Media Notepad: Bulls fire Fred Hoiberg

Also: WKQX hires new morning personality, Carol Fowler out at the Sun-Times; Tamron Hall adds Hearst stations

Can anyone in Chicago management keep a job these days?

Weeks after the Blackhawks fired Joel Quennville, their United Center co-tenants did the same to Fred Hoiberg earlier this week after three and-a-half-seasons. The Bulls did make the playoffs the first two years under Hoiberg, but fallen into a ravine last season and so far this season they are 5-20 – the worst record in the Eastern Conference and second-worst in all of the NBA.

The Bulls replaced Hoiberg with assistant coach Jim Boylen on an interim basis. But as we all know, the show is still run by Gar Forman and Bill Paxson, better known as the Jeff Zucker and Jan Jeffries of the NBA.

Ratings for games on both WGN and NBC Sports Chicago so far this season were not available, but last season ratings reached their lowest point since the 2007-08 season. It’s hard to imagine anyone tuning in for this mess.

Then again, Empire is still on the air and that’s an even bigger mess.

Speaking of management messes, the Chicago Sun-Times also had another management overhaul this week with Carol Fowler ousted from her position as senior vice president of digital products after fourteen months as reported Wednesday by Robert Feder. Editor-in-Chief Chris Fusco takes over her duties and her position has been eliminated.

The latest shake-up comes as the Sun-Times continues to battle reader erosion and struggling circulation. In October, former alderman Edwin Eisendrath stepped down from his role as CEO.

If you recall, Fowler had stints as news director for three different Chicago television stations at WGN-TV, WFLD-TV and WBBM-TV – the latter two with little success. Fowler however, runs her own social management firm.

Once again, a familiar name is getting a posh drive-time slot in Chicago morning radio. As first reported by Robert Feder on Tuesday, the Cumulus-owned alternative rocker hired veteran Sludge to helm mornings between 6 and 10 a.m., beginning December 9.

Also known as Brian Haddad, Sludge will lead the “KQX Morning Crew” with Ali Mattacola and exec producer Justin Nettlebeck. The duo officially replaces the former morning team of Brian Phillips and Lou Lombardo. Haddad has worked for the former WRCX and WZZN (when it was Alternative) and the earlier version of WKQX’s Alternative format and previously worked as creative director and evening host for Entercom’s WIP-FM in Philadelphia.

Cumulus previously operated WKQX in a local marketing agreement with Merlin Media, but ended due to Cumulus’ bankruptcy, forcing Merlin to sell sister station WLUP-FM to the Educational Media Foundation in March. Cumulus purchased WKQX after the company re-emerged from bankruptcy.

WKQX hasn’t had a reliable morning program since Sherman and Tingle left, since alternative music returend to reunited at classic rock WDRV-FM (The Drive).

Former Chicago anchor Tamron Hall’s new syndicated new talk show has become the first new fall 2019 entry to score a deal outside of a major O&O group. On Tuesday, Hearst announced it has purchased the show from Disney-ABC in 24 of its markets. Clearances include WISN/Milwaukee, KCRA/Sacramento, KMBC/Kansas City, and WCVB/Boston.

“We are excited to once again be in business with our long-term partners and couldn’t be more pleased that Hearst has placed its confidence in Tamron Hall’s return to daytime television,” said Jed Cohen of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, in a statement. “These Hearst stations are among the finest in broadcast television and their commitment clearly places Tamron in the best environment for success in 2019.”

Hall now has a leg up on other new fall 2019 new talk shows: NBCUniversal’s Kelly Clarkson and Sony/Tribune’s Mel Robbins. So far, Jerry Springer’s new Judge Jerry leads the clearance race with 75 percent of the country.

But with so many veteran shows continuing to do well – notably on-the-bubble Steve (who saw its ratings increase from November 2017), it remains to be seen how many of these new shows would launch as time periods are likely to be tight.



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