Smiley & West lands on two Chicago stations; town hall planned with Amy Goodman

Two commercial radio stations in Chicago have picked up the weekly Smiley & West show after it was dropped from WBEZ, the city’s public radio news outlet. WCPT, a progressive talk station, began airing the show Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. and will add it to its three FM stations starting in January. It also picked up The Tavis Smiley Show for its weekend lineup. WVON-AM, which targets an African-American audience, will debut Smiley & West Saturday at 11 a.m.

WBEZ canceled the show hosted by author and broadcast host Tavis Smiley and activist and critic Cornel West last month, citing a drop in audience.

Carole Nolan, led WBEZ’s bid for independence

Carole Nolan, who founded WBEZ-FM in Chicago at a time when few women held top management jobs in public broadcasting, died July 5 of complications from muscular sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. She was 80. In 1971, as director of telecommunications and broadcasting for the Chicago Public Schools, Nolan asked to take over management of the Chicago Board of Education’s radio station. “She began a complete overhaul that reinvented WBEZ,” said former WBEZ spokesperson Merillee Clark Redmond in the Chicago Tribune. “She took great risks and was creative as she hired staff who would develop new programming and yet not neglect the Board of Education’s desire for educational programs.”

Nolan secured $100,000 for a new transmitter and antenna, and aid from CPB.

Ann Thompson

NPR hires two reporters, WXXI news director rappels down 21 stories, and more…

Leila Fadel, Cairo bureau chief for the Washington Post, signs on as NPR’s Cairo-based correspondent in July. She covered the Iraq War for almost five years and won a George Polk Award in 2007 for her reporting from Baghdad. She replaces Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, who will report from Kabul, Afghanistan, and then Berlin. Gregory Warner, a senior reporter for American Public Media’s Marketplace, will join NPR as East Africa correspondent, based in Nairobi, Kenya, in December. Warner now covers the economics and business of healthcare, but he’s previously reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the DR Congo.

Bellantoni: from Talking Points to CQ to NewsHour

NewsHour picks up Bellantoni, WBEZ personnel changes, and more…

Bellantoni to oversee all <em>NewsHour</em> political coverage
PBS NewsHour has a new political editor as of Jan. 2. Christina Bellantoni of CQ Roll Call oversees the newsroom’s political coverage on-air and online, including political analysis, elections and personalities. Her predecessor, David Chalain, departed in November to lead the Washington bureau of Yahoo News. Bellantoni has spent more than a decade covering national political and business news in Washington, D.C., and California.

Public Radio News Directors Awards for 2009

Zeleznik tapped for Leo C. Lee Award
Maryanne Zeleznik, news director of Cincinnati's WVXU, received the annual Leo C. Lee Award from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. during its annual conference in Louisville last week. PRNDI also bestowed 93 awards for public radio work produced in 2009. Among Division A stations, with five or more full-time news staffers, WAMU received three awards, Chicago’s WBEZ, Oregon Public Broadcasting and Pasadena’s KPCC won two each. In Division B, with three or four full-timers, Nashville Public Radio, Connecticut’s WSHU and Cincinnati’s WVXU took home two apiece. Among smaller stations, KCLU (Thousand Oaks, Cal.) and KLCC (Eugene, Ore.) won four awards each.

It’s public radio, but with nearly everything different, including the name

On June 4, Chicago Public Radio, news and information WBEZ-FM 91.5, will launch a new radio station by splitting off one of its repeaters, WBEW-FM 89.5 in Chesterton, Ind., just southeast of Chicago by Lake Michigan. This new radio station will refashion WBEZ’s public radio mission to a target audience formerly unreachable by WBEZ. This new station will be built on community radio sensibilities but without the characteristic schedule of special-interest shows. In fact, it will have no shows at all. It will air a continuous, seamless talk-based stream completely devoted to Northwest Indiana and Chicago metropolitan area culture, issues and selected music.