Also: iHeartMedia likely to go bankrupt; Fox wants more stations – and it could effect longtime Miami affiliate.
As first reported by Robert Feder Friday, Cara Carriveau has exited Hubbard-owned adult contemporary station WSHE-FM after approximately three years. Her replacement is Jenny Milkowski, who was recently the morning traffic reporter at Fox-owned WFLD-TV. She takes over starting Monday.
“I am so appreciative of all of the wonderful opportunities Hubbard Radio Chicago has given me, said Carriveau. To have hosted afternoons on WSHE after hosting middays on WTMX, two of the most impressive radio stations in the country much less Chicago, makes me extremely proud of the past decade in my career. I will deeply miss the amazing people I have worked with for so many years.”
Carriveau has also worked for WLUP-FM and the former WRCX-FM (now WKSC-FM, Kiss 103.5.)
Though Milkowski was let go from her last gig, her social media accounts were among the most popular among media personalities in the Chicago market – something WSHE is hoping to benefit from. Joining her in afternoons is Jay Styles, who was local producer and segment host of the syndicated Brooks & Jidal show. Replacing Styles in this role is nighttime personality Robb Rose, and replacing Rose is weekend fill-in and WBBM-FM vet Brian Middleton.
Is iHeartMedia on the verge of filing for bankruptcy? Nothing major has happened as of this writing (Sunday evening), but it looks like the former Clear Channel is joining Cumulus in the official creditor doghouse, as the battle for each company continues.
On Monday, iHeart reached a temporary forbearance agreement with creditors to avoid going into default.
In a cruel twist of irony, Sirius/XM owner Liberty Media (headed by John Malone) has invested 40 percent in the company with an infusion of cash, but it may not be enough to stave off Chapter 11.
In Chicago, iHeartMedia owns seven stations: gospel outlet WGRB-AM; adult contemporary WLIT-FM (The Lite); country WBSG (Big 95.5); urban AC WVAZ (V103); Top 40 WKSC; and urban contemporary WGCI. iHeart also manages urban news/talk WVON-AM under a shared services agreement with owner Midway Broadcasting. WGCI has faced tougher competition from Entercom’s upstart WBMX (Jams 104.3), resulting in a loss of market share.
iHeart also owns Top 40 powerhouses WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York City and KIIS-FM in Los Angeles. iHeart also owns syndicator Premiere Radio Networks, who syndicates shows featuring Rush Limbaugh, Steve Harvey, and Ryan Seacrest.
Though both Cumulus and iHeart are in financial straits, they are down but not certainly out. Once they go through this Chapter 11 process – and cut several expensive salaries and sell-off non-core assets, these companies will likely come out stronger – and could make a play for Tribune’s WGN-AM, who is in the process of being acquired by Sinclair. Some on-air personnel changes are also likely to take place – for one, they can start with WGCI’s lackluster morning show, which was beaten last month by Jams 104.3 in the daypart despite no morning host. WBMX placed in a tie for seventh; WGCI’s show was outside the top ten.
If you looking for someone to blame for the state iHeart and Cumulus are in, chalk in up to bad management in both companies. You wonder why iHeart continues to spend money on lavish productions such as award shows and music festivals when they have no money. But this is what happens when you take business advice from people who run the state of Illinois.
Is there going to be another Miami affiliation switch? 21st Century Fox is mulling buying Tribune Media’s WSFL and may make it the new Fox station as Sinclair is considering selling some of its stations to Fox in order to get their approval of their billion-dollar purchase of Tribune. TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell gave his analysis on the matter, and it would be the third time current Fox affiliate WSVN owner Ed Ansin would be jilted.
Even though Tampa- St. Petersburg is the largest Florida media market, Miami is more affluent with posh areas such as South Beach and is flush with luxury areas. Despite numerous racial riots between 1980 and 1993 (the first one in 1980 killed 18 people), the area experienced rapid growth thanks in part to exposure from TV’s Miami Vice. As a result, NBC invested in the market, purchasing then CBS affiliate WTVJ in 1987 and joined the network in 1989.
After losing WTVJ, CBS bought signal-challenged (in Broward County, at least) independent WCIX in 1988 and as a result of affiliate shake-up elsewhere, both NBC and CBS swapped channel positions in 1995 with WCIX becoming WFOR and CBS moving back to channel 4 while WTVJ took the poor signal-plagued channel 6, whose transmitter was located 20 miles south of the city. WTVJ was almost sold to then-WPLG owner Post-Newsweek in 2008, but the deal collapsed due to worsening economic conditions and opposition from several politicians.
Fox has been with WSVN since 1989 and saw ratings rise with their tabloid-flavored newscasts. Several alums, such as anchors Penny Daniels, Marianne Murciano, and execs Joel Cheatwood and Stacey-Marks Bronner would later work in Chicago television.
So is Ansin – a billionaire who recently saw his WHDH in Boston lose his NBC affiliation to a network-owned start-up – about to complete the hat-trick of losing affiliations? As we say in TV land, stay tuned.