Study: Chicagoans prefer local news over cable news by a wide margin







CNN, Fox News lag in Chicago market – as local news expansion is starting to go bust in some markets

You’d think with all the local newscasts saturating Chicago television, there would be a lot of people watching, right?

A recent study released has confirmed this fact – but cable news may be another story.

According to a study commissioned by Nielsen, Chicago viewers spent two hours and 43 minutes watching local news in the first quarter of 2017 – tying Minneapolis-St. Paul for seventh place among the top 25 markets measured by Local People Meters, which includes demo information in addition to household numbers.

What’s odd about this is – two markets with the fewest local news operations with only three each – ranked in the top five. Second was St. Louis and Detroit ranked fourth. CBS has not had a news operation in Detroit since 2003 as the network bought the old WGPR-TV in 1994 (now WWJ-TV) after they lost its longtime affiliate WJBK in the New World/Fox deal. Outside of a news show host by conservative talker Jamie Allman, Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate KDNL in St. Louis also lacks a news operation (Sinclair is buying Tribune Broadcasting, owners of former ABC and current Fox affiliate KTVI and CW affiliate KPLR.)

By comparison, Cleveland ranked first on average, with three hours and 27 minutes. New York ranked 22nd with an hour and 59 minute average and Los Angeles tied Portland for seventeenth place, each with two hours and ten minutes. Spending the less time? Both Orlando and Washington D.C. tied for last place with an hour and 54 minutes each.

In vast contrast, Chicagoans spent far less time with cable news than their LPM counterparts. Despite constant hype in the trade press about cable news ratings, Chicago tied for 22nd with Dallas-Fort Worth, and ahead of only Minneapolis and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose. The numbers may be a reflection on how viewers feel about the cable news networks as the metropolitan area does not get a fair shake from the national media – particularly from Fox News – regarding coverage as the city’s homicide epidemic and crime rate is a frequent topic.

Orlando ranked first with three hours and fifteen minutes on average for cable-news watching, more than double the time watching local news.

Sorry, we Chicagoans are not that into y’all. (Quartz)

Overall, Chicago viewers spent 5 hours and 43 minutes on average watching news, ranking seventeenth among the top 25 markets measured. Breaking it down, Chicagoans spent an hour and one minute on average for broadcast network news and and hour and 51 minutes watching cable news. Overall, Pittsburgh finished first on the list with a grand total of seven hours and 47 minutes. Among adults 18-plus, Chicago placed a strong fifth – behind front-runner Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis.

The study indicates there is still interest in local news here compared to other cities – despite the never-ending complaints about it, including the number of hours devoted to it from local stations. But recent trends seem to indicate the local news expansion is starting to go bust.

Despite being ranked second in terms to time spent watching local news, St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK canceled its noon newscast on Sept. 8, due to low ratings and replaced with Jeopardy! reruns. NBC affiliate WLEX in Lexington, Ky. canceled its 4 p.m. newscast and replaced with Cityline, a Canadian talk show debuted in the United States on Sept. 11. And in Indianapolis, ABC affiliate WRTV pulled the plug on its 4 p.m. newscast called “The Now” in June, branded by corporate parent Scripps in some areas for its afternoon or evening newscasts.

In fact, it was low news ratings – and low ratings overall, that forced out WRTV GM Larry Blackerby on Monday. According to Indianapolis Business Journal, the station’s newscasts finished not only behind market leader WTHR (NBC) and WXIN (Fox), but also CBS affiliate WTTV and former CBS affiliate WISH, now a CW station. Certainly not helping is ABC’s third-place position in the prime-time race, barely ahead of Fox.

By comparison, ABC-owned WLS-TV in Chicago is a dominant number one in local news and programming.

According to Nielsen, Indianapolis viewers spent three hours and 26 minutes watching local news in a separate survey for metered, non-LPM markets and nineteenth overall, which Nashville finished a top of. Birmingham finished first in local news viewing, topping out at three hours and 53 minutes. Among all news, Nashville topped the list with a whopping ten hours and three minutes – far higher than Pittsburgh, who topped the LPM list – obviously satisfying for Predator fans who saw their team beat by the Penguins in the recent Stanley Cup Final.

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The 2017 Primetime Emmys: “The Handmaid’s Tale” surprise big night

Stephen Colbert hosted the 69th Annual Emmy Awards Sunday.

Diversity shines during Emmy telecast, but presentation showcases the worst of Hollywood 

The 69th Annual Emmy Awards took place Sunday night described as Hollywood’s annual self-congratulatory fest.

Oh wait, this takes also place during the Oscars, too. Whatever.

The event was televised live to all time zones with Stephen Colbert as host of the festivities. Among notable winners, Sterling K. Brown won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama series for This Is Us, marking the first time an African-American won since Andre Braugher won in 1998 for Homicide: Life On The Street.

Another big winner is Lena Waithe – becoming the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for Aziz Ansari’s Master Of None, with both sharing the honor. What makes this special – at least for yours truly – she is a South Side Chicago native.

The show who had the biggest night was indeed a big surprise: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, hauling away a total of five Emmys, including one for Outstanding Drama Series – besting favorites such as This Is Us and Stranger Things. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Veep won for Outstanding Comedy Series, while John Oliver won a writing award and best late night series for the awesome Last Week Tonight.

And among streaming services, Hulu topped Netflix, five to four – all of them from Handmaid’s Tale alone.

To see the full list of winners, click here.

The Creative Arts Emmys took place a week earlier with HBO taking nineteen trophies home and Bob’s Burgers winning Outstanding Animated Series. To see a complete list of winners, click here for night one and here for night two.

As for the telecast, the presentation for the most part was lackluster. The opening sequence with Colbert and a cameo appearance from Chance The rapper was the major exception, but went downhill from there. There were a lot of shots at President Trump – 21 of them to be exact. That’s nice, but was expected since the nation’s leader is not a fan of Hollywood (and vice versa.)

Sean Spicer crashes the party via motorized podium. (ABC News)

The biggest buzz of the night was the surprise appearance of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, coming out on a motorized podium – similar to one Melissa McCarthy used (on SNL) parodying him (yours truly thought it was McCarthy when Spicer came out.) Yours truly didn’t know what to make of this – it was just bizarre. Reaction to Spicer’s appearance was overwhelmingly negative, with a few opposing tweets (“you’re normalizing bigotry!”) a little over-the-top. Colbert later starred in some Westwood skit I didn’t understand, or found funny. As for him as host – meh.

And the less said about announcer Jermaine Fowler, the better – even the Cubs’ Dexter Fowler would’ve been better. With absolutely no experience, his hire is a slap in the face to more deserving radio and voiceover artists everywhere in an industry where their jobs are already being phased out and replaced by imbeciles like Steve Harvey and Ryan Seacrest. Then again, we were fortunate neither one of those two were behind the mic.

And outside of the opening sequence or Waithe’s awesome victory, the best part of the Emmys: no anti-soda tax commercials aired. Leave it to Hollywood and the media industry to make even the Cook County Board look…at least competent.

The Emmy awards – which drew 11.4 million viewers and an all time-low of a 2.5 Nielsen adult demo rating – reminds yours truly of the atrocious 2013 Academy Award show hosted by Seth MacFarlane. And Spicer’s cameo was definitely ill-timed in this volatile culture climate. In an era of Big Media and media consolidation, it is the same stuff over and over again as ruthless media companies continue to cut jobs, cable and satellite companies continue to raise our bills, and viewers continue to bail on prime-time network television in droves. What is there to exactly celebrate in television (or in radio) these days? How streaming services are destroying the ecosystem? But hey, Hollywood celebrities get to laugh it up with Spicer while the media industry – and America – is heading down the toilet.

In a world where the public clamors for crap like American Idol, cable news, Eric & Kathy (until a few months ago), and Real Housewives of any city, state, zip code and/or province, the 2017 Emmy Awards presentation fits in just fine – even as it hands out trophies to programming meant to escape from this dreck.

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Think Tank Express: ESPN’s Jemele Hill should keep her job (updated)

Why? Bill Maher and former Rep. Joe Walsh have said much worse about African-Americans – and they get to keep THEIR jobs 

(Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new information since this was posted. – T.H.) 

As you know by now, ESPN personality Jemele Hill was reprimanded by the network for tweets she sent on Monday, referring to President Trump as a white supremacist. There have been calls for her firing, including from the White House.

Wednesday night, Hill apologized for the tweet and ESPN accepted, likely meaning the matter (for now) seems to be closed.

Now as I said before, if you want to stay in the media business, you have to avoid politics on social media at all cost. Mark Giangreco was suspended for a tweet about President Trump a few months ago, but it was more jokingly in nature.

But hold on a second.

Just a few months ago, Bill Maher said the N-word during a broadcast of Real Time Will Bill Maher. And several years ago, WIND-AM host Joe Walsh (the former politician) said the N-word and other racist comments during a rant on whether or not the Washington Redskins name was appropriate (and yes, yours truly did call for the firing of Walsh last year.)

Neither man – both white – were disciplined by their respective employers. In fact, Walsh recently sent a tweet saying the only reason African-Americans voted for Barack Obama because he was black.  Meanwhile, HBO recently gave Maher a three-year renewal at the network.

There is no doubt President Trump has surrounded himself with white nationalists – notably Steve Bannon, who he “fired” several weeks ago. And his actions after the attacks in Charlottesville – and his refusal to condemn actions by the Ku Klux Klan and other nationalist groups. And we all know Trump was elected on using a platform using Chicago’s crime epidemic as a code word for “black”, knowing the previous President was from here – he and other conservative commentators only pretend to care about the homicide epidemic on the South and West sides of the city, reminding their base how “those people are running amok there“, even after he won the election. It’s like running up the score in a blowout.

This controversy comes at a time when the media business is under scrutiny for handling diversity, which I pointed out on this blog on numerous occasions. Recently, Agents of S.H.I.E.LD star and Chicago native Chloe Bennett blasted Hollywood for its racism, after the Hellboy reboot recast a white actor for a role meant for an Asian-American in a “whitewashing” scandal.

It would’ve been a disaster if ESPN fired Hill, as the network could’ve faced angry protests and boycotts from the African-American community – something CBS-owned WBBM-TV had to endure in 1985 after the station demoted Harry Porterfield, with its effects still being felt today – even after he returned to the station in 2009. 

ESPN made the right call. If people like Maher and Walsh can keep their jobs, she should keep hers as well. If ESPN wants to get rid of someone, they can start with “Stanford Steve”, whose only crime is being the most annoying person not named Chris Berman to ever appear on SportsCenter.

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The Media Notepad: Party’s over for Chi-Town Rising

Also: Dennis Welsh wades into soda tax controversy while his station profits off pro-soda tax ads; Tom Joyner returns to Dallas as Classic Hip-Hop format’s future is questionable; Fox’s late night plans may not include off-network sitcoms

The star has fallen: organizers of New Year’s Eve celebration Chi-Town Rising threw in the towel Thursday and announced they would not bring back the party for a third season. As first reported by DNA Info Chicago, the organizers lost money for the first edition two years ago and even though they didn’t disclosure numbers from last year’s event, it’s safe to assume the most recent edition didn’t turn a profit, either.

After pulling an upset in year one beating ABC 7’s Countdown Chicago, ratings plunged for the second edition on NBC 5 – even though this year’s decline had a lot to do with New Year’s Eve falling on a Saturday night as television HUT levels are traditionally lower (Countdown Chicago also experienced a similar ratings decline.) Despite this, numbers for both shows still did far better than most prime-time shows do in Chicago during the holiday week.

There were notable problems for Chi-Town rising from the start: after announcing the festival would be free for all, organizers decided to charge patrons for coming in (likely a ploy at the time to keep protesters upset over the police killing of LaQuan McDonald out of the festivities); there were numerous technical glitches two years straight, including the star reaching the top of the building nearly a minute late after the New Year’s began; and the failure to attract A-list talent as last year’s celebration featured acts you couldn’t identify in police lineup.

The special was broadcast over diginet Cozi TV and 40 NBC affiliates nationwide; it’s hard to imagine anyone watched outside of Chicago for this unorganized mess, which was just as bad as those New Year’s Celebrations held at State and Randolph in the late 1970’s, broadcast over CBS 2.

Despite the cancellation of the event, NBC 5 still plans to produce a local New Year’s Eve special, but details on the telecast have yet to be announced.

Once again, the controversy over television editorials took center stage – not from Sinclair Broadcasting, but a Fox-owned station here in Chicago.

WFLD/WPWR general manger Dennis Welsh last week did an editorial about the recent number of taxes the Chicago area and Illinois in general have been hit with – notably the Cook County soda tax, which sent shoppers across county lines or to Indiana to buy groceries. Soda taxes have been quite the controversy recently, as three of the top six markets – Chicago, Philadelphia, and three municipalities in the Bay Area have some kind of tax on soda and other sugary (and non-sugary) drinks.

The editorial has struck a nerve, with the Welsh piece receiving over one million views on Facebook.

While yours truly agrees with Welsh in the issue, there was one problem – as Robert Feder noted, the editorial featured employees from the Fox duopoly, appearing in the piece. Some unions claimed Fox 32 paid for those ads to appear on Facebook.

You wonder if the guy holding the two-liter of Diet Dr. Pepper in the piece bought it at the CVS next door to Fox 32’s headquarters.

This lies the problem with such pieces – you wonder what really happens behind the scenes and raises a lot of questions – did Fox 32 employees volunteer to appear in the piece – or were they forced by station management? Yours truly made his feelings known about station editorials in 2013 when Welsh starting doing them and last year when WNYW GM Lew Leone criticized New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio for arriving late to work.

Also, the editorial by Welsh seems a bit hypocritical. As he rails against the tax, his station – and others in the Chicago market are happily profiting from Michael Bloomberg, who is funding these annoying pro-soda tax ads, making viewers like yours truly frustrated and sacrificing live viewership for a quick buck from these PAC morons. It’s interesting how local stations and the broadcast networks continue to drive viewers away from television and yet blame someone else when ratings are down.

It also helps to note Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group are among television’s biggest advertisers, with Pepsi as a major NFL sponsor and Dr. Pepper as a major college football advertiser. Should be interesting if the anti-soda lobby would buy local time during football games (so far, yours truly has seen them only during White Sox games.)

As for these “editorials”, it’s going to get worse if Sinclair’s Bottom Line With Boris is any indication -which means we’ll likely see more Bottom Line With Dennis. Welsh might as well hire Larry the vendor from the Dr. Pepper ad to appear in his next editorial. Ice cold Dr. Pepper here!

Boom has gone bust in Big D: Urban One’s KSOC-FM (Boom 94.5) in Dallas announced Monday it was returning to the Urban AC format they abandoned in 2014 and rebranded themselves as “Majic 94.5” (“Majic” is typically used as branding for Urban AC stations.) Also returning to the station is Tom Joyner’s Dallas-based syndicated morning program, airing live from 5-9 a.m.

The news of Joyner’s return to the Metroplex is good news after losing clearances in key markets including Chicago earlier this year when Soul 106.3 (WSRB-FM) dropped his show for a local host, former WGCI-FM evening jock Mike Love. So far, the move hasn’t paid off as Love as his new morning show tied for 30th place in a recent ratings report. Joyner’s program has drawn dismal ratings in Chicago since moving to WSRB after he was bumped off his longtime home of WVAZ-FM for Steve Harvey.

It also signals Tom Joyner’s morning show is here to stay, despite a lack of clearances in top African-American markets and defections of talent over the years, including J. Anthony Brown and Sheryl Underwood. Reach Media produces the TJMS and is owned by Urban One, formerly known as Radio One.

Also on tap is D.L. Hughley’s syndicated show in the afternoons and former Chicago radio personality John Monds holds down the evening shift.

The change in the Metroplex is being made as KSOC’s ratings as a Classic Hip-Hop outlet has not been impressive as the station finished 23rd in a recent PPM report. In January, Houston’s Boom 92 went bust after a little over two years and flipped to Top 40. The format however, is still prominent in a few markets, such as Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia, where they have TWO classic hip-hop stations. But my guessing is this won’t be for long as a major problem with this format is the limited playlists and novelty formats like these are best left to satellite radio (Sirius/XM has two such “throwback” channels) and Internet stations where unlike terrestrial, songs are not bound by censorship.

Thanks for catching up, Variety: The Hollywood trade came out with an “exclusive” story Tuesday regarding Fox’s decision to steer away from off-network sitcoms in late-night as fewer and fewer comedies in the multi-cam format are being produced and the wide availability of such fare on other platforms.

But if you have read T Dog Media for years, then you already knew that. Yours truly has written several articles on the subject, and you can read them herehere and here – even before streaming became the big hot thing. And it’s not just late-night, either: stations – from ALL groups are either reducing or eliminating off-network sitcoms from their schedules. Example: WGN’s decision earlier this year to replace Two And A Half Men reruns with local news in prime access (6 p.m.) – a similar task Fox is doing in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. at 11 p.m., going up against the established local news shows on other channels.

Recently, Fox-owned stations have tested several first-run concepts this summer, including iWitness and comedy game show Punchline, which aired at 11 p.m. on WPWR for four weeks. Fox does have hefty contracts for The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family in most of its duopoly markets, including Chicago.

Fox has been out of the late-night business since The Chevy Chase Show flamed out after five weeks in October 1993, though Fox-owned stations did try their hand airing late-night syndicated talkers from Keenan Ivory Wayans and Magic Johnson during the 1997-98 season. With the failure of those shows (and Arsenio Hall’s 2013 comeback attempt), don’t look for a new talk show as one of the “more of the moment” programming Fox TV stations programming chief Frank Cicha alluded to in the article.

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“The Orville” flies into turbulence

Starlost: Seth MacFarlane (l.) created and stars in “The Orville”. (Fox)

Poor writing, poor acting dooms Orville’s mission

As one who used to watch Family Guy way back when, yours truly was a Seth MacFarlane fan. I even attended a live reading for the show ten years ago.

But oh my, how times have changed. Outside of the brilliant Cosmos remake from a few years ago, he hasn’t done anything of note. He had Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show, which continues to pollute the air in syndication. Then came his disastrous Oscar-hosting gig. And of course, his awkward acting debut in A Million Ways To Win The West.

Now he’s created  – and stars in new sci-fi drama The Orville debuting Sunday night on Fox, who obviously is desperate for hits. But is this a drama? Or a comedy? Can’t be the latter because there were no laughs found in it. Some tagged this as a Star Trek parody, and it does ripoff the classic sci-fi franchise right down to the seats and the creatures. But you knew originality isn’t MacFarlane’s strong suit.

MacFarlane plays Ed Mercer, a strange lout who takes over a ship and he has to work with his ex-wife played by former Agents of Shield star Adrienne Palicki, who he found rolling around with an alien we shall call “Papa Smurf”. Also featured in this show is Scott Grimes, from American Dad and appeared on CBC’s Republic Of Doyle as a pain in the butt to Allen Hawco.

The writing is absolutely horrible as much of the dialogue is awkward. And the plot was stupid – a character played by Brian White (the person who played the finger-wagging guy on Seinfeld and Raj’s dad on The Big Bang Theory) invented a device that aged stuff, and one villain wanted the device. An unlucky woman fell face first into the device and aged and died. One woman remarked the victim looked “125 years old”. Ugh.

The one positive in this show is the look is slick, and the sets aren’t bad – this isn’t 1973’s syndicated disaster The Starlost, where the sets of the low-budget drama were allegedly were made of lots and lots of Styrofoam and shot on videotape. Unfortunately, the writing and dialogue is similar to the short-lived Keir Dullea series (20th Century Fox produces both Orville and Starlost, the latter with Canada’s CTV and Glen-Warren Productions.) The show was so bad, creator Harlan Ellison even had his name changed on the credits.

Well, at least MacFarlane isn’t running around on an 800-mile long ship made out of Solo Cups.

As for the music score, it is similar to Trek’s, but it is too loud and uninspiring. And yes, MacFarlane’s acting skills – as proven in West – are still not good.

Reaction on social media and the Internet in general to The Orville were far more positive than yours truly’s and other critics – then again, the positive response can be said for just about anything on social media not named Trump, Jay Cutler, and the Cook County Board President’s soda tax. And I said before in the previous post, you can’t go broke underestimating the taste of the American public – and it explains the success of mind-numbing crap like the now-defunct Eric & Kathy Show and the should’ve-stayed-defunct American Idol. Now that Kathy Hart is out of a job, maybe she can join the cast of this insipid show – she’ll fit right in given her “acting” skills are perfect since she was “acting” nice to Eric Ferguson on the air for twenty years.

Ratings for The Orville (delayed due to Hurricane Irma) should be strong thanks to its inflated football lead-in this week and next, then it heads to Thursday Nights, where it’ll face football and the return of Will & Grace. But Orville should hold its own in the ratings, meaning they’ll be no quick hook for MacFarlane’s show. Plus, MacFarlane still has a strong fan base given the ratings for Family Guy are still decent and Cleveland’s syndication run is surprisingly still strong. So no T Dog Media TV Hall Of Shame Induction – for now but the first episode did not leave a good impression – not a good start for The Orville.

The Orville isn’t the worst sci-fi show to air this decade: that belongs to Tim Kring’s unwatchable Heroes: Reborn, which never should have came out of its uterus. But since Orville is  barely a notch above Reborn in the quality department, Seth MacFarlane might want to change his name on the credits.

Grade: D minus 

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Kathy Hart out at The Mix

The duo is kaput, but Eric gets to stay.

Firing of radio superstar ends long run

In a move that was somewhat expected, Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTMX-FM fired Kathy Hart Thursday after she went AWOL from the Eric & Kathy Morning Show.

As first reported by Robert Feder, the 53-year old half of the successful morning show on the Hot Adult Contemporary station was handed her walking papers after taking a leave of absence from the morning show earlier this spring. The reason why she left unexpectedly remains unexplained, as Hart never let her employers, co-workers, and fans what was going on.

Hart’s agent declined to comment on the news, and Hart herself has not commented. A few weeks ago, Hart did break her silence in August and said she would return to the airwaves soon in a terse statement, but said nothing else since. Hart continues to be paid through remainder of her contract, which expires in December.

Recently, reports surfaced on tension between Hart and her radio partner, Eric Ferguson. Reportedly, Ferguson and Hart ceased speaking to each other off the air and even had producers conveying messages to each other. Given these circumstances, it was clear the relationship between the two was beyond repair. Both had an annual salary of more than one million per year – but Ferguson reportedly made more than Hart and as Feder noted, may have been a source of antagonism between the two.

Pay equity has been a hot-topic in the media industry lately. Recently, Asian actors Grace Park and Daniel Dae-Kim left CBS’ Hawaii Five-O for this exact reason as they claim their pay wasn’t on equal footing as their white co-stars.

In a memo obtained by Feder, Hubbard Radio Chicago president Jeff England noted the show would continue with Ferguson and other contributors, and would keep everyone up on any up-to-date changes. For the moment, the program’s Twitter account has been renamed The Mix Morning Show, but still has the old @EricAndKathy Twitter handle.

First paired up in 1996, Eric & Kathy had been one of the most successful radio morning shows in the country, spawning copycats in other markets (remember the now-defunct Blaine & Allyson show on Detroit’s WDVD-FM?) Their success and dominance of young female demos generated millions of dollars over the years for then-parent Bonneville Communications and current owner Hubbard Broadcasting. For what it’s worth, the duo were inducted into the Radio Hall Of Fame. Eric & Kathy have also raised millions for several charities, notably Lurie Children’s Hospital through their yearly radiothon, which Hart did not attend this year. 

Recent rating reports show Eric & Kathy – without Kathy, continued its success without missing a beat, still finishing first in the key female adult demos the show targets. Credit the show’s bench – or ensemble cast, consisting of Ferguson, Melissa McGurren, Brian “Whip” Paruch, Cynthia DeNicolo and John “Swany” Swanson for keeping the show on top.

Despite the show’s success, the Eric & Kathy show – and others similar to it – never appealed to listeners outside of its huge white-collar fanbase. It’s the type of program that never really contributed anything to the medium of radio – despite its “honor” by the Radio Hall Of Fame. The program’s success without Kathy Hart proves yes kids, you can draw listeners with content – no matter how good, innovative, stupid, repetitive, unoriginal, or banal it is. You can replace Eric and Kathy with Chuck Woolery and Kaley Cuoco and no one would know the difference. If Eric & Kathy were successful for the longest time, it certainly wasn’t because of Eric & Kathy, and as we all know, you can’t go broke underestimating the taste of the American audience.

Just look at the success of American Idol.


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Justice Network comes to Chicago

In fact, it’s already here. Deal with Univision puts Justice Network on digital subchannels; has been on WGBO since August

Univision announced Wednesday it has struck a deal to put digital subchannel network The Justice Network on several of its stations in large markets, including WGBO in Chicago.

Justice has been on WGBO’s digital 66.4 channel since August 7; Univision’s KMEX in Los Angeles added it June 30.

Launched on January 20, 2015, Justice is a channel featuring true crime, forensic, and investigation shows – similar to Escape, another diginet channel Univision carries on its stations (including WXFT here); several cable channels such as Investigation Discovery and the newly-revamped Oxygen; and syndicated shows Crimewatch with Chris HansenCorrupt Crimes and Forensic Files. Most of the programming is off-cable fare, including shows formerly on Court TV (before its conversion to TruTV), A&E, and Discovery. There are two original programs on Justice: Killing Spree and Inside The Mind Of A Serial Killer.

Investors in Justice include former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh, who regularly appears on the channel via PSAs produced in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, Crime Stoppers, and the National Center of Exploited and Missing Children, and serves as the Justice’s on-air spokesperson. Though these PSAs (known as the BeSafe initiative), 101 fugitives and 103 missing children have been found since the channel’s launch. 

People in key positions at Justice include former Genesis Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Distribution head Barry Wallach; former Discovery Communications head John Ford; and Steve Schiffman, who served as president of the National Geographic Channel.

“We are thrilled to partner with Univision, one of the nation’s strongest and well-regarded broadcasters, to bring our unique concept to these major markets,”said Wallach.“Univision’s commitment to providing its viewers with a diverse array of quality entertainment programming and serve its local communities made them an ideal fit for our network.”

The channel’s first charter station group was Tegna, who currently carries Justice in 22 markets, including Dallas, Washington D.C., Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Denver, and Norfolk, Va. The eleven-station deal with Univision boosts its coverage to 73 percent of the country, adding New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and the Bay Area (San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose) to the mix.

The move continues Univision’s reach to English-language audiences through digital subchannels. In various markets, Univision carries diginets Laff, Bounce, GetTV, Escape, and Grit. In Dallas for example, Univision’s KUVN carries Bounce and Laff on its digital subchannels. In Washington D.C., Univision is adding Bounce to its diginet lineup; the African-American diginet channel previously was a part of CBS affiliate WUSA’s channel space. WUSA is one of the 22 Tegna stations carrying Justice.

In Chicago, Univision’s WGBO added GetTV in 2014, and subsequently added Grit and Escape (to WXFT’s channel space, whose main channel carries Spanish-language channel UniMas.) The move marked WGBO’s first foray into English-language programming in twenty years, as it was known as a lackluster low-rated independent station before Univision purchased it in 1994. Since, WGBO has been far more successful, with a near 10 p.m. news victory among the adults 18-49 demo last June. 

Recently, Scripps Broadcasting (not related to Scripps Networks’ Interactive, who recently merged with Discovery Communications) acquired Katz Communications, owners of Bounce, Escape, Laff, and Grit.

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The Media Notepad: Mike North calls it a (sports) career; Corey McPherrin promoted

Plus: ABC 7 dominates in ratings AND social media; Minneapolis station latest to drop “My” branding

That’s a wrap…for now: Mike North went on television Tuesday night and announced he was “retiring” from sports media, including radio, television, writing, podcasts… you name it. On WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, North told host Phil Ponce talking sports today was just too complicated. He said he was leaving – but not leaving the broadcast business altogether as he’s keeping his options open (future right-leaning political talk show host, perhaps?) North says he plans to move part-time to the Las Vegas area and be a spokesperson for something called Light Keeper Pro.

A former hot dog vendor, Mike North was one of the original personalities of WSCR-AM (a.k.a. The Score) when it launched in 1992 where at one time, he made $1.5 million a year. But his tenure on Chicago sports radio has been filled with controversy as North was known to make racist and sexist comments on his radio shows. In 2007, North got in hot water with Score management over a profanity-laced tirade with Ozzie Guillen.

Since North left WSCR in 2008, he had a hard time duplicating his earlier success – North invested in and was later ousted from a Chicago sports website, amid his controversial dealings with convicted felon David Hernandez who later took his own life. North was paired with his former WSCR partner Dan Jiggetts with two failed television morning shows – one for CSN Chicago, the other for CBS-owned WBBM-TV (which was so bad, yours truly compared it to CBS’ 1987 megabomb The Morning Program and wound up as the first local show in The T Dog Media TV Hall Of Shame, lasting just six months.) His last terrestrial radio gig was a short-lived Sunday afternoon football show for WDRV-FM (The Drive) in 2015. North also had a podcast gig and one with Fox Sports Radio.

As you can tell from the linked articles, yours truly wasn’t a fan of Mike North and cited him as one of the reasons Chicago radio often sounded so stale. But he loved playing the Devil’s Advocate and it’s something he did best – aspiring a current crop of similar hosts such as Clay Travis, Jason Whitlock, and Stephen A. Smith. I guess we can credit – or blame a former hot dog vendor named Pappy.

In another smart move by Fox-owned WFLD-TV, the station announced Wednesday the promotion of Good Day Chicago anchor Corey McPherrin to the 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. anchor position alongside Dawn Hasbrouck, vacated by Jeff Herndon who departed earlier this week to return to his hometown of Wichita, where he became assistant news director and co-news anchor of NBC affiliate KSNW’s newscast.  A native of south suburban Markham, McPherrin came to Chicago in 1991 as sports anchor at WBBM-TV, succeeding a retiring Johnny Morris. In 1995, McPherrin jumped to WFLD, a year after Fox acquired NFL games and fronted the station’s Bears coverage. McPherrin was tapped to host Good Day Chicago in 2010, but was off the air recently due to surgery to correct a heart ailment.

As noted by Robert Feder, WFLD does trail WGN-TV in households at 9 p.m., but is much closer in the key news demo of adults 25-54.

The promotion comes as Mark Suppelsa announced his retirement recently from WGN, as corporate parent Tribune Media is set to be acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting. If Tuesday night’s terrific investigate report by Suppelsa on the 1967 Kerner report is any indication, WGN is losing one of the best investigative reporters in the city. Don’t look for this type of reporting on urban issues from Captain Chesapeake and the Boys, despite being based in the Baltimore area.

A story on TVNewscheck’s website Tuesday spotlighted Chicago media once again with the ongoing dominance of ABC-owned WLS-TV in social media. According to audience insight firm Shareablee, WLS lead far and away with a whopping 25 million actions on social media, 6 million more than WFLD. Recently, WLS became the first television in the Midwest to reach two million Facebook followers – an impressive feat. WLS is Chicago’s most-watched television station, in news and entertainment programming – including the popular Windy City Live, which has a strong social media presence.

Tribune’s WGN-TV came in third with 11.7 million total actions, followed by WMAQ (NBC Chicago) with 3.9 million. The Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times took the fifth and sixth slots among total actions, respectively.

WLS pointed out it is the only station in the market to have a digital reporter (Jesse Kirsch), and makes use of Facebook Live to showcase breaking news. The article pointed out how interest in Chicago’s violence epidemic helped spark viewership for its 4 p.m. newscast one day earlier this year after six people were found dead in a Gage Park home on the city’s Southwest Side. An aerial shot of the residence was posted on Facebook Live around 3:30 p.m. – and generated nearly six million views and over 6,000 comments.

Among individual Chicago radio stations, iHeartMedia’s Urban Contemporary WGCI-FM led all total actions with nearly 600,000, ahead of sister station V103 (WVAZ-FM) with just over 430,000. WSCR followed with just over 375,000 total actions. CBS Chicago came in seventh on the list, with its website combining WBBM-AM, CBS 2 (WBBM-TV), and WSCR properties.


Is My Network TV finally being put out to pasture? The latest Fox-owned station to pull the plug on the “My” branding is WFTC (and its various satellites) in Minneapolis-St. Paul, who on Monday dropped the “My 29” moniker to go with “Fox 9 +” (as is Fox 9 plus), aligning with its co-owned sister station, KMSP. Last month, WDCA in Washington D.C. dropped the “My 20” branding for “Fox 5+”, aligning with its co-owned sister station, WTTG.

While My Network TV programming isn’t going away at those stations, it is being pushed back an hour to air local news – WFTC is introducing a 7 p.m. newscast beginning September 18, similar to what WDCA did in July (with an 8 p.m. newscast.)

Even though WFTC is on UHF digital channel 29, it redirects via PSIP to channel 9.2 – essentially a digital subchannel of KMSP. Once the spectrum reduction is complete, WDCA is expected to relocate to digital channel 5.2 of WTTG.

Of Fox’s nine My Network TV stations, Chicago’s WPWR became the first to drop the “My” branding when the station became a CW affiliate. Fox still has My Network TV branding for its former UPN affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, and Houston – but the “My” branding on those channels could disappear soon.

After starting out with English-language telenovelas and then reality TV programming, My Network TV has been regulated to airing mostly drama repeats as a programming service, with many stations (including Chicago) no longer airing the programming block live as it is fed by the service (known as “out-of-pattern”.) In some areas, MNT programming has been delayed until midnight or later – as late as 1 a.m. in Seattle, whose “affiliate” (Tribune-owned KZJO) dropped the “My” branding sometime ago. The service has yet to formally announce a 2017-18 schedule.

Further reading:

Dave McKinney joins WBEZ-FM as Springfield correspondent

Layoffs on tap at Disney/ABC Television Group

Is the NFL about to lose African-American viewers as Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned?

Follow T Dog Media for the latest news and commentary on Twitter @tdogmedia. 

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“Inhumans”: Inhumane?

Marvel Television’s Comic-Con and TCA presentations for anticipated series fall way short of expectations

In the words of Kramer from Seinfeld“You blew it, boy!”

That’s the message Jeph Loeb received recently during the Television Critics Association press tour, as Marvel’s The Inhumans – ABC’s eight-part series – was critically panned with a ridiculously unprepared presentation and unfinished footage, actually rivaling CBS’ bi-annual executive session for the most-hated panel at the press tour.

You wonder Marvel was better off if Loeb used only a point pen and Powerpoint slides.

During the Q&A, Loeb became so visibly annoyed, he was turning into Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on stage (another person who doesn’t seem to like press conferences.)

“I can tell you that it was written on the material that you were given that the show that you have seen is not the finished product,” Loeb said to TV critics. “If you’re asking me whether or not it was done, it’s not. 

Then he really let a reporter have it when asked if the project was good enough to be screened in IMAX theaters, starting Friday: “I think you’re making an editorial statement, and I’m wondering what the question is.”

As some in TCA trotted out the usual “this ain’t Comic-Con” line when it comes to panels, the trailer for Inhumans wasn’t well received at the San Diego gathering either – not good for a show with already one strike against it as the drama has been banished to The Friday Night Death Slot – meaning ABC has about as much faith in this project as it does for one starring a vacuum cleaner.

In fact, you probably seen more promos for upcoming new comedy The Mayor and new drama Kevin Probably Saves The World than for Inhumans, which is approximately zero.

And no wonder: the thesis of the show is absurd. For one, a character named Black Bolt has no dialogue in the series – none at all. Yes, I know he isn’t supposed to speak, but what’s the point of having Black Bolt in the show to begin with? This is television, after all. Unless you’re Teller from Penn and Teller, being silent is hard to pull off and even harder in a scripted series.

And I won’t talk about the big computer-simulated dog. Or the woman with the hair that can whip people.

Moreover, if you are presenting to television critics at a press tour – you better have your material ready. First impressions are lasting – a lackluster presentation means disaster. If you were to give a presentation to your boss and had half your slides missing, your stuff would be sitting on the curb within the next hour. Only in the world of television (and radio) where mediocrity and doing things half-assed are rewarded – any wonder why ABC is in third place?

This is a huge miss for Marvel – especially given how well-produced, written, and reviewed much of its Netflix product is. But The Inhumans seems to be a lost proposition from day one and it’s little wonder why this is only scheduled for eight episodes on a night most people don’t watch television. It won’t be the first cancellation of the new fall season – but likely be the first to land in The T Dog Media Television Hall Of Shame, given the already poor reviews and likely low ratings the show would achieve.

Inhumans premieres September 29 on ABC, with the first two episodes being screened in IMAX theaters Friday. Here’s the trailer as screened at San Diego Comic-Con in July:


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ESPN fights its way back into the boxing business

Manny Pacquiao faces Jeff Horn in a rematch Nov. 11 on ESPN.

More boxing on the way

As the sports world Saturday was focusing on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor pay-per-view fight from Las Vegas, ESPN made some boxing news of its own over the weekend by announcing a new, multi-deal year to carry boxing matches from Top Rank, a promotion run by legend Bob Arum.

Top Rank tested the waters recently with two live bouts – a Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight from Australia and another with Terence Crawford, whose success help put his hometown of Omaha, Neb. on the sports map despite the 74th-largest television market not having any professional teams. The ratings success of both bouts obviously led to this larger deal.

The pact also ends Top Rank’s association with HBO as the premium channel is focusing more on scripted series and other programming, though the network remains in the boxing business through other promotions. Top Rank is also ending its boxing programming on Spanish-language broadcaster UniMas, (formerly Telefutura) due to low ratings.

The deal includes eighteen big-name fight cards (in the boxing realm) in the first twelve months, kicking off with a two-card bout September 22 from Tucson, and the November 11 rematch between Pacquiao and Horn in Australia.

“ESPN is thrilled to announce this new relationship with Top Rank, the most comprehensive and innovative media agreement in the history of the sport,” said ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling Burke Magnus. “We believe in a new vision for boxing that will super-serve existing boxing fans and create legions of new fans through world class boxing content across multiple ESPN platforms — 365 days a year. Together, ESPN and Top Rank will build the superstars of tomorrow through unrivaled exposure, original content and cutting edge technology.”

The deal also includes streaming on ESPN’s new over-the-air streaming service, set to launch next year. Also included in undercard fights, pay-per-views, and classic boxing matches from Top Rank’s library. In addition, Top Rank acquired rights to air matches on Canada’s TSN and RDS networks (the latter a French-language sports network available only in Quebec.) Though not in the deal, some cards could wind up on ABC (both ESPN and ABC are owned by The Walt Disney Company.)

This marks a homecoming for Top Rank as the promotion had aired a boxing series in the past, from 1980 to 1996.

Boxing has had a renaissance of sorts on broadcast and basic cable TV over the last several years. The sport had been common on television in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but faded as pay-per-view and pay TV became more attractive options. An attempt to bring back big-time boxing via Premier Boxing Champions has met with mixed results – a match featuring Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter drew four million viewers for CBS in primetime last March and various other cards have aired on NBC and Fox and also FS1, ESPN, and Bounce. However, PBC matches have become more sparse recently and the future of the promotion is unknown.

As for the Mayweather-McGregor fight, the spectacle on Saturday surprised a lot of experts as the bout went into the tenth round as Mayweather won in a technical knockout as many people thought the UFC star (McGregor) would be knocked out as early in the first round. PPV numbers were not available, but three million people accessed the stream illegally, according to reports. The fight was delayed due to PPV ordering problems, sending servers crashing.

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Fun, food, and fights at the ballpark

The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers brawl on Thursday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Vicious brawl between Yankees, Tigers the likes of which not seen in years

As Haray Caray once said, “you can’t beat fun at the ol’ ballpark.”

And for once, there was a fight on daytime TV that didn’t involve President Trump or the Jerry Springer show.

Thursday’s game between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers turned into a series of bench-clearing brawls (yes, the Yankees are allowed to have a rivalry with a team other than the Boston Red Sox). The fun started in the fifth inning when the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez was plunked by Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer after hitting a home run earlier in the game. The next inning, Miguel Cabrera was hit and the Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle was ejected. Cabrera then punched Yankees catcher Austin Romaine, and it was on! The actions triggered a bench-clearing brawl between the teams which saw several players ejected.

The benches cleared again in the seventh when the Tigers’ James McCann was drilled in the head by Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances in a frightening moment. In the eighth, former White Sox player Todd Frazier was hit by Tigers pitcher Alex Wilson and – you guessed it, the benches cleared once again.

In total, five players and three coaches – including Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus were ejected. The Yankees lost the game 10-6 – failing to expand their lead in the Wild Card race, which sits at 3.5 games as of this writing. With the Commissioner’s Office sorting out all this mess, it’s likely fines and suspensions will be handed down at some point. It has been noted both teams were involved in a beanball war at Yankee Stadium weeks prior.

The game was carried nationally by MLB Network, taking the Yankees’ YES feed (the Yankees are part-owners of the regional sports network.) The Tigers’ telecast was carried by FSN in the Detroit area. The Yankees’ surge in the standings coincides with an increase in ratings this season.

For yours truly, this brought back memories of the 2006 brawl between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox involving Michael Barrett and A.J. Pierzynski, a year after the White Sox won the World Series (of course, animosity between the two crosstown rivals remains as illustrated in this year’s series.)

Of course, there have been wilder brawls – the July 7, 1987 dustup between the Cubs’ Andre Dawson and the San Diego Padres’ Eric Show at Wrigley was notable – not to mention several nutsy brouhahas between the Padres and the Atlanta Braves on August 12, 1984, seeing even fans getting into the act. The nastiest was a Seattle Mariners-Baltimore Orioles brawl at Camden Yards in 1993, the same year the Rangers’ Nolan Ryan took the White Sox’s Robin ventura to school.

And on April 22, 2000, the Tigers were invoved in two bench-clearing brawls with the White Sox at the then-called New Comiskey Park.

While violence in baseball has ebbed since the 1990’s, Thursday’s game was an eye-opener proving anything can happen. And this can qualify for the undercard of Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Connor McGregor fight, which is certain to be more of a ripoff than anyone imagined.

The Tigers play against the White Sox at Guarenteed Rate Field in a three-game series starting tonight. Neither team are involved in the playoff race – but at least you won’t get ripped off if a fight breaks out.


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CSN Chicago converts to NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Group to change name of all its RSNs effective October 2

In a move not unexpected, NBC Sports Group announced Wednesday it was rebranding all of its regional sports networks (RSN) under the NBC Sports umbrella.

The news means CSN Chicago – once known as Comcast SportsNet Chicago – is changing its name to NBC Sports Chicago effective October 2.

CSN sports networks in other markets are also getting rebranded: for example, CSN Philadelphia becomes NBC Sports Philadelphia, CSN Washington (D.C.) becomes NBC Sports Washington, and so on.

Two “The Comcast Network” channels are also being converted into regional sports networks as NBC Philadelphia + (plus) and NBC Washington + (plus).

“We’re excited to complete the brand evolution of our remaining RSNs, which will now include the iconic NBC Sports name on all of our networks,” said NBC Sports Regional Networks division president David Preschlack. “This development is a reaffirmation of our continued commitment to provide the best, most compelling local sports coverage to our fans across the country.”

The move comes as NBC successfully rebranded its regional sports networks in the San Francisco area earlier this year as CSN Bay Area and CSN California became NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California, respectively. Both regional sports networks carry all the region’s major pro sports franchises (excluding the NFL.)

CSN Chicago launched in 2004 as a joint venture between the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Blackhawks. There is speculation the Cubs may leave the consortium in 2020 to launch their own regional sports network. Comcast merged with NBCUniversal in 2010, with NBC Sports taking over operations of Comcast’s RSNs in 2012.

Notable is a few NBC regional sports networks are located in the same market NBC owns local over-the-air stations, including Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Boston. However, synergies between the RSNs and the local stations are minimal and it is not known if they would be increased due to the rebranding.

Recently, CSN Chicago revamped its programming, cancelling some shows while adding others, including In The Loop and CSN Fastbreak.

News of the rebranding was first reported by Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune. 

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The Media Notepad: Suppelsa, Herndon exit respective 9 p.m. news anchor positions

Also: Rob Stafford returns to WMAQ; Get ready for more PAC ads; CBS Radio gambles and loses on blunder

Mark Suppelsa is calling it a career – the longtime Chicago news anchor and investigative reporter announced Thursday he was retiring after nearly three decades in the news business. Suppelsa is currently anchoring newscasts for WGN-TV at 5, 6, 9, and 10 p.m. with Micah Materre. Suppelsa released a statement thanking Chicagoans for their support and generosity.

Suppelsa has anchored for WGN since 2013, and beforehand, anchored news at WFLD-TV and WMAQ-TV, in addition to Minneapolis’ KSTP, where another now-retired Chicago anchor (Ron Magers) worked. During a time when WMAQ received negative blowback for allowing trash-talk show host Jerry Springer to do commentaries for its 10 p.m. newscast (which resulted in the resignations of Magers and Carol Marin), Suppelsa interviewed Springer in a memorable segment the day he resigned as commentator.

The move is the second 9 p.m. news anchor shakeup in last two weeks; on August 10, WFLD anchor Jeff Herndon announced he was stepping down as co-anchor to return to Wichita, where he previously worked.

No replacement has been named for either vacancy; WGN-TV is undergoing an ownership change as Tribune Media is being sold to Sinclair Broadcasting, known for cost-cutting and a conservative news bent – Suppelsa is the first major name from any Tribune station exiting as the ownership change is taking place. It will be interesting to see who else is leaving Tribune’s news stations as the Chesapeake Boys take over.

As Suppelsa is exiting, another local anchor is returning: Rob Stafford is returning to his main anchor slot at WMAQ after being out for months due to a medical condition. As first reported by Robert Feder, the NBC 5 veteran is returning August 28 at 10 p.m. and is also resuming his 5 and 6 p.m. anchor duties shortly thereafter. Stafford was absent after receiving a bone marrow transplant and needed chemotherapy for anyoidlosis. During his leave, longtime veteran Dick Johnson was filling in for Stafford alongside Allison Rosati.

During his absence, ratings for WMAQ’s late newscasts have declined as ABC-owned WLS-TV solidified its ratings lead at 10 p.m.

On a personal note, both Stafford and Rosati emceed several annual dinners when yours truly worked at the Better Business Bureau. Both couldn’t have been nicer. Looking forward to seeing Stafford back in the helm again and I’m certain NBC 5 viewers will, too.

If you’ve been watching local news or certain syndicated programs lately, you’ve probably noticed a huge uptick in SuperPAC ads despite not being an election year. Over the last week, these “political action committees” have bought TV and radio time to push their campaigns on everything from overhauling the tax code to education issues to of course, the Governor’s race. PACs linked to Governor Rauner and candidate J.B. Pritizker have purchased tons of airtime to get their message across.

Now, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a media campaign to back Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s penny-per-ounce soda tax, which went into effect earlier this month, saturating the market with either more ads from special interest groups. As yours truly pointed out in a post about President Trump earlier in the week, Preckwinkle is among a group of pols (Trump included) who don’t care for people – although she fired back at critics in two ridiculous op-eds this week, claiming she cares about the people of Cook County (while fleecing our pockets.)

The campaign is a reported as $2 million time buy, spanning across television, radio and digital. As far as television is concerned, the first ad from the campaign debuted online Thursday and debuted in the Chicago market Friday. The commercial has run mostly in local news programs and syndicated programming targeted to older viewers, such as Wheel of Fortune and Judge Judy, alongside other PAC ads.

In June 2015, a SuperPAC for Governor Rauner took the then-unusual step and launched a television ad campaign regarding the now-resolved state budget impasse. Yours truly called the move a waste of money.

As trade groups such as the National Association of Broadcasters continue to encourage political advertising – even in non-election years, the increase of these types of commercials are driving away annoyed viewers like myself from broadcast and cable TV – you can easily see why creative talent such as Shonda Rhimes left for Netflix. As for Bloomberg, he would’ve been better off donating the money to anti-hunger organizations such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository. But as long as greedy broadcasters are eager to take any kind of money (just look at the retransmission consent mess) from special interest groups eager to spend on any subject, the oversaturation of this type of advertising will continue, pushing more and more viewers away from live TV.

Let’s just say they gambled and lost by not betting on gold: CBS Radio suffered a embarrassing public relations gaffe in the Las Vegas market this week when a internal memo regarding coverage of the city’s new NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights was released. The memo stated the cluster’s six radio stations were not allowed to cover the team in any way shape or form, even as far not to mention on air. In other words – pretend the team doesn’t exist.

CBS Radio Las Vegas owns six stations in the market, including Top 40 outlet KLUC-FM, Hot AC KMXB-FM, and News/Talk KXNT. CBS does have a sports talker in the market, KXST.

After considerable backlash and even a threatened boycott, CBS wisely backed off as they decided to let the cluster cover the team after all.

CBS was among one of the bidders for the Golden Knights’ broadcast rights, but lost to Lotus Broadcasting, who are broadcasting games on rival sports talker KRLV and owners of three other stations in Las Vegas. Lotus’ KENO-AM plans to carry a Spanish-language broadcasts, given the market’s large Latino population , joining two other NHL teams offering Spanish-language broadcasts (the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers.)

The Golden Knights recently struck a TV deal with AT&T Sports (formerly Root Sports) – beating out Los Angeles’ Spectrum SportsNet and Fox Sports West. Both RSNs  have a significient presence in the market, with the former airing Los Angeles Lakers games, a popular draw in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights begin play this fall at the new T-Mobile Arena, just off the Las Vegas Strip.

There was question whether or not this “ban” was sustainable anyway, given CBS Radio’s pending sale to Entercom. Though CBS owns radio stations in Las Vegas, it does not own the market’s CBS affiliate KLAS-TV.

Further reading:

Kathy Hart to return?

YouTube TV to carry Sinclair stations

AMC  Theaters says no to Moviepass

Follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia.

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