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Recently in Weigel Broadcasting Category

Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting's Me-TV, seen in the Chicago and Milwaukee markets, will go national as a free, over-the-air television network for local broadcasters as early as January, 2011.

Me-TV will feature a 24/7 format showcasing many of the key, iconic series in genres such as comedy, drama, western adventure and crime/courtroom/detective series. Weigel has secured long-term licensing agreements for more than 50 individual series spanning the 1950's through the 1980's from multiple studios and independent producers.

Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting is adding a new TV station to its group. Dubbed the "U Too," it will broadcast over-the-air on digital WCIU-Channel 26.5 and 26.6, as well as analog WCUU-CA, Channel 48. The launch is slated for early December, 2010.

"This will allow us to feature some of The U's signature programs in different time periods and add new programs to the schedule," explained Weigel executive vice-president Neal Sabin. "We will now be able to air programming from independent producers that fits our brand, as well as provide another opportunity to reach a new audience for existing and future clients." Added Brad Lesak, general sales manager for Weigel: "We believe this will compliment, not cannibalize our audience."

Dick Tracy, Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting's director of content, has left the company, and his position has been eliminated. "It was not a good fit," said Molly Kelly, station manager at Weigel Broadcasting. "He (Tracy) couldn't adapt his talents to the demands of TV," added Kelly.

Tracy was named to the Wiegel post just over a year ago. He was responsible for developing new content and expanding the entertainment and local programming on WCIU-Channel 26 and other Weigel properties.

Kelly said two people will take over the work previously handled by Tracy. Patrick Baldwin is director of news content, and David Boul becomes director of talk show content.

At the time of Tracy's appointment, Weigel executive vice-president Neal Sabin pointed out that Tracy wasn't from the broadcast industry, but was nonetheless familiar with developing ideas and serving them up in fresh and interesting ways. Prior to joining Weigel Broadcasting, Tracy spent 11 years at DDB/Chicago, where he was a creative director. In 2007, Tracy formed DDB's first all-digital unit.

In his early months at Weigel, Tracy was involved in the start-up of WCIU's unconventional morning show "You & Me This Morning" hosted by local radio and television personality Jeanne Sparrow. Segments of the morning show are interspersed with WCIU's regular morning programming.

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.

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

Molly Kelly has been promoted to station manager at Weigel Broadcasting Co., parent of WCIU-Channel 26, among a variety of other TV outlets. Kelly is formerly the director of marketing & promotions for Weigel Broadcasting's Chicago stations. In her new role, she will oversee day-to-day operations of the marketing, promotion, content, programming and Web departments. "Since joining our station group almost 3 years ago, she has proven herself as a leader and someone who can get the job done," said Neal Sabin, executive vice president, Weigel Broadcasting.

Respected veteran local television production executive Randy King is out as production manager at Weigel Broadcasting, where he had held that job for the past year. Weigel Executive Vice-President Neal Sabin said the broadcasting company's needs in that arena had evolved over the past year and that King, despite his excellent credentials, was no longer ideally suited to the organization's production needs. Sabin said a couple of people will probably be hired to replace King, and they will work on developing local programming on multiple platforms for Weigel.

Prior to joining Weigel, King was president of production at Rivet Animation & Design and executive vice president for television at Window to the World Communications, parent of public television station WTTW-Channel 11. At Channel 11, King oversaw production of shows such as "CEO Exchange," "Soundstage" and "Legends of Jazz." Saban said he is still looking at candidates for the productions jobs at Weigel, and indicated he would have a clearer picture of how the new production arm will operate in about six weeks.



About the blogger

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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