The Media Notepad: Former TV personalities have rough election night

Also: NASCAR Chicago race lines up radio, TV outlets;  Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade returns to TV 

It was not a great election night if you were a former television personality. Republican challenger Dr. Memhet Oz, who quit his daytime talk show to run for the U.S. Senate last year, lost to Pennsylvania Democratic challenger John Fetterman in a race where four million-plus people cast their votes.

Oz stunned viewers of his daytime talk show when he made the announcement last November, catching stations who carry his show and even syndicator Sony Pictures Television off guard. Stations scrambled to take his show off the air as soon as he made his announcement in order not to run afoul of the FCC’s equal-time rules. Sony replaced his show with The Good Dish last January hosted by Oz’s daughter Daphne, taking over Oz’s time slots in most markets only to last all of nine months – one of the shortest-lived syndicated strips in recent memory.

After winning the Republican primary over David McCormick, Oz faced Fetterman, who suffered a stroke several months ago. Despite struggling with his speech at times – especially during the debate with Oz las month, Fetterman prevailed anyway.

Meanwhile in Arizona, former KSAZ Phoenix anchor Kari Lake was losing to Katie Hobbs in the Governor’s race with abut 80 percent of the precincts counted thus far as the Democratic challenger has a razor-thin lead as of this writing. Republican Lake was an anchor for the Fox-owned station for twenty years before resigning to run for office.

It wasn’t all bad for former TV personalities running for office: Former WDAF Kansas City anchor Mark Alford won his race for Missouri’s 4th Congressional District rather easily. Running as a Republican, he defeated Democrat Jack Truman by a three-to-one margin. And in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District in the western portion of the state saw former WQAD Moline meteorologist Eric Sorensen upset Republican Esther Joy King to keep the seat Democratic to succeed retiring Cheri Bustos.

Perhaps the best result of these races Tuesday is no more political ads! And speaking of which, Dan Proft – who along with an office-supplies king from Wisconsin, spent tons of money through his People Who Play By The Rules PAC filled with racist and violent commercials, wasteful fake newspapers, and desperate tactics (including hiring former ABC 7 political contributor Charles Thomas to tell Black voters not to vote for J.B. Pritzker) only to see every Republican challenger  lose Tuesday night, including in the gubernatorial race. Money well spent.


The Big 89 is getting The Big Chicago Street Race and more: Cumulus has signed a three-year deal with NASCAR to carry its Cup series over news/talk WLS-AM starting in February with the Daytona 500.

“We are so excited to partner with WLS-AM to deliver the excitement of NASCAR’s 75th season to race fans across the Chicago metro,” Chris Schwartz, president of Motor Racing Network, said in a statement via chicagobusiness.com.

The deal also covers the NASCAR event taking place along the streets of downtown Chicago dubbed The Chicago Street Race, scheduled for July 1st and 2nd of next year – the first time the motorsport has held a race within the city limits. Over the summer, city leaders signed a deal for the league to take over the areas near the lakefront for the next three years.

“We are thrilled to be the new Chicago radio home of NASCAR and we look forward to growing this new partnership as we gear up for the first-ever Chicago Street Race next summer—and what promises to be an unforgettable Fourth of July weekend,” said WLS-AM’s program director Stephanie Tichenor.

NBC will carry The Chicago Street Race July 2 at 4:30 p.m. as part of a lineup announced Thursday with coverage of NASCAR races starting June 25 at Nashville Superspeedway. The NASCAR Xfinity Series version of the race takes place July 1 with a 4 p.m. starting time airing on USA Network. In all, NBC and USA are combining for twenty NASCAR Cup series and nineteen Xfinity Series races. Both NBC and USA are owned by NBCUniversal, whose parent is Comcast, who brands its cable and internet services as Xfinity. No official announcement on if the two Chicago Street Races would stream on Peacock, but are expected to be. Tickets went on sale for the races this week.  

Fox and cable sibling FS1 has rights to the early part of the NASCAR package including the Daytona 500.

This isn’t the first time NASCAR has aired on local radio; country station WUSN-FM carried some races a few years ago. NASCAR races can also be heard on SiriusXM channel 90. WLS-AM hasn’t carried sports on a full-time basis since at least 2018, when Cumulus’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy ended the station’s carriage deals with the White Sox and Bulls.


For the first time in a few years, the annual Thanksgiving Parade is back on local television this year, with Weigel’s WCIU-TV airing the festivities down State Street on November 24, Thanksgiving morning from 8 to 11 a.m.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with CW26 to air the live broadcast of the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade to all of Chicagoland,” said Phil Purevich, who is managing director of the parade. “With the support of CW26 and Weigel Broadcasting, we are positioned to have a great show this year!”

The parade will feature several high school marching bands and performances from numerous arts organizations from throughout the city and suburbs.

Celebrities appearing in the parade include Jen Lilley (from Days of Our Lives fame) and Jesse Hutch, who has a ton of credits in several CW shows including Arrow, Supernatural, and Batwoman. Both are co-starring in a new holiday movie B&B Holiday premiering December 4 on linear cable network Great American Family.

With McDonald’s as a sponsor, WGN-TV was the longtime home of the parade until its cancellation in 2020 due to Covid. The parade resumed last year, but WGN did not renew its contract with the organization who puts on the parade, leaving it off local television.

Further reading: 

Chicago Sun-Times obit writer Maureen O’Donnell retires (Sun-Times)

WGN Radio’s Roger Triemstra dies at 92

Freshman talker Karamo Brown spent last Monday in our town (CW 26) 

The Kelly Clarkson Show renewed through 2024-25 (NBCU Media Village)

Peacock to let local NBC affiliates stream their content on platform (TechCrunch)

Weigel-owned CBS affiliate WDJT Milwaukee’s news operation has a new slogan: “Don’t Watch Us”.  (TV Newscheck)

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