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Knowles ,Jason.jpgTo replace general assignment reporter Dan Ponce, who split last month to pursue a singing career, ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 has reached into the reservoir of talent in its own news department to find Ponce's successor. Starting on Saturday, Jason Knowles joins the ranks of on-air reporters at the station with the city's top-rated newscasts. Knowles had been at WLS since 2004, working primarily behind the scenes as a special projects producer. Before coming to WLS, however, Knowles worked on air at several other television stations, including ABC-owned WTVG-TV in Toledo, Ohio, and WKAG-TV in Hopkinsville, Ky.

Per WLS President and General Manager Emily Barr, she and WLS News Director Jennifer Graves felt Knowles was ready to do more in front of the camera for the station. But just to be sure, they gave him an assignment one recent Saturday to cover a shooting incident. They liked the results, and Knowles now has the general assignment gig, having beat out some 200 other reporter talents from around the country who submitted tapes to Graves.

Barr said Knowles initially will do news stories for the station's early morning and mid-day news reports. He also will have the opportunity to fill in for reporters working the evening newscasts when they are on vacation or otherwise engaged.

Andy Shaw's last hurrah at WLS-TV

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Shaw_Andy_smilecolor[2].jpgAfter 25 distinguished years as a reporter at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, Andy Shaw heads to Washington this weekend to cover Barack Obama's inauguration as the nation's 44th President of the United States. It will be Shaw's swan song as WLS' chief political reporter. Shaw's last day reporting from Chicago will be Thursday, after which the WLS staff is throwing a party for him at the station. Then it's off to Washington, where Shaw delivers his final report for WLS on Jan. 21.

What's next for the TV news veteran? Shaw told us he will soon head south for six weeks of sun and fun in Florida and South America, before heading home to Chicago to explore his options post-WLS. Stay tuned.



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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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