moi, back when podcasts barely existed. He just posted a fresh episode about Star Trek (which is probably nerdy/geeky, so maybe you should ignore my previous commentary).

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