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News & Notes: 'Check, Please!'; NBC Sports Network; WGN-TV; RedEye/JBTV; Abe Kanan; Seka; More

Today's News & Notes has another heaping handful of local media stories, including: a new host for WTTW-TV's "Check, Please!"; NBC Sports Network scores a ratings goal; WGN-TV hits the bleachers; RedEye and JBTV team up for a new live talk show; Abe Kanan gets a new show on SiriusXM; RadioDiscussions.com is under new ownership; Seka writes about her life; Mark Nilsson is a new Dad; and sad news for Art Porter and Nicole Calcagno. All of the details can be found below...

* * This past January, WTTW-TV announced that "Check, Please!" host Alpana Singh wanted to exit the show to instead focus on her restaurant business. That set off a successful multi-month publicity stunt, where over 900 people applied to become the new host. That list was shrunk down to around 160 possible hosts, which was then dwindled down to 17, and finally to five. Early this morning, the new host was finally publicly announced. She is Catherine De Orio, a former litigation attorney, who left her law practice to become a food columnist and culinary consultant. De Orio is a native Chicago area resident and a fan of "Check, Please!" since its first season 12 years ago. Executive Producer and Creator of "Check, Please!" David Manilow said of his new host today: "She's a lifelong Chicagoan who has a passion for our city's incredible dining scene. She's light-hearted, warm, quick to smile, smart, hard working, and inclusive. Catherine is a published food writer, trained in the culinary arts, adventurous eater, and is known and respected in the restaurant industry." The new season of "Check, Please!" will begin filming next month, with the shows premiering on WTTW-TV in October.


* * Look for record ratings to be talked about tomorrow after tonight's huge Game 7 playoff broadcast between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings on the NBC Sports Network. Saturday night's Game 6 broadcast scored a whopping 13.45 rating in the Chicago market, which equates to approximately 470,750 households. This, for a network that is only seen on cable and satellite systems, not over the airwaves. Tonight's final match-up between these two long-time NHL rivals should bring in even greater numbers, both locally and nationally.


* * On June 7th, fans will see something a bit different when they tune in to WGN-TV to see the Chicago Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:20pm. Cubs TV announcers Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will not be in the broadcast booth for the game. Instead, they will be calling the game from the right field bleachers, in the area now known as the Budweiser Patio. While calling the game from the Wrigley Field bleachers is nothing new -- Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau and Harry Caray have all done this in the past, as have Kasper and his former partner Bob Brenly -- this will be the first time for newcomer Deshaies.


* * The Chicago Tribune's RedEye is teaming up with Chicago television's JBTV for an exciting, regular live event. The new live talk show will be called "The Social." The comedic talk and entertainment program will be hosted by Ernest Wilkins, the local comedian, writer, and contributor to RedEye/Metromix. The musical guest for that evening will be Chicago's own Archie Powell & The Exports. It will all be done at the JBTV Studios on June 12th from 7:00pm-8:30pm, with the doors opening at 6:00pm. It is free to attend, but guests should RSVP in advance at this link HERE. Not only are the tickets free, but Old Style is giving away free drinks at 6:00pm in the JBTV lobby. Join the party!


* * Former Chicago radio personality Abe Kanan's star continues to rise at SiriusXM. In addition to "The Abe Kanan Show" being heard each Thursday and Friday night on SiriusXM's Howard 101 channel, as well as Kanan being the new imaging voice for SirusXM's hard rockin' Octane channel, Kanan has been given another show. Starting today, he will the host of a new MMA talk show named "The Fight Fury." It will be heard from 3:00pm-5:00pm on the SiriusXM Sportszone channel. Kanan, a Columbia College graduate, was at WKQX-FM/Q101 from 2001-2006, where he first started as an intern before being hired on by the station. He was a creative producer doing voices, characters (including his most famous one, the bratty kid Magellan), and funny phone calls for Mancow's morning show and others on the station.


* * Last summer Rick & Diana Fleming, the owners of In3media, Inc., the parent company of Radio-Info.com, decided it was time for them to retire. They reached out to Talk Media, Inc., the parent company of Springfield, MA-based Talkers magazine, who agreed to a corporate merger. Talkers then took over the Radio-Info website, with the exception of the message boards. The new owners posted a link to the message boards from the RadioInfo.com (now with no hyphen) website, but the Flemings maintained ownership of the message boards. The boards were then renamed as RadioDiscussions.com, while the owners looked to sell them as well. As of this month, the Chicago-based RadioDiscussions is now under new ownership and no longer Chicago-based. Streamline Digital Inc., a division of Streamline Publishing Inc., has purchased the message boards and their website. The company, based out of Palm Beach County, FL, is operated by Eric Rhoads, and also owns Radio Ink Magazine/RadioInk.com, as well as the Radio & Television Business Report (better known as RBR-TVBR). The RadioInfo.com website no longer links to the RadioDiscussions boards. Terms of the purchase by Streamline were not made available.


* * From 1994-1997, WLUP-FM had a late night weekend program hosted by famed porn star Seka called "Let's Talk About Sex." After years of being a frequent guest on the station, primarily on Kevin Matthews' show, she was given her own program (co-hosted by Stan Lawrence), hired by then-President and General Manager of the Loop, Larry Wert. Seka has recently written her auto-biography, entitled "Inside Seka: The Platinum Princess of Porn." In it, she of course talks about her XXX career, but she also talks also about her years of living in Chicago and working in Chicago radio. The book will be released on July 4th and can be pre-ordered now at this link HERE.


* * Congratulations to former* correspondent/reporter from WLS-TV's "190 North," Mark Nilsson! He and his wife Kady have welcomed in to the world their first child together. Brody James Nilsson was born this morning, weighing in at just under 8 pounds. Mother and son are both doing well, although the father has described himself as "a little woozy."
*UPDATE: The word "former" has been crossed out, as Mark Nilsson will be part of the upcoming "190 North" special.


* * Sincere condolences go out to Chicago radio/television super-producer Art Porter on losing his sister to cancer last weekend. Condolences also to WDKB-FM's midday host Nicole Calcagno on the recent loss of her grandmother. Best wishes to both local media persons and their families at this difficult time.



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