Johnny Morris takes a pass on CBS 2’s ‘pretend nostalgia’
Johnny Morris (1962)
Robservations on the media beat:
- If CBS 2 bosses had their way, there would have been a third old-timer on the set with Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson for their farewell broadcast last week. Former Chicago sports anchor and Bears wide receiver Johnny Morris was invited to show up and stand around, too. Now 77 and living in the northwest suburbs, Morris retired in 1996 — 32 years after he first joined CBS 2. “Johnny wanted no part of the pretend nostalgia they were going for,” a friend said. “No disrespect to Bill or Walter, but when he left, he left for good. He’s happy to spend his time at the track and off TV.”
- In an interview with Carol Marin on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, both Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson confirmed the report here Monday that neither had any desire or intention to retire from CBS 2 — notwithstanding all the “happy retirement” hoopla last week. “I would say that is absolutely 100 percent true,” Jacobson told Marin after she read verbatim from my post. “You know, I’ve been doing it for 50 years, Carol . . . I think if I stopped doing those 12,000 commentaries that I’ve done, I’ll be lost.”
- Clear Channel Chicago announced Monday that a search is underway for a new midday personality at urban adult-contemporary WVAZ-FM (102.7) and a new assistant program director at urban contemporary WGCI-FM (107.5). Since December both jobs had been held by Kelly Mac. No reason was cited for Mac’s release, but a Clear Channel spokeswoman said middays on V103 will be hosted by a rotating lineup of personalities until a permanent replacement is named. Mac joined the stations from Clear Channel’s WUSL-FM and WDAS-FM in Philadelphia. On Facebook Friday, Mac wrote: “This morning I prayed & asked for some clarity & guidance! I was very frustrated & confused & asked him if he was using me, teaching me or giving me a sign? I prayed for clarity & he showed me & I am sooooo thankful & amazed by his love, mercy, vision & protection!”
- Even though he’s headed to Houston to host mornings at KKRW-FM, J.C. Corcoran says he’ll still be heard as a fill-in personality on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN-AM (720). Best known for his nearly 30 years on St. Louis radio, Corcoran also will turn up on two Houston talk stations — KTRH-AM and KPRC-AM.
- There’s a new website focusing on entertainment and shopping in the west suburbs. Shaw Media’s Suburban Life just launched planitlife.com online along with mobile, social media and print platforms. “We’re just getting started,” said managing editor Dave Lemery.
- Colleagues are remembering Cal Langenberg as a world-class cinematographer who made magic happen behind a lens. Langenberg, who retired in 2008 after 40 years as an award-winning cameraman at public television WTTW, died of a heart ailment Thursday in Evanston Hospital. He was 73. A Northwest Side native and Schurz High School graduate, he left the University of Illinois to become a film photographer for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era. “Cal was blessed with an ‘eye’ that framed perfect images almost effortlessly,” recalled veteran producer Thea Flaum. “He was also very committed to getting what he wanted. One time when we were shooting in a supermarket, he wanted to do a traveling shot but we had no camera dolly. So Cal somehow folded all six-foot-two of himself into a shopping cart, put the camera on his shoulder and had the crew roll him down the aisle until he got the beautiful shot he wanted.”
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