5 Questions with...WGN 9's Robin Baumgarten

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5 Questions with...WGN 9's Robin Baumgarten

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guestthe popular morning co-anchor on WGN Morning News whose on-air work has earned her praise throughout her radio and television careershes a lifelong Chicagoan who truly gets the overall vibe of our great city, plus she has a great sense of humor to bootget ready, here are 5 Questions withROBIN BAUMGARTEN!

BIO: Two-time Emmy winner Robin Baumgarten currently co-anchors the WGN Morning News. Robin joined the show in 1996 as airborne traffic reporter, and transportation reporter.

When WGN Morning News expanded to four hours, she became the solo anchor weekdays from 5-5:30am. In 2004, she became the main co-anchor of WGN Morning News weekdays from 5:30-9am.

In 1997, Robin won an Emmy for her part in the station's coverage of the Bulls Championship Rally, and in 2002 she was awarded another for Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence On Camera.

Prior to joining WGN-TV, Robin worked at Shadow Broadcast Services in Chicago. During that time, she worked as a traffic, news and sports reporter for WLUP Radio Chicago's "Jonathan Brandmeier Show."

She also worked as a traffic reporter for CLTV News, and spent one year doing freelance work with ABC Sports.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Robin received a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

1) CSNChicago.com: Robin, it goes without saying that your fans love to watch how much fun you and your WGN Morning News crew have every morning. Is it difficult to deliver the news to viewers following a funny moment or sketch on the show and has there ever been an instance when you had to have your on-air partner Larry Potash take over in a pinch?

Baumgarten: Difficult? No way. Ive got the best job in the world. Of course, I have to work with two of the biggest morons on the planet, but other than that..

Actually, Paul Konrad, Larry Potash, and I have worked together for about 15 years, and we get along well. Theyre like the two brothers I never had, or wanted. Also, Val, Pat, Dean, and Ana, all make it fun to go to work every day.

We do have a lot of fun moments on the show, and sometimes transitions to news can be tricky, but I think people watch us because we dont do it smoothly. We make mistakes and have fun with it.

Maybe youve seen our latest mishap? When we missed the live bridge implosion? For some reason its gone viral.I guess we are idiots.

http:www.wgntv.comvideobeta?watchId=ce875f1b-9963-420f-bf7b-ec3838bea62f

2) CSNChicago.com: Your morning show has also done a pretty solid job of maintaining its audience throughout the duration of the show. What would you say is the primary factor in being able to hold on to your audienceis it the news reporting, the entertainmentcomedy element, the personalities?

Baumgarten: We are thankful every day that the show is still going strong 16 years later! It is a bit frightening, though, running into college kids who tell me theyve been watching since grade school.

I can only guess why people watch, but I hope its because they like us, and they know were just going to be ourselves warts and all. I know we do our best covering the news, but all stations do that. I think people know theyll get that, and a little more with us.

3) CSNChicago.com: In your broadcasting career, youve also spent a number of years in radio. What are your thoughts on the state of radio today and do you see that medium one day returning to the dominance it once enjoyed years ago?

Baumgarten: Boy, I miss radio! I also miss not having to shower before work.

Actually, some of my fondest memories in this business were the years I was working for Shadow Traffic, where I made some great friends, and had a great time as well. Thats when I got the opportunity to work with some of the greats at the old Loop radio station Kevin Matthews, Steve & Garry, and especially, Jonathon Brandmeier. Working with Johnny and Buzz Kilman really taught me how to think on my feet, and not take myself too seriously.

As for the state of radio? I think its incredibly sad that all of those talented Loop folks I mentioned are no longer on the air in Chicago (except for Garry Meier). Radio has become so compartmentalized and syndicated, that it seems there is no longer any patience for letting a show develop without being handcuffed by strict formats. I hope it changes. Were missing out on a lot of good radio.

4) CSNChicago.com: As a native Chicagoan who grew up loving Chicago sports, what particular teams wins and losses do you take to heart more than any other and why?
Baumgarten: I was raised a Cubs fan in Sox territory on the South Side, so my family is long suffering. But, I root for the Sox, too, having spent a lot of time at the old Comiskey Park growing up. Harry Caray actually threw me a ball during the seventh inning stretch at Comiskey Park when I was a kid, but my father made me give the ball to a little boy sitting nearby because he was crying. Dont get me started..

But, I would say its the Bears losses that still affect me the most. Growing up, we were not allowed to go into the TV room during Bears games, or call the house the phone would go unanswered. And if they lost? Forget it. My father would be miserable for the rest of the day. I still dread Sundays in the fall!

5) CSNChicago.com: Its the holiday season Robin and we all have one of thesetell us that one holiday song that you just loathe to no end. You wont be considered a Scrooge for being honest

Baumgarten: Jingle Bells done by the barking dogs. Sigh.

Baumgarten LINKS:

WGN Morning News home page

WGN Morning News blog

Robin Baumgarten on Facebook

E-mail Robin Baumgarten

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

How Ozzie Guillen's harsh honesty resonated with Avisail Garcia

Ozzie Guillen delivered Avisail Garcia some tough love last winter that he figured the White Sox outfielder needed to hear.

They encountered each other during the Venezuelan Winter League season when Garcia played for the Tigres de Aragua and Guillen managed for the Tiburones de La Guaria. Guillen was so taken aback to find Garcia hitting low in the Tigres’ lineup that he offered an assessment on the spot.

For any number of reasons, Garcia has responded with a career season that has him on the verge of his first All-Star assignment. The right fielder is fifth in the American League fan vote as of Monday with 1,292,694 votes.

“About time,” Guillen said. “We've been waiting for this moment. A lot of people bet he would have failed. I know because at work, every week I talk about him. People keep waiting on him to be what he was. I think right now he has more experience. He doesn't live in the past, like 'oh it's the next Miguel Cabrera' or 'he's this guy, he's the best we've ever had.' That's why he got better. It's about time this kid. What he's doing right now I think it's fun. He's showing his potential. I see a lot of players with potential who never make it. I think it started getting too late for him, now he's back on the map.”

Garcia entered Monday hitting .331/.372/.532 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs in 296 plate appearances. While he didn’t remember the specifics of their conversation, Garcia knows Guillen’s main intent was to help him forward. He’s encouraged that his fellow countryman has confidence in his abilities.

“He’s a great human and everything he said to me is going to work for me,” Garcia said. “I just listened. Always listen. I appreciated what he said. He gave me a lot of advice.

“He’s a great person. People that really know, know he is and we appreciate everything he does and that’s it.”

Guillen appreciates what Garcia has done this season after several years of middling play amongst high expectations. Through 72 games, Garcia has produced 2.3 f-Wins Above Replacement, giving him a career mark of 0.9.

Acquired in July 2013 from Detroit in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, Garcia arrived with high expectations that he hadn’t been able to live up to thus far. Garcia has had those expectations since he first reached the majors when scouts nicknamed him ‘Mini Miggy’ after Cabrera. Guillen is glad to see Garcia has started to play up to his potential, especially after he was aghast to find him hitting in the bottom third of Aragua’s lineup.

“I saw him batting seventh and I was all over him,” Guillen said. “I said 'You should be embarrassed you're batting seventh in winter league, you have to be third, or fourth. This is winter league.' When you go to there and you play in the big leagues, it makes it easier. Now he's picked it up. Hopefully he will keep it up. Hopefully he'll keep it up and make some money. That's what we want. Some cash. Take it home.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

Cubs manager Joe Maddon working on another potential White House visit

WASHINGTON – Less than six months after the Cubs toured the White House as one of the final stops on their World Series victory tour, manager Joe Maddon is angling for another visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Maddon’s childhood friend from Hazleton, Congressman Lou Barletta, is working to arrange a private tour this week while the Cubs are in Washington for a four-game showdown against the first-place Nationals.

“I’m staying in touch with my boy Louie,” Maddon said Monday. “Who knows? We might end up going over there again.”

This wouldn’t be the East Room spectacle the Cubs enjoyed in January, when President Barack Obama’s final official White House event became a kind of farewell gift to his staffers with Chicago connections.

Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican who made immigration a central part of his platform as Hazleton mayor, declined a position in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. Barletta asked Maddon, who stays involved with his hometown through his Hazleton Integration Project, to attend a luncheon on Wednesday for young Republicans.

“And then maybe something else will be in the making after that,” Maddon said. “But for right now, the one thing I got in my back pocket is Louie.”