Stories by Jay Smith

Baseball Season Preview: Jason Benetti, Len Kasper on White Sox, Cubs in 2020

White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti, left, and Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper preview the season on “Chicago Tonight” on Feb. 4, 2020. (WTTW News)

With spring training right around the corner, we look to the coming season with White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti and Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper.

Chicago White Sox GM Wants Team That Can Win ‘On an Annual Basis’

Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (WTTW News)

It’s been a busy winter for Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, but after a flurry of moves, it may be time for him to rest a bit. “I think for the most part, the heavy lifting for the offseason is done,” Hahn said.

From the Archives: John Callaway Interviews PBS Icon Fred Rogers (1985)

A still image taken from a 1985 video featuring Fred Rogers in conversation with “Chicago Tonight” host John Callaway. (WTTW News)

At a time of great division in the U.S., a little bit of Mr. Rogers can go a long way to remind us of simpler times. We revisit a 1985 interview between Fred Rogers and original “Chicago Tonight” host John Callaway.

Viewer Feedback: ‘We Must Reduce Dependency on Cars’

Viewers weigh in on a report that says Chicago is one of the most polluted cities in America. And you left some thoughtful sentiments about Chicago Tonight's 35th birthday.

‘Chicago Tonight’ Turns 35

On this date, 35 years ago, “Chicago Tonight” was born. Watch the premiere episode, featuring an interview with John Callaway and Mayor Harold Washington.

White Sox, Cubs Broadcasters Preview Upcoming Season

Cubs and White Sox broadcasters Len Kasper (left) and Jason Benetti recently had a meeting of the minds at Harry Caray’s restaurant. (@LenKasper / Twitter)

It might be cold and snowy outside, but pitchers and catchers report Wednesday for their first spring training workouts. We ask White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti and Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper about the upcoming season.

Jazz Enthusiast Brings Passion to New Book ‘The Jazz Alphabet’

(Courtesy Neil Shapiro)

We learn the ABCs of jazz with Chicago author and illustrator Neil Shapiro, whose new book is a “work of love” – and an ode to the greats.

Viewer Feedback: ‘An Example of Chicago Politics’

Viewers weigh in on Ald. Ed Burke’s attempted extortion charge and the firearms found in his offices.

Viewer Feedback: ‘We Must Reform Pensions!’

Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently laid out his prescription for shoring up the city’s underfunded public employee pensions. Viewers weigh in.

Viewer Feedback: ‘Fishing is Cruel and Inhumane in General’

Viewers weigh in on a controversial fishing technique called “snagging.”

Stan Mikita, Chicago Blackhawks Legend, Dies at 78

Stan Mikita appears on “Chicago Tonight” in 2011.

The Chicago Blackhawks legend played 22 seasons with the team, and is the franchise leader in assists, points and games played. He died Tuesday.

Joel Weisman Throws Out 1st Pitch at White Sox vs. Yankees on Monday

Former “Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review” host Joel Weisman throws out the first pitch Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.

After more than six months of anticipation, the former “Week in Review” host throws out the ceremonial first pitch as the White Sox took on the New York Yankees.

Loyola Ramblers’ 1963 NCAA Win Also a Story of Racial Justice

Jerry Harkness, Loyola basketball (1960-1963)

Loyola University Chicago’s NCAA Cinderella story has put the Ramblers in the national spotlight once again. We remember the 1963 championship team.

Viewer Feedback: ‘Keep Up With the Times Chicago’

Your thoughts on a new model of car-sharing that may come to Chicago called “free-floating” car-sharing.

Viewer Feedback: ‘These Cages Must be Outlawed Across the U.S.’

Viewers react to our story about where Trader Joe’s gets some of its pork products.

Viewer Feedback: ‘Sitting Here Sobbing’

Your heartfelt reaction to Jay Shefsky’s story about five men with intellectual disabilities living together in Park Ridge.

Viewer Feedback: ‘We Must Develop Public Transportation’

Our story about so-called “congestion pricing” has a lot of you talking. We read comments from the Chicago Tonight website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Week in Review: Celebrating Joel Weisman

A special hourlong presentation celebrates Joel Weisman’s 40th anniversary as host – and his final appearance at the helm of the show he helped create. “For four decades, Fridays have always been my favorite day of the week,” he says.

Joel Weisman Looks Back on 40 Years as Host of ‘The Week in Review’

“Chicago Week in Review,” 1980 (Chicago Tonight)

The award-winning journalist talks about his astonishing four decades at the helm of his groundbreaking show on WTTW.

Chicago Bears’ Luck Runs Out: Coin Toss Winning Streak Ends at 14

U.S. Army officers oversee a coin toss on Nov. 16, 2014 between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret)

You could say it was flipping amazing while it lasted, but at Soldier Field on Monday night, the Bears coin toss winning streak ended at 14 in a row.

Chicago Bears’ Winning Streak Advances to 14 … Coin Flips

U.S. Army officers oversee a coin toss on Nov. 16, 2014 between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret)

The likelihood of correctly calling 14 coin tosses in a row is 1 in 16,384—or about as likely as Bears fans longing for the return of Rex Grossman. In light of the Bears’ current streak, we crunch the numbers.

Colorful White Sox Broadcaster, MLB Vet Jimmy Piersall Dies

Photo of Maury Wills, Milton Berle, Jimmy Piersall and Willie Mays in a salute to baseball on the television program “The Hollywood Palace.”

When Jimmy Piersall joined the Chicago White Sox broadcast booth in 1977, no one had ever heard anyone like him on the air. Colorful and brash, Piersall took the concept of “telling it like it is” to a new level.

Bulls, Cubs Lose Key Architects of Past Success

Jerry Krause, Dallas Green Ushered in New Eras for Chicago Teams

Jerry Krause died Tuesday. He was 77 years old. (Courtesy of Chicago Bulls)

There was a time when Chicago sports teams were synonymous with losing. This week, the city lost two men who helped change that perception.

Chicago Cubs to Battle Rival St. Louis Cardinals in Historic NL Division Series

There were celebrations on the field last night in Pittsburgh—and on the streets of Wrigleyville. But in order have a repeat of those parties, the Cubs now need to get by the 100-win, archrival Cardinals, starting tomorrow night in St. Louis. How did the Cubs manage to shut-out the Pirates? And what are the chances that they can keep it going all the way to the World Series? Joining us to ponder those questions is Lester Munson, a senior writer for

Chicago Cubs Playoff Scenarios: North Side Believers or Overachievers?

Kris Bryant

It's been a magical season for the Chicago Cubs: a Sunday night no-hitter added to one of the best records in baseball, and a likely playoff appearance. Joining us to take a closer look at what's been going right on the North Side–and what's ahead–is Chicago Tribune baseball writer Paul Sullivan.