The Media Notepad: Rock 95 Five sets new lineup

Former Kiss FM Angi Taylor heads up mornings. Also Tamron Hall renewed for season three; sports ratings;

iHeartMedia’s new Rock 95 Five – now known with the call letters WCHI-FM, announced its weekday DJ lineup this week, and features some familiar and not-so-familiar names.

For one, iHeartMedia has plucked Angi Taylor from Top 40 sister station WKSC-FM to do mornings and added Walt Flakus, a former WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM personality to do middays (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), not to mention appointing him assistant program director, reporting to James Howard.

Also on board in Josh Klinger in afternoons (3 to 7 p.m.) and Maria Palmer from 7 p.m. to midnight.

iHeartMedia flipped the former Big 95.5 (WEBG-FM) on September 3 to mainstream rock as Rock 95 Five. So far, reviews of the station’s playlist hasn’t really been positive, with many saying the music is too bland and generic. It seems to be a mish-mash of different rock genres, from alternative to active rock and even some hot adult contemporary (Hot AC) thrown in, such as Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls. But this quip review from MWMetalhead from the Michigan Buzzboard sums it up:

Ouch. No one said competing with WXRT, The Drive (WDRV) and WKQX was going to be easy. But Rock 95 Five really needs to bring it. 


Despite earning a 0.8 season-to-date household rating so far this season, it’s full steam ahead for another season of The Tamron Hall Show, renewed for a third season as announced on her show Tuesday.

“Tamfam (sic), thank you for giving us the space and grace to have a real conversation every day. Life is about the tough talks, but for me, more than anything else it’s about having an honest, fair, and open discussion where we can laugh, learn and find hope together,” said Hall in a statement. “Thank you to my Disney ABC team for proving we can still dream together, and to our terrific station partners. Also thanks to our many guests who have agreed it’s time to say ‘let’s talk about it.’” 

The key to the show’s pickup was a renewal on ABC’s seven-owned stations who carry the show including WABC New York and KABC Los Angeles. Now it needs another markets outside of the ABC O&Os to renew – including Chicago, whose WLS-TV does not carry the show due to Windy City Live, which is the city’s top-rated daytime talk show.

Currently, Weigel’s CW 26 (WCIU) and The U (WCUU/WMEU) carry Tamron Hall’s talk show, but it moved from an early fringe 4 p.m. slot to lower HUT level daytime 10 a.m. slot on CW 26 in April although it retained its 8 p.m. prime-time slot on The U. With the two-year deal expiring at the end of this season, there is a possibility the show could move elsewhere in the Chicago market – especially Nexstar’s WGN-TV, whose 1 p.m. slot was occupied by Mel Robbins’ show last season before it was canceled at the end of last season (it’s now occupied by Maury reruns.)

Although ratings are still low, Tamron Hall generated significant buzz with interviews recently featuring former Democratic Florida governable candidate Andrew Gillium, who came out as bisexual; former Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schorder, who admitted displaying racist behavior; and Chris Evans’ embarrassing Instagram major fail.

While it’s great to see Tamron Hall return for a third season – which is hard to do these days for any syndicated program, here’s one request…please stop saying Tamfam.


Even though the Cubs and White Sox saw their playoff runs snuffed out early, there is some encouraging news as their average ratings for their truncated seasons were up from 2019.

Covid shortened the regular season for Major League Baseball from 162 games to 60 games, and with no fans in the stands so comparisons to last year is a bit apples-and-oranges. With that said, the Chicago White Sox – thanks to an improved on-the-field product, scored the biggest ratings year-to-year ratings increase in MLB of 152 percent. The White Sox averaged 90,708 households or mobile streams, with comes out to around a 3 Nielsen ratings (some 34,000 homes equal to one ratings point.)

The Cubs also have something to celebrate as their ratings were also up from 2019 with a 4 percent increase (from NBC Sports Chicago/WGN-TV/ABC 7.) And this was done as the team launched its new Marquee Sports Network in conjunction with Sinclair last February, making the ratings increase even more impressive. The key certainly was a deal with the market’s largest cable operator, Comcast putting the RSN in more than a million homes.

Overall, MLB scored a 4 percent ratings increase over last year in 25 local people meter market (including Chicago), remarkable given the shortened season. In addition to measuring households, Nielsen also included digital numbers from streaming in those same 25 markets.

Other viewership winners include the Oakland A’s (+108%), L.A. Dodgers (+84% as they struck a deal with DirecTV and AT&T for carriage of SportsNet LA), and the San Francisco Giants (+42%).

There were two big market losers: the L.A. Angels (-34%) and the Boston Red Sox (-54%) as their respective teams laid a goose egg in the standings this year. And despite making the playoffs (and sweeping the Cubs), the Marlins finished in the basement. Separately, the Toronto Blue Jays were up 23 percent in viewership this year on SportsNet from 2019, as the team was forced to play its home games across Lake Ontario in Buffalo due to border restrictions due to Covid.

This is a bit remarkable giving sports viewership has slipped elsewhere, given the pandemic delayed other sports. But this isn’t really the whole picture, as nationally-televised games have performed poorly and ratings for the MLB playoffs have been meh-like so far with even the now-eliminated Cubs playoff appearances not generating a lot of buzz, even in Chicago. 

Further reading… 

WBEZ taps new interim CEO (Robert Feder)

AT&T officially puts DirecTV on the sales block (Ars Technica)

Bears score on the field but drop in the ratings Thursday night (Chicago Tribune)

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