Media Notepad: Blackhawks renew pact with WGN Radio

Chicago_BlackhawksAlso: WGN Radio renews Chicago Blackhawks pact through 2024; Paternity Court renewed two more years

-WGN Radio has extended its pact with the Chicago Blackhawks through the 2023-24 season, the team announced on Thursday. The deal keeps a sports presence on WGN, after the station lost Cubs telecasts in 2014. The news comes as the Blackhawks scored the highest local RSN rating for any U.S. team (3.9 HH), according to a press release from Comcast SportsNet Thursday. But what the press release didn’t tell you was, the rating was actually down from last season’s 4.4 average – a surprise given how well the team is playing. Still, the local ratings during the Hawks’ recent twelve game winning streak spiked to a 4.7 on CSN.

Nexstar-media-general-hed-2015-Television’s latest big corporate merger was announced Wednesday when Nexstar and Media General agreed to a $4.6 billion marriage, giving the new Nexstar Media Group control of 171 stations in 100 markets, covering 39 percent of the country – about as many as rival Sinclair Broadcasting Group, who also has 171 stations covering 39 percent of the country – hitting the FCC cap.

The announcement came as Meredith dropped out of the bid for Media General, which it proposed last year.

Media General does not own any stations in Illinois, but Nexstar owns several, including powerhouse CBS affiliate WCIA-TV in Champaign.

In fact, almost every commercial TV station in Illinois outside of the Chicago and St. Louis metro areas is either owned/operated by Nexstar or Sinclair. Other owners in the state include Gray (owner of WIFR in Rockford) and Quincy Newspapers.

The move continues a consolidation trend for station groups outside of the ten largest markets for better leverage against Hollywood syndicatiors, cable and satellite operators in retransmission consent negotiations, and attracting more national advertising (including political) in smaller markets.

maxresdefault-After losing the rights to Right This Minute, MGM decided to re-up their remaining first-run strip, Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court for two more seasons, through the 2017-18 season. The series has been renewed locally on WCIU-TV, in addition to stations owned by the CBS, Tribune, and Sinclair station groups.

According to Broadcasting & Cable, MGM decided to stop subscribing to Nielsen for ratings of the show, because Paternity Court has a heavy dependence on direct-response advertising (K-Tel, Ronco, etc… yes, I know – those are dated references.) Plus, direct advertising doesn’t have the negative stigma it once had as more general, blue-chip advertisers are shifting their buys to digital – not to mention the increasing proliferation of digital subchannels, where you see direct ads practically all the time.

photo– Both Al Jazeera America and Touchvision announced recently they were closing their doors, within days of one another – proving it is not easy to produce informational content. Al Jazeera announced its closing on January 12, due to an inability to compete with the three major cable news networks (not to mention the infamous name) while Chicago-based Touchvision announced its demise two days later, laying off of 40 journalists. Touchvision was available on all platforms, from over-the-air TV (48.2 in Chicago) to social media.

Touchvision was created in part by Lee Abrams, best known for his role in masterminding the AOR format for radio stations in the 1970’s and was in creative roles for XM and Tribune.

Heroes-Reborn-NBC-1-550x309– Yeah, you saw this coming: NBC announced recently it was not renewing Heroes: Reborn for a second season, done in by unimpressive ratings (on Thursday nights opposite heavyweights The Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy) and a go-nowhere storyline. The news came out during NBC’s portion of the TCA Winter Press Tour. According to TV Insider however, NBC is keeping the option to bring the series back – again – despite low ratings as creator Tim Kring is considering opening up a new chapter of the series. NBC President Rob Greenblatt later said the door would remain open for any future installments.

Is NBC really this dim to consider ANOTHER chapter of this show? They did before by announcing this Heroes Reborn project two years ago, didn’t they?

Just keeping losing those viewers, network TV. I’m certain the press and execs will find more excuses for your low ratings. And yes, NBC still stands for Nothing But Crap.

-Rest in peace: Over the past few weeks, we’ve lost a few media people. Among them include WLS-TV website producer Anne Swaney, who was found murdered in Belize; Former WGCI/WVAZ exec Kris Kelley; and Jim Conway, the first person to ever anchor a local newscast in Chicago at WGN-TV.

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