Media Bits & Bytes: 22nd Century Media expanding reach…

Joe Coughlin - 22nd Century Media

22nd Century Media expanding its reach… On Wednesday, 22nd Century Media began a new partnership with WFLD-TV/Fox 32’s “Good Day Chicago” to air a weekly segment spotlighting Chicago’s suburbs. The four to five minute segment will air each  Wednesday at 7:45 a.m. with Joe Coughlin, managing editor of 22nd Century Media’s North Shore publications.

In February, 22nd Century Media is scheduled to launch their 15th community newspaper, the Lake Forest Leader, increasing their Chicagoland publications to a combined circulation of over 170,000.

The continued growth of 22nd Century Media continues to provide a nice contrast to the sagging revenues and moral at both the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times.

“Big” John Howell on the move… Robert Feder reports that “Big” John Howell has departed WIND-AM/560 The Answer, where he’s  co-hosted mornings since 2007. With an added scoop, Feder reveals Howell is close to accepting an offer to host mornings down the dial at WLS-AM 890, a slot currently occupied by Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft.

This should be a good move for WLS, as Howell would bring a more open-minded conservative viewpoint, as opposed to the angrier and more closed-minded Proft and the sheer awkwardness of Wolf. I can easily listen to Howell even when I disagree with him.

WIND is the purgatory of talk radio, so Howell’s move to WLS gives him the opportunity to reach more listeners. He will have his work cut out for him though as ratings at WLS have spiraled downwards to new lows since Proft and Wolf took over mornings in late 2012 — following the departure of the late Don Wade and wife Roma.

Editing with an agenda… Baltimore Fox affiliate WBFF-TV edited a protest video to make it sound as if protesters were saying “kill a cop” when they were in fact saying “we won’t stop ’til killer cops are in cell blocks.”

This would have been inexcusable if this were the result of lazy editing. I have my doubts that it was unintentional, but that is just my opinion.

Mediate has both the original video and the WBFF edited video for comparison.

NFL flex scheduling impact on Chicago viewing… With the NFC North division up for grabs, the Lions and Packers week 17 game has been moved to 3:25 p.m. With the new time, the game will air locally on WFLD-TV/Fox 32 following the Bears and Lions game.

College football bowl tweets… An interesting “did you know” and a “just for laughs.”

Can’t help myself: Sponsored segments during local newscast seems so wrong

Rich DeMuro - Sponsored by AT&T U-Verse TV

Rich DeMuro, host of sponsored AT&T U-Verse TV segment on WGN-TV news, Dec. 24, 2014.

As technology changes the way society consumes its news, media companies and their respective news organizations have had to find unique ways to better maximize revenues. While I understand that, what I saw this morning on the WGN-TV Ch. 9 morning news still came off as just plain wrong in my book.

Near the end of the 8 a.m. hour was a two minute segment sponsored by AT&T U-Verse TV. The piece heavily pushed an AT&T U-Verse Christmas app for kids,  which featured a variety of Christmas-themed bells and whistles, including a Santa Claus tracker. While its presentation was that of a regular newscast, it was completly separate from that of WGN (no direct join-in or reference from WGN anchors).

The beginning of the segment was identified as taking place from the AT&T U-Verse TV studio while a banner flag appeared at the bottom of the screen throughout to inform viewers that what they were viewing was promotional. The segment was hosted by Rich DeMuro, a tech reporter for KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. Upon further research, these segments likely appear on local news stations throughout the country.

While I’m not necessarily lambasting what I saw this morning on WGN, it still came across as tacky. I attempted to talk myself into believing that this somehow is no different than traditional commercials surrounding a normal newscast or advertisements surrounding copy inside newspapers. For whatever reason, I’m having a hard time accepting that.

At the very least, the segment was nowhere near as cringeworthy as the Susanna Negovan segments that have appeared on WFLD-TV/Fox 32’s newscasts…

Worth a read: Details surrounding Gregory/MTP split, influence of Comcast at NBC News

David Gregory

Luke Mullins of the Washingtonian wrote a long-form narrative detailing the inside turmoil that surrounded David Gregory and the circumstances leading up to his dismissal as “Meet the Press” moderator.

While the piece did little detail anything earth shattering new surrounding Gregory’s ousting, it was very interesting to read up on all of the tiny details in their proper context.

What the story does dive into is how Comcast, the parent company of NBC, is more involved in NBC’s division and how that may potentially impact the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner.

My “Meet the Press” viewing naturally increased after new moderator Chuck Todd took the helm. In recent weeks however, my urgency to watch and my initial exciting about Todd cooled off. What started it for me was the high urgency that Todd and the rest of the media gave to the Ebola scare. The Ebola story quickly turned into sensationalism and I wasn’t going to waste my time with that. Asides from a few cosmetic changes to the set and a change of guests, “Meet” quickly went back to being just another weekend show that rehashes the same over-cycled news from the week.

Nevertheless, news itself about the “Meet the Press” institution continues to fascinate me, though I think anyone who considers his or herself a news junkie or even has some interest in journalism will find Mullins’s piece worth reading.

Media Bits & Bytes (12/18/14)

Dave JudayDave Juday anchors final ESPN 1000 SportsCenter… I was surprised and saddened to learn that Dave Juday will no longer be anchoring SportsCenter updates on WMVP-AM/ESPN 1000. Juday announced the news Monday morning on Facebook, thanking current and former station colleagues, while conveying how his time there had meant so much to him.

As a listener of the old “AM 1000” (pre ESPN 1000 days), I remember when Juday was new to the station, anchoring nightly sports updates during “Sports Line,” which was originally hosted by Steve Olken and Dave Wills. In the near 20 years I’ve heard Juday on the air, he’s always come across as a class act who truly loved his job. I wish him the best as he embarks on a new chapter in his life.

You can hear Juday’s final SportsCenter update, which he posted on SoundCloud.

Alex QuigleyAlex Quigley out at WGN… Another Chicago radio veteran took to Facebook on Monday to announce that he too will soon be out of work. Quigley noted that his operations director position at WGN-AM 720 was eliminated. Quigley will continue to co-host his midday show on WGWG-LP/88.7 The Game until the end of the year, when the low-powered station ceases operations.

The news was hard to take in, considering that the job of Jimmy de Castro, WGN’s president, likely goes unscathed, despite being the one who led in the destruction of the station. Seriously, how can de Castro have the gall to inform anyone they will be out of a job when he is the person who most of all deserves to lose his job?

Ed Sherman follows-up with Ben Finfer after epic rant... Ben Finfer, Alex Quigley’s co-host on The Game,  was profiled in a Chicago Tribune piece by Ed Sherman yesterday. It was Finfer’s epic rant against Tribune Media bosses last month that went viral last month after having just found out during the middle of his on air shift of his station’s demise — and that he likely would be out of a job. In the Sherman piece, Finfer stated that while he knew moving to the up-start station was risky, he doesn’t regret it since it did has help solidify his confidence as a daily talk show host. He hopes to find new work as a talk show host, preferably in Chicago, come 2015.

I am a huge fan of Finfer. I had always hoped that he would end up working on air with Dan McNeil, who he produced for at both WSCR-AM/670 The Score and ESPN 1000. I hope that one of the two Chicago sports stations somehow find a spot for him.

ABC 7 News goes primetime… With WGN-TV Ch. 9’s success of expanding its newscasts into uncharted daytime hours, WLS-TV/ABC 7 felt compelled to launch a bold move of their own. Beginning January 12, ABC 7 will produce a new 7 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday newscast that airs on WCIU-TV Ch. 26. It’s an interesting idea that could turn out to be a real win-win for both ABC 7 and WCIU. The primetime newscast will be anchored by Hosea Sanders and Linda Yu, while weather will be given by the newly hired Cheryl Scott.

Roe Conn keeping mostly quiet… When Roe Conn’s website was replaced last month with an “under construction, new website coming soon” message, included was a countdown to the start of December. Since then, the countdown has been at zero with nothing new on the website. Conn has also been largely quiet on social media. My guess is we won’t hear anything new concerning Conn until the start of the new year, at the earliest. By then, I would assume that his previous contract with his former station, WLS-AM 890, will be fully expired (previous reports mentioned his contract with WLS went until year’s end). While recent speculation concerning Conn has been quiet, many expect him to still resurface on WGN-AM 720 sometime in 2015. That still would seem to make the most sense.

Podcast reach versus AM/FM… Seth Stevenson wrote a great piece at Slate about the reach of AM and FM compared to podcasts. Stevenson also explains how streaming or downloading a podcast is a lot like placing a collect call.

Fox NFL theme music during golf… Fox made its PGA broadcast debut on Saturday with the Franklin Templeton Shootout. Voiced by Joe Buck, another familiar Fox component used on the broadcast was its iconic “NFL on Fox” theme music. Not much of a surprise, since Fox has been using their NFL theme music for all sporting broadcasts since 2010, but to use it on a golf broadcast should just further demonstrate the ridiculousness of it.

Ken Fang wrote more about Fox’s golf broadcast debut at Awful Announcing.

John Feinstein/CBS Sports RadioSports Business Daily reported last month that a few changes were coming to CBS Sports Radio, including the ousting of late morning host John Feinstein. While I have not listened to much of Feinstein’s show since debuting almost two years ago, I have heard plenty of his “CBS Sports Minute” commentaries, which frequently air in Chicago on 670 The Score. Even after Feinstein is done with his regular show, he is expected to continue with the Sport Minute commentaries.

I wish CBS would have taken the opposite approach on Feinstein. Allow him to keep the show, which I never listen to, and can him from the “CBS Sports Minute.” Actually, I wish CBS would just discontinue all of the Sports Minute commentaries altogether. Feinstein, a well-respected sports writer known for his long-form story writing, often attempts to take a specific story or angle and crunch it into a one-minute musing. It doesn’t work. Boomer Esiason, another “CBS Sports Minute” contributor, is equally guilty.

The only contributor who pulls off the concept well is Jim Rome. He has a fresh take on a hot topic and is able to construct his words into a powerful meaning in just one minute. It’ an art. Rome does it well. Feinstein and Esiason do not.

States with the most holiday cheer… AccuRadio has compiled a list of states ranked based on the amount of hours each streams holiday music. Illinois ranked 26th, while Washington D.C. was number one. Thanks to Tate Handy for submitting.

Ripped off: Angry ‘Eaten Alive’ viewers should have known better

Viewers of Discovery’s “Eaten Alive” Sunday night voiced their anger on Twitter after the show’s airing. They were upset that despite the name of the show, the conservationist Paul Rosolie aborted his mission before he could actually be eaten alive.

I knew about the program ahead of time, and I chose to DVR it for possibly viewing later on if I had heard that it was worth watching. With the show being two hours, I didn’t expect for the actual encounter to take place until the final 20 minutes (after having sat through the Nik Wallenda tightrope walker “pre-game” hype a month earlier while at the in-laws).

Discovery blatantly was deceptive in titling the program “Eaten Alive.” While I’m not sure when this was taped, Discovery knew Rosolie was not in fact eaten alive by the time they named the show. And while there are plenty of ways Discovery can honestly defend the decision to go with that title, no one should buy it.

And while it was a deceptive measure, I don’t feel bad for those who actually did sit through the entire two hours (the exception would be for animal rights activists or anyone from the scientific community). Anyone who is easily that sucked in by outrageous television hype really ought to know better by now how deceptive network heads are when promoting such type of shows.

On second thought, it takes a special kind of mentality to be easily suckered into such outrageous hype. I guess that explains why enough people fall for it every time.

Jay Glazer goes after ESPN for ripping off Manziel scoop

Fox Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer has lashed out at ESPN for allegedly stealing his breaking scoop regarding Johnny Manziel.

This isn’t the first time ESPN has been accused of passing off breaking news as their own, nor is it the first time Glazer has called them out for stealing his work. And for anyone who may not understand why Glazer would be upset about it, he gave the perfect response on Twitter.

Unfortunately, ESPN can continue to get away with stunts like this. For as loud as the ESPN criticisms are (i.e. DeadSpin, Awful Announcing), the vast majority of the ESPN audience is privy to none of it.