T Dog’s Media Notepad: “Harry” shifts to 2 p.m.

Also:  WLS-TV is late news winner; Quantico moves to Mondays; Tribune Media moves out of Tribune Tower

harry-connickHarry, the NBCUniversal-distributed talk show hosted by Harry Connick Jr., has shifted from its 4 p.m. time slot to 2 p.m. on Fox-owned WFLD-TV and three other Fox O&O stations on Monday, according to Broadcasting & Cable. In three of the markets, Harry and TMZ Live are essentially swapping time slots, with TMZ Live now the news lead-in for WFLD, WNYW in New York and KTTV Los Angeles. A fourth Fox O&O in San Francisco (KTVU) is filling the 4 p.m. slot with local news beginning December 5.

Harry also lost its 9 p.m. slot on sister station WPWR and shifted to 12:30 a.m. My Network TV programming slid into the time period on Monday.

Fox officials hope the move to an earlier time slot fosters growth for the show and away from tough competition such as Judge Judy and Dr. Phil. In Chicago, Harry was up against Judy, The People’s Court, and newscasts on three stations, including top-rated WLS-TV’s. Now, the show in Chicago runs opposite Steve Harvey’s show on NBC-owned WMAQ-TV, which is moving from Chicago to Los Angeles to become more celebrity-focused.

Both Harvey and Harry are syndicated by NBCUniversal.

The show’s expense is also a issue for NBCU, given Harvey’s show is expected to cost more to produce. With Harvey’s new L.A. show given a “firm go”, the pressure is on Harry to improve his ratings and fast.

Currently, Harry averages a 1.2 rating nationally, but underperforms in top markets. According to TVNewscheck, ratings in Chicago for Harry in its new time period Monday declined from a 0.6 at 4 p.m. to a 0.5  at 2 p.m. in households, but grew a bit (0.2 to 0.3) in the key demo. The move was lauded by Katz Television’s ratings expert Bill Carroll.

ABC 7In news you can see coming a mile away, ABC’s WLS-TV won the 10 p.m. November sweeps newsrace by a tenth-of-a point in the 25-54 demo and by a full ratings point and-a-half in households, according to Robert Feder. The victory comes despite tough competition from Cubs baseball and the Presidential election. The station with the greatest increases of course was WFLD, whose primetime average grew 173 percent from last year thanks to Cubs baseball. It’s also a plus, given Fox generally ranks fourth among the major networks among adults 18-49.

WGN-TV won mornings in adults 25-54, while WLS remained the market’s most-watched station overall.

loop_0CSN Chicago announced last week the launch of two new daily strips: In The Loop, which features a fast-paced view of the sports scene incorporated with viewer commentary, video, photos, and other material sent to its digital and social sites. The program is hosted by Luke Stuckmeyer and Leila Rahimi (no, not the King of Queens actress whO’S currently fighting Scientology.) The series debuts Dec. 5 at 6p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 10 p.m.

On the same date, CSN is also launching is CSN Fast Break, a midnight sports highlight recap show.

CSN officials stated the reason for the changes was to better connect with sports fans. Out in the reshuffling is SportsNet Central, whose last airing is Sunday.

This is not the not the first time a show based from Chicago was called In The Loop: the title was used for a short-lived daytime strip during the 2007-08 season hosted by Bill Rancic, syndicated to NBC-owned stations. Taped at the NBC Tower, it was officially titled In The Loop With iVillage, after a now-defunct website portal.

303-east-wacker-exterior_hres_webTribune Media, owners of WGN-TV and WGN Radio here, announced the company is vacating its longtime headquarters at Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue beginning next year. As first reported by Robert Feder, the company has leased two floors at the Illinois Center complex in the 303 East Wacker Drive building. The move comes as Tribune recently sold the Tower to a Los Angeles-based developer, who plans to redevelop the building for mixed office and shopping use.

According to Chicago Architecture Info’s website, the building – also known as Three Illinois Center, is the third building in the complex. 303 East Wacker is 28 stories high.

On the drawing board since 1961 and built over Illinois Central Railroad’s air rights, the first building in the Illinois Center complex opened in 1973 and was the headquarters of the Illinois Central for 25 years, until its merger with Canadian National in 1998. Media properties residing in Illinois Center are Fox-owned WFLD-TV and WPWR-TV on the ground floor of the 205 North Michigan Avenue building, and iHeartMedia Chicago, at 233 North Michigan. 303 East Wacker was opened in 1979.

abc_banner_bgrndIn a major boost for ABC sophomore crime-drama Quantico, the series is shifting from its low-rated Sunday 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT time slot on Sunday to the exact same time slot on Monday. The difference? Stronger lead-ins from Dancing With The Stars and The Bachelor, which returns in January. The FBI series has averaged around a 1.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demo. However, the move doesn’t necessarily guarantee success: last fall’s Conviction bombed in the time slot and the network recently decided against extending the series’ run.

In a similar move, CBS has also decided not to extend the episode orders of Thursday night drama Pure Genius and Monday night sitcom The Odd Couple.


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Terry Boers calls it a career

WSCR-AM's Terry Boers. (CBS)

WSCR-AM’s Terry Boers. (CBS)

Longtime WSCR personality retires

Terry Boers, one-half of the popular Boers & Bernstein duo in afternoons, announced his retirement Tuesday in a blogpost at CBSChicago.com. The WSCR (The Score) personality had been at the station since the beginning – 25 years, when The Score (along with sister station WXRT-FM) were owned by Diamond Broadcasting and located in a nondescript building at 4949 W. Belmont. At the time the station launched, Boers was a sportswriter for the Chicago Sun-Times.

WSCR launched as a daytime-only station on January 2, 1992 1992 at 820AM, then moved to 1160 AM in 1997, before landing at its current frequency at 670AM in 2000. Then-owner Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio) bought the station the same year.

Boers plans to depart on January 5, 2017, as the station celebrates its 25th Anniversary. celebration.

Here’s an excerpt of what Boers said:

“During this trying year, it’s never been made more crystal clear to me how many people care. My email has been swamped more than a couple of times during the summer and fall, jammed with well-wishers who’d heard what was going on. That made me cry, too. And so do all the people from this station and others from CBS who’ve shown their love. They have no idea how much it means to me, even if I have no idea how to handle it or what to say when you enter a room of cheering co-workers as I did back on Oct. 24, the first day of my aborted comeback.”

“So there’s really only one other thing for you to know. This has been the time of my life. Thanks for the ride.”

Boers had been off the air for the last few months due to an undisclosed illness. He returned to the airwaves on Monday. He also appeared during the Cubs’ championship run in late October before being sidelined again.

According to Robert Feder, WSCR is searching for a replacement to pair up with Dan Bernstein, who holds down the 1 to 6 p.m. weekday time slot on the station. Thanks to Cubs baseball, WSCR’s ratings have surged to second place in the latest Nielsen PPM report, only behind sister station WBBM-AM – its best ever ratings.

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The 2016 T Dog Media Turkey Awards


(Editor’s Note: This is T Dog Media’s 3,000th post!) 

Welcome to the 11th annual T Dog Media Turkey Awards – celebrating the worst in media, sports, and life in general.

There were many nominees this year, but I don’t think you want to be here all day. Thus, yours truly whittled it down to nineteen recipients this year. Let’s get gobblin’!

Your President-elect Donald Trump. Really, a no-brainer. Just read my Twitter feed and you’ll know why.

Hillary Clinton. Remember when the Golden State Warriors had the best record in the NBA last season, were up 3-1 in the NBA Finals and lost to Cleveland in Game 7 of the NBA Finals? The 2016 Presidential election was pretty much like that.

The Media. How could you miss all those people in Middle America (you know, outside of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) in the polling process? Well, those guys has the last laugh as power now shifts to them.

The FCC. Under Tom Wheeler’s leadership, the agency simply became another branch of the Illinois legislature – bickering, playing partisan politics, and getting nothing done.

Chicago Bears. With the Cubs recently ending their 108-year World Series drought, the Bears are now the team with the longest time without a championship, 31 years. And as long as the McCaskeys are in charge, their drought will likely surpass the Cubs.

NFL. The ratings are down early in the season because… let’s see – Anthem protests? Domestic violence issues? The election? Blowouts? Players acting like jackasses? Roger Goodell? The Bears being featured in prime-time FOUR times? So many culprits, even Scooby-Doo and those meddling kids would have a hard time finding out.

Sage Steele. A tweet scolding an NFL player for kneeling during the anthem (who did so to protest the election of Donald Trump) generated a lot of negative reaction – and then responds by ripping the African-American community in a Facebook post for um… tearing down each other down?  This Kenya Moore-wannabe belongs on Real Housewives of Atlanta, not ESPN.

Chicago White Sox. While the Cubs celebrated a World Series season, their South Side counterparts had a pitcher cut up jerseys, kicked a fourteen year-old out of their clubhouse during spring training, and renamed their ballpark after a subprime mortgage lender.

Son Of Zorn. Newly inducted into The T Dog Media Hall Of Shame, what happens when you mix live-action and animation? Unfunny jokes and awkward dialogue. (Read my review here.)

The Great Indoors. Joel McHale battles millennial workers at a camping store in this supposedly laugh-riot. Oh look, a millennial thinks Green Acres is a retirement home…yes, we’ve heard the jokes before.

Notorious. This ABC Thursday series was based on the lives of a criminal-defense attorney and a producer for a cable talk-show host. And you wonder why no one tuned in?

Vinyl. Another new T Dog Media Hall Of Shame member, this failed HBO drama about the music business in the 1970’s made it appear all record execs did during the era were pal around, do blow, and go into fits. Well, it’s true, but it wasn’t enough material to sustain itself for a weekly series.

Those cell phone carrier ads (Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.). If you think this year’s political ads were bad, telecom’s advertising were even worse. Are Sprint, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS really this desperate for customers?

Friends Of The Parks. This “public interest” group (think along the lines of the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association) helped quash plans for a George Lucas museum on Chicago’s lakefront, eliminating 1,000 potential jobs to save of all things, a parking lot. I guess the kids need a place to smoke weed, huh?

SyFy’s Comic-Con Live. A nightly hour-long wrapup of the day’s festivities from Comic-Con in San Diego turned into some kind of awful late-night talk show featuring Will Arnett fawning over celebrities with endless Sharknado 4 promotion. If CBS is looking to replace Stephen Colbert, please don’t look here!

Disney/ABC execs. Nobody – and I mean nobody – could’ve done a better job announcing Michael Strahan’s departure from Live With Kelly for Good Morning America. I mean, you could’ve let Kelly Ripa in on the news too, right? Her name is on the show!

The Drive. WDRV’s decision to pair Pete McMurray with Dan McNeil in mornings turned out to be an Arch Deluxe-like disaster.

Rep. Joe Walsh and Salem Communications. For a man who has a history of using racial slurs on the air and on social media, he loves getting a pass from his employer. Maybe it’s the idiot packaging company who sponsors his show?

Michael Ferro and “Tronc”. Saved the “best” for last. So you pour a lot of money into research on how to rename Tribune Publishing to reflect the modern tech era we’re living in and the best you can do is take the name of a 1982 Walt Disney movie and slap a “c” at the end ? The horseshit video explaining how “tronc” works makes it look more ridiculous. Another great idea from the infertile mind of Michael W. Ferro.

For more turkeys, be sure to visit The T Dog Media TV Hall Of Shame. 

Happy Thanksgiving!




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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Town Hall is NOT a flop…in drawing listeners

rahm-600x337Despite panning from social media, listeners tuned in to Chicago mayor’s interview

In this space last week, yours truly declared the “historic” radio interview with Rahm Emanuel a flop, mainly because of flaws in the format and the questions were of the softball variety.

But when it came to attracting listeners – that was a different story altogether.

Despite panning on social media, Chicago listeners tuned in to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “roadblock”, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. on November 14. According to Nielsen, the event drew nearly a third of listeners tuning in to radio at the time – an impressive feat given the media fragmentation these days.

The event was carried on 47 radio station in the Chicago area, varying from big city stations to small suburban sticks. There were a handful of stations who didn’t carry Emanuel’s interview – notably Crawford’s urban stations (WPWX and WSRB) licensed to Hammond, Ind.

After the town hall concluded, Nielsen conducted a survey of listeners online and found seven out of ten Chicagoans were aware of the event, and 88 percent of those stuck around for the entire half-hour. 74 percent of those planned to listen to the town hall; 80 percent of those who did listened on their preferred radio station, with the location of those listening equally split at home and out-of-home. In addition, the town hall radio meeting attract additional attention as 84 percent of those who were aware of the event heard about it again through various media and word-of-mouth (WGN-AM had the interview on-demand on their website for later listening for those who missed it, like I did.)

“The Chicago radio town hall proved to be a huge success,” said Brad Kelly, managing director of Nielsen Audio in a press release. “Not only did it reach and engage listeners, but 70% of those surveyed felt that the event was important enough to justify broadcasting it on so many radio stations.”

He continued: “AM/FM is America’s number one mass reach media. In the span of a few hours in Chicago this week, the Radio Broadcasters of Chicago proved that during a time of constant media fragmentation, radio has a remarkable ability to deliver a massive, diverse and engaged audience.”

The event was produced by the Radio Broadcasters of Chicago and the Illinois Broadcasting Association.

Despite the negative reaction in some quarters, Emanuel’s interview where he talked about the city’s pressing issues succeeded when it came to getting the message out – and then some.

The event comes at a time when Chicago’s image continues to suffer on the national and global stage due to gun violence. President-elect Donald Trump referenced the city and its violence problem numerous times in presidential debates and on the campaign trail. The Chicago also area continues to suffer from declining population – a topic Mayor Emanuel addressed during the interview. Chicago radio revenues were down ten percent in 2015 from 2014 and may be reflective of that.

In fact, Chicago dropped to the fourth largest African-American television market during the 2015-16 season, a position it holds again this season.

As for what yours truly said last week, Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago radio town hall was still a disappointment and nothing a PR stunt for all involved. But listeners took the bait and in a reversal of what I said last week, we now may see more of these in the future. Let’s hope the second Chicago Radio Town Hall is better than the first – longer in length and much tougher questions asked.

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T Dog’s Media Notepad: “Light TV” to debut next month

Plus… Mundo Max is done; CW makes schedule schedules for mid-season; Marvel to debut new Inhumans; The end is near for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

metro-goldwyn-mayer_televisionIt what could be the fastest launch ever for a diginet (digital subchannel), Fox Television Stations and MGM are launching Light TV, a new channel devoted to faith-based and family-oriented programming headed by MGM President Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, who heads LightWorks Media, a faith-based division of MGM.

The new diginet has cleared seventeen markets, including all Fox-owned stations consisting of WFLD and WPWR in Chicago. Light TV is expected to air on WFLD’s newly-created digital subchannel 32.2.

Programming on the channel includes family-friendly shows such as Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader (produced by Burnett and aired on Fox and syndication), Touched By An Angel (which starred Roma Downey), and Highway To Heaven (which previously aired on rival diginet Cozi.). In addition, films featured on the channel are mostly from the MGM library (post-1986) including All Dogs Go To Heaven, Fame (a 1980 film and TV series MGM retained the rights to), Hoosiers, The Pink Panther, and more.

Contrary to what’s on the tube these days, a channel like this is very much welcome.

mundomaxWhile we await the arrival of Light TV, one diginet is departing: MundoMax, the Spanish-language channel positioned as an alternative to Univision and Telemundo, is reportedly closing down at the end of the month. The move comes as the channel lost numerous affiliates and the pipeline of programming dried up. The channel was once known as MundoFox, but changed its name after 21st Century Fox pulled out as a partner last year, resulting in Fox-owned WPWR-TV pulling the network from one of its digital subchannels.

Its main Chicago affiliate (WOCK) recently dropped the channel and replaced it with infomercials. MumdoMax was owned principally by RCN, a Colombian-based broadcaster (not rated to RCN, a cable MSO operating in parts of the Chicago area.)

MundoMax joins the ranks of failed digital subchannels, including long-forgotten channels NBC Weather Plus, The Tube, Universal Sports, and Live Well Network (which is still active in a few markets, including Chicago.)

The-CW-300x258The CW announced Wednesday its midseason and there are some notable changes – for one, the addition of highly-anticipated drama Riverdale, which debuts on January 26 out of Supernatural, both scheduled for Thursday nights. Legends of Tomorrow will shift to Tuesdays out of The Flash, but will be replaced by a returning iZombie in April. Also, The 100 returns on Wednesdays, out of Arrow. Fridays sees The Vampire Diaries return for its final season in February, to be replaced in March by the show it spun off from, The Originals. Reign moves into Friday 9 p.m. ET slot, also in February.

Got all that?

As a result of the changes, two ultra low-rated freshmen series – Frequency and No Tomorrow – are not getting back-orders with reruns moving to Netflix this winter. Also not on the mid-season schedule are Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Their fates are unknown.

marvel-television-seriesMarvel Television announced last week a new eight-episode series based on The Inhumans for ABC for next fall, with the first two episodes being screened at IMAX theatres. ABC Studios is producing the series for Marvel, which is scheduled to debut next fall.

This is the first time a television series has debuted in IMAX theaters; the series is also being shot entirely in IMAX, which is a bonus for those who have 4K (Ultra HD) TV sets as the technology continues to develop.

Based on the comic book series created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Inhumans are a group of superhumans with ordinary and unique powers. ABC’s version will feature the story behind Black Bolt and the royal family, which has never been told before.

Though there is a storyline on this season’s Marvel’s Agent Of Shield, there is no relation between this project and the existing television series, which has struggled in the ratings for the last two seasons. Earlier, ABC canceled Agent Carter after two lackluster seasons. Marvel of course, has had more success on Netflix with well-received dramas Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and new drama Luke Cage.

Changes are a comin' at the FCC.

The latest on the FCC: Don’t look for Chairman Tom Wheeler to be hanging around the agency much longer – or conducting much business. At the urging of GOP leaders (and to the chagrin of Democrats and consumer advocates), Wheeler pulled items from the FCC’s meeting menu last Thursday, which lasted all of two minutes. Wheeler didn’t have much to say to the press either, saying he didn’t know when he would step down from his position with a new administration coming in.

Among the items that were to be discussed was a business data systems proposal cable Internet service providers were opposed to.

An item in Bloomberg suggests the new Trump administration will relax station (TV and radio) ownership and eliminate the cross-ownership rule, which currently prevents television station and newspapers from common ownership in the same market – which could put smaller TV owners at risk. Broadcasters and newspaper trade groups are challenging the current rules in court, saying the caps are unconstitutional.

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Mayor Emanuel’s “Radio Town Hall” a flop


Bill Kurtis (left) interviews Mayor Rahm Emanuel Monday evening.

Half-hour roadblock on 47 radio stations unimpresses listeners

It looked like a good idea on paper: get together 47 Chicago radio stations – including suburban sticks – and Rahm Emanuel was going to address the city on major issues. At the same time, local radio stations were demonstrating their commitment to their communities.

The result was anything but.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – who is a master manipulator of media (ask the very few who watched CNN’s Chicagoland in 2014) was interviewed by Bill Kurtis Monday night for this “Chicago Radio Town Hall” from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and airing as a “roadblock” – airing on 47 stations and produced by the Illinois Broadcasters Association and the Radio Broadcasters of Chicago.

Yours truly didn’t catch the broadcast live, but listened on-demand on WGN-AM’s website. And needless to say, what Emanuel talked about was no different from what he usually says in his press conferences and broke no new ground. Mayor Emanuel talked about the city’s growth – like anyone in Chicago’s poorest areas actually cares. Mayor Emanuel did address the city’s violence epidemic, Chicago’s declining population; and the future as a sanctuary city in a Trump presidential era.

Of course, what he didn’t discuss was the ongoing racial tensions after a recent police shooting in the southwest side neighborhood of Mt. Greenwood; and the closure of 50 public schools – not to mention the 2014 police shooting of LaQuan McDonald.

To yours truly, this “town hall” meeting was nothing more than a publicity stunt – not only for the Emanuel but also the radio stations involved, who continue to battle listener erosion.

The station groups participating reads like a who’s who of radio conglomerates: iHeart Media, Cumulus, Hubbard, Salem, CBS, and Alpha, who represents several suburban sticks. Notably absent was Crawford Broadcasting, owners of urban WPWX and urban AC WSRB, both licensed to Hammond, Ind., just over the state line from Chicago and Calumet City.

In the half-hour presentation, Kurtis alluded to “radio executives” in the crowd at the interview – which leads yours truly to wonder if Mayor Emanuel has “buddies” on the IBA and RBC boards, who convinced them this was a good idea.

The Chicago Way, of course.

Meanwhile, the “town hall” was ferociously panned on social media. A sampling of some Twitter responses:

The only people who praised this (like the tweet above this paragraph) are radio consultants – most of whom don’t live in the Chicago area. This “town hall” was an open invitation for radio listeners – especially those who don’t live in Chicago proper – to whip out their MP3 players or head to Sirius/XM or Spotify – poison for radio broadcasters.

As I said a few days ago, this was a good idea – doing what radio broadcasters should do. But the execution was poor – for one, the half-hour format sucked – there is no way you can address serious issues with a running clock as the presentation felt rushed. Also, it was clear Emanuel was using this to promote himself and only himself – like he always does (On the other hand, we’re glad it actually wasn’t longer.) This is what happens when Big Media – and this is in any market – uses “industry trade lingo” to push their message about their commitment to their communities – it gets lost and the listeners don’t understand it.

This “town hall” fell into the same kind of trap another “roadblock” did. Remember 1990’s Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue, airing simultaneously on Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC? The half-hour had teenaged Timmy or whatever his name was smoking dope and stealing beer and Garfield The Cat or The Smurfs or whomever showed him what life would be like if he kept on with his substance abuse binge – don’t remember seeing pictures of his grave. The special was about as effective as a toothpaste commercial.

This “historic” broadcast – or waste of time – whatever you want to call it, was a gigantic disappointment, and it’s doubtful you’re going to see this “roadblock” again. If Chicago radio wants to demonstrate their commitment to our communities – maybe they should stick with the canned food and coat drives. They’re more effective than a con man Mayor sucking up thirty minutes of their airwaves.

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T Dog’s Think Tank: What to expect from a Trump administration regarding media issues

donald-trump-victory-speech-ok-sign-600For those who don’t like media consolidation and love net neutrality – you are not going to like what you are about to read

In a Presidential contest people will be talking about for ages, Republican Donald J. Trump stunned everyone by winning the presidency in an upset over Democrat Hillary Clinton last week – sending shockwaves throughout the world.

The surprise outcome sent many wondering what’ll happen next – and a lot of soul-searching for those in the media who predicted a Clinton victory.

There will be changes as the country transitions from a President Obama administration to a Trump one. And every faucet of the media industry – from local stations to advertisers to network television to tech to the FCC – will be affected.

For starters, there is going to be significant change at the Federal Communications Commission, which has been dogged by partisan conflicts for the last three years. Current FCC Chairman and Democrat Tom Wheeler will likely have two choices: resign or be fired (can you imagine Trump dragging Wheeler to the Oval Office to tell him “you’re fired?”) Though he has hinted he would like to stay on as Chairman, having a boss like Trump would not suit him, and would not be following protocol since a FCC Chairman usually steps aside when there is a change in the White House. Heading up a short list on who would be replacing Wheeler would be current FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai – a Republican who has pushed back on many of Wheeler’s actions – and Jeff Eisenach, a conservative economist who basically is not a fan of any kind of media regulation.

If Wheeler wants to push his agenda through at the FCC, now is the time – proposals such as unlocking set-top boxes would not gain traction under a Trump-fortified FCC and would likely be scrapped. And with Republican control of the FCC imminent, look for net neutrality – which passed on a party line vote in 2015, to be rolled back or eliminated altogether.

Changes are a comin' at the FCC.

Changes are a comin’ at the FCC.

As I alluded to back in March, a Trump administration would likely push for the elimination of ownership limits and the cross-ownership rule (the newspaper and TV station in the same market rule.) Another is easing of limits on how many TV stations one can control in a market through joint-sales agreements, which were recently tightened. There is no doubt the television station community would welcome such regulation relief – many feel disrespected by the Obama Administration and the FCC over the last eight years, pushing them aside to focus on newer technologies. The last time where was a push to deregulate the industry (during Michael Powell’s time as chairman), the FCC was stymied by the courts.

While Trump did say he would oppose an AT&T/TimeWarner merger several weeks ago, don’t forget minds do quickly change in Washington – media mergers would face less scrutiny under a Trump administration than a Hillary Clinton one. But with both Republicans and Democrats coming together against the deal, the chance of the merger going forward is still questionable.

Also likely loosened under a Trump FCC are privacy provisions, pleasing ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Lifting regulations means your data won’t be as secure.

And look for a familiar issue to resurface…indecency. Although the issue has disappeared for the most part under the Obama Administration (with the FCC fining Liberman broadcasting and Roanoke Va.’s WDBJ notable exceptions), a crackdown on “fleeting profanity” – which we saw recently during coverage of anti-Trump protests over WGN-TV and WFLD-TV, may make more stations skittish about using live shots and could change the way these type of protests are covered. Despite Trump using harsh and inappropriate language at times – especially with women, it could be a victory for the Parents Television Council, a group who was instrumental in cracking down on indecency after the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Certainly, a Trump presidency is bad news for Hollywood, despite Trump starring in one of the more successful reality series of all time, The Apprentice and its spin-off, Celebrity Apprentice. With a Republican-dominated FCC and a resurgent PTC, broadcast networks could pass on more racy and salacious projects, which could head to cable or streaming services – not good news as broadcast nets continue to battle eroding prime-time audiences. It is not known however, if the PTC’s push for a la carte cable would gain traction with a Trump administration – most cable and satellite companies are opposed to the idea and already offering slimmer packages.

These issues (and countless others) more or less have been buried by the news media – focusing instead of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail servers and Trump’s misbehavior. Unfortunately, the issue of media consolidation doesn’t seem to resonate with a lot of the public nowadays – for example, radio listeners have gotten used to corporate cutbacks and cost-cutting moves, such as the continued practices of “voice-tracking” and abandoning live and local programming for syndicated fare.

Finally, are we going to see more bad blood between members of the FCC? It depends on who will be on the commission once Trump enters office. Pai and fellow Republican commissioner Michael O’Rielly are likely to stay on, while all three current Democrats (Wheeler, Rosenworchel, and Migon Clyburn) are likely to depart – though the PTC is lobbying Congress on Rocenworchel to be re-nominated. The FCC will now have a 3-2 majority the other way and any spirited conflict taking place would depend on if Trump nominates Democrats who’ll fight for consumers – or appoints pushovers who’ll rollover like a dog.

Any way you look at it, here’s the bottom line: it’s going to be a long four years for media consolidation foes and consumer rights advocates.

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“Steve Harvey” exits Chicago for L.A.

steve1New deal means new title, new locale, new everything

In the latest blow to Chicago’s production community, Steve Harvey’s daytime talk show strip is leaving Chicago’s NBC Tower for Los Angeles, costing one hundred local staffers their jobs.

As first reported by Robert Feder this morning – and had been speculated for the past year, Harvey’s program is expected to move to Southern California soon as he was seeking a change of format, which would be more celebrity-driven as opposed to featuring on relationships and everyday people. In other words, look for the series to be similar in tone to Ellen and Live With Kelly.

Harvey is also getting a new production team. Talent agency IMG is taking over production from Endemol Shine North America, who produced the show for the last few years. It helps to note Ari Emanuel – Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s brother – is head of IMG.

Harvey would have more of an ownership stake in the show. In addition, the show is expected to re-titled next season.

The one thing not changing is Harvey’s syndicator – NBCUniversal Television Distribution is continuing in that role and will continue to be carried by NBC-owned stations, including WMAQ-TV here. With the changes now in place, NBCUniversal is now seeking renewals for the show.

Unlike the departures of former Chicago-based talkers Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos – both moved to Stamford, Conn. in 2009 in order to take advantage of tax credits the state was offering, the financial situation here is different – producing the show is actually more expensive in Los Angeles than in Chicago – which made negotiations difficult. But Harvey believed any financial shortfall would be made up due to potential increased ratings from the new format. In Nielsen’s recent ratings roundup of syndicated programming, Steve Harvey earned a 1.7 rating for the week ending October 30, up 6 percent from the previous week. Harvey ranked fourth among all syndicated talk shows.

This is not the first time a talk show host has sought to completely reboot his format after a long run – in 1998, Maury Povich traded in his general-topic format for a more salacious and raunchy one, DNA testing (“You’re Not The Father!”) and all. In the process, Povich changed syndicators from Paramount Domestic Television (now CBS Television Distribution) to Studios USA, now NBC Domestic Television Distribution, who also currently syndicates Springer, Wilkos, and Harvey’s shows.

Harvey’s plate has gotten full since his talk show began. In addition to hosting Family Feud and his radio show (both are produced in Atlanta), he’s also hosting Little Big Shots, expected back on NBC next year, and Celebrity Family Feud. Both are shot in Los Angeles.

For Chicago, the exit of Steve Harvey leaves the city with just one nationally-syndicated series based from Chicago’s NBC Tower – courtroom show Judge Mathis and no talk shows whatsoever (aside from local program Windy City Live.) In addition to the departure of Springer and Wilkos, Oprah Winfrey ended her talk show in 2011, and closed Harpo Studios’ West Loop location in 2015, which was torn down recently. It is unlikely we’ll see a new show replace Harvey in Chicago anytime soon, as many stations are steering away from nationally syndicated fare in daytime and producing more local news and programming to fill time periods. So far, only one talk show is being pitched – Drew Barrymore’s new project from Warner Bros. being executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres – and yes, this program is expected to be shot in L.A. if it goes forward.

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T Dog’s Media Notepad: Chicago radio stations to carry Mayor Emanuel interview


Conviction canceled, becomes first casualty; NFL ratings continue to decline; WLIT to flip to Christmas music Thursday; PlaysttionVue drops Viacom channels

Fresh after a bruising election season, Chicago radio listeners are going to subjected to a half-hour with Mayor Rahm Emanuel – whether they like it or not.

On Monday, over 40 radio stations in the Chicago area are airing a half-hour interview with the mayor at 6 p.m. Monday. Titled Chicago Radio Town Hall With Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the mayor will talk about pressing issues involving Chicago with Bill Kurtis. Scheduled to last a half-hour, the commercial-free program is being produced by the Illinois Broadcasters Association and the Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland.

No doubt one of the topics to come up is  Donald Trump’s recent stunning presidential victory and the impact it will have on Chicago. Listeners can submit questions through ChicagoRadioStations.com.

Station groups participating include iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Hubbard, Alpha, Tribune Media, Univision, SBS, and Window To The World. In other words, almost all local stations will carry the broadcast.

If you’re near a TV,  you can tune in to channel 877  on Comcast, or low-power channel 6 to listen to WRME-FM’s (known as MeTV FM) feed of the broadcast.

Let’s face it, the mayor isn’t exactly Mr. Popularity, and like yours truly, a lot of people don’t want to hear want he has to say – especially many suburbanites. But give Chicago radio credit for addressing these issues the mayor is bringing up – even if it is only for a half-hour. Let’s hope Chicago’s local TV stations follow the same path.

conviction-cast-poster-abcIf you have Conviction as your pick to be the first show of the season to be canceled….you win! ABC quietly canceled the Hayley Atwell series Tuesday night, and said it would continue to produce all thirteen episodes ordered. The series is expected to remain in its Monday night time slot for now, where it drew embarrassingly low ratings. Another ABC drama (Notorious) recently has its episode order reduced, from thirteen to ten and is expected to be canceled soon.

This is the second straight year ABC has had the distinction of having the first cancellation of the season – Wicked City was canceled after a few episodes last season.

With Conviction gone, there is a push from fans to bring back Agent Carter, another show Atwell starred in, either through Netflix or ABC. But that scenario is unlikely.

Meet WLIT's newest DJ. He's a seasonal worker. (Credit: Chicago Business Journal)

Be warned: iHeartMedia’s WLIT-FM is expected to flip to Christmas music on Thursday. The annual holly jolly format generally brings in tons of ratings and revenue to local radio stations across the country and WLIT is no exception. And given the bruising political season we went through, expect ratings to be sky-high this year.

The switch is expected to take place at approximately 4:05 p.m.

downloadAnother week, another discussion on NFL ratings: with the election now over, can the NFL bounce back? The NFL is discussing the possibility of speeding up games, as viewers continue to complain about the quality of the product. Ratings continue to decline from last year – especially prime-time games.

In contrast, NBA games on cable (ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV) are up by double-digits.

Despite proclamations from a lot of people on social media on how the Buffalo Bills-Seattle Seahawks was “the best game of the year” (quite a stretch, really), Monday night’s game was off 5 percent from last year’s Chicago Bears-San Diego Chargers matchup. Still, the game drew 11.3 million viewers and a 6.9 household rating, outdrawing everything on both broadcast and cable.

However, nearly nine million viewers were watching either Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC in primetime on Election Eve.

Sunday Night Football’s Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders contest, a huge AFC rivalry game, drew 18.3 million viewers – highest since week three, but down 20 percent from last year’s Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game.

With the elections now behind us, experts will be checking in to see if cable news did indeed draw viewers away from football. If not…the NFL’s going be in crisis mode.

051ca8dd8ee84ad3837794ab3fe0d2cf-hdIf you love MTV or Spongebob and a PlaystationVue subscriber? You are out of luck. The new internet-only subscription service (known as over-the-top) is dropping cable channels owned by Viacom, effective Friday. Among the channels being axed include MTV, BET, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike, and TV Land.

According to a post on the official Playstation blog, Vice President and PlaysttionVue head Dwayne Benefield noted “As part of our ongoing evaluation of the PlayStation Vue offering, we have determined that removing the bundle of channels from Viacom is the best way for us to continue to offer the most compelling value to our fans.” Wondering this is speak for “we couldn’t come to terms with Viacom on a new deal” or “Viacom was asking for a price increase we may have to pass on to you.”

The move is the latest blow to Viacom, whose channels are struggling in the ratings and its stock price is taking a beating. The conglomerate is reportedly considering merging with CBS, who it spun off from 45 years ago, merged into seventeen years ago, and split from ten years ago.

Despite the loss, PlaystationVue has added BBC America and NBA TV, and is planning to add local channels from CBS or Fox, though the post didn’t specify in what markets.

PlaystationVue was launched as an over-the-top service last March in order to take advantage of the growing number of “cord-Cutters”, or those disposing their cable subscriptions to lower costs. The service is available not only on PS3 and PS 4 consoles, but also on Android and iOS devices, Roku, and Kindle Fire devices, with four different pricing tiers.

For those living in the Chicago area, CW network programming is not available over PSVue due to the recent affiliation switch from WGN-TV to WPWR-TV.

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WGN-TV dominates Cubs parade coverage ratings

581d635ce3deb-imageBut who finished second in adults 25-54 is a surprise

Tribune-owned WGN-TV has been the home of Chicago Cubs baseball since 1948 – and their exposure through the former WGN Superstation helped expose the team to a nationwide audience.

So it is appropriate that WGN would be the station most viewers turned to for their historic World Series parade.

According to TVSpy, WGN-TV led all stations in the Chicago market last Friday with a 5.3 household rating and a 2.5 rating in the key news/sports demo of adults 25-54. The period covers from 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

In addition, WGN’s coverage was also carried by CLTV, WGN America, and MLB Network.

Following WGN was the market’s news leader, WLS-TV, who finished second with a 5.0 rating and tied for third among adults 25-54 with a 1.3.

But who came in second is a surprise: Fox-owned WFLD-TV, who finished ahead of its competitors in the adults 25-54 with a 1.8 rating and a 3.5 rating in households. The station – who aired the historic game giving the Cubs its first World Series title since 1908 – got good sampling from viewers.

Among the also-rans, NBC-owned WMAQ tied WLS in the 25-54 demo, and finished fourth in households. Bringing up the rear is CBS-owned WBBM-TV, finishing with 1.9 households rating and 0.6 in 25-54s – placing fifth in both categories.

CSN Chicago also carried the parade; the regional sports network earned a 1.0 household rating (25-54 numbers were not available.)

Ratings seem to depressed because a large contingent of potential viewers were either at work (yeah, right) or at the parade itself. Estimates pegged the crowd at nearly five million – making it the most-attended Chicago sports victory parade ever.

In terms of parade coverage, many alluded to WGN’s as the best – particularly during the parade itself as the anchors shushed and “let the pictures do the talking”, especially when the Cubs rounded through North Michigan Avenue through the Loop, with the crowd cheering them on. It was tremendous.

On the other hand – and as expected – there were the usual complaints. Many took umbridge with anchors talking over the festivities: despite many ranking WGN’s coverage as the best, a lot of people complained about anchor Micah Materre’s constant yammering (yours truly’s pet peeve was the useless amount of political advertising on all the stations except CSN – whose telecast was quite entertaining.)

Anyone expecting a high-quality network-caliber broadcast of the Cubs parade – and that’s any station in this market – were likely to be disappointed – despite the fact all of the local stations (but WGN) covering the parade are owned by the major broadcast networks. For those watching on TV from home, Cubs fans deserved a whole lot better than what they received.

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“Simpsons” renewed for two more seasons

The Simpsons 2Historic deal takes animated series to 2019, making it the all-time episodes champ in primetime for a scripted series

On Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs made history as the team won their first World Series title in 108 years.

On Friday, The Simpsons made history of their own.

The long-running animated series was renewed for its 29th and 30th seasons Friday, taking the show through the 2018-19 season. By this time, The Simpsons would have amassed 669 episodes – the most number in U.S. Primetime history among scripted series, passing Gunsmoke’s 635. Currently, The Simpsons in its 28th season, already the longest-running series in television history.

The series’ last two-year renewal pact came in May 2015.

So far this season, The Simpsons is averaging 7.2 million viewers across all platforms – outdrawing several current primetime series including Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., How To Get Away With Murder, all NBC sitcoms, and everything on The CW. The Simpsons is also Fox’s second-highest rated show, behind Empire and the second highest-rated sitcom currently on the air, behind The Big Bang Theory when all metrics are factored in. The Simpsons also continues to command six figures for a 30-second commercial spot.

The Simpsons has experienced a bit of a resurgence in recent years, thanks to past seasons being made more available to viewers, through FXX and The Simpsons World app, where every episode (except the current season) is available. Also, the producers have made viral videos featuring The Simpsons clan, commenting on everything from the latest pop culture craze to the presidential race.

Also, FXX once again is airing a non-stop Simpsons marathon featuring every episode ever made beginning Thanksgiving Day. The first marathon ran two years ago and was deemed a massive success – The prime-time portion often drew one million viewers a night, beating several high-profile cable shows – even outdrawing CNN’s eight-hour Rahm Emanuel infomercial Chicagoland.

While The Simpsons does have the title of long-running scripted program in primetime history, it still hasn’t matched the longevity of several current first-run syndicated strips on the air, including Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy! – the latter two are expected to be renewed in a few weeks, taking those shows through the 2019-20 season. And of course, 60 Minutes, 20/20, Meet The Press, Cops (now on Spike), and all four soap operas are all ahead of The Simpsons in terms of longevity and episode count.

Just behind The Simpsons is syndicated conflict talkers Maury and Jerry Springer, who is currently in his 26th season and Extra, now in its 22nd season.

In a press release, Fox quoted Homer Simpson as saying “Take that Gunsmoke! You lost a race you didn’t even know you were running!”

Of course, Homer finds it is easier to argue with a dead guy with a gun.

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Cubs World Series’ victory is also one for all involved

cubsFox, WFLD, MLB, advertisers also have reason to pop out the bubbly

The Chicago Cubs’ World Series win is historic in many ways – and not just for the team.

Wednesday night’s achievement – the first championship for the team since 1908, brought dividends for Fox, advertisers, the game of baseball, and over-the-air television in general.

For one – the edge-of-your-seat, 24-like thriller that was game seven – won by the Cubs 8-7 in ten innings – may have been the best baseball game ever played. On social media, many were questioning Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s moves – actions that could have cost them a chance at a championship. But in the end, everything worked out – and the Cubs are hoisting the World Series trophy for the first time in the modern media era.

Although the Cubs’ historic win didn’t approach levels of the most-watched event in television history, it was the highest-rated baseball game in Chicago history.

Game seven of the Cubs-Indians drew a final tally of 40.045 million viewers and a 21.8/37 household rating/share.  Though far short of the final episodes of M*A*S*H (106.5 million), Seinfeld (76 million) and Friends (52 million), it was the most-watched baseball game in 25 years, since game seven of the 1991 World Series between Atlanta and Minnesota.

Game seven also outdrew all of NBC’s primetime Summer Olympics coverage. Given how much NBC paid for them, Fox made out like a bandit. Game seven also outdrew this year’s Academy Awards and Grammys telecasts.

Among adults 18-49, game seven drew a huge 12.6 rating, making it one of the top-rated programs of the television season in the key demo.

Overall, the 2016 World Series averaged 23.4 million viewers, a 13.1 household rating, and a 6.5 rating among adults 18-49 – the latter topping all NFL primetime games this year. And you know the numbers are better than last year’s Kansas City Royals-New York Mets World Series and the most watched since the 2004 World Series.

In terms of alternate platforms, Fox Sports Go drew an average audience of 343,565 viewers according to Adobe, a new streaming record.

Welcome back, Fox 32.


WFLD sets rating records

Locally, the Cubs – once an exclusive domain for cross-town rival WGN-TV – paid huge dividends for Fox-owned WFLD-TV as Wednesday’s Game seven drew a massive 51.8 rating/72 share, peaking at a 58/77 at 10 p.m. marking the highest rating ever for the station in its fifty-year history – an outlet once known for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; and reruns of The Banana Splits and M*A*S*H. The previous record was held by the 2010 NFC Championship Game (played in January 2011) between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

And in perhaps the ultimate sense of satisfaction for Cubs fans, the game seven clincher drew the highest rating ever for a baseball game in Chicago television history in records dating back to 1976 – even outdrawing the Chicago White Sox’s 2005 World Series clincher over the Houston Astros. In all, game seven now ranks as the second most-watched sports telecast in Chicago history – outranking all Bulls and Blackhawks championship games and finishing only behind the Bears’ Super bowl victory over the New England Patriots in 1986 (oddly, now the Chicago Bears now have the longest championship drought of any Windy City team at 31 years.)

Leading out of the game, WFLD drew a 28.8/57 for its local newscast, perhaps the highest-rated ever for the 29-year old news operation. Among adults 25-54, the game drew a 22.1/61. WFLD stayed on the air until 2:20 a.m. Thursday morning with coverage.

The Cubs’ World Series run paid dividends for WFLD – boosting its beleaguered news operation, which seems to fix its problems just in time (if you’ve read this blog for the last ten years, the nyou know what I mean – fail whale in all.) Anchors Jeff Herndon, Dawn Hasbrouck and Lou Canellis deserve props for their seamless on-air performance. Even before WFLD started airing the World Series, news ratings were reportedly up from a year ago.

Wait a minute…yours truly praising WFLD news operation? The Cubs won the World Series, didn’t they? :-)

If there was one downside to the news coverage of the Cubs’ clincher – on all stations, was the numerous live shots of drunken fans screaming into the microphone and a few revelers either taking shots at the rival White Sox, holding up political signs (one live shot had a Clinton/Kane sign in the background), and using profanity, which was the case on WLS-TV’s morning newscast Thursday.

Toyota' going places.

Toyota’s going places.

Advertiser benefits

With the Cubs in the World series, many marketers benefited – more no other than telcos (Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.), who spent millions of dollars on advertising – with many of them attack ads (sound familiar?)

Speaking of which, both presidential candidates bought ads during game seven, ruining our viewer experience. As expected, political advertising was also featured in local breaks – a huge win for the running candidates in getting name recognition.

Meanwhile, Budwesier aired a classic spot from 1984 after the game featuring Haray Caray you can view here. And then there’s this spot from Nike, created by the W+K agency in Portland, Ore.

And of course, Toyota was a big winner – because their name is outside the Wrigley field marquee featured prominently with the words “World Series Champions”.

Other benefactors included The Lincoln Motor Company (a fancier name for Ford); Taco Bell (with their steal a base, steal a taco promotion), and Geico.

Baseball benefits

We all saw what happened after Jackie Robinson West won the U.S. Little League Championship in 2014 (and later had it stripped) – everyone was talking about how baseball was cool again and how it was lead to a renaissance of the sport, especially in the inner city. Of course, it didn’t happen.

Will the Cubs victory do the same in 2016 – enough to re-claim the title of most-popular sport away in the U.S from the NFL? Only time will tell, though the Cubs winning the World Series gives the sport of baseball a boost – and at the right time as NFL ratings are in a tailspin. Keep in mind sports ratings are cynical, and what may be hot one moment may not be the next.

Next up is parade coverage on Friday – Chicago’s five local news stations are covering the festivities (thus pre-empting daytime programming), along with CSN Chicago and WGN America, who’s carrying WGN-TV’s feed.

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Cubs win World Series title

cwt-h68xuaaxkbw108 years of frustrations wiped away

The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions. Repeat after me. The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions.

The city’s North Side baseball team did what was unthinkable few years ago – win the World Series. In an epic Game 7, the Cubs bet the Cleveland Indians 8-7 Wednesday night in ten innings  to claim their first championship in 108 years.

The last Cubs championship was in 1908, and Chicago’s first baseball title since the White Sox won in 2005.

With game seven becoming the edge-of-your-seat, 24-like thriller, many were predicting Wednesday night’s game would draw northward of 50 million viewers, in the territory of 1991’s game seven when Jack Morris of the Minnesota Twins pitched a masterpiece to lead that team to a World Series title (yours truly’s estimate of coming close to the 1983 M*A*S*H finale of 106.5 million is likely to be off.)

Keep it here at T Dog Media for information regarding ratings, facts, and more!

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs on their World Series Championship!

Enjoy this MLB The Show commercial from 2012 – it’s now a reality!


T Dog’s Media Notepad: Gannett pulls plug on merger with Tronc


161101103712-gannett-tronc-logo-780x439The proposed merger between Gannett and Tronc is now off the table. Gannett announced Tuesday it would no longer pursue a merger between the two, due to bankers pulling hteir money from the deal. Merger talks between the two was going at a snail’s pace . By comparison, the AT&T-TimeWarner proposed merger took just two days to get together.

The news sent stock prices for Tronc tumbling – however, stock prices for Gannett rose. Tronc chairman Michael Ferro will now face angry shareholders, who feel they were cheated out of a deal with Gannett.

With the proposed merger dead, there is speculation once again on whether Tronc – parent company of the Chicago Tribune, would pursue a merger with Wrapports, the owner of rival Chicago Sun-Times, given Michael Ferro owns shares in both companies. But a merger would face very tough scrutiny from federal regulators and Democratic lawmakers in a deep blue part of Illinois. In other words, a Tribune/Sun-Times merger is even less likely than an AT&T/TimeWarner one.

wshe_logo_chiWSHE-FM announced last week they were going to launch a new morning show in Chicago. Only problem is: the program is based out of Grey’s Anatomy territory.

Beginning November 14, Hubbard’s WSHE-FM will begin airing The Brooke & Jubal Show, a Seattle-based radio show airing on sister station KQMV-FM (Movin’ 92.5 FM) featuring Brooke Fox and Jubal Flagg, who were first paired up at the station in 2011. The show is being syndicated by iHeart Media-owned Premiere Radio Networks, in association with Hubbard. Brooke & Jubal is already airing in several markets.

Out is Brian Peck’s morning show, which is being canceled. Despite being live-and-local, Peck was ranked outside the top 20. Peck’s last day on the air – and at WSHE altogether – is November 11, Veterans’ Day.

The move is not typical of Hubbard – generally, the station doesn’t use out-of-town personalities to fill slot on Chicago stations- having a syndicated show based from Seattle being piped in to Chicago seems a bit oft-putting. On the other hand, airing Brooke & Jubal would be less expensive than a local show. But this is the kind of cheapness that gives radio a bad reputation. So when you tune in one morning and hear endless gushing about Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson or a Grey’s recap on Friday, now you know why.

unnamedAn item I wrote about in 2007 is back in the news: The FCC’s Administrative Law Judge is just now acting on a complaint on a water-drinking contest held by Entercom’s Top 40 radio station KDND-FM in Sacramento, resulting in the death of a young mother, Jennifer Strange.

The case was settled in 2009, with Entercom paying $16.7 million to Ms. Strange’s family in a jury judgement, and the employees involved were all disciplined, moving on to other radio jobs. Now the FCC wants to look into the issue – only problem is, its eight years too late. In fact, the chairmanship of the agency has changed twice since the contest took place – Kevin Martin was head of the agency in 2007.

Holding license revocation hearings now would be a considerable waste of time and taxpayers’ money – the case is closed, and the station’ image has recovered. Revoking the license now would be pointless. It says more about the dysfunctional nature of the FCC – who in its current state is a partisan divided mess along the same lines as Illinois government – than it does about Entercom.

NBCBoston1More information was released about NBC’s new Boston station, set to launch on January 1. For one, the call letters are WBTS-LD (low power), and is being rebranded as NBC Boston. Second, over-the-air channel designation is 46, but PSIP (Program System Information Protocol) will direct viewers to virtual channel 8 or 8.2.

NBC bought WTMU from ZGS Communications for $100,000 to compliment its coverage on Telemundo affiliate WNEU, which will launch on Channel 60.2 on January 1, leaving no doubt NBC will rely on cable and satellite coverage to adequately reach the market.

The station’s weekday lineup will be news-intensive, with eight hours a day. Melody Mendez, who was anchor/reporter at Fox’s WFLD here, is part of the news team, being expanded from NECN, NBC’s regional news channel in New England. Two local programs are in the lineup: entertainment newsmagazine The Hub Today and a Sunday-morning public affairs show.

There’s not much syndicated programming in the lineup. Outside of network and local programming, syndie fare includes Rachael Ray, Harry, and Access Hollywood (and spinoff Access: Hollywood Live.) WBTS plans to launch NBCBoston.com November 10 and will also have a major presence on social media.

This is NBC’s third station in Boston. NBC was affiliated with Group W’s WBZ-TV from 1948 to 1995. When Group W struck a deal to make all of its stations CBS affiliates (including WBZ) in 1994, NBC moved its programming to WHDH, who lost CBS in the Group W deal. Beginning January 1, WHDH joins the growing ranks of independent stations – WGN-TV here in Chicago became an independent on September 1 after ten years with The CW.

page_six_tv_h_2016Remember earlier last summer an article I wrote about syndicated “test” shows? Well, one of them received a passing grade. Page Six, a newsmagazine strip airing on a few Fox-owned stations last July, has now been picked up by the entire Fox group, including Fox’s Chicago duopoly for slotting starting next September. Twentieth Television is handling both station and national advertising sales.

Based on the New York Post’s Page Six column (on page six of the newspaper), the TV version features celebrity news and gossip.

On the Fox-owned stations, Page Six seems to be a perfect fit with similar style programming on the group, including TMZ and Dish Nation. However, Page Six could wind up replacing one of those shows – In its fourth season, Dish has struggled in the ratings, averaging just a 0.7 household rating in the last few weeks. Twentieth, who also syndicates Dish, has not decided if the show would be back for a fifth season.

The New York Post, Twentieth Television, and the Fox Stations Group were all owned at one time by News Corp., but only the Post is currently owned by News Corp. as the latter two are owned by 21st Century Fox, which split from News Corp. three years ago.

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Cubs’ victory in Game 5 of the World Series zaps Sunday Night Football

Fans celebrate as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 of the World Series at Wrigley Field, Sunday night, Oct. 30, 2016. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Fly that W. [Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times]

The Cubs’ victory in game five of the World Series is not only good news for fans of the North Side team, but also to Fox, who gets another opportunity to shove new awful action series Lethal Weapon down our throats.

Game five of the World Series featuring the Chicago Cubs in a do-or-die situation against the Cleveland Indians destroyed the competition Sunday night. In Chicago, the game drew a 42.8 live-plus-same day rating and 60 share for  Fox’s WFLD-TV, up tremendously from Game four’s 30.1 rating Saturday and game three’s 35.1 on Friday. The Cubs beat the Indians 3-2 to ensure a game six Tuesday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Comparing this to past games involving Chicago championship teams, the Cubs topped the 42.5 rating the Chicago White Sox earned in 2005 when they beat the Houston Astros to win the World Series in a four-game sweep. The Cubs also topped game six of the Stanley Cup Finals in June 2015 when the Blackhawks clinched in third title in six years.

In Cleveland, Tribune-owned WJW-TV earned a 46.8 rating – the highest non-Super Bowl number the station has earned as a Fox affiliate, dating back 22 years (WJW was a CBS affiliate until 1994.)

Nationally, game five of the World Series beat the competing Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday Night Football, marking the first time since 2011 the fall classic topped NFL’s premiere showcase. The Cubs-Indians game drew a total of 23.6 million viewers – the highest for a World Series game five since 1997 (also involving Cleveland) compared to 18 million for the football game. Fox was helped by a football lead-in and post-game show The OT (which was pre-empted in Chicago for a Cubs pre-game show), but the Cubs-Indians game would’ve draw just as many viewers on its own.

Among adults-18-49, it was much closer. According to preliminary numbers, The World Series drew a 6.2 rating compared to a 6.1 for SNF, who jumped in the ratings last week from a dismally-played 6-6 tie between Seattle and Arizona. The World Series beating a marquee NFL game will no doubt continue to generate even more articles on why the league’s ratings are declining. On the other hand, the World Series is seeing double-digit ratings increases from 2015’s Kansas City Royals-New York Mets matchup in viewers, households, and key demos.

As for the rest of the crowd on Sunday night, CBS and ABC just couldn’t compete – neither network achieved more than a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo, with ABC failing to crack a 1.0 for any of its Sunday shows.

As for game six, viewership is likely to head higher as the Cubs fight to take this series to a game seven. If it goes that far – could we see record ratings? Although the records set by the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983 and a few recent Super Bowls may be out of reach – a game seven Cubs-Indians winner-take-all could come within striking distance.


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