2017: A look ahead

With 2016 officially in the books, let’s look ahead on what to expect in the media business in 2017:

1. The FCC under a Trump administration. With a 3-2 FCC majority, issues the FCC championed under Tom Wheeler: net neutrality, preserving the cross-ownership rule, and other issues are going to get a hard look at – and likely change.

2. Can Chicago bounce back from dreadful 2016? The only positive story Chicago produced in 2016 was the Chicago Cubs historic World Series victory – and even that was overshadowed by the emphasis on Chicago violence, on a record pace of its own. Unfortunately, 2017 isn’t off to a great start, either with a 60 Minutes piece on the subject and the racially-motivated beating of a disabled teen.

3. Can the Cubs repeat as World Series Champions? A World Series- winning – and contending Cubs team is good news for its local television and radio partners as fans hope there is another parade down Michigan Avenue in 2017.

4. How high can the number of scripted series go? With the number at 455, expect it to hit 500 as the glut of scripted programming continues to splinter audiences.

5. Radio stations to watch. How will the retirement of Terry Boers impact WSCR-AM? Can US 99 bounce back from a bad 2016? Keep an eye an on WLS-AM to see if changes (Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano) impact the station, and of course, WGN-AM.

6. Can cable news keep the momentum? With the elections over, it’ll be tough for the three major cable news networks to match their record-setting ratings. But if Trump continues to make news – and he will – even lower numbers would be a big accomplishment.

7. Megyn Kelly’s move to NBC. Her shift from Fox News Channel to NBC could be be bumpy. Will her fans follow over?

8. MST3K returns. The highly-anticipated revival of the cult classic is due to drop on Netflix sometime this year. Can Crow and Tom Servo riff and wisecrack their way to a new generation of fans?

9. NBC’s new Boston station. The industry will be looking to the ninth-largest market in the country to see if their fourth affiliation switch in history pays off for NBC as they shifted to the new WBTS on January 1 as a new O&O. Meanwhile, former NBC affiliate WHDH joined the growing ranks of independents – a list that also includes WGN-TV, which did so in September.

10. The AT&T/TimeWarner merger. In the first test for the incoming Trump administration, they will have to look what could be the biggest media merger in recent memory. Anti-trust regulators and Congress will also get a look.

11. T Dog Media website to get major revamp. About time, isn’t it? The site hasn’t changed in nearly six years, so an overhaul is expected to take place someplace this year. Look for improved links to more social media sites I’m on, expanded use of video, and yes – advertising (the time has come, my friends – the ad-free days are coming to an end. I’ve got to make money off this somehow.)

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