T Dog’s Grab Bag: Mike McConnell moves to WGN-AM’s online feed

Mike-McConnell In a rather unusual move, WGN-AM announced Wednesday it was shifting Mike McConnell (left) from its main terrestrial station to a secondary, online stream usually reserved for spillover programming. In addition, McConnell’s show is being available via podcast.

Since being hired away from WLW/Cincinnati by then-PD Kevin Metheny in August 2009, McConnell has not been able to find an audience, though he has seen recent ratings growth. McConnell’s also been slammed repeatedly on numerous local message boards (and quite unfairly at times.)

In the meantime, WGN plans to fill its vacant midday slot with fill-in hosts. On tap this fall is a new weekday show hosted by Bob Sirott and Muricanne Murciano, but a time slot has yet to be specified. With McConell’s move to a secondary online stream, it’s likely curtains for the beleaguered host, who’ll likely exit before his contract expires in August 2015.

Former WSCR-AM morning co-host Mike North is employed again: this time, its a two-hour Sunday morning football show on WIND-AM (known as The Answer), beginning September 8, and lasting through the season. The show is being sponsored by PlaySportsLive.com, a new sports website, and is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon.

Recent work for North included two unsuccessful morning TV shows with his longtime radio partner, Dan Jiggetts.

Since North is going to be on “The Answer” every week, he will have to go to um… practice.

KCOP, the Fox-owned Los Angeles station that went from strong independent and UPN affiliate to a weak My Network TV outlet, has canceled its remaining newscasts – similar to what sister station WWOR in New York did. But instead of replacing it with a Chasing Jersey-like program, KCOP is replacing its 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts with reruns of The Simpsons (a longtime KTTV staple) and The King Of Queens, effective Sept. 20 and Sept. 22, respectively.

WWOR is also scheduled to air syndicated Simpsons reruns at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. (according to an online message board), and at least one airing of The Big Bang Theory is moving to WWOR from sister station WNYW (both WNYW and KTTV have Modern Family penciled in from 7-8 p.m.) WFLD is also scheduled to air Modern Family this fall, but a time period have yet to be specified. Will Bart & Co. head to sister station WPWR here in Chicago? Stay tuned.

– Its been years since a local station deep-sixed a soap opera (the networks have been doing that for them over the last several years), but this move raised some eyebrows: NBC affiliate KSNV in Las Vegas (the former KVBC) dropped Days Of Our Lives from its daytime schedule effective Friday, but starting on Monday, the market’s CW affiliate (Sinclair-owned KVCW) picks up the show at 1 p.m., the same slot it aired on KSNV.

This marks the first time in recent memory Days Of Our Lives has been dropped by an NBC affiliate – and surprising given Days was usually NBC’s highest rated daytime show (usually, it was one of the network’s other soaps – Texas, Generations, Santa Barbara, Another World, etc. – that got shit-kicked by affiliates for syndicated programming.)

Starting Monday, KSNV is starting a 3 p.m. local news show and is also replacing Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy! from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. with yet another local news show. KSNV is in the process of replacing all of its syndicated programming with local fare. Two other syndicated shows on KSNV (Doctors and Dr. Phil – both are moving to 1 and 2 p.m., respectively) have their contracts expire in 2014.

The reason is simple – station makes more money from local programming (if they produce it cheap enough) and don’t have to send an expensive check to a syndicator every week. KSNV isn’t the first to try the all-local approach: NBC affiliate WTMJ in Milwaukee has a similar schedule in place and KCNC in Denver did as well [when it was an NBC O&O.]


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