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Daily Splash: Roe Conn talks up his media-powered benefit concert

Roe Conn

Roe Conn

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Updated: December 3, 2012 6:15AM



One of the greatest movies about broadcast news is conveniently titled... “Broadcast News.”

In it, the blow-dried network anchor played by William Hurt is confounded by the good fortune of his rapidly ascending career. He confides in the decidedly less lucky (and more sweaty) character played by Albert Brooks, asking:

“What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?”

“Keep it to yourself,” Brooks indignantly deadpans.

In the real world, most aspiring broadcast news stars begin their careers in places with names like New Zanesburg, where the biggest story could include the words “lost cow,” “interstate” and “clean-up.”

Those young men and women dream of one day making it to the “bigs.” Most get derailed en route. For the lucky few who do make it, the best way to assuage the survivor’s guilt of their good fortune is to give back.

That’s the inspiration behind Newsapalooza. Inspired by the over-the-top, multi-star, mega-charity shows of the ’70s and ’80s, Grammy Award-winner Richard Marx and I came up with the idea to do a charity concert series featuring musically gifted (and undoubtedly guilt-ridden) Chicago media stars.

Backstage at our first show in 2008, no one knew exactly how it would turn out. Some of the performers had never worked in front of a live audience, and even those who bought tickets weren’t sure what to expect.

Dave Novarro, who was then the morning anchor on Fox-Channel 32 Chicago, was the first to take the stage. Backed up by Richard and his all-star band, he brought down the house with his rendition of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” We were off.

Newsapalooza 3 comes to the Park West on Saturday, Nov. 10.

There will be some returning stars. Regular viewers of ABC-Channel 7’s “Windy City Live” know that Ryan Chiaverini never met a guitar he didn’t like, but most wouldn’t suspect WGN-9’s Steve Sanders is a rockabilly bad-ass.

Also returning: CBS-Channel 2’s natural-born front man Rob Johnson, NBC-Channel 5’s Natalie Martinez, WGN-Channel 9’s Dina Bair, straight Fox Anna Davlantes and Richard Roeper, who has so many jobs (in addition to the Sun-Times column, he’s my co-anchor on WLS-AM’s “Roe & Roeper” Show), he suffers from “Workin’ Man Blues.”

Newcomers include “Windy City Live” host Val Warner, radio-turned-podcast legend Steve Dahl, CBS-Channel 2’s Susan Carlson and Megan Glaros, plus the NBC-Channel 5 trio of Cheryl Scott, Alicia Roman and Daniella Guzman.

There will be ringers. Dan Ponce, formerly of a capella powerhouse Straight No Chaser will be joined by his equally talented brother Anthony, and ABC “World News Now” anchor Paula Faris makes her triumphant return home.

This year’s concert benefits Clearbrook, the largest private provider of services for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Illinois.

So what brings all of these weekday competitors together on a weekend? The allure of appearing on stage with pop legend Richard Marx is certainly a draw, but the truth is these broadcast news stars just can’t “keep it to themselves.”

Roe Conn donated his fee for writing this column to Clearbrook (Clearbrook.org). For tickets to Newsapalooza 3, to go Np3.tv.



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