T Dog’s Grab Bag: Tony Malatia out at WBEZ

WBEZChicago Public Media needs a new chief. Tribune to sell a few stations. Fox launches new Saturday night animation block. 

– As first reported by Robert Feder on Friday, Torey Malatia resigned from his post as Chicago Public Media CEO and from the Board of Director after approximately twenty years. During Malatia’s watch, WBEZ created successful radio programs such as Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Sound Opinions, and This American Life (whose podcasts are the most downloaded on iTunes). But Malatia also had numerous controversies, including the cancellation of Tavis Smiley’s radio show last fall due to its content; the ill-fated Vocalo project; and other expensive initiatives including studios at Navy Pier and in the Little Village neighborhood. Malatia’s resignation is effective immediately; a replacement is yet to be named.

While Malatia was praised for his innovative work, keep in mind it was his inept handling of Smiley’s show and his failure to reach out of to the African-American community overall that unfortunately, stands out as one of his missteps.

– Tribune Broadcasting announced on Friday it was selling three of its newly acquired TV stations in order to comply with cross-ownership rules: Tribune plans to sell ABC affiliate WNEP-TV in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and its Norfolk, Va. duopoly (WTKR/WGNT) to Dreamcatcher Broadcasting for a reported $27 million. All three stations were owned by Local TV LLC, the company Tribune purchased July 1 for $2.7 billion. Tribune owns The Morning Call newspaper in the market (serving Lehigh Valley) and the Daily Press in Newport News, Va.

WNEP is the dominant station in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and its newscasts rank among the highest-rated in the country.

– In the “how the hell did this happen department?”, those infamous Adult Swim bumpers somehow found their way onto Fox’s new Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) Saturday night block, which premiered two nights ago. In two local spot buys over WFLD-TV here and other Fox O&Os and affiliates, Turner Broadcasting aired two new bumpers with the black background, white lettering and elevator music, with one of the spots congratulating Fox on their launch of ADHD block. Many of the personnel who are at ADHD used to work for Turner at Adult Swim.

“Bumpers” are an industry term used to separate commercial breaks from the programming content (i.e.”We’ll be right back after these messages”), used primarily in children’s programming, but also increasingly being used in adult-targeted shows. WCIU uses bumpers in its nightly “Comedy Rules” block of off-net sitcoms.

In response to Adult Swim’s sly “invasion”, ADHD said this on Twitter Sunday:

Former Adult Swim exec Nick Weinderfield chimed in: “We love Adult Swim and we’re happy to receive both their attention and their ad dollars!”

The first shows of many premiering in the block- Axe Cop and High School USA, both animated series – fifteen minutes in length -averaged a 0.5 adults 18-49 rating for the hour, consisting of two originals and repeat episodes of the “sneak preview” a week earlier on July 21. Keep in mind however, the target audience for ADHD is men 18-34 and secondly, men 18-49.

Yours truly’s thought (or tweet) on Axe Cop and High School USA can be found here. 

For the rest of the summer, Fox plans to air ADHD from 10-11 p.m. (CT), followed by reruns of the now-canceled Cleveland Show at 11 p.m. and locally, Mancow Mashup (highlights – if you can call them that – of Mancow’s morning show on sister station WPWR-TV) at 11:30 p.m., time approximate due to sports. In September, Mancow is likely to lead out of ADHD as Fox gives the 11 p.m. slot back to affiliates.

Now, can Adult Swim create a bumper to tell us how much Mancow’s TV show sucks?

Edited at 6:20 p.m. on 2013-07-29.