1. The spectrum auction. The upcoming – and complicated – spectrum auction the FCC is holding is likely to change the face of television as we know it. Some over-the-air stations could pack it in and call it a career as the FCC plans to buy back spectrum space from TV stations and resell it to telecommunication companies (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) So far no Chicago stations have opted to take the money and run.
Kind of hard to say how the auction is doing since there is little information out. But a few trade publications have reported it isn’t going very well.
2. Chicago on the brink. All eyes will be on Chicago again as the city continues to deal with the fallout of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald and the future of mayor Rahm Emanuel – a huge challenge for the city’s media outlets. Meanwhile, gun violence and financial problems are taking its toll on Chicago’s image as national media outlets continue to talk about the city’s woes with tourism numbers beginning to decline and Chicago’s perception to the world as a hapless loser is becoming more and more prominent. Unfortunately, 2016 for the Windy City is shaping up to be a repeat of 2015.
Unfortunately, yours truly was 100 percent right on this.
3. The return of Garry Meier. Beloved radio host Garry Meier is planning to make a comeback with sidekick Leslie Keiling in the first test on whether or not a major show can be sustained online.
Garry Meier launched his new podcast in March, but so far that is all.
4. Can Empire keep it going? After a red-hot start in its first season, can Empire keep up the momentum? While still dominant in the ratings, a sign of an audience mutiny is starting to mount, starting with…that kiss.
And sure enough, “Empire” declined significantly in the ratings. The phrase “Anika tossed off the balcony” is the new “Jump The Shark”.
5. “Peak TV”. Last year, there were more than 400 scripted TV series alone, leading critics to declare this “Golden Age of TV” has “peaked”. Is it all downhill from here? Unfortunately, we’ll hear more of the term “Peak TV” until critics come up with another term to annoy us.
The number has only grown since – to 455, in fact. And we’re still using the word “Peak TV”.
6. The CW and Tribune. While The CW has signed renewal agreements with Nexstar and Sinclair station groups, the network still hasn’t come to terms with Tribune, who is the largest owner of CW affiliates – and owns them in four of the five largest markets – and the pact expires this year.
Both parties renewed for five years – but in a surprise move, Tribune’s WGN-TV became an independent again in September, with The CW affiliation moving to Fox-owned WPWR-TV.
7. Reboot fever. The first of the reboot bunch is slated to arrive this winter (The X-Files, Fuller House, etc.) It’s a sure bet nostalgic viewers will tune in, but will they stay?
And there were more… “MacGyver”, “Lethal Weapon”, to name a few. And even more are in the works.
8. Chicago baseball. The Cubs are moving to WSCR-AM (The Score) this year, and everyone’s watching to see if the team can sustain the same momentum it had in 2015. Meanwhile, former Score occupant Chicago White Sox is relocating to WLS-AM (890).
The Cubs did so and more – winning the World Series for the first time in several generations. As for the White Sox… the team renamed their ballpark after a predatory mortgage firm.
9. More consolidation? It doesn’t matter if Meredith or Nexstar turns out to be the winner in the Media General sweepstakes… we may see more broadcast companies merge as stations feast on political advertising revenue – and the possibility of Donald Trump being in the White House means lots and lots of deregulation could be on the way.
Nexstar turned out to be the winner… but the riches of political advertising for broadcasters this political cycle actually fell short. Meanwhile, AT&T and TimeWarner announced merger plans last fall, and Donald Trump did win the White House.
10. Batman vs. Superman. One of the most anticipated movies of the year, pitting two superhero babyfaces against one another. If this doesn’t work, there’s always Lex Luthor vs. The Joker.
And it didn’t work – plus, no Lex Luthor/Joker movie. Probably for the best.