1. The continuing impact of Netflix and Amazon. And as of this writing, Netflix movie BirdBox has racked up 45 million views on the streaming service. Look for the duo to continue being cultural changers in 2019.
2. Will B96 end its contemporary music format in 2019 after 37 years? With ratings at an all-time low, it could be curtains after a long run – but it may not easy to pull off as competitors are seeking to block any move a rival could make by tweaking their own existing formats. Another station we should keep our eye on? Struggling country music station Big 95.5
3. What the Cubs new network would look like. The biggest discussion is the Cubs’ new regional sports channel, set to launch in 2020. What will it be named? And are they going to partner with Sinclair Broadcasting to launch it, as rumored?
4. The split of Fox and its namesake studio will be final. An end of an era is looming as Disney would be in control of the 20th Century Fox film studio and its properties, perhaps as soon as March.
5. Can WLS-AM revive itself with newcomers Mancow Muller and Ben Shapiro? In a Democratic-leaning metropolitan area, it could be a tough chore to improve ratings, even with an established name and a hot newcomer.
6. The FCC’s agenda. A Fifth Democratic member (N) is expected to come abroad, but the agency will have to deal with the Government shutdown first. Another item to look for is the battle of chldren’s programming requirements for local stations.
7. Disney and Warner Media each launches their streaming service. With each set to launch next fall, can these studios put a dent in the streaming dominance of Netflix and Amazon?
8. Will Jessica Jones make it to a fourth season? With Netflix cancelling three Marvel shows last year – not to mention a weak second season, Jessica Jones and The Punisher indeed have targets on their back.
9. Who be will be the next Mayor of Chicago? The reality series Who Wants To Be Mayor Of Chicago is going to be one to watch with at least 20 candidates!
10. Who do you have in your daytime TV talk show pool? Kelly Clarkson or Tamron Hall? The real question is, where is Hall going to land on ABC 7’s schedule? Will she replace the local Windy City Live? Or be stuck in late-night? Is Kelly Clarkson replacing Steve Harvey at 2 p.m. on NBC 5? Hell, will Steve Harvey even have a talk show come next fall? And what is going to replace Extra on the NBC owned stations?
11. The AT&T-Justice Department battle. Will AT&T be forced to rewind its merger with Time Warner (now WarnerMedia)? This battle could wind up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
12. Will Nexstar keep WGN Radio? If Nexstar sells the legendary talker, potential buyers could be Cumulus, iHeartMedia, Entercom, or perhaps someone else. Either way, it’s an end of an era.