Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

July 2009 Archives

LSP_8811.jpgRob Stafford, a weekend anchor who had worked alongside the now-departed Anna Davlantes at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, has been named a co-anchor of WMAQ's 10 p.m. weekday news with Allison Rosati effective Aug. 10. Stafford also will front WMAQ's 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. early newscasts with Rosati. Stafford had been one of a rotating series of anchors working with co-anchor Rosati at 10 p.m., since Bob Sirott left the station in June. Initially, Sirott was the designated heir apparent at 10 p.m. after Warner Saunders' retirement. But Sirott chose not to accept a rewritten contract offered to him by the station, and he exited in June.

Though Stafford was obviously passed over in the initial decision-making that pegged Sirott as the anchor talent the station wanted at 10 o'clock, WMAQ management was forced to give Stafford more serious consideration when Sirott balked at the new contract demands. Sources say the announcement Friday of Stafford as WMAQ's new 10 p.m. co-anchor was carefully timed to mesh with the exit of Davlantes, considered one of the station's brightest stars, and draw focus away from losing such a promising talent.

Stafford joined WMAQ in 2007, as a weekend anchor and general assignment reporter. Prior to joining WMAQ, Stafford was a Chicago-based correspondent for NBC's news magazine "Dateline." Previous to "Dateline," Stafford was a consumer reporter and anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.

Jason Mitton has been promoted to the post of director of digital production at DraftFCB/Chicago. He was previously the manager of the agency's interactive development team. In his new role, MItton will be responsible for unifying DraftFCB's interactive production and development teams. "Strengthening the agency's digital practice continues to be a key point of emphasis for us we look to deliver inventive and groundbreaking digital executions for our client," said Rob Sherlock, DraftFCB/Chicago's chief creative officer. Mitton joined Foote Cone and Belding/Chicago in 2001 as interactive solutions manager, a position he continued to hold after the agency's merger with Draft in 2006.

After a 22 year run, Anne Kavanagh is leaving Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 as full-time staffer. A station spokeswoman said Kavanagh will continue to work for WFLD in a freelance capacity, doing per-diem work and special projects. Most recently, Kavanagh had been a general assignment reporter working on WFLD's morning show, "Good Day, Chicago." In her official station biography, Kavanagh said she came to WFLD in 1987, when it first began airing newscasts. She characterized WFLD then as "the little station that could." Now it's a bigger TV station that has been relentlessly downsizing in recent months.

Is Cramer-Krasselt going international soon? Apparently not, according to a spokeswoman for the agency, which has its principal office here in Chicago. But that oft-rumored foreign expansion still will be one of the topics expected to be touched on in an article on Cramer-Krasselt and its leader Peter Krivkovich in next Monday's edition of Crain's Chicago Business. Whatever else may be said about him, Krivkovich undoubtedly is one of the city's most aggressive ad agency executives, though circumstances -- like account defections -- often have prevented him from growing his agency as fast as he might have liked.

Cramer-Krasselt recently suffered a big setback in its Chicago office when Crown Imports took the Corona Light business out of the agency and initially awarded it to Publicis/New York. But that move backfired when it was revealed Publicis was in talks with Anheuser-Busch InBev about working with that competing brewing giant. Aside from the Corona account issues, C-K also is currently searching for a executive creative director in its Chicago office.

No matter the setbacks though, Krivkovich always has seemed to be focused on growth, and apparently, he fully intends to keep foreign expansion on the table as an option.

Looks as if news/talk WGN-AM (720) is taking a Web-centric approach in naming its new news director Charlie Meyerson, who comes to the radio station from its sibling newspaper operation, the Chicago Tribune. At the Trib, Meyerson most recently was a senior producer for the paper's Web site. chicagotribune.com. He also has been a frequent contributor to WGN radio news programming. "This has been a quest for a rare individual who can lead our accomplished news professionals forward in gathering and delivering news through traditional, emerging and as-yet-undeveloped technologies," said WGN Program Director Kevin Metheny. Unlike many who are in the news business and Web-focused, Meyerson has been around in the business a few years. Some 30 years ago, Meyerson joined the news team at WXRT-FM (93.1), before leaving there in 1989 to serve as WNUA-FM's (95.5) news and public affairs director.

Gonzo and Berenice.JPGClear Channel Radio Chicago's new hot Spanish hits Mega 95.5 (formerly WNUA-FM) has named its two new morning show hosts -- Ricardo Otero and Berenice Guzman. Better known as "El Gonzo," Otero most recently worked at Uniradio for Pulsar FM as afternoon host Mondays through Fridays. He began his radio career in 1998 at More FM (98.9), a Tijuana-based Spanish rock station. Prior to joining Mega 95.5, Guzman participated in Nuestra Belleza Latina 2009, a Latin beauty pageant with a reality TV twist that aired on the Univision TV network. Guzman also has 10 years of TV experience, most recently as a video host for a show in Mexico called "Videorola." Mega 95.5's morning drive show with "El Gonzo" and Guzman airs 6 am to 10 am weekdays.

s6.jpgThe Chicago City Council will honor radio host and pet expert Steve Dale for his advocacy on behalf of companion animals in Chicago, as well as around the United States. During a Chicago City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 29, a resolution will be brought forth by Ald. Gene Schulter to acknowledge Dale for being "a fierce advocate for the proper care of companion animals." The City Council will also commend Dale for serving "as a key advisor for the Chicago City Council regarding issues surrounding companion animals." Dale is heard talking pets locally on news/talk WLS-AM (890) from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Dale also serves on the board of directors of the American Humane Association.

For the thousands of fans who undoubtedly miss them, we're sure it's been much too long since Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey were unceremoniously dumped from their mid-morning show on Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720). But here's a chance for their loyal supporters to reunite with the beloved radio hosts. On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Ann Sather Restaurant at 909 W. Belmont Ave., will host "A Visit with Kathy & Judy." It's a benefit for the Broadway Youth Center of the Howard Brown Health Center, and a chance for well wishers and loyal listeners to meet and greet the former WGN radio team.

The get-together at Ann Sather is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include light refreshments and a buffet of a variety of Ann Sather specialities. The cost is $20 per person, and advance reservations are required. The number to call is 773-348-2378. The Broadway Youth Center, located at 3179 N. Broadway, offers social and support groups, housing and job placement assistance and performance classes, among other things, to all youth 24 and under.

In addition to tonight's 7 p.m. re-broadcast of this afternoon's historic perfect game by Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, Comcast SportsNet Chicago will provide viewers with video-on-demand (VOD) coverage of a momentous day in White Sox history.

The entire game, pre-game and extended post-game coverage, including the press conferences and player interviews, will be available later today on Comcast Digital Cable. CSNC intends to devote the entirety of tonight's 10:30 pm edition of its "SportsNite" program to Buehrle's perfect game.

Any day now, we could learn the outcome of the review for the CDW advertising account that has been underway for several months now. Two finalists, we're told, remain in the running for the computer product reseller's ad business: Ogilvy/Chicago and the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. On Tuesday morning, we ran into Ogilvy Chief Creative Officer Joe Sciarrotta in the lobby of the building in which we both happen to work. He was all gussied up in a suit -- a decidedly different look than the jeans and tee that we've previously often seen him in when our paths have crossed. Sources tell us Sciarrotta may have been en route to the final pitch for the CDW business on that fateful Tuesday morning, though he certainly didn't say that to us.

In any event, we're also told Ogilvy has been pulling out all the stops to land CDW, even bringing in bigwigs from Ogilvy's New York headquarters to supplement the local team working on the pitch. Anything to impress the potential client, you know. Though Martin is a formidable competitor, there are those who think Ogilvy may have a decent chance at winning the CDW business, because it involves a lot of below-the-line promotional work. Ogilvy's complement of workers here in Chicago includes people versed in that particular sort of marketing work. And Ogilvy just may be hungrier -- having recently lost the Oscar Mayer business that parent Kraft Foods had handed the agency.

"Best I Can," a documentary about the Special Olympics from director Miachel LaBellarte, is set to air at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2, on WTTW-Channel 11. The documentary traces the evolution of the Special Olympics effort over some 40 years and honors the vision of its founders Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke and Eunice Shriver. What began as a Chicago Park District competition has expanded to a global effort that has touched more than 2.5 million athletes. Altar Film produced "Best I Can." The cast includes Christopher Kennedy and James Houlihan.

A search is ongoing on at least a couple of fronts at Leo Burnett. The agency's flagship Chicago shop is still trying to hire a new top public relations executive to replace the ineffective one that was fired last January. We were told several months ago that a new PR executive was expected to be in place by mid-June, but that target date has come and long gone.

The exceedingly pleasant Steve Peckham, the agency's interim spokesman on loan from global PR firm Edelman, says he has not been given any firm date for when Burnett actually will name a new spokesperson, and he hasn't pressed for one. So for now he is carrying on in that role indefinitely, though he will be out on vacation next week.

The search goes on, as well, for Burnett's new chief creative officer. This is a type of search that has taken a very long time for several local agencies to complete in recent years, perhaps in part because the city's image as an advertising hub has been severely tarnished due to major account defections at several local agencies and agency downsizings. For many years a local behemoth, JWT/Chicago recently shuttered as a full-service agency.

Ex-Leo Burnetter Jack Kraft has joined the advisory board of Rise Interactive, a Chicago-based Internet marketing agency. Kraft was apparently recruited to help Rise develop a strategy to expand on the national stage. Kraft spent nearly two decades at Burnett, where he had the title of vice-chairman and chief operating officer. Since retiring from Burnett a number of years ago, Kraft has participated in the development of several Internet-related firms, including founding and advising Two-Way Communications and advising and taking a principal role at Modern Media, two companies that provide Internet marketing services. Kraft also has been active in DePaul University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

CF Bio Pix.JPGAt least one Chicago television station has actually hired a new reporter -- bucking the relentless rounds of layoffs and downsizing in local TV news departments in recent months.

Christian Farr is joining NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 as a general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor effective Aug. 24. Previously Farr had been a correspondent for the past three years for WTTW-Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight" news magazine program. Farr's wife Karen Jordan is a weekend anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, and his father-in-law Robert Jordan anchors weekend newscast at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9

Comcast SportsNet/Chicago has announced a new monthly series -- "net Impact Chicago" -- a local version of the national Comcast SportsNet half-hour program that looks beyond the stats and scores of daily sports coverage and goes behind the scenes to explore interesting or amusing aspects of Chicago's sports culture. Segments already in the can include a piece on Chicago Cubs announcer Bob Brenly and his son Michael, a catcher with the Cubs Single-A affiliate Peoria Chiefs. Another story looks at Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams' venture into the restaurant business, while another segment is an amusing analysis of veteran Chicago White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. Material from 'net Impact Chicago" will also be used as rain delay programming during CSNC Cubs and White Sox telecasts. Hosts from CSNC's "SportsNite" will rotate as host of "net Impact Chicago."

Nov 27 09 Joe Sedelmaier photo studio BW CU BW.jpgChicago is host on Tuesday, July 21, to New York Festivals International Advertising Award's first world tour showcasing some of the world's best advertising. The event at the Chicago Cultural Center will include an exhibit of award-winning work in the categories of Art & Technique, Avant-Garde, Collateral, Design, Digital & Interactive, Mixed Media, Outdoor, Print, Radio and student competition. In addition, Joe Sedelmaier, an iconic ad director who did some of his finest work for clients such as FedEx, Wendy's and Alaska Airline while he was based in Chicago, will be presented with the NYF 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The NYF event also will include panel discussion on the topics "Is Craft Dead?" and "Social Media: How to Profit from It & Get Clients to Buy Into Social Media." An awards ceremony and cocktail reception will follow the afternoon seminars. For more information about the ticketed event or to order tickets, visit www.newyorkfestivals.com.

Porterfield, Harry 6x8 CLR.jpgHarry Porterfield, a true legend in local television news, will air his final "Someone You Should Know" segment on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 on July 30, during the station's 5 p.m. newscast. His exit from WLS comes as his current contract with the station expires. WLS General Manager Emily Barr said the station opted not to renew Porterfield's contract. Barr also said she does not plan to bring on another feature news reporter to replace Porterfield, whose "Someone You Should Know" segments typically aired twice a week. Porterfield, 81, also fronted several 30-minute "People, Places and Things" specials on WLS every year.

Barr said she expected Porterfield to pursue other interests after exiting WLS, including his love of music. Among other things, Porterfield is an accomplished violinist. Porterfield could possibly pursue other broadcasting opportunities too.

Porterfield had a remarkable 24-year run with the local TV market news leader. Over the years of doing his trademark "Someone You Should Know" segments, Porterfield became especially adept at ferreting out worthwhile -- though often unknown -- characters in Chicago and giving them a welcome moment of recognition. One of the most endearing aspects of Porterfield's work at WLS was his ability always to make the subject of his segments the focus, not Porterfield the on-air talent. "Harry had such humility," said Barr, adding "he's a treasure we will miss."

Bill Gamble has been named program director of two CBS Radio Chicago outlets -- country music-formatted WUSN-FM (99.5) and adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9). Gamble most recently was director of operations and new media for CBS Radio Denver. Gamble had previously worked for several radio companies in Chicago, including ABC Radio, Emmis Broadcasting and NBC Radio. Gamble begins his new job in Chicago on July 20.

Ron Bess.jpgEuro RSCG Worldwide has named Ron Bess president of Euro RSCG North America. Bess was previously chief operating officer of Euro RSCG/North America. Bess will continue to serve as CEO of Euro RSCG/Chicago, where he is based.

Bess's promotion follows last year's rollout of Euro's "digital at the core" strategy and the consolidation of agencies that led to what the network is calling a "future-focused strategy." Bess will work with the region's key CEOs alongside David Jones, Euro RSCG's New York-based global CEO. Ron Berger will continue as Euro RSCG's North American chairman.

As president, Bess will be responsible for the overall profitability and growth of the agencies and nearly 3,000 employees that make up the Euro RSCG network in this region. Bess joined Euro RSCG in 2004 as CEO of the Chicago shop, which he restructured and started to turnaround via the introduction of digital into the agency, as well as a unified management team and single P&L.

Michelotti_print preferred.jpgThe Chicago Advertising Federation has announced it will award the 2009 American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Lifetime Achievement Award to Carla Michelotti, executive vice president and general counsel of Leo Burnett Worldwide. Established in 1959, the AAF Silver Medal Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of advertising. This is only the second time the CAF has presented the award to a woman, and the first time it has given the honor to an attorney.

At Burnett Michelotti has legal responsibility for the global Leo Burnett group, including government and community/industry affairs. Michelotti is recognized as an expert on a range of legal issues pertaining to all forms of commercial communication, including behavior marketing.

Michelotti's other honors include recognition as the 2003 Chicago Ad Woman of the Year. Michelotti will receive the Silver Medal award at a luncheon on Oct. 27, at Maggiano's restaurant in downtown Chicago.

Michelotti_print preferred.jpgThe Chicago Advertising Federation has announced it will award the 2009 American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Lifetime Achievement Award to Carla Michelotti, executive vice president and general counsel of Leo Burnett Worldwide. Established in 1959, the AAF Silver Medal Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of advertising. This is only the second time the CAF has presented the award to a woman, and the first time it has given the honor to an attorney.

At Burnett Michelotti has legal responsibility for the global Leo Burnett group, including government and community/industry affairs. Michelotti is recognized as an expert on a range of legal issues pertaining to all forms of commercial communication, including behavior marketing.

Michelotti's other honors include recognition as the 2003 Chicago Ad Woman of the Year. Michelotti will receive the Silver Medal award at a luncheon on Oct. 27, at Maggiano's restaurant in downtown Chicago.

Michelotti_print preferred.jpgThe Chicago Advertising Federation has announced it will award the 2009 American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Lifetime Achievement Award to Carla Michelotti, executive vice president and general counsel of Leo Burnett Worldwide. Established in 1959, the AAF Silver Medal Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of advertising. This is only the second time the CAF has presented the award to a woman, and the first time it has given the honor to an attorney.

At Burnett Michelotti has legal responsibility for the global Leo Burnett group, including government and community/industry affairs. Michelotti is recognized as an expert on a range of legal issues pertaining to all forms of commercial communication, including behavior marketing.

Michelotti's other honors include recognition as the 2003 Chicago Ad Woman of the Year. Michelotti will receive the Silver Medal award at a luncheon on Oct. 27, at Maggiano's restaurant in downtown Chicago.

Matthew Tune has been named local sales manager of Mega 95.5, Clear Channel Radio/Chicago's new hot Spanish adult contemporary hits-formatted radio station. Most recently, Tune was a senior account executive for Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire, working with top companies and handling key accounts. He has also held positions as an account manager at Telemundo's WSNS-Channel 44 in Chicago and KTMD-Channel 47 in Houston.

In addition, Tune is a major in the United States Marine Corps, currently serving as executive officer of Echo Company, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion in Joliet, Il. Tune earned his Bachelor's degree in Spanish and International Relations at Tulane University.

Columbia College's WCRX-FM (88.1) has received the Gold World Medal in the student station awards category at the New York Festivals. The 52-year-old competition recognizes excellence in radio and television in the areas of programming and promotion. Entries are judged by industry professionals from 25 countries.

For its winning 2009 entry, WCRX submitted a 30-minute audio montage of public service announcements and programming that included live Presidential election night coverage, the station's multi-platform public service broadcast promoting Green initiatives and the broadcast of the "Holly Jolly Trolley" annual fundraiser for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Over the years, WCRX has won nearly 80 national and international awards.

She's back. After being abruptly dismissed by Tribal DDB several months ago, Liz Ross is back as chief growth officer for Digitas' United States operations. Though she will continue to live and operate out of Chicago, Ross said she will report to and work closely with Digitas executives based on the east coast, including CEO Laura Lang and global Chief Marketing Officer Seth Solomons.

Ross said one of her top priorities will be driving new business to Digitas. But in order to do that, she told us she will have a hand in ensuring the firm's creative is where it needs to be attract and hold on to new business. Ross will serve on Digitas' Global Growth Committee, helmed by Solomons.

When she was ousted from Tribal DDB earlier this year, Ross was the firm's president of U.S. operations and global chief marketing officer.

jeanne_sparrow_110_web.jpgWeigel Broadcasting's WCIU-Channel 26 is launching a different kind of morning headline news, information and entertainment program called "You & Me This Morning," hosted by Chicago television and radio personality Jeanne Sparrow. Plans call for the show to air weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., but only in segments interspersed with the station's regular morning programming, according to Molly Kelly, WCIU station manager. To allow for the inclusion of the locally-produced segments, Kelly said the station plans to run less regular programming. Kelly said morning viewers of WCIU will see elements of the concept start to show up on the station in the next eight to 12 weeks, with the formal debut coming sometime in the fall.

"You & Me This Morning" also will air on WCIU's sister station WCIU-DT-Channel 26.2. Kelly said the show will not only deliver content as a traditional over-the-air broadcast, but will provide original and extended content online and via mobile devices.
WCIU Producer Harvey Moshman will oversee the new morning project, which will be wholly locally-focused. As to when viewers might expect to see what kinds of segments over the course of the three-hour time frame for the show every day, Kelly said that was still being worked out and would become clearer as the show nears its formal launch.

"You & Me This Morning" host Jeanne Sparrow is a well-known figure in local broadcasting circles. She has worked at NBC-WMAQ-Channel 5, WTTW-Channel 11, and Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, among other places. She also has worked as a voiceover talent and radio personality. WCIU still is seeking contributors for its new morning program. Applications can submit bio information, a photo and a two-to-three-minute audition video online at www.wciu.com.

PX00014_7.JPGFor those who watch Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9 newscasts, there's still no word on when -- or if -- the recuperating Allison Payne will return to the station's flagship hour-long 9 p.m. newscast alongside co-anchor Mark Suppelsa. According to WGN News Director Greg Caputo, Payne is still recuperating from her mini-strokes, and there's "no specific timetable" for when her recuperation will be complete. In the meantime, Payne continues to co-anchor the station's half-hour early newscast, a role she has had since January.

As for the other big pending development at WGN -- namely the bringing together of WGN's unionized staff with the non-union employees of sister station CLTV -- that has apparently been pushed back to the fall, while the WGN office space is reconfigured to better accommodate both staffs. An inside source at WGN tells us the CLTV on-air staff have been asking a lot of questions about whether they'll be paid union minimums in line with their WGN brethren. And some WGN talent, we're told, are wondering whether they'll become participants -- willingly or unwillingly -- in some sort of 24/7 news reporting cycle. All will be revealed, for better or worse, sometime in the fall when Caputo said "we hope to have the CLTV folks over and up and running."

It's not been a great few weeks for Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago and its hold on various facets of the Corona and Corona Light business. First came word that Corona importer Crown Imports was moving the Corona Light ad account to Publicis/New York -- a step that, at the very least, suggests C-K's grip all on all things Corona no longer is as solid as it once was.

Now, Crown says it intends to relieve C-K of media buying duties for the flagship Corona Extra, Corona Light and Modelo Especial brands. C-K had been handling media buys for the Corona brands since 1993. A Crown spokesman said the importer wants to find a single media buying agency to handle media chores for all the aforementioned beer brands, as well as the Pacifico brand, for which Creature in Seattle currently does both creative and media buys.

The plan is for Crown to select the new media buying firm by year's end and transition all media buying to that agency early in 2010. That means that Cramer-Krasselt will be left with a lot less of everything related to Corona -- including income -- in about another six months. It's not the best of situations, to say the least. C-K and its aggressive CEO Peter Krivkovich will have to start beating the bushes just a little harder to find some new business to make up for what it will be losing with all the Corona changes.

Of course, it might help if C-K managed to find a new creative leader for the Chicago shop sooner rather than later. We've always been told that clients -- potential and existing -- feel more comfortable when they know who will be overseeing the creative output at agencies where they are investing a lot of marketing money.

Informed sources say the NBA has a new lead quick service restaurant sponsor -- Taco Bell, replacing Oak Brook-based McDonald's, which had been an NBA sponsor for some 20 years. Taco Bell is a unit of the world's largest restaurant company, Louisville-based Yum! Brands. An official announcement of the newly-inked sponsorship deal is expected within the next couple of days.

Sources say the NBA's switch in principal quick service restaurant sponsors evolved from a developing relationship with Yum! that began in 2006. The NBA has been working internationally with another Yum! unit, KFC. The new sponsorship affiliation with the NBA will yield Taco Bell a number of high-profile opportunities to tout the Mexican fast food chain to a large basketball audience.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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