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

October 2009 Archives

Tom Hudson, co-anchor and managing editor of First Business Network's nationally-syndicated "First Business" is leaving the program after an eight-year stint to take a job with PBS' longstanding "Nightly Business Report." First Business Network is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting. "First Business" is seen locally on Weigel's WCIU-Channel 26.

Hudson has been a fixture on "First Business" program since mid-2003. A search is currently underway for Hudson's successor. Hudson's co-anchor Beejal Patel will continue on with the show. "Tom Hudson is an exceptional broadcast journalist, and we wish him the best," said "First Business" Executive Producer Harvey Moshman, who hopes to have Hudson's replacement on board by the end of the year.

In recent years, the 30-minute "First Business" product had featured Hudson and Patel offering commentary from the floors of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade, as well as the show's expanded studios in the west loop. The show first launched in 1989 as a production of the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and it is now syndicated in 126 markets nationally. Over the years "First Business" has attracted various high-profile sponsors, including Sprint, Ameritrade and IBM.

Debbie Carpenter is returning to Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and sibling station WPWR-Channel 50 as vice president and general sales manager, effective immediately. She will be responsible for all sales initiatives for the two stations and report to Michael Renda, general manager for the two stations.

Previously, Carpenter served as vice-president and general manager for both of the Fox-owned stations in Chicago from 2004 to 2006. Carpenter also served as vice-president and general sales manager of WFLD from 1994 to 2000. Renda said of Carpenter: "Her deep understanding of the market, combined with her proved record and entrepreneurial spirit, made her the ideal choice to lead our sales team."

Energy BBDO/Chicago and Deerfield-based Beam Global Spirits & Wines have ended a six-year relationship. The parting of the ways comes as Energy BBDO was just releasing a new TV campaign for the Jim Beam brand with the tagline "Guys Never Change; Neither Do We." The departure of the Beam business from Energy BBDO also comes just a month after Kevin George, a former Unilever executive, was named Beam's new global chief marketing officer. George replaced Rory Finlay, who had been with Beam for three years. Over the past number of years, Beam Global Spirits has seen considerable churn in its executive suite, including the marketing department.

Despite Energy BBDO's award-winning work for the Beam bourbon and Canadian Club whiskey brands, the Beam company was prone to testing the relationship between client and agency. Sources say Beam quietly put the Beam and Canadian Club business into review almost a year ago, and Energy BBDO was forced to compete with Goodby Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco and Droga5/New York to hold on to the accounts. Energy BBDO prevailed in that review with the "Guys Never Change" work that is now hitting the air.

Sources say Energy BBDO had not budgeted much or any income from Beam for 2010, so massive layoffs are not expected as a result of the loss of the Beam account.

Euro RSCG/Chicago has been ranked No. 4 on the list of the top 50 Gen Y employers in Chicago in a new study released by Brill Street. The study, conducted over the past six months, explored areas such as compensation and benefits, employee perks, corporate social responsibility, advancement potential, training opportunities and the nature of the day-to-day work. Chicago employers whose workforces are comprised of at least 10 percent Gen Y employees were eligible for consideration in the study.

Brill Street, in its report, described Euro RSCG as a shop where "ideas flow freely, voices are heard, and Gen Y is valued." The study went on to say that Euro is a "leader in a highly creative industry and a great place to work." Responding to the study release, Euro RSCG Chief Communications Officer Eric Edge said the shop was "honored to have been the only ad agency to make the top 5 in this ranking."

Now if Euro could only win some big accounts for all those apparently happy Gen Y'ers!

Upshot acquires Emerge Digital

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Chicago-based Upshot has acquired long-time partner Emerge Digital, a Naperville-based interactive agency with expertise in Web design, online promotions, social media, mobile phone marketing and branded interactive games -- capabilities that Upshot hopes will make it a more competitive shop. Emerge has relocated to Upshot's headquarters at 350 N. Orleans in Chicago.

"Our acquisition of Emerge reflects our commitment to consumer engagement," said Brian Kristofek, Upshot's president and CEO. With the acquisition of Emerge, Upshot's client roster grows to include Consumer Reports, Cirque du Soleil, HBO, Harpo and Visa. Over the years, Upshot and Emerge have collaborated on various projects for clients such as Kraft Foods, MillerCoors and Aircell's GoGo Inflight Internet.

Growth in interactive is projected to outpace all other areas of marketing over the next few years.

If any more evidence were needed (and we really didn't need any more, thank you), Friday's news that the Quaker Oats Co. is moving several of its core brands from Goodby Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco to Juniper Park (which sounds like a tree farm to us) in Toronto, further demonstrates that clients now believe they can simply move accounts around whenever the urge hits them and -- without missing a beat -- somehow wind up with a consistent, coherent, compelling advertising message. It's madness.

The very accounts Quaker is now moving from Goodby to Juniper Park were here in Chicago at Element 79 not that long ago. Quaker gave no cogent explanation why it yanked the more than $110 million in business from Element 79 at the time that agency lost the business, and it is offering up nothing but drivel as an explanation for the move this time -- stuff like the remark that Juniper Park has "a deep understanding of our consumer." Well, every agency seems to have that understanding when the business is coming in. But isn't it amazing how quickly that understanding seems to have disappeared when clients abruptly dismiss an agency?

If clients simply got back to demanding great creative from the agencies with which they have -- in many instances -- long and fruitful relationships, they'd be much better off over the long haul. The bigger problem, we fear, is that clients -- and particularly the chief marketing officers at many of these clients -- simply no longer have any clue what great, effective, memorable creative is. So they are incapable of recognizing it and differentiating it from the dreck that they often greenlight.

Mark Modesto, most recently president of DraftFCB/Chicago, has been promoted to the agency's corporate leadership team in the newly created role of president of DraftFCB North America, effective Nov. 1. Modesto will report to Laurence Boschetto, CEO and president of DraftFCB. In his new role, Modesto will work closely with DraftFCB's local management teams in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Orange County, Toronto and Montreal to build closer ties and synergies between the offices. Modesto will remain based in Chicago, but will work out of all locations. "Mark has done an outstanding job leading our Chicago office, and I'm sure (he) will be accomplishing the same as we create one DraftFCB across North America," said Boschetto.

A group of Chicago journalists are joining forces to form the Chicago News Cooperative, a venture designed to provide Chicago-centric news and commentary on the Web, in print and over the airwaves. James O'Shea, a former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, is the CNC's launch editor.

The cooperative already has plans to provide content for two clients -- the New York Times and Chicago public television outlet WTTW-Channel 11. Starting Nov. 20, the CNC team will produce two pages of news and commentary for Friday and Sunday editions of the New York Times distributed in the Chicago area. Along with O'Shea, former Trib managing editor James Warren has signed on with the CNC to write a regular column for the cooperative's pages in the New York Times. In addition, CNC will provide content for WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" program, though details of that arrangement have not been fully worked out yet. CNC also is developing a Web site called Chicago Scoop that will go live in early 2010.

CNC said it is in talks with other potential partners, including public radio station WBEZ-FM (91.5). During its start-up phase, the Chicago News Cooperative will be housed in space at WTTW. The start-up news gathering venture will seek input from an advisory board chaired by Peter Osnos, founder of Public Affairs Book. Other advisory board members include Dan Schmidt, president and CEO of WTTW; Newton Minow, senior emeritus partner at Sidley & Austin; Martin Koldyke, former chairman of WTTW; Anne Marie Lipinski, former editor of the Trib, and Michael Davies, president and CEO of Alphazeta Interactive.

Funding for the launch of the CNC is coming from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The CNC is seeking additional funding from individuals, foundations and eventually membership in the cooperative.

VARON Roz RGB SM email[1].jpgRoz Varon, ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 traffic/transportation anchor and a three-year breast cancer survivor, hosts "Faces of Strength," a special about breast cancer survivors, that airs Thursday at 10:35 p.m. on Channel 7. Among the breast cancer survivors who will share their stories on the show are Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell and Susan Axelrod, president of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy and wife of David Axelrod, advisor to President Barack Obama. Lloyd Gordon, an 80-year-old restaurant consultant. will talk about the stigma he faced as a man with breast cancer.

Varon was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in the summer of 2006, and during the WLS special cameras show her experiences with targeted-therapy treatment and CT scans that are now routine for her. Holly Grisham and Varon are the producers of "Faces of Strength."

Robert Feder will be back in business come early November. The former Sun-Times columnist, who for nearly 30 years wrote a column for this newspaper about the television and radio business, is joining, an arm of Chicago public radio station WBEZ-FM (91.5). Feder took a buyout from the Sun-Times a year ago and said he would take 12 months to mull his next career move.

Feder will post a daily column on the Vocalo Web site, which launched in 2007. The site, according to Feder, was designed to be an interactive public square where people can share ideas and opinions. User-generated audio content also is broadcast via WBEW-FM (89.5), another component of the Vocalo operation. Feder said he will "redefine" his old broadcast beat in his daily postings and report on print, the Internet and "whatever else comes along." Online readers of his new column also will be able to offer instant feedback to create what Feder said he hopes will be a "lively, ongoing dialogue about media issues."

As first tipped here, James Pastor indeed is taking on a new role within the ESPN sports empire. After five years as general manager of ESPN Radio's WMVP-AM (1000), Pastor now will head up the unit, charged with creating and maintaining dedicated ESPN-branded Web sports sites in major markets.

Pastor was involved in developing the Web concept, he told us, so it made sense for him to transition to the new assignment. "I'm going to miss the radio unit," said Pastor. was the first of the Web sites to launch last April. Boston and Dallas sites launched last month, and Pastor said he will oversee the launch of New York and Los Angeles sites early next year. The plan is to add the dedicated Web sites in more markets over time.

While he is settling into his new role, Pastor said he will continue, on an interim basis, as WMVP's general manger until a new GM is selected. Pastor said he will have a role in that selection process along with ESPN Radio Group senior vice-president Tim McCarthy. External and internal candidates will be considered for the job, Pastor said.

RCN adds CLTV to lineup

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Tribune Co.'s CLTV will be available to RCN subscribers starting today. CLTV moved its operations to Tribune Co.'s WGN-Channel 9 in August, creating a shared newsroom with additional resources for covering stories. CLTV has been on the air for more than 16 years.

Penn National Gaming, parent of the Hollywood Casinos chain, has tapped RPM Advertising/Chicago, to develop and execute a brand identity for Hollywood Casinos, beginning in January, 2010. The assignment will incorporate research, brand development, media planning and buying, creative, and direct marketing. The 15-year-old RPM shop has developed an expertise in casino advertising, and that was clearly a factor in Penn National's decision to go with the shop. Penn National is one of the top five gaming companies in the world. The company owns and operates seven Hollywood Casinos, including a facility in Aurora, IL.

The popularity of the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks' live game telecasts continues to increase. Comcast SportsNet Chicago delivered its highest Blackhawks regular season ratings ever Wednesday night with a 2.70 rating for its live coverage of the hockey team's home ice battle against the Edmonton Oilers. The telecast of the game attracted more than 94,000 viewers and scored a 3.3 peak rating during the 8 p.m. quarter hour, per Nielsen overnight data.

As further testament to the TV viewers' growing interest in Blackhawks games, Comcast SportsNet was the highest-rated channel in the Chicago market Wednesday among men 18 to 49 and men 25 to 54 for the entire duration of the game. So far this season, Blackhawks telecasts on Comcast are averaging a 1.5 rating, a whopping 63 percent increase over last season's average through five game telecasts.

Kamin lands Wind Free biz


Vincent Kamin & Associates/Chicago has picked up one of Chicago's newest "green" businesses, Wind Free Inc. The Kamin group will work with Wind Free to help promote its turbine and solar panel business in the midwest. Wind Free CEO Doug Snower said Kamin's work with Drinker/Durrance graphics on their National Parks series sold the company on the newly-formed relationship. Chicago is one of the top-rated "green" cities in the United States.

Schafer Condon Carter/Chicago will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Friday with a big shindig at the agency offices. And its fairly safe to say the shop has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1989 with a staff of two, zero clients and one apartment -- so the story goes. SCC's billings for 2009 will exceed $150 million from clients in a wide range of brands, categories and channels.

The agency's client roster now includes Armour-Eckrich, Brunswick Corp., Solo Cup Co., General Mills, Cobra Electronics and ConAgra Foods, among others. "There have ben dramatic shifts in the business environment during the past two decades," said Tim Condon, CEO of SCC. "But one thing that's remained constant is marketers' quest for fresh, innovative and creative thinking," added Condon.

The NPD Group, a market research firm, released its annual survey of consumers' holiday spending intentions on Tuesday, and the findings suggest gift-givers will, most likely, be spending less this year on less extravagant gifts. About 30 percent of the survey group of nearly 2,000 people said they intend to spend less on holiday gifts in 2009, up from 26 percent last year. And 11 percent of survey respondents said they would spend more on gifts, the same percentage as in 2008. About 59 percent said they will spend the same amount, down from 63 percent who gave that answer in 2008. As for what consumers will buy as gifts this year, the only categories showing growth were food, fragrances, books, small personal accessories such as bags or watches, music and electronics. And growth in all these categories was a modest one or two percentage points. The biggest drop came in the toys category, where only 34 percent of respondents said they would buy toys this year, down from 37 percent last year.

Nathan Friedman has been promoted to managing director of Ogilvy PR/Chicago, effective Jan. 1, 2010. He replaces Mike Hatcliffe, who will return to his original role as head of the agency's United States corporate practice, where he directs strategies for corporate clients across the Ogilvy PR network.

In Friedman's new role, he will be responsible for managing all aspects of the Chicago office, including client service, financial oversight and personnel development. Friedman joined Ogilvy Pr in 1999, and most recently served as group director of the Chicago office's corporate practice. Friedman has worked with a number of Ogilvy PR clients, including Hudson, Deloitte, CDW and LG Electronics. A search for a new Chicago group director is underway.

Simon Calvert has been named global chief planning officer at DraftFCB, effective immediately. Based in London, Calvert will continue to play an integral role on the agency's European and United Kingdom leadership teams. As part of his new global responsibilities, Calvert and other planning leaders within the DraftFCB network will jointly set best practices and standards for strategic planning. In the process Calvert is building a core planning community across multiple offices. Calvert also will work closely with other strategic leads from digital, media, retail and analytics units to more sharply define DraftFCB's multi-disciplinary strategic assets. Calvert will report to Michael Fassnacht, DraftFCB global chief strategy officer. Calvert joined DraftFCB in 2006, as head of strategy for London.

WhittmanHart/Chicago has hired Arlene Tee as director of project management. In addition, Tamara Knight joins the agency as account director, and Ken Cellak comes on board as associate creative director. Tee most recently was operations director at Arc Worldwide, where she served as a member of the leadership team and program manager on multi-channel brand advertising campaigns. Knight will work on the Harley-Davidson account at WhittmanHart. She previously was an account manager at Digitas/Detroit. Cellak was formerly with Designkitchen, where he was a senior copywriter.

DraftFCB has acquired its former affiliate in Sweden -- DraftFCB Sweden. The newly-acquired agency will serve as a Nordic hub, by covering Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. CEO Peter Hawi and Creative Director Anders Dalenius will run the Swedish shop. "It is very important for us to have an agency carrying our name so that we can tap our local talent and expertise in the region and connect them with our global clients," said Laurence Boschetto, DraftFCB's CEO and president. DraftFCB Sweden currently has a staff of 20.

WKSC-FM (103.5) fill-in host Special K, not to be confused with the cereal, has been permanently appointed night shift (8 p.m. to midnight) host at the Clear Channel Radio Chicago Top 40 station. Special K had been filling in since Silly Jilly left the station last month. Special K has been at WKSC two years, working weekend shifts, production and doing other fill-in work.

Looks like the delightful Steve Peckham will be around a while longer to field inquiries from the media at Leo Burnett/Chicago. We were told back in May that Burnett hoped to have in a place by mid-June a new chief spokesperson to replace the less-than-competent chief press rep who was axed back in January. Peckham was brought in from Edelman to handle PR chores on an interim basis.

But now, according to the delightful Peckham, it can be revealed that the search for a new spokesperson was, in fact, put on the back burner while Burnett executives focused on finding a new chief creative officer. As we now know, that search ended with the announcement last month that Susan Credle, late of BBDO/New York, would be the agency's new chief creative officer. Credle began her new job this week.

So with Credle's input, Burnett is restarting its search for that chief spokesperson, we're told. No indication, as yet, about just how much longer the search will take. But whenever that new PR person does arrive, he or she will soon thereafter help in the search for a second PR person to replace Abby Lovett, the agency's former spokeswoman for global affairs who left recently to take a job with Weber Shandwick.

Let's hope, after this whole, terribly protracted process is over, that Burnett winds up with two public relations professionals that know what they're doing. They could be a big help in getting Burnett back on track, now that Susan Credle is here to work on improving the shop's creative.

NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 will broadcast the 32nd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon live starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11. More than 45,000 runners are expected to complete the 26.2 mile course that starts and finishes in Grant Park after winding through 29 Chicago neighborhoods. A million spectators are expected to line the course, with even more watching on Channel 5.

WMAQ's Paula Faris and Ed Eyestone, two-time Olympic marathoner, will host the Channel 5 telecast. Broadcaster Toni Reavis and 1996 Olympian Juli Henner will be following the elite runners in the marathon for WMAQ. The station's morning anchors Rob Elgas and Zoraida Sambolin will handle pre- and post-race coverage from the start/finish line. A team of WMAQ talent, including Charlie Wojciechowski, Lauren Jiggetts, Matt Rodewald and Nesita Kwan, will also report from the neighborhoods as the race progresses.

There was always a troubling sense -- during the long lead-up to the devastating International Olympic Committee vote last Friday -- that the Chicago 2016 Committee was trying to eke out a victory in the competition as cheaply as possible. Little money was spent on campaigns to win over Chicago's local populace to the idea of hosting the Olympics until it was too late to do much good, and even those last-ditch efforts seemed low-budget and unconvincing.

But as lacking in lavishness and compelling thematics as most of Chicago 2016's efforts were in selling Chicagoans and the IOC on Chicago as a host Olympic city, the 2016 Committee, sources say, did manage to open very wide their pockets for that last disappointing video that was a central part of last Friday's final pitch to the IOC. One source pegged the cost of the underwhelming, heavily-tweaked video at well in excess of a cool $1 million -- an astounding sum given how little the video helped further Chicago's bid.

The decision to feature in the video the youth of Chicago and their "together we can" mantra may have seemed a clever touch to some within the Chicago 2016 crowd. But the fact is the youth angle already had been overused in the Chicago pitch. Yes, young people are at the center of the Olympics, but that's no reason to focus on them to the point of obsession.

In any event, it's too late to do anything about the lackluster video or the money spent on it. But if there's ever to be another Olympic pitch from Chicago, we hope whoever is calling the shots next time will remember it's important to think big. The Olympics demand nothing less.

ad1.jpgMaybe it's time for Euro RSCG/Chicago to embrace its truest self. For it seems to us the agency has done most of its best work in recent years for boutique-type clients with small budgets and a limitless hunger for creative advertising. The latest such campaign to emerge from Euro is the "Make A Fashion Statement" campaign for Pivot, a Chicago-based online boutique that aims to sell fashionable and eco-conscious clothing and accessories. The ad campaign formally debuts on Wednesday at a Pivot fashion event at 1101 W. Fulton in Chicago, where Pivot owner Jessa Brinkmeyer will present a trunk show of fashion by Chicago designer Lara Miller.

Euro's new campaign for Pivot manages to be colorful, stylish and message-driven all at once. We especially like the execution that embeds the pressing question "do the clothes you wear wear out the world?" inside a silhouette of a fashionably-dressed woman. Another execution reminds viewers of the possibilities of eco-conscious fashion with copy that says "be green in any color you like." Again the message is framed in the lines of model's silhouette drawn in a bold, purplish color. Nice.

A genius indeed. Fans of great advertising will have a chance on Oct. 23 to bask in the glow of one of the greatest who ever worked in the biz: commercial director Joe Sedelmaier. Marsie Wallach will screen her film about Sedelmaier, called "Point of View," along with three other shorts films by Sedelmaier, at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Oct. 23 at 8:15 p.m. Sedelmaier and Wallach will do a Q & A immediately following the screening. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster or at the Siskel Film Center.

As Wallach puts it: "Sedelmaier's work was iconic, dynamic and instantly recognizable." Indeed some 20 years later, the line "Where's the beef?" is still one of the most memorable lines in all of advertising. In work for Wendy's, Alaska Airlines, Federal Express and other clients, Sedelmaier was known for casting off-beat non-actors in off-the-wall spots. And the work, years later, continues to impress.

It may be one of the most protracted contract negotiations in the history of advertising, but CDW, the Vernon Hills-based computer reseller, finally sealed the deal Tuesday -- naming Ogilvy/North America as its agency of record. Interestingly, the appointment press release says Ogilvy/Chicago will be lead shop on the account, but other Ogilvy shops, most notably flagship Ogilvy/New York, will work on the business as well. That suggests CDW wasn't exactly comfortable putting all its eggs in the Ogilvy/Chicago basket -- given its shaky track record in recent years. Not that Ogilvy/New York, or Ogilvy in general, has much to crow about either.

One thing should be stressed about this win. While it will provide welcome revenue for Ogilvy, CDW will not be a showcase account that demands breakthrough creative. So don't look for it to help elevate Chicago's slumping image as a place that produces great advertising.

After we first broke the news that Ogilvy was likely to land the account, months passed before the deal was finalized, as the agency and CDW dickered and dickered -- and then dickered some more -- over the nuts and bolts of the contract. From what we hear, CDW was anxious to ensure that they got what they needed from Ogilvy for the lowest possible dollar amount. Call it nickel-and-diming by CDW. Or just prudent business practice.

But this is the way it goes now in the advertising world, where countless agencies have so devalued their images and their services that they can be forced to do whatever a potential new client wants. And aren't just about all American agencies absolutely starved for new business? You bet.

NickJonesHeadshot.jpgNick Jones has joined Arc Worldwide's Chicago office as an executive vice president, retail practice lead and account director. Arc is Leo Burnett's marketing services arm.

Before joining Arc, Jones led Rivet/London, where he was charged with creating the office from the ground-up, and with managing every aspect of the office. Jones eventually grew Rivet/London to include a staff of 30. At Arc in Chicago, Jones will take the lead on several key accounts, including Comcast, Miller-Coors and Coca-Cola. "Nick brings with him vast experience growing retail practices, and we are thrilled to have him on board," said Bill Rosen, president and chief creative officer, North America, Arc Worldwide.

Does ABC "World News" Anchor Charlie Gibson know something we don't? Who knows. In any event, Gibson will be in Chicago Friday to anchor live reports from Daley Plaza, where a crowd is expected to gather to hear which city is named host for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The news is expected to be announced from Copenhagen, Denmark, at approximately 11:57 a.m. Chicago time. The scene Gibson will be reporting from is likely to turn rather glum quickly if the vote goes against Chicago and in favor of either Rio de Janeiro, Madrid or Tokyo, the other three cities competing for the 2016 Olympic Games. Gibson also plans to host his regular 5:30 p.m. "World News" program from Chicago.

Roxanne Steele is returning to Chicago radio after an absence of nearly 18 months. On Oct. 6, she will start hosting afternoon drive at adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Steele previously spent 12 years on air in afternoon drive at WBBM-FM (96.3). Both stations are CBS Radio outlets. While at WBBM, Steele became the first female ever to host afternoon drive, and she subsequently garnered several awards, including best local station personality at the Illinois Silver Dome Awards in 2002.

About her new post, Steele said: "I am so excited to connect again with all the people who listened to me over the years." Recently-arrived WCFS Program Director Bill Gamble said of Steele: "Roxanne brings a combination of energy, talent and experience that are unmatched in this market." WCFS made its debut on Nov. 5, 2007.

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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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