Baskerville weathers 25 years at CBS 2: ‘I’m really fortunate’
Robservations on the media beat:
- Steve Baskerville’s 25th anniversary at CBS 2 flew by so quickly last month that even the veteran meteorologist missed it. It wasn’t until I showed him a clip of my Sun-Times column reporting his arrival in 1987 that Baskerville realized he’d reached that milestone. “It slipped by me,” he said. “I’m really fortunate to stay employed so long. I made my Uncle B.C. proud. He thought the real security was learning how to fix TVs — not be on TV!” Baskerville, 62, co-hosted a morning talk show (with some guy named Maury Povich) on KYW-TV in his native Philadelphia and worked as weather anchor on CBS Morning News before joining CBS 2 as weekend weatherman in September 1987. He moved up to chief meteorologist the following year. As for another 25 years? “I hope they don’t go so fast,” he said.
- Laura Washington, the Sun-Times columnist and ABC 7 political analyst, has rejoined the Chicago Reporter to lead the search for a new publisher. Editor and publisher Kimbriell Kelly is stepping down from the nonprofit investigative news organization after eight years to join the Washington Post’s investigative team. Washington, who was editor and publisher of the Reporter from 1990 to 2002, will return temporarily to work with the staff and form a search committee to hire a new publisher. Managing editor Rui Kaneya will serve as interim editor, overseeing day-to-day operations. “I am sad to leave the Reporter, but know that with Laura and Rui, the publication is in capable hands,” Kelly told the staff.
- It’s official: NBC Owned Television Stations announced Wednesday what readers of this blog knew last week. Cozi TV, a new 24/7 network filled with reruns of classic TV shows, movies and some original programming, will launch early next year on the digital channels of the 10 NBC-owned stations, including NBC 5 here. “Backed by the virtually limitless vault of NBCUniversal content, we are building not just a collection of great programs, but an experience for our viewers by putting them at the center of the network both on air and online,” Meredith McGinn, vice president of multi-station local programming for NBC Owned Television Stations, said in a statement. Cozi TV will compete against Weigel Broadcasting's Me-TV, Luken Communications' Retro Television Network and Tribune Broadcasting's Antenna TV. The new network will mean curtains for NBC Chicago Nonstop, including the daily simulcast of Roe Conn and Richard Roeper’s afternoon show on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS-AM (890).
- Managing editor Robert K. Elder wasn’t the only staffer to bail out just weeks before the launch of DNAInfo.com Chicago. Becky Schlikerman, a former Chicago Tribune reporter who’d been working on the hyperlocal digital news startup since June, just left to join the Sun-Times as a reporter. The Columbia College graduate previously worked for the SouthtownStar and Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5).
- Kathryn Janicek is out as daypart manager/executive producer of morning news at NBC 5. In announcing her abrupt departure to the staff Wednesday, Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news, said Matt Piacente, manager of news and content development, would be filling in until a replacement is named. Janicek also managed the website, Twitter and Facebook pages for the morning news. Before joining NBC 5 in June 2010, she was a supervising news producer at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 and a producer/writer at CBS Radio all-news WBBM-AM (780).
- Nicole, we hardly knew ye: Nicole Darin’s last day with Comcast SportsNet Chicago will be November 2. Barely two months after starting as a free-lance anchor/reporter, she’s leaving to join Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, based in Bethesda, Maryland. No word yet on a replacement. Darin previously worked as a sports anchor and reporter at WTSP-TV in Tampa, Florida.
- There’s life after television for Suzanne Rico, the former weekend news anchor and reporter at ABC 7 who went on to fame and fortune in Los Angeles — until she was fired in 2010. After traveling around the world with her husband and two young sons, Rico became busy as a blogger. “I thought no one would ever value my skills or my talents ever again,” she tells Los Angeles magazine in a Q&A. “That’s a fear I think so many people have. And what I found was exactly the opposite: that all those years I spent honing a craft were worthwhile, and people saw the worth in me despite the fact that I no longer had that virtual name tag that says ‘Anchorwoman.’”