The Media Notepad: Bulls, Blackhawks, and White Sox go a different direction to launch new RSN

Also: Daily Herald makes changes; CBS releases fall sked early; US 99’s Drew Walker exits 

[Editor’s Note: This article was updated to remove some incorrect information in the first item. – T.H.] 

The new proposed regional sports network featuring the Blackhawks, Bulls, and White Sox now may have a behind-the-scenes change.

In a surprising move reported by The Athletic Saturday night, the new regional sports network Jerry Reinsdorf is looking to launch will now be handled by Standard Media, a small broadcast group based in Nashville that owns only four stations in three markets but none in Nashville itself. The largest city where Standard Media owns a station is ABC affiliate WLNE in Providence, R.I. 

Originally, Jerry Reinsdorf’s Silver Chaice Sports planned to launch a new RSN with Stadium, an existing IP he owned and is currently a streaming-only channel. But it looks like those plans are off the table as all three teams are still expected to leave NBC Sports Chicago this October.

The plans for distribution remain the same – all three teams are looking to strike cable and satellite deals and launch a direct-to-consumer streaming option for subscribers, plus finding an over-the-air partner with Weigel Broadcasting’s WCIU (who will revert to an independent September 1) and Fox’s WPWR-TV as possibilities.

It is unlikely “Stadium” would be used since Silver Chaice owns the rights to the name.

An official announcement has yet to be made, so we’ll have more information when it becomes available. 

After 20 years at Audacy-owned WUSN-FM (US 99), Drew Walker has exited the station – but he’s not calling it a career quite yet.

“Why now? It’s time for a change. What’s next? I’m not allowed to say just yet but I am very, very excited about my future right here in Chicago. I promise that when I get the green light to talk about it, you’ll be the first to know and it is GOOD!” said Walker on his Facebook account Friday, so he will resurface on another Chicago radio station soon.

Working the 9 a.m. to noon shift, Walker’s last day at US99 was Friday. 

Walker was with US 99 for two decades, first doing fill-in and weekend work and later promoted to afternoons for a long run before settling into a midday shift. He was also the interim morning host after Stylz and Roman were let go from the station.

Despite bankruptcy proceedings against Audacy and amid struggles with some of its sister Chicago stations, US 99 has been a constant performer. In the last ratings survey, the country music station finished eighth overall. US 99 is in its 42nd year in the country music format, flipping from an adult contemporary/middle-of-the-road format as WEFM in 1982.

In a surprise, CBS released its 2024-25 season schedule last week – earlier than its competitors. So here’s what to expect: 

Mondays have the Damon Wayans Jr. – and Sr. Poppa’s House, nestled in between The Neighborhood and NCIS, with new NCIS prequel NCIS Origins occupying the last hour of primetime (another NCIS-related show – NCIS: Hawai’i, was canceled a week ago.)

Wednesdays has Survivor retaining its 90-minute format, but a new reality/competition show called The Summit, with Amazing Race returning in March 2025.

The biggest new series of the season lands on Thursday is Young Sheldon spin-off Georgie And Mandy’s First Marriage, in perhaps the oddest – and longest – sitcom titles in a long time. It features Sheldon’s brother Georgie (Montana Jordan) and wife Mandy (Emily Osment) “as they raise their young family in Texas while navigating the challenges of adulthood, parenting and marriage.” This could wind up being a hit or the next Sanford Arms.

After a returning Ghosts, is a Matlock reboot with Kathy Bates in a gender-flipped role followed by hit show Elsbeth, which has been a critical favorite with one notable exception.

Fridays and Saturdays remain unchanged, sans Blue Bloods‘ departure from the Friday at midseason. Sundays sees a change with Tracker following 60 Minutes with Equalizer and drama repeats filling out the schedule until new crime drama Watson premieres in February 2025. Tracker is the first program to launch successfully out of the Super Bowl since ABC’s The Wonder Years in 1988.

Other midseason entries include returning shows The Price Is Right At Night, the asinine Raid The Cage, and a return of the Hollywood Squares to TV after a twenty-year absence – and the first in network primetime since 1968 – with Drew Barrymore in the center square (though she wouldn’t be my pick.)

Suburban newspaper The Daily Herald announced last week the promotion of managing editor Lisa Miner as executive editor, effective May 13. She replaces Jim Baumann in the role, who is retiring.

“I am honored and humbled to be named executive editor, following in the impressive footsteps of Jim and others before him,” Miner said in a statement. “I started my career at the Daily Herald years ago as a reporter, and I am grateful to have worked with so many talented and dedicated journalists. Local journalism is essential, and I look forward to building on the Daily Herald legacy.”

Miner has been at the Daily Herald for 40 years, starting as a staff reporter. Graduating from the University of Illinois at Champaign with a bachelor of science degree in journalism, and served as the editor of the Daily Illini. She later interned at the Arizona Daily Star and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before arriving at the Daily Herald. Two years ago, Miner became the Daily Herald’s managing editor.

As for Baumann, he’s heading to Tennessee and calling it a career after spending his entire professional career at the paper – 39 years, who like Miner, also is a U of I alum. He joined the paper and worked in various roles as a reporter, editor, managing editor, and corporate vice president.

“We’ve hidden Lisa’s light under a bushel for too long. She has all the attributes of a newsroom leader: she’s a great journalist, she leads by example and she is tremendously organized. First and foremost, she is compassionate and is sensitive to the needs of the communities we serve,” said Baumann. “I wouldn’t be leaving unless I knew the paper would be in good hands.”


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