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Press Release

March 2, 2023

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
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Veteran ABC7 Chicago Anchors Rob Elgas and Ravi Baichwal Promoted to Station’s Afternoon and Evening Weekday Newscasts

Elgas To Anchor 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Newscasts; Baichwal To Anchor Station’s 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Newscasts

Veteran anchors Rob Elgas and Ravi Baichwal have been promoted to anchor ABC7 Chicago’s top-rated afternoon and evening newscasts. Elgas has been tapped to join Cheryl Burton on the station’s 10 p.m. newscast. He will continue to co-anchor the 4 p.m. newscast with Judy Hsu and the 7 p.m. live stream newscast with Burton. Baichwal will move from weekend evening anchor duties to weekdays and will co-anchor the station’s 5 p.m. newscast with Burton and 6 p.m. newscast with Hsu. The new anchor lineups begin Monday, March 6, 2023.

ABC7 Eyewitness News is Chicago’s most-watched station for news, leading the market with the No. 1-rated newscasts at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. for years. Elgas and Baichwal replace Alan Krashesky, who recently retired. 

“Rob Elgas and Ravi Baichwal are journalists viewers know, like and trust,” said Jennifer Graves, Vice President of News. “They represent decades of solid anchoring and reporting experience in Chicago which we know will serve our viewers well.”

A Crystal Lake, Illinois, native, Elgas joined ABC7 in 2015 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. He is an award-winning journalist who has won prestigious Associated Press, Peter Lisagor and Chicago Midwest Emmy® Awards for everything from reporting breaking news to hosting specials. Elgas is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

Ravi Baichwal joined ABC7 Chicago in 2006 as anchor of the station’s 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. weekend evening news. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored Baichwal with a Chicago Midwest Emmy Award for his anchoring ability. Prior to arriving at ABC7 Chicago, Baichwal was an anchor for CTV News, Canada’s No. 1 news organization. 

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago 
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend, entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.  

Twitter:https://twitter.com/abc7chicago 
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/abc7Chicago/ 
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/abc7Chicago/ 

Media Contact:
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
jayme.a.nicholas@abc.com

Press Release

February 7, 2023

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
Share this release

ABC7 Chicago Celebrates Black History Month With News, Vignettes and ‘Our Chicago: Spirit and Perseverance’

South Side Chicagoan, Edward Vaughn, aka Rockstar EV, studied rocket science in college and now hopes to become a rock star. Editor/photographer Jordan Arseneau captures his remarkable talent for ABC 7’s Black History Month special, OUR CHICAGO:  SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE.   
ABC 7’s Hosea Sanders and Cheryl Burton host the Black History Month Special, OUR CHICAGO:  SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE. 

ABC 7 CHICAGO celebrates Black History Month with vignettes, a series of news stories and a half-hour special “OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE.”

Hosted by ABC 7’s Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders, “OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE” showcases the unique stories and cultural contributions of Black Chicagoans. The half-hour program airs Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. with an encore presentation the following day on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 11 p.m. and will also stream live exclusively on abc7chicago.com and ABC 7’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

Burton and Sanders host the special from historic Liberty Baptist Church, located at 49th Street and Martin Luther King Drive. Built in 1956, Liberty Baptist Church served as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home base during his “Chicago Freedom Movement.” They will kick off the show highlighting the historic influence of Black churches in Chicago.

Vignettes featuring amazing, every day Chicagoans will be showcased throughout February on ABC7, including Englewood resident, guitarist and engineer, Edward Vaughn, “Rockstar E.V.”; inspirational, dancing crossing guard, Tammy Anderson; bakery and candy factory entrepreneur, Stephanie Hart; author and advocate Leanne Stuckey; Loyola University’s AfroDescent Dance Team and caretaker Jeannette Jordan, who reflects on her remarkable love story with her husband, Dr. Robert Jordan. 

“OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE” highlights individuals and groups in the Black Chicago community with unique stories and community contributions including the following:

Chicago Freedom Movement: In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta, moved to Chicago, where he launched the Chicago Freedom Movement, the historic open housing campaign which was Dr. King’s first major protest movement in the North. The campaign had a major influence on Chicago – it brought Jesse Jackson to the city, where he launched Operation Breadbasket. It also brought other major figures to the city, like Rev. Al Sampson, a longtime minister on the South Side. The special revisits this historic campaign with Rev. Sampson, King biographer Jonathan Eig and others.

Life is Sweet: Owner Stephanie Hart,one of Chicago’s most notable minority businesswomen and owner of beloved South Side bakery Brown Sugar, is keeping the candy making business in Chicago. She purchased the Cupid Candies factory, brought it back to life and is now aiming to expand her Life is Sweet candy treats to a larger market. By renovating the factory, Hart helps the neighborhood, creates jobs and gives people a chance to make a living wage.  Hart is one of the only Black-owned candy makers in the country.

Chicago’s “Notebook” Love Story – In Sickness and in Health: Pastor Jeannette Jordan and her husband, Dr. Robert Jordan, have been married for over 50 years and share five children. Robert, a retired pediatrician, became Rush Hospital’s first Black chief resident of pediatrics in 1979. A few years ago, Robert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Now, his wife, Jeannette, has dedicated her life to caring for him.

Mielle Organics: Chicago founders Monique and Melvin Rodriguez established the Merrillville, Indiana-based hair and skin care company, Mielle Organics, in their basement. Now worth $100 million, they follow in the footsteps of great Black-owned hair care companies from the past, like Johnson Products and Soft Sheen (owned by Edward and Bettiann Gardner).

Loyola AfroDescent Dance Team: AfroDescent is the first and only African dance team at Loyola University Chicago that expresses themselves through the movement of their African ancestors and a variety of styles that have transcended from the African diaspora. As a diverse team, they seek to highlight the joyous and artistic expression of African Dance and showcase them to the Loyola community.

Faith Leaders Bring Credit Union to Austin Neighborhood: Faith leaders at the Great True Vine Baptist Church in Austin join forces with a local investment banker to open a credit union at a neighborhood community center later this year in hopes of bringing financial stability to the people of Austin.

ABC7 Eyewitness news will feature many compelling stories for Black History Month under the banner “Building a Better Chicago,” including the following:

  • Anchor Rob Elgas takes a trip to Funky Town, the first Black-owned brewery in Chicago.
  • Reporter Leah Hope reports on the local mother behind Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream.  Her ice cream will be featured at the Museum of Ice Cream starting in February.
  • Anchor Samantha Chatman investigates diversity in dispensaries, exploring the number of Black marijuana dispensary applicants in comparison to the number of approved applicants that obtain dispensary licenses.
  • Race and Culture Reporter Will Jones highlights a local entrepreneur spreading positive messages through clothing.
  • Reporter John Garcia delves into The Bears Organization to uncover the progress of diversity in their program.
  • Traffic Anchor Roz Varon takes a trip back in time visiting an exhibit called The Negro Motorist Green Book.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago 
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend, entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.  

Twitter:https://twitter.com/abc7chicago
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/abc7Chicago/ 
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/abc7Chicago/ 

Media Contacts:
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
jayme.a.nicholas@abc.com

Press Release

February 2, 2023

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
Share this release

ABC 7 Chicago To Present the 2023 Chicago Auto Show, Live, Saturday, February 11 at 6:00 PM

ABC 7 Anchors Jim Rose, Ryan Chiaverini, Tracy Butler, Roz Varon and Val Warner To Host Hourlong Special

It’s time to get revved up to find your dream car when ABC 7 gives a preview of the 2023 CHICAGO AUTO SHOW, Saturday, February 11 at 6:00 P.M. on ABC 7.  Hosted by ABC 7 Anchors Jim Rose, Ryan Chiaverini, Tracy Butler, Roz Varon and Val Warner,this live, hour-long special spotlights all of the bells and whistles that come with some of the most spectacular cars, trucks, and SUVs the industry has to offer.   An encore broadcast of the live special will air later that eveningat midnight and again on Sunday, February 12 from 3:30-4:30 P.M. on ABC 7. The special will also stream live exclusively on abc7chicago.com and ABC 7’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

They’re back!  The indoor test tracks are fan favorites and ABC 7 Anchors Jim Rose and Val Warner will take viewers along for the ride.  Featuring five returning tracks and two new indoor tracks, attendees can ride in the latest vehicles from two tracks at Ford, Jeep, Hyundai, Ram, Toyota and Ram Truck and can dive deep into the world of electric vehicles in the new Chicago Drives Electric test track and EV education center.  

Chicago Drives Electric EV track powered by ComEd and educational hub will debut this year. ABC 7’s Traffic Anchor Roz Varon will take a sweet ride on the auto show’s newest Electric Vehicle test track.  The 100,000 square feet of electric track is triple the size from 2022.  A range of EVs from luxury to mainstream will be explored including — BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Nissan and Volkswagen.  The educational hub will provide consumer information on tax credits and incentives as well as where to charge their EVs.

What could be more thrilling than jumping behind the wheel of a great new car, truck or SUV from Ford, Kia, Subaru and Volkswagen for an outdoor test drive on the streets of Chicago?  Host Ryan Chiaverini is in the driver’s seat when the rubber meets the road outside the showroom floor.

Thinking about a new puppy to ride along in your new car?  The 2023 auto show, with assistance from Roz Varon, can help with both.  Roz will be live at the Subaru Loves Pets exhibit with an adorable and adoptable pack of puppies ready to find a loving home. Since the Subaru Loves Pets auto show adoption events began in 2018, more than 946 pets have been adopted.  Puppies will be available for adoption throughout the show’s run.

More and more women are leading change across the automotive industry and Meteorologist Tracy Butler highlights the auto show’s efforts to recognize and award outstanding female professionals, including Jen Morand, President, Chicago Automobile Trade Association General Manager, Chicago Auto Show.

The 2023 Auto show will not only highlight the cars that are stars but will preview some of the other ‘must-try’ interactive events including Friday Night Flights where guests get to sample beer from a dozen local breweries.  The Toyota Miles Per Hour Run featuring a unique, indoor 2.4 mile running track set on the auto show floor.  On Sunday, February 12 Chicago runners can get up early, and view amazing cars while fitting in a good work out– all before the auto show opens to the public and the big game begins.

The 2023 Chicago Auto Show special returns for the 9th year to ABC 7 through a partnership with the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and ABC 7 Chicago – pairing the most watched television station in Chicago with the largest auto show in North America.  This year will mark the 115th edition of the show. FIRST LOOK FOR CHARITY has raised nearly $60 million for local charities over the years.

The Auto Show special will be broadcast live on ABC 7’s  7.1, available on the ABC 7 News App and will also be available live and on-demand on ABC7Chicago.com.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.

Twitter:https://twitter.com/abc7chicago
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/abc7Chicago/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/abc7Chicago/

Press Release

January 10, 2023

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
Share this release

ABC7 Chicago, in Partnership With Leagues of Women Voters of Chicago, Illinois, and Univision Chicago, To Broadcast and Stream Mayoral Debate; ‘Vote 2023: The Race for Chicago Mayor: The Candidates Debate,’ Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 P.M.

Anchor /Reporter Judy Hsu to Moderate 90-Minute, Commercial-Free Debate

Debate To Stream Live on abc7chicago.com, ABC7’s 24/7 Digital Stream and News App Thursday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m.; Also Available on ABC7 YouTube Account and Facebook; Debate To Air on Station’s 7.2

ABC7 Chicago’s Main Channel, 7.1, To Feature Commercial-Free Debate Sunday, Jan. 22, 10:30 P.M.-Midnight

ABC7, Chicago’s most-watched television station and the premier broadcaster of countless local debates for more than two decades, will showcase LIVE and WITHOUT COMMERCIALS, “VOTE 2023: THE RACE FOR CHICAGO MAYOR: THE CANDIDATES DEBATE,” Thursday, Jan. 19, at

7 p.m. at the ABC7 Studios, 190 North State Street. ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor Judy Hsu will lead the 90-minute, commercial-free debate among the nine candidates running for mayor of the city of Chicago. The candidates will square off as they also answer questions from ABC7 political reporter Craig Wall and Univision Chicago anchor Enrique Rodriguez.

“VOTE 2023: THE RACE FOR CHICAGO MAYOR: THE CANDIDATES DEBATE” will stream live on abc7chicago.com, ABC7’s 24/7 digital stream and News App, ABC7’s YouTube account and Facebook. The debate will also air on ABC7’s 7.2 channel, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19. Then on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 10:30 p.m., the debate will air on ABC7’s main channel, 7.1.  

The commercial-free debate will also be simultaneously translated and aired live on Univision’s digital platforms (website, app, YouTube channel and Facebook page) and on UNIMAS (WXFT-TV) on Sunday Jan. 22, at 4 p.m.

According to ABC7 Chicago President and General Manager John Idler, “This debate will give Chicago voters an excellent opportunity to examine all nine candidates who believe they deserve to be the mayor of Chicago and evaluate how they respond to tough questions from our moderator and panelists.”

Participating in the debate are the following candidates:

  • State Representative Kam Buckner
  • Congressman Jesus “Chuy’’ Garcia  
  • Community Activist Ja’Mal Green  
  • Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson   
  • Alderwoman Sophia King  
  • Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot 
  • Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer 
  • Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas
  • Businessman Willie L. Wilson   

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago 
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend, entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.  

Twitter:https://twitter.com/abc7chicago 
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/abc7Chicago/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/abc7Chicago/

Media Contacts:
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
jayme.a.nicholas@abc.com

Press Release

December 13, 2022

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
Share this release

ABC7 Chicago I-Team Consumer Investigative Reporter Samantha Chatman Promoted to Weekend Morning News Anchor

ABC7 I-Team consumer investigative reporter Samantha Chatman was promoted to weekend morning anchor, it was announced today by Jennifer Graves, Vice President of News, ABC7 Eyewitness News. Chatman will anchor the weekend morning newscasts with Mark Rivera effective immediately while continuing to cover consumer investigative stories for the station. 

According to Graves, “We’re thrilled that Samantha Chatman, a Chicago original who grew up watching ABC7 Eyewitness News and later became an ABC7 intern, has been promoted to an important role on the weekend anchor desk. Since joining the station, Samantha has connected with our viewers, in part because of how her stories have helped consumers here but also because of her commitment to our diverse community.”  

An Emmy® Award-winning reporter, Chatman grew up in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side. She joined Chicago’s No. 1 news station in September 2019. Prior to joining ABC7 Eyewitness News, Chatman was a consumer investigative reporter for KXAS-TV, the NBC-owned station in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Before moving to Dallas/Fort Worth, Chatman was the business reporter at WDRB-TV in Louisville, Kentucky. She started her career at WEEK-TV in Peoria, Illinois, where she worked as a multimedia journalist, fill-in anchor and weather anchor.

Chatman attended Kenwood Academy’s Academic Center for middle school, Lincoln Park High School and received her Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a minor in African American studies. During her senior year at the University of Illinois, Chatman was selected for a news internship at ABC 7 Chicago.

Chatman is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the National Association of Black Journalists.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/abc7chicago
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/abc7Chicago/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/abc7Chicago/

Media Contacts:
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
jayme.a.nicholas@abc.com

Press Release

November 1, 2022

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
Share this release

Lights! Music! Magic! ABC 7 Chicago Kicks Off the Holiday Season Nationwide With the Broadcast of the Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Hosted by Cheryl Burton and Alan Krashesky Sunday, November 20 at 6:00 PM

Featuring Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mousefrom Walt Disney World® Resort; Special Performances Including One of the Top Female Groups of All Time, The Pointer Sisters; R&B vocal favorites, The Spinners, American Singer-Songwriter Debbie Gibson, and the go to dance band, C&C Music Factory.

2021 Lights Festival with Alan Krashesky and Cheryl Burton

The magic of the holidays, Chicago style, is captured for viewers around the country with musical performances, beloved Walt Disney World characters, and dazzling fireworks, as more than a million twinkling Michigan Avenue lights set the stage for the broadcast of the spectacular Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, Sunday, November 20 from 6-7:00 P.M. on ABC 7 Chicago. Encore broadcasts will air Saturday, December 10, from 11 A.M.-Noon and Christmas Eve from 4-5 P.M. on ABC 7.

ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchors Cheryl Burton and Alan Krashesky will serve as co-hosts of the broadcastwith ABC 7’s Tracy Butler and Hosea Sanders capturing the magic from the street for viewers at home.

The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade will be available on demand and stream exclusively on abc7chicago.com and ABC 7’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

The hour-long special, showcasing the country’s largest evening holiday parade celebration, will showcase a performance by one of the country’s all-time, top female groups, The Pointer Sisters, sparking everyone’s excitement when they perform their hit single, “I’m so Excited.” American rhythm and blues vocal favorites, The Spinners, will also perform, making it a night to remember. American singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson will perform songs from her eleventh studio album, Winterlicious, and C&C Music Factory will perform the song that always signals a good time, “Everybody Dance Now!” on the Enjoy Illinois float.

In addition, Phillip Mkhize will perform “The Circle of Life,” from Broadway in Chicago’s The Lion King, now at the Cadillac Palace.  The cast of Wicked, and Lookingglass Theater’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier will entertain viewers and parade goers alike. After performing on the parade route, The Spinners will offer a medley of their classic hits for an uplifting finale.

In the first official parade of the holidays, Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, illuminate over one million lights on 200 trees along “The Magnificent Mile,” one of the greatest avenues in the world.  Appearing on an awe-inspiring float, the world’s most famous characters will lead the way for four new marching bands from around the country including the Gulf Coast Shark Band (Naples,FL), Greendale High School Marching Band (Greendale, WI), Vandalia-Butler Marching Aviators And Kickline (Vandalia, OH), and Archbold High School Bluestreak Marching Band (Archbold, OH) in addition to returning fan favorites including the Crystal Lake Strikers, and others. Floating high above the crowds will be Twinkles the Snowman, beautiful gift packages and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital balloons.

Members of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team— Judy Hsu, Rob Elgas and Jessica D’Onofrio will be spreading good cheer as they ride atop ABC 7 Chicago’s whimsical float during the parade.  

The broadcast’s grand finale, The Wintrust Fireworks Spectacular, will light up the sky (and children’s hearts) with a dazzling fireworks display over the Chicago River, after Santa ushers in the holiday season on a beautiful float!

This is the 16th consecutive year the much-anticipated tradition will be broadcasted to Chicago audiences on ABC 7, the most watched television station in the city. Throughout the holiday season, the special will be watched in nearly 100% of the country’s television markets as well as Toronto, Canada, with encore airings in multiple markets. Check local listings for times.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.

Twitter:https://twitter.com/abc7chicago
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/abc7Chicago/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abc7Chicago/

Press Release

January 28, 2022

Media relations
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
Share this release

ABC Owned Television Stations Release Trailer of ‘Stolen: The Unsolved Theft of a $3,000,000 Violin,’ produced by ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago

Adding to its true-crime slate, ABC Owned Television Stations announced the release of the trailer to the ABC7/WLS-TV-produced documentary, “Stolen: The Unsolved Theft of a $3,000,000 Violin,” today, ahead of the Feb. 3 streaming premiere on ABC7 Chicago App, and connected TV apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

The true-crime documentary features what is deemed as the world’s greatest violin, a Davidoff Stradivarius, that was stolen 25 years ago from renowned violinist Erica Morini and is still missing. The theft is on the FBI’s list of top 10 unsolved art crimes.

Days before Morini died in 1995, the violin was stolen from a closet in her 5th Avenue apartment in New York City.

The hourlong documentary features individuals who were close to Morini along with interviews with the FBI, well-known violinists and experts who examine the fate of the Davidoff Stradivarius, the beauty and uniqueness of its creation, and whether its sound will ever be heard again.

The production team behind “Stolen” include Zach Ben-Amots, and Jordan Arseneau as executive producers, and Justin Allen, and Matt Knutson as producers.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.3 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, the station produces 41 hours of local news weekly and Chicago’s only local weekday entertainment talk show, “Windy City LIVE,” as well as its highest-rated New Year’s Eve special. ABC7’s award-winning programs such as “Heart and Soul,” “The Ñ Beat” and “Asian Influences” showcase the city’s diversity, while being the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.

About ABC Owned Television Stations
Disney Media Entertainment & Distribution’s eight owned ABC stations are multiplatform leaders in local news and information. Collectively No. 1 across all U.S. television, reaching 23% of households and more than 34 million Total Viewers and 62 million digital visitors a month, the eight stations are comprised of WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KGO-TV San Francisco, KTRK-TV Houston, WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham and KFSN-TV Fresno. The stations also deliver locally sourced storytelling to more than 17 million viewers across America through its multiplatform lifestyle network, Localish. In 2020, the stations received five Broadcast & Cable awards, including in the 2020 Best in Local TV Awards category as Station Group of the Year for its innovative and next-generation news reporting, and in the major market category for 2020: Best News Coverage, Best Digital Multiplatform or Website, Best Investigative Reporting Station Group and Best Public Affairs Programming, illustrating the Group’s strength and ever-increasing growth and reach in the multiplatform space.

Press Release

December 21, 2021

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
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ABC 7 Chicago Names Doug Whitmire and Nneka Nwosu Faison to Assistant News Director Positions, ABC 7 Eyewitness News

News veterans Doug Whitmire and Nneka Nwosu Faison will serve in the positions of assistant news director for ABC 7 Eyewitness News, it was announced today by Jennifer Graves, vice president of News, ABC 7 Chicago.

In their new assistant news director roles, Whitmire will oversee news gathering, day-of newscasts and operations. Faison will oversee digital, including ABC 7’s new streaming newscasts, specials and storytelling.

ABC 7 President and General Manager John Idler said, “The collaboration of two outstanding individuals sharing insight and experience will extend ABC 7’s legacy of excellence and continue to set the standard for great journalism in Chicago.”

According to Graves, “I’m thrilled to welcome Doug and Nneka to these critical news management positions. The combination of their leadership skills, news acumen, dedication to storytelling and commitment to the community make them the perfect choices to help lead Eyewitness News.”

Emmy® Award-winning producer Doug Whitmire has been an essential part of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team for 18 years, joining the station in 2003.   Since then he has risen through the ranks, serving each role with distinction, from news writer/producer and executive producer/morning news to his current position as executive producer of the 10 p.m. newscast. Under his leadership, ABC 7 Eyewitness News at 10 p.m. has been honored with four regional Emmy Awards for Best Newscast in the past five years.

During his tenure as executive producer, Whitmire has been at the helm of the station’s election night coverage, Chicago Cubs World Series Championship coverage and coverage of multiple tornado outbreaks that included open-ended coverage of breaking weather.

Whitmire started his career in broadcasting as a radio anchor/host and moved to television as a reporter/producer at WTVG-TV in Toledo, Ohio. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University.

Nneka Nwosu Faison, a Harvard University Nieman Foundation for Journalism Fellow and Emmy Award-winning producer, joins ABC 7 from WCVB-TV in Boston. In her role as executive producer at WCVB-TV, Faison led the award-winning newsmagazine program “Chronicle” to double-digit growth in key demographics. During the pandemic, she also created several interactive show franchises including “History Quiz,” “Cooking at Home,” and “Viewer’s Choice.” She joined WCVB-TV in 2013 as a producer for “Chronicle” and was promoted to managing editor before taking over leadership of the show as executive producer.

Prior to WCVB-TV, Faison was a reporter/multimedia journalist for WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut.

She has also taught a course called Video Storytelling for Social Media as an adjunct professor at Harvard University Extension School.

Faison was recently named one of Boston’s Most Influential Women in 2021 and was chosen as a “40 under 40” business leader in the Boston Business Journal. She graduated from Princeton University and received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.

Whitmire will begin his assistant news director duties on Dec. 27, and Faison will begin her new role at ABC 7 on Jan. 24 after relocating from Boston.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend, entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.

Twitter:https://twitter.com/abc7chicago
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/abc7Chicago/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/abc7Chicago/

Media Contacts:
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
jayme.a.nicholas@abc.com

Elita Fielder Adjei
Director, Communications & Publicity, ABC Owned Television Stations
(424) 247-3517
elita.adjei@disney.com

John Idler has overall management responsibility for the top-rated station in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest television market. Under his leadership, ABC 7 continues their 40+ year’s news ratings dominance and claims the strongest streaming audience in Chicago, and is among the top local streamers in the country. Idler also oversees additional businesses, including the Localish Network on 7.2, abc7chicago.com, as well as its streaming, mobile and other new media businesses. This is the third time Idler has called ABC 7 home, after serving in key sales positions at the station earlier in his career. He has served as president and general manager of ABC 7 Chicago since 2012.

Idler began his broadcast career in Chicago in 1991. He has been active in various industry associations and community groups. Idler is the immediate past chairman of the board of directors, Illinois Broadcasters Association. In that role, he initiated the ILLINIOS BROADCASTERS UNITING AGAINST HUNGER campaign, which raised more than $1.5 million dollars for Illinois food banks during the COVID-19 crisis.

He has co-chaired the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink of Greater Chicagoland campaign to raise awareness and funds to save lives from breast cancer. Idler also serves on the boards of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, USO of Illinois, 100 Club of Chicago, Greater Chicago Food Depository, as well as the Executive Club of Chicago. He received a mayoral appointment to serve on the State Street Commission. Additionally, he is active with the American Red Cross and spearheaded a partnership that has resulted in the collection of more than 1,800 units of blood, making it the largest single-day Red Cross Blood drive in the country.

Prior to joining ABC 7 Chicago, Idler has served as president and general manager of WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville since December 2007.

He has held local TV management posts in Chicago and Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville since joining the ABC Owned Television Stations Group as a WLS-TV sales account executive in 1998. He moved to WTVD-TV as a sales manager in 2000, and subsequently returned to WLS-TV as a sales manager in 2002. Idler was named WLS-TV vice president and general sales manager in 2004 before his promotion to president and general manager at WTVD-TV in 2007.

Idler earned his Bachelor of Science degree in history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his Master of Business Administration from the University of New Haven. He and his wife have two children.