Media Notepad: New York media “feud” has implications for Entercom Chicago stations

Also: Jerry Springer gets a new show; another new talk show to debut; 11 series get full-season pickups

In yet another chapter of how absurd this business can be, a feud between the owners of Madison Square Garden and Entercom is having implications in Chicago and elsewhere. Madison Square Garden Entertainment has suspended any future relationships with Entercom’s radio stations as a WFAN host blasted MSG Chairman James Dolan on the air last summer. As a result, players from the NBA’s New York Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers are no longer allowed to appear on WFAN. Both teams and the WNBA’s New York Liberty play at MSG and owned by Dolan.

Maggie Gray slammed Dolan after he released a song (yes, he’s in a band) being sympathetic to the #MeToo movement given his ties to Harvey Weinstein and slammed him for losing a $11.6 million lawsuit against a former New York Knicks executive. Gray also slammed Dolan for re-hiring Isiah Thomas to run the New York Liberty WNBA team after his known sexual harassment allegations during his time as a Knicks executive. Among language Gray used were the words “disgusting”, “troll”, and “a vile piece of trash.”

Entercom owns the all-sports station in New York City in addition to five other stations in the market. Entercom purchased the former CBS Radio stations last year.

Despite a last minute apology from Gray, MSG released a statement: “Entercom aired a hate-filled rant directed towards MSG, its employees and its Executive Chairman in August of this year,” Kim Kerns, an MSG spokesperson, told The Post. “They chose to take no action to remedy this until the start of this season. Only after learning they would not receive special access to players and coaches did they elect to offer an insincere half-hearted apology. We wish them no ill will. However, we decline to carry on a business relationship. We will continue to afford Entercom league-mandated access only.”

But that’s not all: In addition to Dolan banning Knicks and Rangers players from appearing on Entercom stations, his Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan won’t do business with them either – including MSG-owned venues the Chicago Theater and The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. in the Los Angeles market.

Entercom owns Top 40 WBBM-FM (B96), Album Adult Alternative WXRT, Country outlet WUSN-FM (US99), and Classic Hip-Hop WBMX-FM (104.3 Jams) in addition to all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and sports talker WSCR-AM (The Score).

According to Billboard, US99 is sponsoring the annual Stars and Strings concert at Chicago Theater on November 7. The event is expected to take place as scheduled.

With the ban in place, this is just another example of why running everything from New York isn’t such a good idea (just ask any Chicagoan.) And Chicago’s Entercom stations – already faced with tough competition from stations owned by iHeartMedia and Hubbard among others, may suffer for something they weren’t even connected with. But in the Big Conglomerate era, expect more of these shenanigans as petty arguments between companies can quickly escalate. Sadly, listeners wind up being the losers as always.

In the latest Nielsen PPM report, WFAN tied for 6th place, well ahead of competitor WEPN-AM, who placed 21st.


With his talk show dead and (possibly) buried, Jerry Springer is looking ahead to his next profession: a TV judge. Yes, you heard me. According to last week’s New York Post, the 74-year old former talk show host has shot a pilot for a new courtroom show from NBCUniversal titled Judge Jerry. Robert Feder reported Thursday the show made a sale to Weigel’s WCIU, who aired his talk show from 2010 until last summer.

The program would be shot in Stamford, Conn,, where his former talk show was based for the final nine years of its run. The Post noted the pilot was recently shot there, and incorporates some elements from his old talk show into the courtroom genre, including an audience chanting Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! (this has to seen to believed) and Springer’s final thought.

The courtroom genre is already crowded in daytime with more than ten shows on the air. Led by Judge Judy, the 23-year old show drew 9.6 million viewers on average a day and a 6.8 national household rating in a recent syndication ratings report, topping all first-run and off-network programs.

The failure rate of new courtroom programs is quite low as small production costs makes the format quite profitable. In the last decade, only We The People With Gloria Allred and Family Court With Judge Penny couldn’t make it past their first season. A few weeks ago, Debmar-Mercury debuted Caught In Providence, a new courtroom show helmed by Judge Frank Caprio.

Currently, Jerry Springer reruns from the last six seasons are currently airing in the afternoon on The CW, whose Chicago affiliate (WPWR) airs the show weekdays at 3 and 4 p.m. The CW deal is not affected by the new project.


Get ready for another new talk show: this time it’s Mel Robbins who its out pedaling a gabber, thanks to Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Media. The best-selling author, speaker, and life strategist struck a deal with the two for the new daytime talker, set to debut in September 2019.

“Mel has a message and a methodology that connects with women and she knows her audience,” Sony’s president of first-run television John Weiser said in a statement. “She has a distinctive and fresh approach to navigating the life challenges women face every day and we’re going to utilize Mel’s unique entrepreneurial strength in the digital media space to better connect with our audience. “ Robbins does a podcast and is CEO and co-founder of The Confidence Project, a company who works with Fortune 500 companies to build confidence among employees.

Sony has cleared the series in 30 percent of the country on Tribune Media stations. No list was released, but it is a sure bet Tribune flagship station WGN-TV is on board and does have an open hour to fill, now occupied by a Maury repeat at 2 p.m. On other Tribune stations, it could replace Discovery’s True Crime Files in daytime, which has underperformed. This is also perhaps a signal Tribune is finally stepping away from conflict talk with Springer in reruns and Maury and Steve Wilkos‘ contracts expiring in 2020.

For Tribune, this is the first programming rights dealer they struck since their deal with Sinclair fell apart. It means they are moving forward with programming purchases again, to the delight of syndicators. Robbins is the fourth project to move forward for next fall, with NBCUNiversal’s Kelly Clarkson and Judge Jerry (see above), and Disney-ABC’s Tamron Hall.

The last time Sony and Tribune partnered on a project was the short-lived Greg Behrendt Show, on the air during the 2006-07 television season.


With the new season weeks old, the major broadcast networks are already handing out full-season pickups for the new prime-time series: in fact, eleven of them. Pickups include CBS’ The Neighborhood, Magnum P.I., God Friended Me, and FBI; NBC’s New Amsterdam and Manifest; ABC’s Single Parents and A Million Little Things and sophomore series Station 19; and Fox’s Last Man Standing (not exactly new) and The Cool Kids.

As par for the course the last few years, there have been no “quick-trigger” cancellations as the networks are giving new shows plenty of time to find an audience. This comes as live ratings – even as low as a 0.4 demo rating for some shows – are not really a barometer for success anymore. Plus, the networks don’t want the backlash they received in 2011 when Fox canceled Lonestar after two episodes and NBC dropping The Playboy Club after three – despite so-so critical reviews, fans took to internet and social media to express their displeasure.

Notably left off the list is CBS’ revival of Murphy Brown, which actually holding in the ratings despite the tough competition and NBC’s I Feel Bad, which is – um, doing bad in the ratings (pun intended.)

Several new series – including Neighborhood, Magnum, and Single Parents are indeed awful – but keep in mind quality isn’t exactly the broadcast networks’ strong suit.

Then again, neither are some of Netflix’s Marvel dramas.

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