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

July 2010 Archives

DSC_0052 (1).jpgBig news from Red Car/Chicago. Michael Coletta is joining the firm as a creative editor. Most recently on staff at Nomad Editing Co., Coletta is known as a natural storyteller with an emphasis on character-driven humor.

Throughout his career, Coletta has worked with a number of directors on high-profile advertising for clients ranging from Budweiser and Volkswagen to Verizon and Motorola. "Michael is such a well-known editor in New York," said Jennifer Lederman, Red Car's national managing director. "I've followed his work for years and was always hopeful that he'd join our team," added Lederman. Coletta will move to Chicago, and work closely with Red Car/Chicago managing director Craig Duncan.

Coletta studied film and photography at Columbia College in Chicago, where he trained as a photographer. While there, he quickly learned how uniting images to tell a story was a natural extension of his photographic process and vision. Coletta started his editorial career as an assistant at Skyview in Chicago.

What we said was rumored to be true last Monday about Energy BBDO/Chicago's involvement with the state's effort to select a private management firm for the lottery is indeed true. It was announced at noon today that Energy BBDO/Chicago, the current ad agency of record for the Illinois Lottery, has cast its fate with a newly-created bidder for the lottery private management contract called Northstar Lottery Group.

Northstar is a new entity formed by Gtech Corp. and Scientific Games Corp., both of which were initially expected to submit separate bids for the lottery private management contract. But sources say within the past few days Gtech and Scientific Games sealed a deal to submit a single bid with Gtech as the principal in the new Northstar entity, and Scientific Games a secondary partner. Sources also say that Your Lottery, a possible bidder that had DraftFCB/Chicago as its ad agency partner, now may not submit a bid by today's deadline of 4:30 p.m. It is unclear at this point whether Camelot Group and Intralot, both also expected to submit bids, will indeed do so. A lottery spokesman said the names of all bidders will not be released until Aug. 12.

Some suspect this newly-merged entity called Northstar is a thinly-veiled effort to ensure business continues as usual at the state lottery, since Gtech and Scientific Games already provide the technology and the games to the Illinois Lottery and Energy BBDO is already responsible for the advertising.

Gov. Pat Quinn is supposed to select a private management firm for the lottery on or before Sept. 15. He will select from among one or more bidders recommended to him by a committee of current lottery officials and outside executives. A lottery spokesman said the names of those committee members are not being made public at this time.

It remains to be seen whether this last-minute twist that has produced the Northstar bid will affect how Quinn views the situation and whether Northstar, should it win the contract, will in fact reflect the intent of the private management legislation passed by the Illinois state legislature. In any event, as we surmised, Energy BDDO/Chicago and its leader Tonise Paul apparently have thrown their hat in with the group the ad agency no doubt perceives to have the upper hand in the bid process.

Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 said Thursday it will join the crowd and start its "Good Day Chicago" early morning show at 4:30 a.m., effective Monday. The show previously began at 5 a.m. Dawn Hasbrouck and Kori Chambers will anchor the additional half hour of programming. The duo were already named to anchor "Good Day Chicago" from 5 to 7 a.m. Also starting Monday Anna Davlantes and Corey McPherrin will anchor "Good Day Chicago" from 7 to 10 a.m.

With the move to an earlier start time for "Good Day Chicago," early morning programs on all the major local stations excepting WBBM-Channel 2 will soon begin at the same time. WGN-Channel 9 and WLS-Channel 7 also recently announced they will make 4:30 a.m. the regular start time for their respective early morning shows.

Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson are being reunited at WBBM-Channel 2.

The iconic Chicago news duo -- who teamed as nightly news anchors a Channel 2 in the 1970s and early 1980s when it dominated local news -- will be paired up again starting Sept. 1, this time anchoring the CBS2 6 p.m. weekday news, the station announced this morning.

The station hopes the move to bring back one of Chicago's legendary local news anchor teams will ignite interest in Channel 2 news and spark a ratings surge.
Soon after they're back on the air together, WBBM will roll out its new 10 p.m. anchor pairing. On Sept. 13, Kate Sullivan will join current anchor Rob Johnson in headlining the 10 o'clock, as well as the 5 p.m., news.

"The teams of Rob and Kate and Bill and Walter represent the core values of CBS2 news -- aggressive journalism, combined with excellent, contemporary storytelling," WBBM news director Jeff Kiernan said.

The reunion of Kurtis and Jacobson had been in the works for months. It took longer than expected because Kurtis was deciding how to deal with his wide range of business interests, which include a cattle farm and his appearances in TV commercials as a pitchman for AT&T. That AT&T role is likely to end now that Kurtis is back in an anchor's chair at WBBM.

Kurtis and Jacobson started at Channel 2 in the 1960s, separately left, then were brought back in 1973 to anchor the 10 o'clock news in a partnership that dominated the local news ratings in Chicago.
Kurtis left for three years to work in New York as a CBS network news anchor but returned to resume the on-air partnership, which ended in 1989.
WBBM general manager Bruno Cohen made the much-anticipated reunion official at a newsroom staff meeting.

Kurtis and Jacobson accompanied him, as did Sullivan who joins the station after four years as morning news anchor at WCBS-TV in New York.

Jacobson has been back at CBS2 since February, relaunching his "Perspective" commentaries on the 10 o'clock news on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

He and Kurtis came together for one night last November, filling in for Johnson, anchoring the 10 o'clock news.

For 18 months, Cohen and Kiernan have been working to revamp the way the station presents the news, aiming to return the station to the top of the ratings at 10 p.m. In the just-ended July Nielsen ratings book, the station's late news remained mired in fourth place. The station's bosses hope that reuniting Kurtis and Jacobson at 6 p.m. will also help rebuild its audience at 10 p.m.

The talent upheaval at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 shows no signs of ending yet. The latest to exit the station's news department is Nancy Pender, who has been with the station for 13 years. She will depart next month. Her contract is not being renewed. Most recently, Pender was the solo anchor of WFLD's Saturday and Sunday evening newscasts. She previously co-anchored the weekend newscasts with Byron Harlan, who exited the station in the spring when his contract was not renewed. Reporter Larry Yellen will take over weekend newscast anchor duties for now.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago will air live coverage of the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks convention being held this weekend at the Chicago Hilton Hotel. On Friday, July 30, CSNC coverage will start at 5 p.m., and feature introductions of Hawks players, coaches and front office executives. The coverage also will include video montages from the Hawks Stanley Cup championship season.

Diehard Hawks fans can find more coverage of the convention on line at CSNChicago.com, where there will be additional video footage from the convention.

It's not an account that's likely to have much impact on the less-than-booming state of affairs at Euro RSCG/Chicago, but Australian Wool Innovation has named Euro RSCG as its global agency of record. AWI has turned to Euro RSCG to develop an integrated campaign to increase demand for wool across both trade and consumer sources. The account will be based in Euro RSCG's London office, but other shops in the Euro network, possibly including the Chicago outpost, are expected to be called upon to help develop work for the campaign.

AWI actually represents more than 29,000 Australian wool growers and also owns and controls the familiar Woolmark brand worldwide. Aside from further familiarizing consumers with what the Woolmark brand represents, Euro RSCG hopes to help further establish wool -- specifically Merino wool -- as an important part of the luxury fashion industry.

Fans of former WLS-Channel 7 reporter and weekend morning news anchor Kevin Roy who hoped he might soon return to the air in Chicago have reason to feel a little less hopeful this week.

It looks as if the former local TV talent has, at least for now, opted to retreat from Chicago. On his Facebook page, Roy announced he had packed up all his belongings in Chicago and moved them to a residence in Palm Springs, Calif. Via email, we asked him if that is the resort town where he intends to now base himself while he considers future opportunities in broadcast journalism or another career. He emailed us back the one-sentence response: "That's a good way of putting it."

Roy's contract was not renewed at WLS last April when he failed to show up for his weekend morning anchor job. Roy subsequently appealed to friends on his Facebook page for any job leads.

Maya Gavin Head Shot 2.jpgMaya Gavin has won the chance to start a career in sports radio. She has triumphed over more than 700 other entrants in a WSCR-AM (670) contest to find a new overnight host for the 1 to 3 a.m. time slot on Saturday mornings. Not exactly prime morning or afternoon drive time, but it's definitely an opportunity for Gavin to show WSCR program director Mitch Rosen what she can do in a regular on-air host role. Gavin majored in communications at the University of Iowa, and this new gig at WSCR marks her first professional job in radio. She has a day job in healthcare.

Gavin was one of four finalists for the WSCR overnight job. All four finalists appeared on air last Saturday and answered questions posed by listeners and by a two-person panel of judges that included Rosen and Score host Dan Bernstein. Afterward, Rosen said he was impressed with Gavin's intelligence and her passion for Chicago sports and, not unimportantly, her sound on air.

Will Gavin's new role lead to bigger things for the budding radio talent? Rosen cautioned against overly-heightened expectations. "First and foremost, this is a job for Maya and a chance to interact with Chicago sports fans. It's not about being famous," said Rosen. Gavin is expected to start her new job on a yet-to-be-determined date in September.

Staff at Euro RSCG/Chicago were in quite the dither Tuesday as many were still digesting the news that the shop's chief creative officer Steffan Postaer has penned a new novel called "Sweet by Design."

It wasn't so much the fact that Postaer had written a novel that surprised some of his agency associates (he's published two others), it was more the subject matter of the tale that caught some of them off guard. "This is another curve ball to deal with," said one Euro staffer. "Sweet by Design," it turns out, is about an HIV-infected gay interior designer named Jeffrey Sweet, who is apparently trying to keep the truth of his identity from his conservative father.

The plot, among other things, involves a Gold Coast prostitute who blackmails Sweet. The novel's climax is the protagonist's confrontation with his father at the old man's 80th birthday party. In a synopsis of the story, Postaer writes: "Far from sick, he (Sweet) just acts that way, as a lifetime of lying catches up with him in this unexpected comedy about coming to grips when everything around you is falling apart." Unexpected, indeed.

Postaer first revealed the existence of this novel on his personal blog, even as he was announcing a contest to design a cover for the book, should it ever get published. Postaer also said on the blog he has had trouble finding a publisher and an agent that might help him get the novel published. The winning entry in the book jacket design contest will receive an iPad from Postaer.

When we attempted to reach Postaer Tuesday to talk further about his latest literary endeavor, he said via email that he was much too preoccupied with agency business to talk now, and suggested we arrange to chat at an unspecified later date. Mark it down, folks. That may be the first time in recorded history that Postaer has begged off of a possible opportunity for publicity. Could it be that all that dithering around him has caused him to suddenly adopt a lower profile regarding "Sweet by Design" and his efforts to publish the book?

Lachky_Bob_hires.jpgBob Lachky, the man who for many years was in charge of orchestrating brewery giant Anheuser-Busch's advertising image, now has a new Chicago connection. He's signed on as a senior advisor at Chicago-based rEvolution, a sports marketing and media services agency.

A rEvolution spokesman said Lachky will not be a full-time employee, but will work with agency president John Rowady in a consultant capacity to determine how best to position the rEvolution shop going forward. For now, Lachky will remain based in St. Louis, where he is also working with stock brokerage company Scottrade on its advertising initiatives.

Rowady apparently likes what Lachky brings to the table for rEvolution. "Having managed the relationship with a variety of agencies at Anheuser-Busch, he (Lachky) brings to our team unique insight into what makes a great agency in today's changing marketplace," said Rowady. For his part, Lachky said of his new assignment: "I'm excited about the opportunity to work with John and his team as we both are major proponents of driving creative messaging through a larger set of communication channels." Lachky is no stranger to Chicago. He was an executive with DDB/Chicago prior to joining A-B.

rEvolution clients include ESPN, Target and Red Bull energy drink.

CL_TV_Moonlight_Still_Image.jpgChicago-based Crown Imports has launched a new national campaign for Corona Light from La Comunidad in Miami, Fla. To distinguish the new campaign from the quieter work for sibling Corona Extra, the new commercial called "Moonlight" has lots of bodies noisily dancing on a beach as the sun sets.

Once darkness as fallen and the music has stopped, the seemingly dejected dancers get the bright idea to rush to the other side of the beach and watch the moon rise as the party continues. It's a clever touch, but there's still a bit too much fairly prosaic footage of young people dancing around. There needs to be more surprise built in to the way the spot plays out to give the execution a little more snap.

Crown marketing honcho Jim Sabia says the new Corona Light campaign takes the iconic vacation-in-a-bottle advertising thematic that has served Corona Extra so well for so long and "simply energizes and contemporizes it." There is indeed more energy in this Corona Light spot, but it needs to be served up with a couple more unexpected twists.

Ad agencies are supposed to be all about generating buzz. But there hasn't been much of it -- as yet --about one big birthday being celebrated this year in the Chicago ad community.

We're talking about the 75th anniversary of the founding of Leo Burnett. It's a significant milestone for an agency that for many years represented the essence of what might be called the Chicago school of advertising. That particular style isn't as front of mind now as it was 20 or 30 years ago. But the heartwarming advertising that had wonderful storytelling at its core was for a long while synonymous with brands such as Hallmark cards and McDonald's that have been at Burnett for decades.

A good chunk of Burnett's 75th anniversary year already has passed, but one thing the agency is doing to mark its birthday is the publication of a new book called "HumanKind," a 250-page-plus summation in words and images of everything the agency has learned about brand building in its three-quarters of a century in business. The two authors listed on the cover are Burnett Worldwide CEO Tom Bernardin and Burnett Worldwide chief creative officer Mark Tutssel. But sources say Dan Santow, a PR executive with Edelman/Chicago, was the ghostwriter of much -- if not all -- of the text.

We'll save a fuller review of the book for closer to the official Oct. 2 publication date, but suffice it to say the book looks to be an elaborate attempt to repackage the basic tenets of advertising in terms more in sync with the way the business is perceived in this digital world. Bernardin and Tutssel still contend that advertising at heart is about communication, it's just that the way the communication manifests itself has changed.

Many will see "HumanKind" and contend it is a coffee table tome in the same vein as Saatchi & Saatchi honcho Kevin Roberts' recent "Lovemarks" book about evolved branding. The two books certainly have a similar, very visual design, and both have the same publisher, Brooklyn-based PowerHouse.

No doubt Burnett executives would have preferred that this 75th anniversary fall on a year when the flagship Chicago office could boast of huge account wins and a major sense of momentum. The year 2010 isn't over yet, but so far it has been another quiet one for the agency in terms of new business.

While there have been some encouraging signs at Burnett of a return to advertising that celebrates strong storytelling, especially for McDonald's, the agency's creative output still can be frustratingly uneven.

ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, the top-rated station for local news, is aggressively expanding its local news footprint. Starting Aug. 2, WLS will add an additional half-hour to its early news show, which will now run from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.

The WLS early morning anchor line-up, including Judy Hsu and Hosea Sanders, meteorologist Tracy Butler and traffic reporter Roz Varon, will not change. WLS is bringing on an additional reporter to cover breaking news on its early morning news. She is Jessica D'Onofrio, who had been with WKMG-Channel 6 in Orlando, Fla., for the past six years. Chicago is D'Onofrio's hometown.

WLS also is adding an additional hour of news on Saturday mornings starting at 8 a.m., effective Sept. 4 The station already has a 6 a.m. newscast on Saturdays. Stacey Baca will anchor both Saturday newscasts along with meteorologist Mark Bishop.
WLS news director Jennifer Graves clearly intends to ensure that WLS remains positioned as the go-to channel for local news in the Chicago market. "This is a great opportunity for us to fill increasingly important morning time periods for viewers who are in the habit of turning to ABC 7 for news and weather," said Graves.

WLS's move to add an extra half-hour of early news programming on weekdays comes on the heels of Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9's decision to add an additional half hour of early news, effective Aug. 16. NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5's early morning news has started at 4:30 a.m. since January of 2007.

WLS also is adding its half hour on the same day that Anna Davlantes and Corey McPherrin take over as co-anchors from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. of Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 9's "Good Day Chicago" early morning show.

Long perceived as a car brand for the older set, Buick is attempting to connect with younger drivers via a Twitter-based marketing effort just now launching exclusively in Chicago. The aim is to give the Twitter crowd in Chicago a chance to organize a test drive of a Buick.

To set up the test drive, interested parties need to log in to Twitter or create an account and follow @DriveBuickChi. Then send an @reply to schedule a time for pickup and to indicate a destination you'd like to drive to in a Buick. If all goes according to plan, Buick then will reach out to those requesting a test drive and dispatch a car and a so-called Buick Brand Ambassador to serve as a local guide. Supposedly, those getting test drives will be encouraged to use the opportunity to visit a museum, gallery, live theater performance or restaurant. Participants need to be 25 years of age and have a valid driver's license.

Happy motoring.

BRADLEY Ben Smiling RGB.jpgVeteran WLS-Channel 7 reporter Ben Bradley has been named co-anchor of the station's Sunday morning newscasts, effective September 5. Bradley will join Stacey Baca on the Sunday morning newscasts at 6 and 8 a.m., while continuing to do general assignment reporting during the week. Separately, Eric Horng, a former ABC News Chicago-based correspondent, is joining the station as a general assignment reporter, effective August 9.

Bradley replaces Kevin Roy as co-anchor on the WLS Sunday morning newscasts. Roy's contract with WLS was recently not renewed after he failed to show up for his Sunday morning co-anchor job. Bradley joined WLS in October, 2002, and has been recognized with three Emmy Awards for breaking news stories. "Ben has proved to be not only an aggressive, enterprising reporter, but a solid and capable substitute anchor," said WLS news director Jennifer Graves.

Horng joined ABC News in 2003, after having worked for CNN in Los Angeles for three years. He has reported for several ABC news programs, including "World News," "Nightline" and ABCNews.com. Horng graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Finally CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 is adding to its depleted pool of local news anchors. Kate Sullivan, 33, will join the station in early September as an anchor whose duties are yet to be determined. The likely betting is that she will work with current solo anchor Rob Johnson fronting WBBM's flagship 10 p.m. weekday news report. Most recently, Sullivan was a morning news anchor at WCBS-Channel 2 in New York. WBBM news director Jeff Kiernan declined comment about Sullivan's hiring.

If nothing else, Sullivan will help take some of the considerable load off of solo anchor Johnson's shoulders. But she is going to be hard-pressed to dispel the impression that she is yet another outsider brought in to help improve the station's disappointing news ratings. In the most recent Nielsen June ratings report, WBBM's flagship 10 p.m. had slipped into fourth place behind top-ranked WLS-Channel 7, second-place WMAQ-Channel 5 and third-ranked WGN-Channel 9. WBBM had risen as high as second-place at 10 p.m., before it started to slip back in the pack.

One source familiar with developments said Kiernan chose Sullivan "because she has proven she can move the ratings needle in every job she's had." Before moving to WCBS in New York, Sullivan had worked as an anchor and reporter in only much smaller markets, including South Bend, Ind., Providence, R.I., and Little Rock, Ark.

Sullivan fills a gaping hole created last spring when WBBM management opted not to renew the contract of ex-anchor Anne State, who was brought to WBBM from the west coast by former WBBM general manager Joe Ahern. Though she was invariably a charming and cheerful presence in front of the camera, State was often faulted by WBBM news insiders for her repeated slips on air that suggested she did not know the city especially well. Before deciding not to renew her contract, Kiernan demoted State to reporter to help her gain more familiarity with Chicago.

Like State before her, Sullivan, who bears more than a passing resemblance to politician Sarah Palin, has never worked in Chicago before, but she did attend nearby University of Notre Dame. It remains to be seen whether Sullivan will prove just another attractive news reader, or a genuine talent that can help WBBM distinguish its news operation from the competition.

Since his arrival here 18 months ago, WBBM news director Kiernan has been intently focused on developing a local news product with content sufficiently distinctive to draw viewers away from competing newscasts. That effort, however, has yet to catapult WBBM to the top of the ratings heap.

Meanwhile, a WBBM spokeswoman said the station's rumored interest in hiring legendary news anchor duo Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson to handle early news anchor chores is still just speculation at this time. Which probably means such an option remains a distinct possibility.

Blake Ebel is out at Euro RSCG/Chicago. After a six-year stint as a top creative at the shop, Ebel is leaving to take the top creative job at Factory Design Labs, a Denver-based shop. Sources said Ebel had been interested in getting his own top creative post for a while.

Most recently at Euro RSCG, Ebel and Steffan Postaer were co-chief creative officers, an awkward arrangement that may have hastened Ebel's exit from the shop. Plus, the recent departure of the Barilla pasta account from Euro RSCG may have been a deciding factor in Ebel's exit. Ebel brought that piece of business to Euro when he came there from Young & Rubicam/Chicago. The Barilla loss is but one of several that have hit Euro RSCG in recent times, and the agency has been slow to bring in large, high-profile pieces of business to replace the losses.

Euro RSCG released a statement thanking Ebel for his "role in helping grow Euro RSCG/Chicago into the agency it is today." For now Steffan Postaer will continue in his role as sole chief creative officer at Euro. The agency said it intends to replace Ebel.

Dan Ponce is returning to the Chicago broadcast journalism fold as a general assignment reporter for Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9, effective Sept. 1.

His return to Chicago effectively ends Ponce's stab at becoming a star in the music industry. Some 18 months ago, Ponce quit his job as a general assignment reporter at top-ranked WLS-Channel 7 to pursue a concert and recording career with an a cappella singing group called "Straight No Chaser" that he founded while in college. The singing group has released three albums and toured the country, including an extended gig this summer at a casino resort in Atlantic City.

In announcing his return to Chicago and the new job at WGN, Ponce said: "I've had a blast performing with 'Straight No Chaser,' but it's time for me to come home and get back to reporting in the country's best news town." WGN news director Greg Caputo called Ponce an "excellent writer and storyteller" with "a unique ability to highlight the people inside the stories."

Dan Ponce's father Phil, is a host of "Chicago Tonight" on public television station WTTW-Channel 11, and his brother Anthony is a reporter at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

Are we ready for some hockey? Only two months to go until the start of pre-season games for the 2010-11 NHL season. And the Chicago Blackhawks announced today that four of the team's seven pre-season games will be televised -- the most in franchise history. In addition, two of the games will air on the team's radio home WGN-AM (720).

Comcast SportsNet Chicago will carry the September 22 game against Tampa Bay and the September 24 contest against the Detroit Red Wings. WGN-Channel 9 will broadcast the team's September 25 matchup against Detroit and the October 3 pre-season finale against the St. Louis Blues. WGN-AM also will broadcast the September 25 and October 3 games.

By now it's no secret TV viewership for the Stanley Cup champion Hawks has increased dramatically in just a year's time. Compared with the 2008-09 regular season, ratings for Hawks games on Comcast SportsNet increased 94 percent last season. CSNC also carried nine of the Stanley Cup playoff games during the first two rounds, reaching approximately 2.4 million Chicago households.

Chicago-based Tony Weisman has expanded his reach within the Digitas empire. Digitas president Colin Kinsella has realigned the company offices. Weisman now becomes president not only of the Chicago office, but of Boston and Detroit too. Weisman also will continue to be the global client lead for Digitas. Joanne Zaiac, currently president of the New York and Stamford operations, will also oversee Digitas' Atlanta office.

"Joanne and Tony are two remarkable leaders who are adept at growing business and attracting top industry talent," said Kinsella. Weisman joined Digitas in 2007, after a stint at DraftFCB/Chicago, where he was reportedly instrumental in helping lure the giant Walmart account to the agency, though the business was there only a short while. Weisman was part of the DraftFCB team that wooed the now infamous former Walmart marketing honcho Julie Roehm and convinced her DraftFCB was where she should put the Walmart account. Within weeks, however, Roehm's superiors had yanked the account from DraftFCB and moved it to the Martin Agency, in Richmond, Va.

Ty Bentli, the popular afternoon drive host at Clear Channel Radio Chicago's top 40-formatted WKSC-FM (103.5), has accepted a new job with Clear Channel Radio Los Angeles, according to sources familiar with developments. A formal announcement is expected Wednesday.

Bentli, who arrived at KISS-FM in October, 2006, will stay at the station until his replacement is found. WKSC will conduct a nationwide search for Bentli's successor. Bentli's exit comes as WKSC-FM has just completed its first full quarter ever as the top-rated radio station in the Chicago market in the 18-to-34-year-old demo the station targets. Bentli also was the No. 1-rated afternoon drive anchor in the 18-to-34-year-old demo in the just-released June Arbitron ratings book.

Ok all you eager Chicago ad creatives. You can pack up all your hottest, award-worthy work and start waiting for next year. Barring some sort of last-minute miracle, there will be no Chicago advertising awards show in 2010.

This news comes today from the collective mouths of the committee that has been charged for the past several months with reviewing all aspects of the often rather ugly past history of Chicago ad awards shows and figuring out a sustainable game plan for future shows. One thing seems clear: The Chicago Creative Club Awards entity that had been the awards show organizing group in recent years is kaput.

All of this new committee's efforts have taken longer than originally anticipated, naturally, so they have decided to scrap a show for this year, which means Chicago -- still the nation's second-largest advertising community -- will not have had any kind of awards show for two of the last four years.

What kind of awards show structure does this committee hope to put in place? Well, it's still too early to say for sure, but they have been talking to several outside event planning specialists and hope to select one of them to help set up a formal awards show structure. Of course, the big rub here is no one knows yet exactly what they want this Chicago awards show to be. So until that is figured out, it will be impossible to set up much of a structure.

We have long maintained that a simple awards show that includes a reception and a short and classy awards presentation may be the best way to go -- so long as the organizers can make all in attendance actually cease drinking long enough to focus on the awards themselves.

At a lunch today we heard awards show committee members bandying around words and phrases such as "innovative" and "respectful of our Chicago heritage." But whether such things will be evident in whatever comes of all this deliberation remains to be seen.

We just hate to see another year pass with no awards show, while the Chicago ad community hurries up and waits for whatever is to come next year.

"The Jarrett Payton Show," an Internet sports radio show, will launch on Monday. The show, airing weekdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., will cover current sports stories, personalities and other topics.

Payton, a former NFL running back and current member of the Chicago Slaughter Indoor Football team, and broadcaster Ernie Scatton will co-host the two-hour show. To listen to the Payton show, visit www.chicagolandsportsradio.com and click the "listen live" button.

Jarrett Payton is the son of the late Walter Payton, a legendary Chicago Bears player and NFL Hall of Famer. Jarrett Payton played for two years with the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9 will begin its morning news show a half-hour earlier at 4:30 a.m., effective Aug. 16. The added half-hour, anchored by Val Warner, will feature news and traffic updates as well as weather with Paul Konrad. Then, beginning at 5 a.m., co-anchors Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten will take over the reins, along with the rest of the "WGN Morning News" team that includes Pat Tomasulo on sports, Dean Richards on entertainment and Ana Belaval on the latest happenings around town.

"It's been six years since we've last expanded the 'WGN Morning News'," said WGN news director Greg Caputo, adding "we continue to evolve with our audience and offer viewers a first look at the day's news, weather, traffic and sports." "WGN Morning New" celebrated its 15th anniversary in September of last year.

Another ad account is about to exit Chicago. A Gogo Internet spokeswoman confirmed Friday that Gogo in-flight Internet is in the final stages of an agency review. She said the company has in fact selected a new ad agency and outside PR firm and confirmed that both are not based in Chicago.

That means Upshot/Chicago, the current ad agency of record, soon will no longer have the Gogo business. Gogo is about to begin drawing up contracts with the new PR and ad agencies, and the new contracts are expected to be finished and signed by mid-August.

Gogo is one of the more popular wi-fi options increasingly available to passengers on airlines in the United States and internationally. Among the carriers currently using the Gogo service are American Airlines, AirTran, Air Canada, U.S. Airways, Virgin America, Delta and United Airlines. Gogo was launched approximately three-and-a-half years ago.

The unending re-arrangement of talent and programs continues at Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720).

With the pending arrival of former Cincinnati talk show host Mike McConnell on Aug. 9, WGN-AM program director Kevin Metheny has finally revealed how he intends to divvy up a huge chunk of WGN morning and afternoon air time between McConnell and John Williams, the only weekday host left standing from the pre-Metheny era at WGN-AM.

McConnell will follow morning drive host Greg Jarrett with a show that runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. That means Jarrett will lose a half hour of air time to the new arrival McConnell. Williams will then host from 12:30 to 3 p.m., paving the way for afternoon drive host Garry Meier. The new program line-up with McConnell and Williams debuts Aug. 9. Jim Gudas will handle news during the McConnell show and Mary Van De Velde will do traffic reports. Steve Bertrand will report news for the Williams show and Leslie Keiling will handle traffic.

Since his arrival at WGN more than 18 months ago, WGN program director Metheny has been relentless and ruthless about shaking up what he perceived to be a tired WGN filled with talent and programming unerringly aimed at an elderly population of little or no interest to advertisers the station now covets. Metheny was notably silent Tuesday about the latest series of on-air changes, leaving WGN general manager Tom Langmyer to comment in a prepared statement. "Mike and John back-to-back make an extraordinarily strong team, and our listeners will be well-served with the best in news information and engaging conversation," said Langmyer.

But Metheny's constant shifting -- and jettisoning -- of talent has infuriated vast numbers of longtime WGN listeners, who have been just as constant in voicing their anger over the upheaval Metheny set in motion

Metheny's bosses, of course, won't mind what he has done at WGN if he is successful in improving the station's ratings in the key 25 to 54 demo. Until the Chicago Cubs are factored out of the WGN Arbitron ratings in October, it will be impossible to say with certainty whether Metheny's game plan is showing any real signs of success.

It isn't exactly in the same league with winning a $300 million account, but for the third year in a row, Euro RSCG/Chicago has been named one of the 101 (not 100, but 101) best and brightest companies to work for in the Chicago area by the National Association for Business Resources. The official awards ceremony will be held in Oak Brook on Aug. 2.

As part of the selection process, an independent research firm evaluates each company in the following categories: Communication; community initiatives; compensation and benefits; diversity and multiculturalism, plus other categories too numerous to mention. While such honors are always nice to pump up a company's workforce, we suspect the workforce at Euro RSCG would be infinitely more pumped it they suddenly found out the agency had won a huge new piece of business.

In recent months, what had been Euro's two most high-profile pieces of business have exited the shop: Valspar paints and Barilla pasta.

Nicholas_Cialdini.jpgNicholas Cialdini has joined Jacobson Rost as an associate creative director and senior copywriter. He reports to chief creative officer Steve Simoncic. Most recently, Cialdini was an associate creative director at Leo Burnett/Chicago, while also managing his own agency, the Neologist, specializing in multi-lingual writing for clients such as Blue Shield of California. For this campaign, he earned an award for "best digital campaign in the Hispanic category" at the Association of National Advertisers' Multicultural Excellence Awards. "Nicholas has made his mark in the advertising work with a strong writing talent for capturing what is inherently honest and sincere about each brand he touches," said Jerry Flemma, president and chief operating officer for Jacobson Rost, which has offices in Chicago and Milwaukee.

Steve_Peckham_Dodgeball_PR-1.jpgWhat a hoot! The very pleasant Steve Peckham has turned up as senior vice-president and director of holistic services at Olson/Minneapolis. It's a new position. In his new role at Olson, it sounds as if Peckham will have a lot on his plate. Among other things he will oversee public relations, account management and interactive disciplines. In addition, he will provide senior leadership for some of the agency's largest clients.

Denizens of the Chicago ad industry no doubt will recall that for a while the very pleasant Peckham was brought in from Edelman/Chicago to man Burnett's empty public relations department, which had been gutted due to a combination of firings and departures for greener pastures. At the time he was recruited for the Burnett assignment, Peckham may not have known much about the intricate workings of an ad agency -- especially one as intricate and political as Burnett -- but he was unfailingly pleasant and willing to attempt to handle any request.

Clearly, he managed to learn enough from his time at Burnett to impress the folks at Olson. While Minneapolis may seem a cold and distant outpost to some, we know Peckham lived and worked there previously. So for him, it's more of a homecoming. For Chicago, well, Peckham's departure, if nothing else, deprives this city and its ad industry of one of its most pleasant persons.

Gogo in-flight Internet is in the final stages of an agency review, according to sources familiar with the review. Upshot/Chicago is the current agency working on the business. Gogo is one of the more popular wi-fi options increasingly available to passengers on airlines in the United States and internationally.

Among the carriers currently using the Gogo service are American Airlines, AirTran, Air Canada, U.S. Airways, Virgin America, Delta and United Airlines. A Gogo Internet spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

jreath.jpgFormer Young & Rubicam/Chicago chief marketing officer Jim Reath has turned up as group account director at the McKinney agency in Durham, N.C. Reath had been head of the huge Sears account at Y&R, but quietly exited that account and the agency several months ago. At McKinney Reath will lead the Qwest Communications and Sherwin-Williams accounts. Though he is no longer with Y&R, Reath reportedly added 20 percent in incremental revenue during his tenure there.


In a statement about his new job at McKinney, Reath said "the chance to do great work, make a difference, help shape our collective future and answer to people inside our walls instead of a global headquarters is really exciting." Funny how things look in hindsight sometimes, when one has taken a new job. McKinney's chairman Brad Brinegar and Reath both previously worked at Leo Burnett/Chicago.

Another mystery solved. Katrina Cabrera (formerly known as Katrina Limbaugh) has resurfaced after an extended vacation in Kenya. The former head of PR for the soon-to-be defunct Zig/Chicago, Cabrera is seamlessly transitioning to a new job as communications director at Energy BBDO/Chicago. On this her second day in her new job, Cabrera said the Energy folks had reached out to her at Zig, and she found the opportunities at Energy BBDO sufficiently enticing to accept the shop's job offer.

At least now Cabrera will be working with an established agency in the city rather than one that was trying to find its footing, but never did. Cabrera told us she has taken to chewing a lot of gum since she landed the Energy BBDO gig. Which is a good thing. Chewing gum behemoth Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. is a principal client of Energy BBDO.

Media sales veteran Tom Reeve has joined Intersport/Chicago as executive vice-president of sales. In his new role at the sports and entertainment marketing firm, Reeve will run all day-to-day sales operations nationwide and manage an eight-person team responsible for generating sponsorship sales across television, event marketing, corporate hospitality and digital media.

Most recently Reeve was southwest director of sales at Screenvision, a national cinema advertising firm. Prior to Screenvision, Reeve was executive vice-president of sales at Winnercomm, a sports production, program development, marketing services and sales representation company. Intersport CEO Charlie Besser called Reeve a seasoned vet in the industry who "brings a wealth of sales strategy expertise and management experience."

Terry Gallaher is joining NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 as director of integrated media, effective July 19. Gallaher will oversee the editorial and revenue generation of the Web site www.NBCChicago.com. He will also be the primary liaison with the local integrated media team in New York on other Web ventures. Gallaher joins WMAQ from Crain's Chicago Business, where he has been general manager of Crain's interactive for the last three-and-a-half years. He was responsible for www.Chicagobusiness.com and www.Chicagorealestatedaily.com, as well as a number of new content initiatives.

"Terry has done a terrific job at Crain's interactive," said Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice-president of news at WMAQ. "He led significant audience and revenue growth during his time there, and we are pleased to be able to have him join our team," added Whittaker.

Redundant. That's the choice word Crispin Porter + Bogusky chairman Chuck Porter used to describe the soon-to-shutter Chicago office of Zig in a Q & A today with trade magazine Advertising Age.

Porter used the occasion to announce that Zig, which is headquartered in Toronto, would be folded into Crispin and that Zig's Chicago office would be shut down because, in Porter's parlance, it is now "redundant."

In a subsequent interview today with the Sun-Times, Porter quickly tried to mitigate the import of his remark to Ad Age. "I want to apologize if my comment was misinterpreted," said Porter, adding (perhaps a bit too belatedly) "I really like Chicago."

Still, that word "redundant" -- with all its hideous implications -- should be a clarion call to arms to all who still toil in the Chicago ad industry. It's hugely indicative of an attitude about the ad business in this town obviously held by Porter and no telling how many more in the ad world beyond the Windy City. The suggestion made by Porter in the Ad Age interview is that CP+B has enough offices in the United States and doesn't need to bother any longer with making anything of Zig's already near-dead Chicago outpost.

In his talk with us, Porter also admitted to being mystified about why Chicago isn't faring any better than it is as an advertising center. He said one reason may have to do with the ad business now being so fragmented and with ad people setting up shop wherever they want to, including Boulder, Colo., where CP+B has an office that is part of why Chicago is redundant.

In any event, we are left here in Chicago with the sad demise of yet another ad agency. But it had been clear for some time that Zig/Chicago was on life support and that no one was making much of an effort to save it. Especially after former chief creative officer Stephen Leps up and left several months ago for greener pastures at Leo Burnett/Chicago, where he will not have to shoulder the burden of keeping a small agency afloat.

Porter said Zig's handful of Chicago employees will be offered jobs at other CP+B outposts, but who knows how many will take him up on that offer. Or what fate might await them wherever they land. Steve Carli, the remaining principal partner at the ad shop, probably will quickly head back to Toronto, where he and former Zig partner Kevin Lynch previously worked. With Zig soon to become history, so too will the last vestiges of what was once known as Hadrian's Wall -- one of Chicago's great boutique ad shops. At least while it lasted.

Now all the Chicago ad world is left with from Zig and Hadrian's Wall is that odious descriptive: Redundant.

Chris Orton white backdrop.JPGWe certainly wouldn't rank Chicago-based Orbitz.com as one of the nation's best marketers. The travel Web site's advertising in years past has been decidedly hit and miss -- with misses far outnumbering anything approaching a hit.

But two things the company does well -- or with some frequency anyway -- is change ad agencies and move people in and out of its marketing department. The latest executive to move into marketing at Orbitz is one Chris Orton, who was most recently a senior director of Internet marketing at eBay. He now will be Orbitz's chief marketing officer, with Deborah Italiano, the company's head of brand marketing reporting to him.

Orbitz has been struggling to turn a profit, but much of the advertising we've seen from the company certainly hasn't done a good job of positioning the travel Web site as a smart destination to head for when making travel plans. We'll have to see whether Orton, who was responsible for such things as search engine optimization at eBay, will have what it takes to transform Orbitz into a savvy marketing behemoth.

Brooke Hunter has been named the permanent host of middays from 9 am to 3 pm on CBS Radio Chicago's adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) effective immediately. Hunter previously hosted evenings on the station. "Brooke is the consummate Chicago radio pro; having her experience and local knowledge on the air every day will be a huge asset for Fresh," said Jim Ryan, vice-president of adult contemporary programming for CBS Radio and program director at Fresh.

Ryan is trying to boost WCFS's profile in the Chicago market, and, in the process, its ratings. While CBS Radio Chicago market manager Rod Zimmerman waits to see what kind of success Ryan can achieve at WCFS, Zimmerman has dashed rumors the station might one day become the outlet for a FM simulcast of sports talk WSCR-AM (670). Several major markets in recent years have gotten an FM sports talk station, but Zimmerman has said repeatedly there is no need for that in Chicago because the WSCR signal is strong. Still some observers in the Chicago market believe the city will get a FM sports outlet. It's just a matter of time.

It's official. Bob Sirott is joining Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 as a co-anchor of the station's hour-long 9 p.m. newscast. He will make his first appearance on "Fox News at 9 p.m." on Monday, July 19. Sirott's new role at WFLD marks his second stint at the station. He previously worked at WFLD from 1994 to 2000, when he was a co-anchor of "Fox Thing in the Morning." Most recently, he spent nearly four years as an anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, but left the station a year ago when he did not agree to accept a new contract WMAQ wanted him to sign.

The signing of Sirott is part of WFLD's effort to revamp its late news and improve its ratings. The newscast is currently the lowest-rated late news in the Chicago market. Since joining the station 10 months ago, WFLD general manager Michael Renda has added new talent to the news department personnel, including Anna Davlantes, who is a contributing anchor of the station's late news, and Mike Flannery, who started last week as political reporter.

In announcing Sirott's hiring, Renda said: "His (Sirott's) deep understanding of our market, combined with his extensive anchoring and reporting experience, make him the ideal addition to our news team." Sirott praised the Fox news team and said in a statement that he is "thrilled to continue covering news in the city I have called home my entire life."

screen-capture-3.png Ever anxious to expand their creativity into new realms, the creative forces behind Downtown Partners/Chicago are moving into music video production. Their first effort, just completed, is for a Chicago band called The Sleeptalkers, and it is set to a song called "Falling Apart." Shot at a Rogers Park thrift shop, the music video is considerably less frenetic than most. So one can actually focus on watching the band and the other characters in the video, which has an odd little running story line about a man and woman who keep returning to the store and getting bound together with various kinds of string, rope, clips and duct tape. The story seems open to various interpretations, but it nonetheless helps sustain interest in the video, whether or not one is a fan of the Sleeptalkers or their song.

Buddy Scott has been named program director at CBS Radio Chicago's country WUSN-FM (99.5). Scott previously was program director of CBS Radio Chicago's Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3) from 1982 to 1990. Scott went on to become senior vice-president of programming at Clear Channel Radio with programming oversight for 120 stations in 25 markets, many of which were country outlets. WUSN was launched as a country station in 1987, and has a weekly audience of 1.1 million listeners. CBS Radio Chicago market manager Rod Zimmerman said Scott's "experience, leadership, skill set and passion for the (country) format make him the perfect choice to lead WUSN to new levels of success."

The Chicago Blackhawks are moving up. The 2010 Stanley Cup champions are ranked an impressive 16th in ESPN The Magazine's just-released eighth annual Ultimate Standings. The rankings measure how much all NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL professional sports franchises give back to their respective fans in exchange for the time, money and emotion the fans invest in the teams. The rankings are based on several factors ranging from bang for the buck, team ownership honesty and loyalty and ticket affordability to coaching and the stadium experience.

The Hawks' 16th place standing in the new list represents a swift rise for the team through the rankings, which include some 122 professional sports franchises. As recently as three years ago, the Hawks were near the bottom of the list in 118th place. The strong showing is no doubt due in large part to the team's re-ignited love affair with Chicago. That has come about as a result of several smart marketing moves -- not least of which was the decision to televise all Hawks' game. The team's undeniable skill, their humility and determination to bring home the Stanley Cup also contributed to building a strong bond with a growing fan base.

Other Chicago pro sports teams did not fare so well in the 2010 Ultimate Standings. After the Hawks, the next highest-ranked local team was the Chicago White Sox in 73rd place. The Chicago Bulls could do no better than 85th place, with the Chicago Bears, somewhat surprisingly, just behind the Bulls in 86th place. The Chicago Cubs had the worst showing of all local teams, ranking 100th on the list.

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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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