Cumulus exercises option to purchase WLUP, WKQX

Pour one on the curb for Merlin Media. As first reported by Radio Insight, Cumulus Media announced Tuesday they have exercised their option to purchase Merlin Media’s classic rock WLUP-FM and alternative WKQX-FM. The duo had been run by Cumulus in a local marketing agreement since January 2014, regulating Merlin to strictly ownership status. Cumulus already owns and operates all talk […]

Cumulus takes over Merlin Media’s remaining stations

The reign and terror of Randy “Court Jester” Michaels in radio has finally come to an end. In a blockbuster move, Cumulus announced Friday morning it was taking over operations of Merlin Media’s two remaining stations immediately: classic rocker WLUP-FM (97.9) and Variety Hits WIQI-FM (101.1), which was once home to the failed “FM News” experiment. The deal also gives […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: Happy trainwreck TV, everybody!

Happy New Year! The first Grab Bag of 2013 is here: – Countdown Chicago, ABC 7’s annual New Year’s Eve countdown special which aired from 11:08 p.m. to around 12:15 a.m., drew a huge 17.4 household rating and a 40 share – despite the annual bashing from viewers (after all, we still attend Cubs games, don’t we?) Hosted by WLS-TV’s […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: Julian Nieh exits B96

Another all-local edition of the Grab Bag… including an item on a possible sale of some downstate TV stations: – Julian Nieh, one half of the duo of B96’s (WBBM-FM’s) The JNiice & Julian Morning Show, exited the station on Wednesday to pursue other interests. The seven-year veteran of the contemporary-hit station was paired with Jamar “JNiice” McNeil in January […]

The 2012 T Dog Media Turkey Awards

Get the cranberry sauce ready: it’s time for the 7th annual T Dog Media Turkey Awards where every Thanksgiving, yours truly honors the worst in the media business for the year and 2012 is filled with so many media turkeys! Without further ado, here are this year’s, um… “winners”: Animal Practice. Premiering after the Summer Olympics (or more aptly put, […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: Merlin Media sells NYC station to CBS

Today’s Grab Bag features Merlin Media, Friday prime-time ratings, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey hooking up, and a possible new name for The Insider which you have to see to believe: It looks like the end is near for Merlin Media: the company announced the sale of New York City alternative rock outlet WRXP-FM to CBS Corp., who plans to […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: “Bethenny” heads to Fox Chicago

It’s a done deal: after a successful six-week test run at a few Fox-owned stations this summer, Bethenny Frankel’s new talk show from Warner Bros. has been cleared on the rest of the group in seventeen markets, including WFLD-TV in Chicago and is now going forward with a national launch in 2013. The former Real Housewives star was tested in […]

T Dog’s Six Pack: Topsy turvy

The Six Pack is back, but this edition is straight out of bizarro world: perennial loser NBC in the winner’s circle while top-ranked WLS-TV is in loserland? As Vince Lombardi would say, “What’s going on here?” Well, WIQI is the loser’s circle again, so it’s all not that unusual… the week’s winners and losers: Winners – NBC. Belated congrats to […]

The axe swings on FM News in Chicago, New York

It’s safe to say this now: FM News 101.1 is the biggest bomb in the history of Chicago radio. But you knew that already, right? Merlin Media pulled the plug on its all-news stations Tuesday at WIQI-FM (101.1) here in Chicago and WEMP-FM (101.9) in New York City, nearly a year after their underwhelming debuts, which saw them still stalled […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: TribLocal makes changes after scandal

Notes and news – in this mostly local edition of the Grab Bag: – As mentioned briefly in the Tribune bankruptcy post on Saturday, the Chicago Tribune was recently caught using fake bylines and plagiarizing and fabricating stories in TribLocal, the paper’s hyperlocal network of websites and print properties serving Chicago’s suburbs. On Friday, the Tribune announced it was parting […]

Chicago media just keeps serving up the has-beens

On the old PI Feedback forums at the former Mediaweek.com, a poster named “Twins12” often referred to the hit reality TV series Dancing With The Stars as Dancing With The Has-Beens, noting the program’s inability to land A-list celebrities, but those whose best days were behind them. In Chicago media, being a has-been can be beneficial – even if no […]

T Dog’s Think Tank: Dancin’ On The Graves

CBS’ “press release” sounds awfully familiar to letter Merlin Media sent to them last year It appears CBS has borrowed a trick from Randy Michaels’ playbook. On the heels of CBS unsuccessfully trying to stop ABC from airing Big Brother rip-off Glass House, The Church Of Tisch sent out a mock press release on Wednesday, unveiling the “upcoming launch of […]

Greg Jarrett heads to WIQI-FM

Former WGN-AM radio personality Greg Jarrett has landed a morning time slot gig on troubled news station WIQI-FM (101.1, FM News) beginning on Monday. Jarrett will anchor morning newscasts alongside Monica DeSantis from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. News of this hire was first reported Friday afternoon by Chicagoland Radio & Media. The hire of Jarrett – who was dropped […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: WGN Radio loses steam in latest PPMs

A lot of stuff  in this grab bag this week: – What’s this? A historic low for WGN Radio? The Tribune-owned talker finished in a tie for fifth place overall in 6+ with CHR WKSC-FM (Kiss) in the Arbitron May PPM survey. Even with Cubs baseball (and the you know the team sucks this year), WGN finished behind WVAZ (V103) […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: RIP Kathryn Joosten

Some sad news to start off this edition of notations: Emmy-award winning actress Kathryn Joosten died on Sunday after a long battle with lung cancer at the age of 72. She was best known for her portrayal of presidential secretary Mrs. Landingham on The West Wing, and most recently, the nosy neighbor on Desperate Housewives. Born in Eustus, Fl. in […]