Robservations: ‘News Nation’ gets trounced in election coverage race

“News Nation”

Robservations on the media beat:

In a week that saw some cable networks and digital sites set viewership records, “News Nation,” the Chicago-based startup launched in September by Nexstar Media Group, barely registered. At the height of Election Night coverage Tuesday, “News Nation” delivered only 95,000 viewers from coast to coast on WGN America. Compare that to 14 million viewers for Fox News, 9.3 million for CNN and 7.5 million for MSNBC. Even WGN-Channel 9, also owned by Nexstar, outdrew “News Nation” with 241,000 viewers — and that was in the Chicago area alone. Adding insult to injury, news/talk WGN 720-AM simulcast “News Nation” audio in lieu of the usual local coverage. It marked the first time in its 96-year history WGN Radio outsourced reporting presidential election returns.

Carol Marin

In a tearful sendoff fit for a queen, Carol Marin was saluted by colleagues on WTTW-Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” Thursday in her farewell appearance on the Window to the World Communications public television station. (Here is the link.) “I’ve seen too many people, really fine journalists and great people, stick around when they needed the hook. I want to give myself the hook before it gets to that,” Marin told longtime colleague Phil Ponce. “We’ve seen people stay too long and they are no longer at the top of their game. I wanted to do it my way. I wanted to pick my spot and that’s what I’m doing.” Marin, 72, also stepping down as political editor of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, will continue as co-director of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence at DePaul University with Don Moseley. But the news business in Chicago sure won’t be the same without her. 

Chicago magazine

The December edition of Chicago magazine, billed as its 50th anniversary issue, features a cover story on “50 Moments That Shaped Chicago 1970-2020.” Among media milestones cited in Robert Loerzel’s piece are: October 2, 1971, when “Soul Train” went national; September 4, 1975, when Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert made their TV debut; July 12, 1979, when Steve Dahl staged Disco Demolition; January 15, 1990 when Oprah Winfrey opened Harpo Studios; and November 17, 1995, when Ira Glass’s “Your Radio Playhouse” debuted on WBEZ.

Ryan Dempster

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross will be Ryan Dempster’s first guest on the second season premiere of “Off The Mound,” the weekly talk show hosted by the former Cubs pitcher on Marquee Sports Network. Airing at 9 p.m. tonight, it will mark the first time Dempster has hosted the show from Marquee’s studios. “David Ross is truly one of the most special people in the game of baseball,” Dempster said of his former teammate. “I can’t think of a better guest to lead off season two of ‘Off The Mound.’”

Forgotten Hits

There’s still time to cast your ballot for “All-Time Favorite TV Theme” on Kent Kotal’s “Forgotten Hits” oldies music website. (Here is the link.) More than 21,000 votes are already in. Voting coincides with a “TV Themes Weekend” on Me-TV FM, the Weigel Broadcasting soft-rock oldies station at WRME 87.7-FM. It will run from 7 p.m. tonight through midnight Sunday.

Thursday’s comment of the day: Greg Nessinger: By Saturday at 4 p.m., [“Chicago’s Christmas Music Station”] will have played every song in their rotation at least twice.