Robservations on the media beat:
Can a new co-host help jump-start the ratings for WCIU-Channel 26’s underperforming morning show? Wednesday will mark Carly Henderson’s debut on “The Jam,” the Weigel Broadcasting station’s news, talk and entertainment program, airing from 6 to 8 a.m. weekdays. The former Los Angeles entertainment journalist, TV host and video producer will join co-hosts Felicia Lawrence and Jordan Cornette. Henderson replaces Danielle Robay, who left in June. After more than a year on the air, “The Jam” continues to struggle in the ratings. In the latest Nielsens, the two-hour show is averaging a scant 0.2 rating (6,599 households). Among viewers between 25 and 54, it’s got a goose egg.
Another major player is in the running to acquire tronc, the Chicago-based parent company of the Chicago Tribune. McClatchy Co., Sacramento, California-based publisher of 30 daily newspapers across the country, is in “early stage” discussions to buy tronc, according to a Tribune report by Robert Channick. Other reports say McClatchy may be teaming with biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of the Los Angeles Times and tronc’s second-largest shareholder, in its bid. Identified earlier as negotiating for tronc is Donerail Group, the private equity firm led by hedge fund manager Will Wyatt. In addition to the Tribune, tronc owns the New York Daily News, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and papers in six other cities.
Charlie Meyerson, who moderated a thoughtful and enlightening panel last week for the Publicity Club of Chicago on how newspaper editorial boards operate, has uploaded the event as a podcast. (Here is the link.) Panelists included John Lampinen, editor of the Daily Herald, Tom McNamee, editorial page editor of the Sun-Times, and Michael Lev, editorial board member of the Tribune. There’s an especially lively exchange about publication of the op-ed by the anonymous White House senior official in the New York Times. Meyerson, the longtime Chicago journalist, is publisher of ChicagoPublicSquare.com.
Another familiar voice soon will be heard on Future Vision Entertainment’s “95.1 FM Clubsteppin’.” In addition to picking up Tom Joyner’s syndicated morning show, the new urban adult-contemporary station is bringing back Victor “The Dizz” Blackful. He’s the former “Bad Boy Radio” nighttime co-host on iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI 107.5-FM. “The Dizz” is expected to sign on next week from 6 to 10 p.m. weekdays. His former partner, Mike Love, now hosts mornings on Crawford Broadcasting urban adult-contemporary WSRB 106.3-FM.
It’s the end of the line for Vine Line after 32 years as the official magazine of the Chicago Cubs. The December issue will be its last. “As we explore and invest in new and existing content delivery platforms to meet the evolving ways our fans consume Cubs news and features, we’ve made the decision to discontinue Vine Line at the end of the year,” the club wrote in a message to season ticket holders. Former Cubs public relations director Bob Ibach recalled that he launched the slick magazine in 1986 as a way to monetize the Die-Hard Cubs newsletter.
Six decades of Chicago broadcasting history will come together this week for what’s billed as “a once in a lifetime event” reuniting past and present employees of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and their former colleagues at WBBM 780-AM and WBBM 96.3-FM. Most of them worked in the old CBS building at 630 North McClurg Court before CBS 2 moved to 22 West Washington Street in 2008. More than 200 alums are expected to attend the reunion Sunday at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
To mark its 70th anniversary on the air, ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 posted a wonderfully nostalgic video Monday. (Here is the link.) On September 17, 1948, WENR (named for owner E.N. Rauland) signed on as Chicago’s first Channel 7. Five years later it merged with WBKB (named for owner Balaban and Katz Broadcasting). In 1968 the call letters were changed again to WLS (to match the ABC radio station named for former owner Sears Roebuck — “World Largest Store”).
Monday’s comment of the day: The Museum of Classic Chicago Television: The Museum of Classic Chicago Television (FuzzyMemoriesTV), an online-only archive, has preserved more material digitally and made more of this material available for people to see (for free) than the Museum of Broadcast Communications has for a long time.
It’s sad that so much money was squandered for the MBC’s building. There’s too much overhead. That $6 million from Governor Quinn and all the other money raised in the last 10 years should have gone into hiring people to digitize their archives and to make them available online. The fact that they still haven’t done this shows that their priorities are misaligned and that they have forgotten why they were created in the first place.
Meanwhile, the handful of volunteers at FuzzyMemoriesTV keep chugging along, operating on a shoestring budget while working their full-time “day jobs,” making new discoveries and uploading them for everyone to enjoy. If we had a few million dollars it wouldn’t be going to build a lavish brick-and-mortar museum on State Street, that’s for sure.