The Grab Bag: You, the people

This Grab Bag is for you – that’s right. You – the people. You have the right to gripe about yet another newscast or yet another new daytime courtroom show (We The People) on the horizon. You also have the right to have an alternative to the regular crap on TV – thanks to two new diginet TV channels. You have the right to critique about Merlin Media’s new all-news stations – and a lot of listeners are exactly doing that. And you have the right not to suffer through another Q101 article. This Grab Bag – a collection of items that happened since this blog was put on a unfortunate hiatus earlier in the month – is dedicated to you – the people.

– In an item first reported by Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago, NBC-owned WMAQ-TV is launching a midday newscast – the first in nearly twenty years. The new half-hour noon newscast is being anchored by Marion Brooks. WMAQ’s low-rated noon newscast was canceled in 1991 to make room for soap opera Santa Barbara, which moved from its longtime 2 p.m. time slot to make room for Jenny Jones’ new syndicated talk show, which was shot here in Chicago at the NBC Tower.

– Filling out the hour on WMAQ is a new, last-minute-to-the-marketplace daytime courtroom show from Entertainment Studios titled We The People, with Attorney Gloria Allred presiding over cases for arbitration. The series has cleared six other NBC O&Os, including WNBC New York, KXAS Dallas, and WVIT Hartford.

While airing a courtroom series is out of character for an NBC O&O (in Chicago, court shows usually air on WCIU or WPWR), the move is being made since NBCUniversal decided to withdrawal reruns of The Real Housewives from broadcast syndication after a lone, unsuccessful season (don’t worry, you can still see the dysfunctional dames on Bravo.)

The last time WMAQ aired a courtroom show was in 1997-98, when it aired a new revival of The People’s Court with former New York Mayor Ed Koch (Court now airs on WCIU with Marilyn Millian presiding.) WMAQ also aired the original version of The People’s Court from 1982-87 with Judge Joseph Wapner.

– The new Bounce digital subchannel network has signed Weigel Broadcasting’s low-power WWME here in Chicago and WBME in Milwaukee to carry their new service, which launches on Sept. 26. Created by Martin Luther King III, former Atlanta mayor and current Ambassdor Andrew Young, and the principals behind Rainforest films, an African-American production company. Bounce is targeted to African-American audience in the 25-54 demo and recently signed Toyota USA as its first national sponsor. Other clearances for Bounce include WMCN Philadelphia, KHOU Houston, WUAB Cleveland, KSMO Kansas City, and WISH/WNDY Indianapolis representing the LIN, Meredith, Belo, and Raycom station groups.

Bounce plans to feature a wide variety of films, sporting events, off-network programming, inspirational shows, and original programming targeted to African-American audience. Bounce launches on Sept. 26 with the 1978 theatrical The Wiz, a musical take-off of the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz featuring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. You can find Bounce on WWME’s 23.2 digital subchannel.

– Also on the diginet beat: Adell Broadcasting’s Detroit independent station (WADL) has signed a deal with Antenna TV to carry the Classic TV digital network over its Channel 38.2 subchannel and on Comcast Cable Channel 295. Chicago-based Competing classic TV diginet MeTV is still without a affiliate in the Motor City, but things could open up soon if the ongoing turmoil at RTV is any indication – currently, WXYZ is affiliated with the faux classic TV channel on Channel 7.3.

– If you’ve noticed, Crawford Broadcasting’s WSRB-FM has returned to its Soul 106.3 branding after a few months as Real Radio 106.3, whatever that meant.

– And speaking of radio stations “not winning”, yours truly has his first verdict on Merlin Media’s new all news-talk WWWN-FM – not exactly impressed. Moments of dead air, mispronounced words, lots of flubs, too many repetition of stories, uncompelling content (shopping tips?), and an overall amateurish presentation. While yours truly understands this station is targeted to the soccer mom crowd aged 25-54, this has a long way to go to pose a legitimate threat to mass appeal WBBM-AM. And believe it or not, there are actually women out there who don’t care about shopping or chocolate!