T Dog’s Media Notepad: WCIU finally launches new morning show “The Jam”

Also: Chicago White Sox gets a ratings boost; Discovery merges with Scripps; Chicago R&B star to appear in new daily show.

If you blinked, you might have missed the premiere of The Jam, WCIU’s new morning show premiering Monday with little fanfare. Announced back in June, The Jam unveiled its format and its hosts: Jordan Cornette, Felicia Lawrence, and Danielle Robay. The new effort replaced You & Me, which had its final broadcast Friday. The former interim host of You & Me (Jon Hansen) is now a on-air contributor for the show.

Weigel’s Head of Local Programming and Creative Steve Bailey said: “The Jam” represents the core of what it means to be a Chicagoan. It’s upbeat, it’s witty, it’s fearless, it’s in your face and its community oriented. Our hosts are unapologetic in their delivery and tapped into what’s going on around the city. ‘The Jam’ is here, and we’re ready to wake Chicagoans up and get them pumped for their day.” Bailey also added: “The Jam” dares to be different. It’s how we separate ourselves from our competition. On-air contributor Jon Hansen is out in the streets using everyday Chicagoans to give weather updates throughout the show. It not only looks different than other morning TV shows, but it sounds different too. We have a house DJ in studio providing a morning mix to get the day started.”

Indeed, The Jam does sound different from the other morning shows – it’s not likely you’re going to see a DJ spinning tunes on CBS This Morning – though Good Morning America might since it has a studio audience.

Guests for The Jam’s inaugural week include pop artist Alessia Cara, former Parkers star Monique , and Che “Rhymefest” Smith, who composed music for the show.


Finally, some good ratings news in a lost season for the Chicago White Sox – the debut of prospect Yoan Moncada boosted viewership for the South Side team on July 19 with a strong 2.2 Nielsen household rating for CSN Chicago, up 144 percent from the season average of 0.9, according to Awful Announcing. The game earned the second highest-rating for the White Sox this year, only behind the 2.8 for the Crosstown Cup game last Wednesday night.

As you know by now, the White Sox are embarking on a rebuild process (there’s that word again) in order to become more competitive in the future. The plan has been positively been received by White Sox fans, despite losses piling up.

As of this writing, Moncada was involved in a collision in right field with another player during Monday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Moncada is day-today with a right knee contusion. Monday’s game was also carried in Spanish on CSN Plus, with Ozzie Guillen as a commentator. As for the game? The White Sox beat the Blue Jays in a thrilling, come-from-behind 7-6 victory.


A female R&B star originally from the Chicago area is joining the cast of a new daytime talk show for TV One. Syleena Johnson (who else you thought I was referring to…wink, wink) is one of four women fronting the new Sister Circle, slated to premiere September 11 weekday mornings at 9 a.m. ET, or 8 a.m. in Chicago.

Targeted to black women, the show producers said Sister Circle “will empower and inspire African-American women and include news and insights on relationships, parenting, fitness, personal finances, the latest trends and the joys and frustrations of everyday life, all from the compelling, humorous and sincere perspective of the show’s hosts.”

In addition to Johnson, the program features three other contributors: Quad-Webb Luncefors, of the reality TV series Married to Medicine; radio and TV host Rashan Ali, and stand-up comedienne Kiana Dancie. The show’s DJ is the lone guy on the show, DJ Q.

The program is being produced in Atlanta by Tegna, who also plans to air the program on twelve of its over-the-air TV stations. Tegna did not release a list of markets (other than Atlanta) carrying the show, and declined to say if it would sell the series in syndication. In the meantime, the only way to view Sister Circle outside of those twelve markets (including Chicago) is on TV One, which is available on many cable and satellite providers.

Born and raised in south suburban Harvey, Johnson is the daughter of 1960’s soul singer Syl Johnson, and has released eight studio albums, working with music luminaries such as Buddy Guy and R. Kelly. Johnson has been nominated for four MTV Music Video Awards, in addition to one BET Award and one Grammy nomination. Her music has been played on both WVAZ-FM and WGCI.


The owner of Oprah Winfrey’s cable network is now part of a bigger portfolio: Discovery Communications announced Monday it was acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive for $14.6 billion, or $90 a share in a cash-and-stock transaction. With the merger, both will have approximately 8,000 hours of original programming and 300,000 hours of library content.

In addition to OWN, Discovery owns the Discovery Channel (of course) and its numerous cable network spinoffs; TLC; Animal Planet; and Eurosport. Scripps’ brings HGTV, Food Network (Tribune as a minority interest); Travel Channel, DIY, Cooking Channel, and Great American Country. Scripps Networks Interactive is also a co-producer of Rachael Ray’s syndicated talk show, with Harpo Productions and CBS.

Viacom put in a bid for Scripps Networks last week, but pulled its offer, essentially sealing Discovery’s purchase of the company.

The deal does not involve Scripps’ broadcast television and radio stations, which are a separate company. Scripps Interactive spun off from E.W. Scripps in 2008.

The move comes as cable content providers are seeing their revenues drop as more and more viewers are “cutting the cord”, or dropping their cable or satellite subscriptions – in some cases, switching to streaming services. The acquisition by Discovery is basically on scale to leverage themselves better against pay-TV providers such as Comcast and Charter, the latter recently acquiring Time Warner Cable.

Discovery put together a video touting the acquisition of Scripps (and using none of that “tronc” speak…)

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