2017: How did we do?

Back a year ago, yours truly did a look ahead into 2017. So how did everything turn out? I have the answers right here!

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.

And oh boy, did they ever. Ajit Pai took over the agency and basically gutted net neutrality, the media ownership rules, and made other changes.

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.

Even though the homicide and crime rate declined, President Trump continued to attack the city while Mayor Emanuel continued to crave the national spotlight by bashing him (“a city he’ll never sleep in”) on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. And this does not make “Mr. 16 shots and a cover up” a hero as the LaQuan McDonald case – which still hasn’t gone to trial – has all but been forgotten.

So in other words…no.

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.

The Cubs had a slow start, but bounced back and won the NL Central. But they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.

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.

And it did.

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.

Sirrott and Muciano were fired by WLS-AM as the station decided to return toward a conservative talk direction. WSCR’s ratings weren’t impacted while US 99 retook the lead over rival Big 95.5 in the country music race. And outside of new ownership in 2018, it has been a quiet year at 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.

With Trump continuing to run his mouth, of course cable news ratings were stable as Fox News (pro-Trump) and MSNBC (anti-Trump) remained strong.

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

Judging by the ratings and reviews…no.

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?

Reaction to the new MST3K has been very positive I’m happy to say.

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.

As expected, Ratings for the new WBTS has been dreadful as Boston’s new NBC station ranked behind every competitor in the market outside of primetime.

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.

In order for the deal to go through, the Justice Department told them they needed to sell off either CNN or DirecTV – and some speculated President Trump was behind the order, given his hatred for CNN. AT&T decided to challenge the decision in court, even as AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson remained on friendly terms with Trump.

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.)

The only thing yours truly was able to do was change the hosting service as I ran into a busier schedule than expected. Can’t say at this point if there would be any change to the site in 2018. But at least T Dog Media finally got on Instagram.

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