T Dog’s Grab Bag: All Chicago, all the time

This is a double blue-striped, four red-star edition of the Grab Bag, containing nothing but local items! So fly the Chicago flag high over Rahm’s head and let’s get cracking:

– As first reported by Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago earlier this week, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West – who were recently ousted by WBEZ on September 30 – returned this weekend to the Chicago-area airwaves on one- but two stations. Newsweb-owned liberal talk outlet WCPT picked up the weekly series to air at 3 p.m. on Sundays. In addition, WVON-AM – which has a talk format targeted to African-American audiences, also picked up the show to air WBEZ and three other public radio stations dropped the controversial show due to a lack of … um,”balance”.

– The first casualty of NBC’s decision to close Nonstop subchannel came a few days ago when WMAQ pulled the plug on the television simulcast of Roe Conn’s and Richard Roeper’s afternoon show from WLS-AM after two years. NBC Chicago Nonstop carried the last three hours of the show, which aired from 3 to 6 p.m. Roe & Roeper’s final televised show was on October 25.  Next year, NBC is replacing its Nonstop digital subchannel in its owned-and-operated markets to Cozi TV with a new classic TV/lifestlyle hybrid format.

– The latest PPM numbers for October show many of the English-language music-oriented stations losing steam as fall is here and the kids head back to school, including WVAZ-FM which fell 15 percent from the last ratings period. But the Urban AC station maintained its top ranking overall. However, WBBM-AM – thanks to the elections and the Bears, were second overall, is poised to take over the top spot next week. Meanwhile, WLS-FM was flat from last month as the station flipped from Oldies to Classic Rock. The biggest winner overall was WNUA-FM as its Regional Mexican format is catching on with listeners: ratings were up 26 percent from last month, while Spanish CHR WPPN was shot up 7 percent to tie WNUA for fourteenth place. However, WOJO-FM tops them both, finishing fourth overall – and first among adults 25-54. WTMX retained its top ranking among women 25-54.

After years of interviewing Chicago’s biggest radio stars on his Chicago Radio Spotlight website, Rick Kaempfer has decided to call it a day for now, due to his busy schedule. The twenty-year Chicago radio veteran is devoting more time to other projects, mainly his publishing company (Eckhart Press), which has taken off in recent years. In 2013, he is releasing a memoir written by Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker. Kaempfer’s interviews is a who’s who of Chicago radio featuring personalities who were involved on and off the mic, ranging from Michael Damsky to Mancow Mueller, from Dick Orkin (WCFL’s “Chickenman”) to Danny Bonaduce, and many more. If you want to read Kaempfer’s interviews, click here (or click on the Chicago Radio Spotlight link in T Dog’s Media Friends section to your right.)

-Before there was Joel Hodgson, Mike Nelson, and the movie-mocking bots of Mystery Science Theater 3000, there was our local movie mockery artist Svengoolie. Well, after 40 years, the coffin is being retired and a new, state-of-the-art one is being built, according to Robert Feder at Time out Chicago. The original was built around 1970 and used by Jerry G. Bishop and Rich Koz. In 2013, the new coffin will be put in service for the long-running showcase for bad B-grade science-fiction movies, which currently runs on MeTV Saturday nights at 9 and on WCIU Saturday mornings at 11. The original Svengoolie (with Bishop) ran as Screaming Yellow Theater from 1970-73 on WFLD-TV, followed by a revival (Son of Svengoolie with Rich Koz stepping into the role) from 1979-86, also on WFLD. The current revival has been airing on WCIU since 1994 and seen throughout the country via MeTV when the classic TV channel became a digital subchannel network in 2010.

Where’s the old coffin going you ask? Although its not confirmed, its likely headed to the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Where else?


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