T Dog’s Grab Bag: Julian Nieh exits B96

Julian Nieh. (Credit: Jen Deleon)

Another all-local edition of the Grab Bag… including an item on a possible sale of some downstate TV stations:

– Julian Nieh, one half of the duo of B96’s (WBBM-FM’s) The JNiice & Julian Morning Show, exited the station on Wednesday to pursue other interests. The seven-year veteran of the contemporary-hit station was paired with Jamar “JNiice” McNeil in January 2009, replacing long-time morning veterans Eddie Volkman & Joe Bohannon (Jobo), who are currently in the same capacity at K-Hits 104.3 (WJMK-FM) His departure comes as his contract with the station was up at the end of the year. On his final show, Nieh was given an opportunity to say goodbye to his loyal fans (just getting a chance to do that is rare these days in radio.) On Thursday, The JNiice Show debuted, with McNeil flying solo.

This development comes as B96 is in a heated competition with Kiss 103.5 (WKSC-FM) in morning drive ratings race, with Brother Fred neck-and-neck with Julian & JNiice in key demos In the latest PPM survey, Kiss was ninth overall while B96 was twelfth.

-And speaking of which, here is the latest PPM survey 12+ numbers from Arbitron – the last one of the year not influenced by Christmas music at WLIT. All-news WBBM-AM and Urban AC WVAZ each tied for first, followed by WGN-AM third, and WOJO fourth, with WLS-AM finishing fifth.

Winners include WPPN, WGCI, and its arch rival – WPWX-FM (Power 92), which jumped 13 percent to tie WSCR (The Score) and WNUA and is a full rating point behind WGCI. Yes, Power 92 is back on the map – let’s see for how long.

A loser in the survey is WLS-FM, who recently flipped to Classic Rock. Despite declining only 5 percent month-to-month, ratings have slid 12 percent from July, meaning its off to the loser’s circle, despite ranking inthe top ten. Also worthy of demerits are The Score and WMVP (ESPN 1000), who each had no excuse of posting month-to-month declines at a time when the Bears are in playoff contention and a more interesting-than-usual¬† Meanwhile, the new music format at WIQI still hasn’t found an audience, but its numbers are still better than those for FM News a year ago.

– National media publication Media Life once again looked at media in the Chicago market and here’s how things stand: Despite some economic woes, Chicago is active and healthy – and their are plenty of good ad deals available in both TV and radio. So far, pricing is flat for 2013. South side and south suburban 2nd Congressional District race (former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned last week due to… um, “health problems”), could have an impact on available spots – but don’t expect a lot of traditional media spending – instead, look for a lot of targeted advertising on cable and on urban radio stations, given the heavy African-American skew of the district. Radio meanwhile, is healthy but not sold out. Automotive spending is expected to increase, perhaps to lure a few disenfranchised CTA and Metra riders, some of whom are weathering yet another fare increase.

Ratings remain dominated by the usual suspects: Dancing With The Stars remains Chicago’s most-watched entertainment show, while the Chicago Bears continues to top local ratings overall. To read the entire article, click here.

– If you were a fan of Bozo’s Circus back in the day – and what Chicago kid wasn’t – then you’re in for a treat on December 9. WGN-TV plans to air a “lost episode” of the series from 1971. Bozo – which ran on WGN from 1961 to 2001, aired live for its first twenty years, and most shows weren’t archived. However, two episodes submitted for Peabody Award consideration were recently discovered by Rich Klein, who runs The Museum of Classic Chicago Television at Fuzzy Memories.tv, an online archive of classic television clips from Chicago and several other markets such as Detroit and Oklahoma City. Footage from the tapes have been remastered (as best they can) and footage from the two shows will be featured on WGN on Dec.9 at 7 pm, and streaming live on WGNTV.com. and again Christmas morning at 11 a.m. (UPDATE: now scheduled for noon on Dec. 25 on WGN and WGN America.)

– Moving out of the Chicago DMA… just what we need: more media consolidation! Barrington Broadcasting has elected to put its entire station chain on the sales block and among them are two Illinois stations – ABC affiliate WHOI in Peoria/Bloomington (who also operates rival NBC affiliate WEEK via JSA) and KHQA in Quincy, IL. Emerging as frontrunners are Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcasting, who already owns ABC affiliates WICS in Springfield and WICD in Champaign, and Nexstar, who owns CBS affiliate WMBD-TV in Peoria/Bloomington, Fox affiliate WQRF in Rockford (and operates ABC affiliate WTVO) and powerhouse CBS affiliate WCIA in Champaign and sister station WCIX, a My NEtwork TV affiliate (WCIX were the former call letters for CBS-owned WFOR-TV in Miami.)

Got all that?

Ironically, Sinclair owns Fox affiliate WYZZ in Peoria/Bloomington – but is operated by Nexstar’s WMBD. Either way, one of these station groups is about to gain a lot of clout just outside of Chicago.

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2 responses to T Dog’s Grab Bag: Julian Nieh exits B96


  1. According to Dean Richards’ Facebook page, WGN America will broadcast “Bozo’s Circus: The Lost Tape” on December 25th at 12:00 p.m., Central time.

  2. T Dog

    Thanks for the tip!