Grab Bag: CBS 2’s Jay Levine attacked in a live shot


(Editor’s note: under circumstances not under my control, the videos for Jay Levine’s story have since been removed. You’ll just have to take my word for it. – T.H.)

In the latest incident of TV news personnel being attacked on (or off camera), WBBM-TV’s Jay Levine was attacked by a crazed protester in a live shot outside a restaurant at 5 p.m. Wednesday where President Obama was holding a fundraiser by a protester:

The incident was also captured during a live shot at WMAQ-TV. Mary Ann Ahern was standing only yards away when the attack happened. Here is a complication video is from WIND-AM host Joe Walsh’s personal YouTube page (Editor’s Note: the video has since been removed.)

No injuries occurred during the scuffle. The protester was quickly tackled by a CBS 2 staffer, identified as Dennis Williams.

This latest incident reflects a growing trend of news personnel and reporters attacked on the job. In November 2012, a news crew from KPIX-TV in San Francisco were robbed of camera equipment across the bay in Oakland right after a live report concluded. The robbery and assault is part of a growing problem in the Bay Area involving the local media, who had laptops, cameras and tripods stolen.

Other incidents have taken place in Washington D.C, where a WUSA-TV reporter and news crew were attacked in the southeastern part of the city; in Providence where a woman sic dogs on a WLNE-TV news crew; and twice in the Memphis area: where a city worker shoved a WPTY (now WATN) reporter and a gun was pulled on a WREG reporter in Arkansas.

As for Jay Levine, he remarked after the attack:

Jay Levine is one tough S.O.B., I’ll tell you what.

Chicago Public Media this week announced a new boss: meet Gina Sheikholeslami (you try pronouncing the name), a media executive who hails from McLean, Va. and was VP/GM of the Washington Post from 2002-10. She also worked in the media departments for Everyday Health and CondeNast. She succeeds Tony Malatia in the role, who was forced out last year.

Sheikholeslami was one of five finalists in the running – but only one of them was from Chicago, as Robert Feder noted in his column as Sheikholeslami has no radio experience and no previous ties to the Windy City. But in the same column came this rather eye-popping quote from Steve Baird, one of the CPM board members who chose Sheikholeslami: “The problem with Chicago is that if you’re looking for media skills, digital skills and so forth in Chicago, that’s a very limited subset,” Baird told Feder on Wednesday. “Actually, of all the criteria, (being from) Chicago was the least important to the board. We have people here who know Chicago. That’s a learnable skill. Being digital savvy or having media experience is not necessarily a learnable skill.”

Interesting for Baird to point out, but you wonder how Chicagoans – especially our so called CEOs of tomorrow – are to acquire these skills since Mayor Rahm Emanuel is busy closing public schools? In a city where leaders think education obviously isn’t a priority, Baird’s comments shouldn’t surprise anyone, as stupid and ignorant as they are given Baird and other Chicago “movers and shakers” haven’t done a damn thing to address the issue.

Can you believe there are guests that are even too hot for Maury’s shows? – and this isn’t an April Fools joke. A Chicago couple booked to appear on the daytime talk show Wednesday in Stamford, Conn., were involved in a fight at a hotel in nearby Norwalk, Conn. the night before according to the Chicago Sun-Times. When police arrived, they found a broken vase and a damaged table.

Both John Cowley, 46 and Shante Shavonne-McGhee Brown, 25, were arrested and charged with disorderly misconduct and criminal mischief, and both were scheduled to appear at the Maury taping Wednesday morning. According to the police report, McGhee-Brown was “upset over her finding out her boyfriend [Cowley] was sleeping with her mother.”

A Maury spokesperson said the couple did not appear on the show, and are not likely to.

Maury is one of four conflict talk shows who tapes in Stamford, including Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos, (both use to tape in Chicago) and Trisha, which was canceled last week, along with another conflict talker, Los Angeles-based The Test. With the exception of Maury, the conflict talker genre is losing ground to conflict reality shows, such as Love and Hip-Hop and The Real Housewives.

What an improvement.

Quick Hits and Bits

Chicago’s Fox duopoly of WFLD and WPWR have picked up Internet-clip show Right This Minute from MGM Television beginning in September in a deal that includes nine other Fox-owned markets. Currently, Minute airs in a 12:30 a.m. slot on The U Too (WCIU, Ch. 26.2.)

David Letterman announced his retirement Thursday, ending his CBS run in 2015 after 22 years at the network and 33 years in late-night overall.

Tribune, owner of the Hispanic-targeted newspaper Hoy, is launching a new newscast on MundoFox 13 (known as WOCK-CD 13.1.) Nicole Suarez, whose appeared on reality/competition series Nuestra Belleza Latina and has done on-air and producing work for Univision’s WGBO.

– More WOCK news: The low-power channel has picked up music video channel The Cool TV for one of its subchannels.

– WGN Radio is adding a live video stream to Steve Cochran’s morning show, starting Tuesday. Not sure what the point is – he isn’t a Supermodel, that’s for sure.