Back when 2019 started, T Dog Media looked at the stories to watch throughout the year. So how did we do? I have the answers right here:
1. The continuing impact of Netflix and Amazon. And as of this writing, Netflix movie BirdBox has racked up 45 million views on the streaming service. Look for the duo to continue being cultural changers in 2019.
And 2019 also saw Disney Plus successfully launch. With two more big streaming services set to launch in 2020, streaming is here to stay.
2. Will B96 end its contemporary music format in 2019 after 37 years? With ratings at an all-time low, it could be curtains after a long run – but it may not easy to pull off as competitors are seeking to block any move a rival could make by tweaking their own existing formats. Another station we should keep our eye on? Struggling country music station Big 95.5.
B96’s ratings actually went up a bit while Big is still in the game. But both are still underperforming.
3. What the Cubs new network would look like. The biggest discussion is the Cubs’ new regional sports channel, set to launch in 2020. What will it be named? And are they going to partner with Sinclair Broadcasting to launch it, as rumored?
Announced last February, the Cubs officially launched Marquee Sports Network, powered by Sinclair Broadcasting. But since then, very little news has been released, including programming and on-air talent.
4. The split of Fox and its namesake studio will be final. An end of an era is looming as Disney would be in control of the 20th Century Fox film studio and its properties, perhaps as soon as March.
And it happened in March as advertised.
5. Can WLS-AM revive itself with newcomers Mancow Muller and Ben Shapiro? In a Democratic-leaning metropolitan area, it could be a tough chore to improve ratings, even with an established name and a hot newcomer.
Mueller and Shapiro both have done decently well – with Rush Limbaugh and Chris Plante even cracking the top ten in middays. I’m taking a shower now….
6. The FCC’s agenda. A Fifth Democratic member is expected to come aboard, but the agency will have to deal with the Government shutdown first. Another item to look for is the battle of chldren’s programming requirements for local stations.
After the government re-opened, The FCC named Gefforey Starks to fill the vacant seat as the battle over children’s programming turned out not to be, as the Republican-dominated agency rammed through rule changes easily.
7. Disney and Warner Media each launch their streaming service. With each set to launch next fall, can these studios put a dent in the streaming dominance of Netflix and Amazon?
8. Will Jessica Jones make it to a fourth season? With Netflix cancelling three Marvel shows last year – not to mention a weak second season, Jessica Jones and The Punisher indeed have targets on their back.
Both shows were canceled last spring, signaling the end of the Marvel Netfix Universe.
9. Who be will be the next Mayor of Chicago? The reality series Who Wants To Be Mayor Of Chicago is going to be one to watch with at least 20 candidates!
And the winner was an unlikely name: Lori Lightoot.
10. Who do you have in your daytime TV talk show pool? Kelly Clarkson or Tamron Hall? The real question is, where is Hall going to land on ABC 7’s schedule? Will she replace the local Windy City Live? Or be stuck in late-night? Is Kelly Clarkson replacing Steve Harvey at 2 p.m. on NBC 5? Hell, will Steve Harvey even have a talk show come next fall? And what is going to replace Extra on the NBC owned stations?
With ABC 7 keeping WCL, Hall wound up on WCIU-Ch. 26 at 4 p.m. as Kelly Clarkson became the new hot talk show of the fall season. “Steve” came to an end, and the NBC-owned stations replaced Extra with an Access: Hollywood spin-off, All Access (which airs locally at 3 a.m. on NBC 5.)
11. The AT&T-Justice Department battle. Will AT&T be forced to rewind its merger with Time Warner (now WarnerMedia)? This battle could wind up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The phone company won.
12. Will Nexstar keep WGN Radio? If Nexstar sells the legendary talker, potential buyers could be Cumulus, iHeartMedia, Entercom, or perhaps someone else. Either way, it’s an end of an era.
They did, and appointed former Clear Channel exec Sean Compton to run it, for better or worse.