T Dog’s Media Notepad: US99 becomes “Chicago’s Hottest Country”

WUSN-newlogo-sliderWUSN unveiled its new imaging and branding Monday with the CBS Radio station rechristened itself as “Chicago’s Hottest Country”, and dropping the “.5” after US99. The station also revealed a new logo – a blue “US 99” logo with a red star in the middle, similar to the colors and layout of Chicago’s flag (two bars on a white flag with four stars in the middle.)

The moves come after WUSN lost Ramblin’ Ray Stevens, who signed on with WLS-AM Monday teaming up once again with Big John Howell, another former US99 alum. WUSN plans to announce a new morning show and more changes in the next few weeks.

At one time, US 99 billed itself “America’s Country Station” pointing to the fact WUSN was America’s most-listened to country station, which obviously is no longer the case as iHeartmedia’s new WEBG (Big 95.5) has made inroads.

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Movin’ on up: Kristen Nicole is trading her weekend morning duties for a weekday morning slot – starting Monday, Nicole is co-anchoring WFLD’s morning newscasts from 4:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. , where she’ll anchor with Natalie Bomke. Nicole replaces George Smith, who is joining the Fox-owned station’s newest member of its sports team, anchoring and reporting. An ESPN alum, Smith joined WFLD last October. Hopefully, there’ll be no segment featuring “George’s Views”.

TCA_Logo_FINALAside from Mariah Carey’s drunken antics at her presentation of E!’s Mariah World, The current TCA press tour has been quite dull. But it may get lively on Wednesday: CBS is taking the stage and executives may be looking at a firing squad for its fall lineup – six new shows, all with white male leads, as detailed Monday by the Los Angeles Times. The acquisitions come at a time when broadcast and cable networks are diversifying their personnel both on-camera and behind. Once again, CBS has the worst new shows in its fall lineup but is expected to be successful with it.

fox_network_logoFox tidbits from TCA: there may be more X-Files coming after all. Fox execs said Monday they were in discussions with Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny on more episodes of the series in 2017. X-Files returned earlier this year to a strong audience reception, if not a critical one.

During their executive session, Fox CEO Dana Walden acknowledged they were in “rebuilding” mode and had their work cut out for them.

Fox also announced it is airing a first-ever hourlong episode of The Simpsons in January and is premiering new live-action/animated series Son Of Zorn on September 11, out of football. It is the first hybrid to air in primetime since NBC aired The New Adventures Of Huck Finn in 1968. Already, Zorn is earning strong reviews from critics and may just revive Fox’s complacent Sunday night lineup.

Also, Mariah Carey is making a guest appearance on Empire October 5 – provided she’s sober enough, and Amy Schumer will be the guest voice on all of Fox’s animated comedies when they have their season premieres on September 25.

This is an example of a "performance area" in a radio studio. Pictured: Max performing at CBS-owned WZMP (Amp 96.5) in Philadelphia. (CBS Radio)
This is an example of a “performance area” in a radio studio. Pictured: Max performing at CBS-owned WZMP (AMP 96.5) in Philadelphia. (CBS Radio)

The latest move to keep radio stations relevant in 2016? Adding an on-stage performance areas in their studios. Cumulus’ radio stations is the latest to do just that, adding a performance stage as part of their move to new digs at NBC tower, which became a reality this week. Cumulus who owns WLS-FM and operates WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM, added one that can accommodate a studio audience. Already, CBS’ WBBM-FM (B96) has an in studio performance area where artists can hang out at the station and perform their latest hits live for a streaming audience. On Wednesday around 12:30 p.m, B96 is welcoming Hallie Stanfield to their Prudential Building studios to perform and is streaming on B96’s website.

Last week, Demi Lovato and Mike Posner appeared at B96, before heading to their show at Rosemont’s Allstate Arena, with Posner performing at the station.

It’s a great way for listeners to watch (or view on-demand) their favorite artists. And of course, to squeeze some extra advertising money at the same time – B96’s performance stage is named after a local health care conglomerate. So if the performer gets injured, they’re in good hands.