WLS’s tribute to Don Wade

With last week’s passing of legendary Chicago talk show host Don Wade, I thought it was appropriate that Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft dedicated last Monday’s show to remembering the late host (Wolf and Proft succeeded Wade and his wife Roma late last year on the WLS-AM 890 morning show).

On Friday, Robert Feder noted that the station would air a special two-hour tribute to Wade, which aired earlier today from 1 to 3 p.m. Unfortunately, I was not around a radio at the time so I was unable to listen, but a Facebook post by Feder earlier tonight caught my attention.

The millions Don Wade made for WLS in his lifetime weren’t enough? They’re running commercials during his two-hour memorial tribute. #classless

While I’m not as offended by it as Feder is, if it’s just the same, I don’t like it any better than he did. At the same time, I would have been more shocked if commercials had in fact been omitted those two hours (WLS is owned by Cumulus Media… which says everything you need to know).

If anything, I’m more appalled at the scheduling the show for a Sunday afternoon. People are more likely to be in their cars when out and about running errands on a Sunday morning. Not that people aren’t listening to the radio on Sunday afternoons, but when you consider the Bears game was on from noon to 3 p.m. yesterday, how many people were likely going to hear it in the first place?

At the very least, the station should podcast the tribute on their website (after removing the commercials, of course), and then promote the hell out of it all over the air all this week.

Stay classy, Cumulus.

ADDENDUM – 9/19/13:
WLS posted the Don Wade tribute on their website, commercial free. WLS news anchor John Dempsey hosted the special broadcast, while several WLS personalities (present and alum) joined in to share their thoughts. To the credit of WLS, it was an awesome broadcast well worth the listen, giving me the opportunity, for the first time, to sample the personality of a younger Don Wade before his news/talk days. Dempsey did an outstanding job, in what I imagine was a difficult circumstance, after having worked with Don and Roma for five and a half years.

Kathy and Judy back on WGN this Friday

Kathy and Judy - WGN RadioFriday, May 22, 2009… I had the day off and was going to spend the day in Chicago just because I felt like doing so. I happened to turn on WGN-AM 720 just after the 9 a.m. news when I heard the venerable Kathy and Judy announce they were doing their last show.

Later that morning I took a walk over to the Tribune Tower, where on the ground level is the WGN Radio “Showcase Studio” — a studio fish bowl where people walking along Michigan Ave. can watch their favorite hosts while on the air. I got there before noon, as Kathy and Judy were signing off for the last time. The photo of the two of them crying, as shown in the link above, is what I saw in person. I wasn’t a Kathy and Judy fan, but I felt bad for them (if not that day, then eventually after).

On the way home that day, then afternoon drive host at WGN Steve Cochran talked about their dismissal. I don’t mean to twist his words, but from how I remember it, he implied that he hadn’t necessarily liked them (professionally, I’m guessing), and that the feeling might be mutual.

This Friday, Kathy and Judy will be back, guest hosting the 9 a.m. to noon time slot that was previously theirs. They will be following Cochran, now the morning drive host at the station. Please let there be a transition segment amongst them.

Not that I expect it to get ugly or awkward. They are all professionals. But the dialogue may nevertheless be interesting, especially since Cochran also would eventually be a victim of Kevin Metheny (the guy who also fired Kathy and Judy). They may care to reminisce about the ugly time at WGN and how it is now seemingly better.

Kathy and Judy will then be back each Saturday hosting a show from 10 a.m. to noon. If that doesn’t take place beginning this Saturday (Sept. 14), then it will the following week (Sept. 21).


Attempting to iron out any brand confusion between Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports

Comcast SportsNet Logo

About a year ago, the Comcast SportsNet regional sports channels made some minor revisions to their logo, one of which was the addition of the NBC peacock. This change was made to reflect the new partnership between NBC Sports and the Comcast SportsNet stations, which happened following Comcast’s 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal.

Another ramification of the Comcast/NBC deal pertained to the Comcast owned sports network Versus, which fell into control of the NBC Sports division (now known as the NBC Sports Group). At the start of 2012, Versus was renamed to NBC Sports Network, which is now in the process of being phased out in favor of just the acronym “NBCSN.”

NBC Sports Network and NBCSN LogosSo we’re left with NBCSN and the cluster of regional Comcast SportsNet channels. My obsessive-compulsive mindset is thinking that a brand consolidation is needed.

The NBC Sports Network/NBCSN brand seems to be intact, so any obvious change would be to Comcast SportsNet. The most logical step would be to phase out the Comcast name and replace it with the NBC Sports monicker, along with the name of each respective city, state or region — NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Northwest, etc. Another option is to instead implement the NBCSN name to each regional network, along with the respective city, state or region — NBCSN Chicago, NBCSN Philadelphia, NBCSN Northwest etc.

Once the NBC peacock was added to the Comcast SportsNet logo, I naturally assumed such a change was in motion. Fueling the speculation further was the simultaneous implementation of an upgraded graphics package, which is identical to what NBC and NBCSN still use on their broadcasts (the lone exception are the score bugs, which have some minor differences, especially evident during NHL games). Another consideration was the continued phasing out of the Comcast name for its cable, television and Internet packages. Such services have been bundled under the Xfinity brand since 2010.

(On a side note, while the CSN networks use the NBC Sports graphics, why do they continue to use their own separate theme music, such as for NHL games? While I do actually like the CSN NHL music bed used during Blackhawk games, I can’t help but yearn for the official NHL on NBC theme music.)

By no means am I suggesting that Comcast as a corporate name is on the way out. I’m just thinking that they’ve adapted a strategy where less emphasis is placed on the corporate name and instead placed on individual brands within the company.

Comcast Logo with NBC PeacockAnother prominent occurrence at the end of last year was the change to the Comcast corporate logo, which also included the addition of the NBC peacock. I hated it then and I hate it now. That logo, in my opinion, defines brand confusion. The NBC peacock is supposed to be for the NBC brand of television networks — not for a cable, phone and Internet conglomerate. A second reason I hate the logo is because it’s plain and ugly. It comes across as a lazy attempt.

If such a configuration is used for Comcast’s corporate logo, then the addition of the NBC peacock to the Comcast SportsNet logo may have been just the same, with no intention of shifting to the NBC Sports brand name. I do suspect a name change will happen to the regional networks, eventually. It might be something as simple as using the acronym CSN in place of Comcast SportsNet. The CSN monicker has already been in use, unofficially, but merely as more of a nickname (i.e. CSN Chicago). For the sake of brand continuity, I’d rather see all the regional networks adapt the NBC Sports or the NBCSN name.

The Fox Sports property now includes the newly launched national Fox Sports 1 network in addition to their own cluster of regional sports channels — all of which use the Fox Sports monicker. Why wouldn’t NBC want to further capitalize on their brand by doing the same with their own regional sports channels?

The marketing guy in me has obviously put a lot of thought into this. The sports fan in me? I won’t care what the name of the station is come spring time as long as the Blackhawks are poised to win another Stanley Cup and that at least one of Chicago’s baseball teams plays decently.