T Dog’s Grab Bag: WGN-TV adds 5 p.m. weekend news

wgn– WGN-TV announced last week it was adding additional weekend newscasts in early fringe, at 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, when not pre-empted by sports. WGN’s 9 p.m. weekend news team would also assume the duties at 5 p.m.

A few years ago, WFLD had a 5 p.m. Saturday newscast, but was canceled.

WGN, which recently announced a 4 p.m. news expansion for this fall, airs the most hours per week of any station in Chicago. The move is part of parent company Tribune Broadcasting’s plan to expand local newscasts in markets where they own stations. Recently, Tribune’s KTLA in Los Angeles and KCPQ in Seattle both added an 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts, WPIX in New York added weekend 5 p.m. news, and WXIN in Indianapolis is adding a 11 p.m. weeknight newscast beginning Monday and a 7 p.m. newscast this fall.

Everyone seems to be getting World Cup Fever – June  soccer match between USA and Portugal drew record ratings. From 5 to 7 p.m. , the game drew 18.22 million viewers on ESPN. Spanish-rights holder Univision contributed 6.5 million more viewers, which adds up to 24.7 million – the most-watched soccer match in TV History. In Chicago, the game averaged a 12.1 rating for ESPN.

Numbers for Thursday’s match between USA and Germany drew fewer viewers because many were at work, but still drew a healthy 6.3 overnight rating for ESPN.

The U.S. now faces Belgium in an elimination-round game, airing Tuesday at 3 p.m. (CT).

As a part of its 90th Anniversary celebration, WGN Radio on Friday unveiled its new WGN Radio Walk Of Fame, which is located just outside the station’s Tribune Tower studios at 435 N. Michigan. Among the first batch of inductees include radio legends Wally Phillips, Bob Collins, Orion Samuelson, and Quin Ryan, who was one of the first individuals who worked for WGN when it launched in 1924. To read more about the inductees, click here.

Is Comcast SportsNet becoming the David Kaplan network? Beginning July 21, the late morning radio broadcast on The Game (WGWG-LP) featuring Kaplan and the Tribune’s David Haugh, is being simulcast on CSN Chicago, weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Kaplan is already host of the channel’s early fringe/access strip Sports Talk LIve, in addition to his duties as pre-game and post-game host of Cubs baseball.

In addition, CSN plans to air a “best-of” edition of Kap & Haugh, a paired-down one-hour version at 11 p.m. weeknights.

At least CSN didn’t hire Gabe Kaplan from Welcome Back, Kotter instead, or we would’ve been subjected to “uncle” jokes all day long.

A quick word about WIND-AM’s Joe Walsh: if you know by now, the former politician who was forced off the air on June 19 using racial slurs during a discussion of the “Redskins” name as it applies to Washington’s football team. WIND had to use the dump button quite a bit during Walsh’s rant and a few slurs even slipped through. Walsh was sent home, but returned the next day and played the victim card as usual, blaming “the thought police” and “liberals” (how original) for making his situation a big deal.

Folks, this is nothing a concocted and staged stunt by Walsh to get some publicity for himself and his little-listened to station, not a meaningful discussion about about race as he claims (to see my thoughts about this prick, click here and here.)

Unfortunately, the idiots who run Chicago’s news outlets caved in and gave this asshole exactly what he wanted, with the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, the websites of CBS Chicago and NBC Chicago, and the Huffington Post reporting on it, with Walsh speaking to the two newspapers.

So why WIND owner Salem Communications, one of the worst radio chains in the business, didn’t fire or suspend Walsh? Simple. They were in on this all along. They figured bad publicity is better than no publicity, since they can’t get listeners to tune in to their sorry ass station. If I were a client advertising with WIND, I’d be pissed off.

And you wonder why terrestrial radio has a terrible reputation with listeners.

The marketplace once determined what programming should come and go. But media companies are finding more and more ways to get around the laws of supply and demand and keep low-rated crap on the air (Mancow, Comics Unleashed, Beauty And The Beast, etc.) You can only game the system for so long. For the deadbeat dumbass – who already has little to no advertiser support on a station nobody listens to, he’ll find out sooner than later.

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