T Dog’s Media Notepad: Tribune Tower sold to L.A. developer

The Tribune Tower.
The Tribune Tower.

Tribune Media announced Tuesday the historic building housing the company and the Chicago Tribune has been sold to Los Angeles-based developer CIM Inc, for $280 million. The developer is planning to add retail space to the building through a complete renovation. The sale likely forces out the Tribune, which it and parent company Tronc has a lease until 2018.

Last year, Tribune split is media empire into two – Tribune Media, who owns WGN-TV, WGN Radio, and 41 other TV stations, and Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing), owner of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers.

As for WGN-AM, station officials have hinted it plans to stay at the new Tribune Tower and negotiate a new lease as much of the station’s operations is located on the seventh floor. Unknown is the fate of the ground-level studio sponsored by an insurance company on Michigan Avenue. WGN-AM has been based in the Tribune Tower from 1924 to 1961 and returned in 1986. Also unknown is the fate of “WGN Radio Walk Of Fame” outside the studio, honoring the station’s past personalities.

mtv-video-music-awards-logo-825x580No one wants their MTV…on TV, at least: The Viacom awards…err, I mean the MTV Video Music Awards had trouble drawing a crowd Sunday night despite being simulcast by ten of MTV’s sister stations, all owned by Viacom.

Airing live in the Eastern and Central time zones (but delayed everywhere else), the VMAs drew 6.5 million viewers, down from 9.8 million from last year’s presentation. On the other hand, live streaming of the event went up from a year ago, serving up 61.8 million views, up 70 percent from 2015. Facebook streaming grew tremendously, growing 938 percent to 45.8 million streams.

Despite the declining numbers, the VMAs were a hit with advertisers. Clients with huge buys include Verizon, Samsung, Taco Bell, and Patene. Adidas stood out with a spot featuring Cleveland Cavaliers player Iman Shumpert.

The most-talked about moment of the evening was Beyonce’s five-minute performance, which included taking out a video camera with a baseball bat (I dare you to send the bill to her.)

While simulcasting the event over a few Viacom nets made sense who target the same MTV demo (MTV 2, MTV Classic, Spike, BET), it didn’t make sense on others – can anyone explain to yours truly why the VMAs were on older-skewing channel TV Land?

The numbers comes as Viacom is undergoing a major management change – Tom Dooley took over CEO duties from Phillippe Dauman on an interim basis as ratings for its cable networks slipped over the last few years and revenue has eroded – not to mention a nasty battle for control of the company with an ailing Sumner Redstone and his family. Wall Street has been less than satisfied with Viacom’s performance, with some analysts calling for the company to re-merge with CBS, which it did in 1999.

Viacom and CBS split up into two companies on December 31, 2005. CBS spun-off Viacom in 1971 after the FCC implemented the financial interest and syndication rules.

WGN-TV logo Sept 2016_zpsmlfjotk3It’s official: WGN-TV is an independent station again after a little over two decades as a network affiliate. CW programming officially moved to Fox-owned WPWR today with The Bill Cunningham Show at 2 p.m. (soon to be replaced by The Robert Irvine Show.) WPWR was also rebranded “CW 50 Chicago”.

On wednesday night, Fox 32 anchors Jeff herndon and Dawn Hasbrouck welcomed the CW to their sister station during WFLD’s 9 p.m. newscast. WGN’s final CW show Wednesday night was a rerun of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

WGN isn’t the only station joining the ranks of the independents these days. In January, Boston’s WHDH is set to become one after losing its NBC affiliation to WNEU, a Telemundo station NBC is turning into an O&O.

Other affiliation switches and/or realignments took place this year in Raleigh/Durham, Peoria, and South Bend.

For complete coverage of the CW’s move, click here, here, and here.

As the site winds down its tenth year, yours truly is mulling some changes to the site – T Dog Media has not made any since 2011 and is considering “a refresh”, including getting rid of the blue color scheme and improving social media links (as you notice, there is no Reddit or Instagram links.) One thing I am considering is eliminating the comments section altogether though for right now, comments are closed for stories more than three years old.

More and more publications have eliminated comment sections – Chicago Business Journal, the Chicago Sun-Times, NWI.com, MMQB, Sports Illustrated, Re/Code, CBSChicago.com, Fox and Tribune Media-owned stations’ sites, and others more. They don’t want to deal with the nasty, racist, ignorant, and sexist comments that comes along with them.

This has not been a problem on T Dog Media – in fact, lack of comments are. When they do come, incoming comments have a 98 percent approval rate. But I have received some spam, had to edit one comment, and rejected another outright for being anti-gay. Other times I simply forget to look at and approve comments, including one poor soul who had to wait for three weeks.

Due to my schedule, it’s hard to say exactly when these changes would be implemented – might not be until the first of the year. Hopefully, a new and improved site will launch soon, bringing T Dog Media into 2017 and not remaining stuck in 2011.