The Media Notepad: Jams 104.3 continues its lead over WGCI

Also: “Harry” canceled; SyFy strikes deal with C2E2; Olympics underperform in Chicago, falling behind even Bears games

With the holidays behind us, it was back to normal in the latest Chicago PPM radio ratings as Entercom’s new Classic-Hip-Hop station 104.3 Jams (WBMX) continuing to rack up strong numbers. Despite a slight decline from last month, WBMX finished third among Chicago’s Top 30 stations and tied for seventh overall in morning drive, despite the presence of no DJ. The success of the station seems to have taken a toll on iHeartMedia’s WGCI-FM, who slid to an all-time low 2.7 rating and in a tie for seventeenth place.

Ironically, Crawford’s Power 92 (WPWX) wasn’t affected as much, finishing with a 2.1, and neither was iHeartMedia-owned V103 (WVAZ – the former WBMX) who remained in first place. Both WGCI and WPWX are Urban Contemporary stations.

Crawford’s Soul 106.3, who has an Urban Adult Contemporary format, did not make the top thirty.

WBMX has yet to hire any on-air personnel, but has embarked on a huge promotional campaign, including billboards throughout the South Side: 95th and Stony Island in the Calumet Heights neighborhood (featuring a drawing of Tupac Shakur) and 87th and Damen in Auburn Gresham. WBMX has also added more artists to its playlist, include Ja Rule, Ashanti, Rob Base, and even Justin Timberlake.

The industry is watching how the new WBMX performs with Chicago being the largest market in the country with a Classic Hip-Hop format (and one whose losing its black population at a rapid clip.) As it stands, it looks like WGCI wound up being the big loser so far.

In 2016, yours truly asked if Harry Connick Jr. could save the daytime talk show. The answer turned out to be… no. As expected, NBCUniversal Television Distribution announced last week it was pulling the plug after two low-rated years. Harry cleared primarily Fox-owned stations, including WFLD-TV and CW affiliate WPWR-TV, but bounced around several time periods on both stations in its first season. Currently, Harry is only airing on WPWR at 1 p.m.

Yours truly gave the show an A rating for its premiere on September 12, 2016. But Harry went downhill from there, becoming no different from the other light-hearted (and bland) syndicated daytime talk shows.

Part of the reason for the cancellation is likely due to production costs – for one, Connick Jr.’s show featured his large touring band and taped from an expensive studio in New York. Earlier, NBCUniversal renewed Steve for another season, despite a decline in ratings and an increase in production cost as the show relocated to Los Angeles from Chicago. But of course, Steve Harvey is more well-known than Harry Connick Jr. is.

Meanwhile, three other NBCU shows await their fates – the long running Jerry Springer, Maury, and Steve Wilkos as Tribune Media – the primary station group for all three shows (in Chicago however, only WGN carries Maury – Weigel’s WCIU carries the other two) is still awaiting approval regarding their merger with Sinclair as contracts are up in September. But as we now approach March, a decision has to be made soon.

Marvel’s “Kick” panel at C2E2 with Hayley Atwell (l) and Ming-Na Wen (T Dog Media)

Just in time for the upcoming Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo – known as C2E2, SyFy announced an agreement last week to become the exclusive streaming video partner of the event.

The agreement is with ReedPop, who runs the three-day gathering every year at McCormick Place. The pact also covers ReedPop’s other two other gatherings, including New York Comic-Con and the Emerald City Comic-Con (Seattle). The New York Comic-Con is perhaps the biggest expo outside of the San Diego Comic-Con.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network plans to have a live stage on show floors where hosts plan to interview attendees and celebrities and preview programming. SyFy also plans to live stream a few panels at the events.

C2E2 is now is in its eighth year and has attracted notable figures in pop culture over the years, including Stan Lee, Aqua Teen creators Dave Willis and Mike Maiellaro, Jim Cummings, Hayley Atwell, and others. Panels yours truly attended over the years featured J. Michael Straczynski, J. August Richards, and several Agents Of Shield cast members, including Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennett, Iain DeCastecker and Elizabeth Henstridge. Scheduled for April 6-8 of this year, guests scheduled to attend include This Is Us’ Justin Harley and Milo Ventimiglia, several cast members from DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Gina Torres, Tom Kenny (Spongebob), and of course, Svengoolie.

Mitch Trubisky over Lindsey Vonn? According to info obtained by Chicago Business Journal, ratings for the 2018 Winter Games from South Korea locally have been…meh-like. The games over NBC and NBCSN locally have averaged a 13.5 household rating, putting Chicago out of the top twenty highest-rated markets. Not surprisingly, the Olympic games trail numerous Chicago Bears regular season games – even with the lackluster season they had. For example, a Monday night contest (opposite a Cubs playoff game) last fall drew a 23.3 household rating, far above the Olympic average. The second night of the games – featuring the Opening Ceremonies, earned a below-market average of a 17.6 rating despite a huge snowstorm hitting the Chicago area.

For the first time, the Games are being shown live coast-to-coast and markets in the Pacific and Mountain Time Zone have been putting up better numbers than those in the Eastern and Central time zones (with a 5 p.m. start time on the West Coast, it’s bad news for first-run syndicated shows, such as Entertainment Tonight, Wheel Of Fortune, and Jeopardy!, who must compete against the games.) But a few Midwest markets – notably Milwaukee’s WTMJ, have put huge numbers, putting it in the ten-most watched U.S. markets.

Still, the Olympic numbers are far better than the ratings the struggling Bulls and Blackhawks have earned, and the Winter Games are the most-watched programs in their time periods and providing a boost for WMAQ-TV’s local newscasts. The games continue through February 25.


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