Media Bits & Bytes (1/6/15)

WGN revamping weekend sports programming… The dismantling of WGN-AM 720’s “Sports Central” became official over the weekend. The show’s co-hosts Glen Kozlowski and Jim Memolo are also out. In its place will be “The Beat,” a new sports-centric show featuring Connor McKnight, Adam Hoge and Jarrett Payton — former hosts from WGN’s now defunct all sports format “88.7 The Game” on WGWG-LP.

Todd Manley, WGN’s vice president of content and programming, was quoted in Robert Feder’s column yesterday that the station is incorporating “some of the best things of The Game and reinsert them back into the AM.”

I suppose former Game midday host Ben Finfer be damned — who in my book is an obvious rising star in sports talk radio — for having the audacity to smear station management on air upon finding out that the station would cease operations at the end of 2014.

McKnight and Hoge are both fine talents and are suitable for weekend sports talk duty at WGN. Payton, I’m not yet sold on as a radio personality. Perhaps my negative influence towards him stems from his pairing with Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton (whom I am not particularly fond of) while on The Game.

As far as the best aspects of the Game, what is the measuring stick? It sure as hell can’t be ratings.

WTMJ adds Brian Noonan to weekend lineup… Brian Noonan, a long-time part-time host at WGN-AM, has signed on at WTMJ-AM 620 in Milwaukee. Noonan will hold the fort each Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. while continuing to work his Sunday night show on WGN.

I’m happy for Brian, who orchestrates an overly fun and informative talk show. He really ought to be more than a part-time radio host. Prior to WGN’s fall 2013 schedule revamp, it seemed inevitable that Noonan would move to a more prominent role there, with my hope that he would occupy a midday slot. His stock had risen at the station during his successful pairing with David Kaplan as co-host of “WGN Sports Night.” Such ideas for a Noonan ascension at WGN stalled when he announced that he had accepted a full-time position outside of radio and would only be available to work his Sunday night show.

I still wonder to this day if that was completely his choice or a fall-back plan after being told by management that they had no plans for utilizing him further.

WNUA going big for country… As of noon yesterday, WNUA-FM 99.5 is now a country music station. The iHeartMedia-owned station’s regional Mexican format previously known as “95.5 El Patron” will now be branded as the “Big 95.5.” With the format change, iHeartMedia hopes to draw listeners from CBS Radio’s WUSN-FM/US 99.5 country format.

With WIND-AM/AM 560 The Answer morning host John Howell’s long-term on air direction still unknown, it’s worth wondering if the former US 99 personality may have an offer from the new WNUA/Big 95.5. Howell, whose contract with WIND expired at the end of December, is still on air as of this week. As first reported by Robert Feder, Howell was believed to be considering an offer to join WLS-AM 890 to take over their morning show, though Feder had mentioned Howell was in talks with at least one other Chicago station.

For the time being, I’ll bet on Feder. I believe Howell will ultimately end up on WLS.

Jonathon Brandmeier missing in action… Jonathon Brandmeier, who originally had penciled Jan. 5 for when he’d resume live broadcasting, remains absent. It was announced via his Facebook page on Sunday that he will continue to air “best of” shows via the Brandmeier channel on TuneIn as his crew continues to get things sorted out (finding a new studio, possibly figuring out how to monetize the show, etc.).

The state of Brandmeier’s show has been murky since it was initially reported by Robert Feder that Tribune Media had parted ways with the host (the following day, Brandmeier insisted that aspect of Feder’s report was incorrect). Brandmeier’s show had been a fixture of the WGN.FM stream since fall 2013, and on air at Tribune Media’s WGWG-LP/88.7 The Game since February. With the dismantling of The Game format, it was later believed that Brandmeier might work out a deal to keep his show affiliated with Tribune Media in an online sense (as of the final week of 2013, WGN.FM was re-branded as “WGN Plus”).

Brandmeier has been grooming his listeners that his show would at the very least continue in some capacity via his TuneIn channel. While it now appears he no longer has affiliation with Tribune Media, he will be left to his own devices to broadcast any further live shows unless the two sides can still come to some sort of agreement. His listeners are encouraged to follow his Facebook page or sign up for email updates via his website.

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.”

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.

Media Bits & Bytes (11/18/14)

– While WGN-AM 720 was knocked off the air this morning due to a burst water pipe, there was an excess amount of hot air on Chicago’s other iconic news/talker, WLS-AM 890. The morning show’s co-host Bruce Wolf got into an interesting exchange about race relations and education with traffic reporter Keli Walker. Unfortunately, I did not hear it but Robert Feder provided the must-read transcript on his website.

– Meanwhile, former WLS afternoon host Roe Conn is revamping his website. The under constructed site now features a countdown, that as of this writing, would strike zero on Sunday, Nov. 30. Not sure what might be so significant about that day, nor do I understand the point in having a countdown to a mere website re-launch. Will be interesting to see what is unveiled that day or if the countdown is simply arbitrary. New Website Countdown

– During Sunday’s Bears & Vikings game, a few astute folks commented on Twitter how odd it was that CBS was airing a all NFC game. The airing was somewhat out of bounds considering that CBS typically airs AFC games, while NFC games are televised by Fox. A change in the NFL television rights deal allows games to be “cross-flexed” between networks, explains Ed Sherman in the Chicago Tribune.

All in all, I didn’t think Sunday’s Bears game airing locally on CBS 2/WBBM-TV was a big deal at all. The Bears are typically on CBS once or twice a year when playing an AFC team on their home field. What I found further puzzling while scouring Twitter was the classifying, by some, on the difference between NFC announcers and AFC announcers . The AFC and the NFC are in the same league(!)… it’s not like you had a NCAA Division 2 or a CFL broadcaster calling a NFL game for the first time.

– As a fan of Barry Rozner, I’m always pleased whenever he surfaces as a co-host on WSCR-AM/670 The Score. I’ve been especially pleased of late to be hearing him more on weekend afternoons while solo. Rozner sounds good on his own, and comes across naturally while driving a show. He’s going to make it harder and harder for Mitch Rosen, the Score’s newly titled Operations Director (previously Program Director), to pass him by the next time there is an opening in it’s Monday through Friday lineup.

– According to a Los Angeles Times report, CBS may potentially be blacked out by Dish Network as early as this Thursday. As a Dish subscriber, I’ve been deprived of a handful of networks, including CNN (and on election night!). I can’t imagine how fun it would be to be a Dish customer service representative as soon as their customers are unable to watch the “Big Bang Theory” or Sunday NFL games.

– Speaking of the Los Angeles Times, their hideous website works just as poorly on mobile devices as their sister publication, the Chicago Tribune’s. Politico’s new site, revamped just last week, is another cluster on my Nexus 7 tablet.

– I was sorry to hear over the weekend that Wiegel Broadcasting’s “First Business News” will cease production at the end of the year (the news was confirmed by Robert Feder yesterday). Bill Moller, one of the show’s co-anchors is a friend and while I am saddened by this news, I hope that this may broaden his opportunity for greater television exposure in 2015. Moller will continue to serve as a guest host on CLTV’s “Politics Tonight” while holding down the fort on his Saturday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. show on WGN-AM 720 (when not pre-empted by sports).

Media Bits & Bytes (7/7/14)

– I’m happy to hear that Jennifer Keiper is returning to WLS-AM 890, where she will anchor the afternoon news during Roe Conn and Richard Roeper’s show. Keiper is a news pro and should make for a solid addition to the station’s overall news operations.

Keiper was one of a handful of WLS on air staffers who were let go on February 29, 2008, in what turned out to be an intense cost-cutting measure by then owner Citadel. Among other WLS staffers let go that day were Christina Filiaggi, Bill Camerson, David Jennings, Nate Clay and the late Jake Hartford.

Cameron was brought back several weeks later, while Filiaggi would return later that year before being bounced for a second time in 2009. Filiaggi returned again in March, 2010 and has stayed put since.

Terence Henderson analyzes a recent survey by TVNewsCheck in regards to Chicago’s declining evening newscasts. Asides from a quick glance at the top stories once in a while, or when seeking a particular story of interest, I try to avoid the local newscasts like the plague, for much of the very reasons cited by Terrence as to why Chicago’s newscasts are such a mess.

– While NBC’s “Meet the Press” continues to plummet, I was only able to stomach about 12 seconds this past Sunday with the ridiculous sense of urgency David Gregory brought to the immigration/border control crisis.

Yes, the problem is a crisis, but it isn’t exactly breaking news, even though it came across as so. Not how I want to start my Sunday morning during what is supposed to be a nice and relaxing holiday weekend.

– For those hoping that Dan McNeil returns sooner rather than later to the Chicago airwaves, you’ll have to wait another two weeks… at least. McNeil announced on Facebook over the weekend that he’ll be spending the next two weeks fishing in Ontario, Canada.

– Cincinnati’s favorite radio import and WGN outcast has been busy of late, filling in around the clock in recent weeks on WLW-AM 700 in Cincinnati. McConnell’s workload continues for the next two weeks as he fills in for the station’s morning host, Jim Scott.

– Eddie Volkman is a moron. With his tasteless comments regarding “Jobo,” perhaps Volkman is aiming to audition as a new sidekick for Mancow!

Media Bits & Bytes (6/2/14)

Chicago Cubs and WGN Radio

– In his Friday Chicago Tribune column, sports media writer Ed Sherman reports that the Chicago Cubs will soon announce their new radio deal with WBBM-AM 780, which would go into effect in 2015. No one is expecting the Cubs’ current home, WGN-AM 720, to match WBBM’s offer, which is believed to be a high sum of money that the Tribune Company seems uninterested in paying at this time.

Chicagoland Radio and Media reported in January that WBBM was the front runner for Cubs radio rights. That same story references a Comcast SportsNet report on how Fox television WFLD-TV Ch. 32 and WPWR-TV Ch. 50 may be potential landing spots for Cubs television (in-conjunction with cable channel Comcast SportsNet) starting in 2015.

– The cable channel WGN America was in the news last week, as Crain’s Business reported that the network will drop all Chicago sports broadcasts starting this fall with Bulls broadcasts. This will be the final summer that Cubs and White Sox games appear on the network. WGN America previously was instrumental in the Cubs gaining somewhat of a national following back in the 1990s with the presence of Harry Caray in the broadcast booth.

– When Ed Sherman wrote in February that the San Diego Padres had released veteran broadcast Andy Masur from play-by-play duties — just weeks before spring training was about to begin — I immediately thought how nice it would be if the White Sox were to hire him. Since then, Masur has found a temporary home at WGN-AM 720 and WGWG-LP/87.7 The Game, working part-time, primarily as a Blackhawks pre and post game host. I’ve really come to enjoy Masur’s work, which has only increased my desire that the Sox hire him, replacing either Ed Farmer on the radio side or Ken Harrelson on the television side (won’t happen, but I can dream).

Now that the Hawks are done, I would guess Masur’s WGN work will greatly diminish. Perhaps, they will utilize him somewhere on The Game?

– While on the subject of the Blackhawks, Awful Announcing has a piece about how NBC Sports isn’t utilizing its NHL monopoly to the fullest. While I do agree that hardcore hockey fans would probably appreciate added hockey talk on NBCSN during the daytime and leading up to game night, I suspect NBC sees how “well” other talk show types have done for rival Fox Sports 1.

That said, Hawks fans craving for additional hockey talk would not have been disappointed with 87.7 The Game’s weekend programming. There was no shortage of Blackhawks talk whenever I sampled 87.7 FM over the weekend. I really enjoyed yesterday’s afternoon pairing of Tim Doyle and Dylan McGorty. While I’m a bit underwhelmed with the Game’s weekday lineup, I love the various new voices scattered throughout the weekend.

– Following Friday’s (late afternoon) news that the “Arsenio Hall Show” has been cancelled, posted a solid assessment as to why the show failed. I never watched the show, but I do agree with what Chicago media critic Robert Feder tweeted that afternoon: “So typical of media companies to bury news on a Friday afternoon.”

– Other surprising news from Friday (mid-afternoon) was White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announcing his resignation. Politico’s Dylan Byers analyzes Carney’s tenure as Press Secretary, including how he is viewed by his former colleagues in the media.

– Last week, Garry Meier announced on his “new” afternoon show on WGN.FM, that WGN-TV Ch. 9 meteorologist Tom Skilling will now only appear on his program at 3 p.m. Skilling was previously appearing on Meier’s program at both 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The removal of Skilling’s 6 p.m. appearance is further example that the moving of Meier to WGN.FM was more politically motivated (any boost to WGN.FM’s awareness and listening traffic is just an added bonus).

Later this week, Meier was originally supposed to do a remote broadcast from the Rockford Airfest. Meier was informed last week he would no longer be doing that broadcast. WGN-AM’s new afternoon hosts Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will instead be doing the broadcast.

Media Bits & Bytes (11/11/13)

Tim Armstrong profile… Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson wrote a fascinating profile of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. The profile illustrates his rise at Google, AOL recruiting him as CEO and the renewed optimism that followed, his founding and subsequent attachment to Patch and the lead up to his public firing of Abel Lenz during a conference call in August.

I can’t recommend this piece enough, if not so much from a media standpoint, than from a business and technology end. The most interesting element was the narration of Armstrong’s “war” against Jeffrey Smith, an “activist shareholder” poised to turn AOL’s shareholders against Armstrong and his chosen board of directors. The piece left me second guessing on whether Armstrong is the asshole I previously said he was.

The piece is very, very long, but well worth the time.

’60 Minutes’/Benghazi goof… Politico’s Dylan Byers examines last night’s “60 Minutes” on-air apology about a previous report concerning Dylan Davies’ allegedly false account for what happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

Second link of interest…
Politico Opinion: ’60 Minutes’ must do more than apologies

Art Bell in limbo… A week ago, Art Bell quit his SiriusXM “Dark Matter” program after only six weeks. The story has gotten further complicated since then. Bell has been shedding light on the situation on the message board. Bell is willing to return to the show, having proposed to SiriuxXM that his salary be waived in favor of allowing the show to stream for free via his website, He is yet to hear back and is now beginning to think there is something else at play. As always, on or off the air, Art Bell never fails to stir up mystique.

Pastor back at ESPN 1000… Robert Feder had the late Friday exclusive concerning management restructure involving various Disney-owned ESPN Radio stations, including Chicago’s WMVP-AM/ESPN 1000. In a nutshell, former ESPN 1000 General Manager Jim Paster will once again be overseeing the station along with (as well as local ESPN Radio stations and websites in New York and Los Angeles).

It’s too bad Dan McNeil is currently off air on rival WSCR-AM/670 The Score. McNeil has long resented Pastor dating back to his ESPN 1000 days, going as far as holding an on air celebration on The Score after Pastor left ESPN 1000 in Oct. 2009. Would have been interesting to hear McNeil react to Pastor coming back.

Cubs exercise out for WGN-TV… In 2010, WGN-TV Ch. 9 had an awesome commercial for their Chicago Cubs broadcasts. It was a montage of various Cubs play-by-play voices through the years on WGN, with the final sound bite coming from the then broadcast team of Len Kasper and Bob Brenly. The commercial ended with the words “Together Forever,” signifying how deep the relationship between the team and television channel was.

Ed Sherman explains why Chicago Cubs have exercised their right to WGN-TV after the 2014 season — unless WGN ponies up a lot of cash. “Together forever” may still apply, but only if the price is right for the Cubs.

The same Sherman link above also details Keith Moreland’s decision to leave the Cubs radio analyst job at WGN-AM 720.

Welcome back Grote… Mark Grote was back on 670 The Score this morning delivering updates during the “Mulli & Hanley” morning show. Grote has been off the air for several weeks while dealing with a personal issue.

Media Bits & Bytes (10/25/13)

– I’m not sure what to make of the now awkward situation involving Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, as narrated by Robert Feder, concerning their Nov. 9 induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

While it does seem strange that Meier never responded to Dahl’s initial inquiry, I think it’s safe to assume there’s more to this story then mentioned in Feder’s blog. While there’s no love loss between Feder and Meier, Feder often comes across as a huge admirer of Dahl — with last night’s blog being no exception.

I’m curious whether Dahl has mentioned any of this on his podcast. He certainly has mentioned nothing about it on Twitter. The only reason to go on-the-record with Feder is to stir up a controversy, and to possibly put pressure on Meier to come back with a response, either in private or publicly.

As if this wasn’t awkward by itself, Chaz Ebert penned an open letter (again, via Robert Feder’s blog) to the two personalities in hopes they work out any issue and attend the induction together.

While Meier will occasionally address such inner-working on the air, it’s usually done with a modest level of discomfort. It will be interesting to see if he brings it up on his WGN-AM 720 show at some point, if not this afternoon (perhaps if he is angry enough).

– Even with a Bears bye week, there’s no shortage of NFL games this Sunday in the Chicago market. WFLD-TV/Fox 32 has the 12 p.m. Cowboys/Lions and the 3:25 p.m. Redskins /Broncos, while WBBM-TV/CBS 2 has the 12 p.m. Dolphins/Patriots. The Sunday night game on WMAQ-TV/NBC 5 features the Packers/Vikings. The Monday night game on ESPN is the Seahawks/Rams. Thanks to for Fox and CBS listings.

– Former WGN-AM host John Williams, who continues hosting at WCCO-AM 830 in Minneapolis, recently added an extra hour to his day — now heard from 3 to 7 p.m. While the show does center around some local Minnesota happenings, there is enough general, non-Minnesota specific discussion that should keep your interest if you enjoyed his show on WGN. Williams’ show can be heard online via live stream, or on most mobile devices via the Tune In or apps.

– SiriusXM Radio announced they are raising subscription rates beginning in 2014. The added rates will result in subscribers paying an extra $6 a year (or $.50 each month), though it was not specified which subscribers would be impact (that lack of detail prompts me to believe it will unfortunately be all subscribers). As a current subscriber to their online-only option, I thought $15 by itself was already ridiculously high. As  a matter of fact, I’ve been meaning to try my hand at cancelling in hopes that they would in-fact lower my monthly cost in order to keep my subscription.

– Washington Post staffers held a huge going away party for Don Graham and family earlier this week. With the official handover having been completed earlier this month, the Washington Post is now owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, following 80 years of ownership by the Graham family. The party was attended by current and previous Post employees in a night filled with reminiscing and fellowship. In noting how much journalism has changed, Graham stated “every one of my 1971 heroes has left the newsroom. Now it’s time for me to go, too.”

– Meanwhile, another major newspaper acquisition was finally completed yesterday. The Boston Globe now officially belongs to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry. This particular purchase hasn’t generated the same type of buzz that came with Bezo’s purchase of the Washington Post. When the deal was first announced in August, some Globe journalists voiced fear that Henry would thumb his nose in how the paper covers the Boston sports scene, particularly the Red Sox.

– While on the discussion of newspaper ownership, the New York Times’ David Carr discusses the seemingly-new trend of tech industry entrepreneurs investing heavenly in journalism. While Carr spotlights the two mainstream examples (Bezos/Washington Post, Pierrer Omidyar/Glenn Greenwald), he also sheds light on some of the lesser prominent investments in journalism of late and how this trend may play out moving forward.

Also worth a read is New York Times interview with Omidyar pertaining to his ambitions of getting into the news business.

Media Bits & Bytes (10/18/13)

– WGN-AM 720 is attempting to renegotiate their current deal with the Cubs, reports Ed Sherman. The deal, which was agreed to shortly after the team’s back-to-back (2007, 2008) post season runs is a hefty expense for the station. With the team’s struggles lessening fan desire to listen to the games on the radio, the current contract has turned out to be a bad deal for the station.

– The NFL docket locally for this Sunday, per, has the Bears vs. the Redskins at 12 p.m. on WFLD-TV/Fox 32. WBBM-TV/CBS 2 is airing back-to-back games with the Bengals vs. the Lions at 12 p.m. and the Browns vs. the Packers at 3:15 p.m. In perhaps, one of the most anticipated games of the year, Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis for the first time this Sunday night with the Broncos vs. the Colts at 7:20 p.m. on WMAQ-TV/NBC 5.

– As a special reminder, tomorrow night’s Blackhawks and Maple Leafs game from the United Center begins at 6 p.m., as opposed to the normal 7 p.m. start. That game will also air locally on WGN-TV Ch. 9.

– Even though the revered Chicago baseball reporter Bruce Levine is currently not employed, that hasn’t stopped him from keeping busy. Levine, who left WMVP-AM/ESPN 1000 in late September, is keeping busy via Twitter and by making a handful of appearances on both radio and television. Levine’s been on WSCR-AM/670 The Score, WGN-AM and Comcast SportsNet. It would be a no-brainer to assume he’ll turn up on the air somewhere during the November MLB general manager meetings and again in December during the MLB winter meetings.

– WLIT-FM/My FM 93.9 has already begun promoting their holiday/Christmas music, though no official start date obviously has not been announced. For those wondering, the all-holiday music will be branded as “My Holiday” as opposed to the “Holiday Lite,” since the “Lite FM” brand was dropped earlier this year.

– The future of embattled talk show host Mike McConnell may finally be settling. According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, McConnell might not not only be out for good at WGN-AM — where he had been relegated to online only since early August — but that he might be back on the Cincinatti news/talk WLW-AM 700 at the start of 2014. If this pans out as Larz suggests, it’s a good move for McConnell, who will find himself in familiar territory where he is also well liked.

Just an observation… While morning meteorologist Megan Glaros and traffic anchor Derrick Young are on vacation (no, not with each other), CBS 2 has decided to only schedule one person to fill in for the both of them. Pulling double duty on Wednesday was Ed Curan, while Mary Kay Kleist had the honors yesterday and again this morning.

Worth reading… Bloomberg’s Business Week has a lengthy, but must-read, excerpt from the book “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” by Brad Stone. The piece portrays very vivid details on how Bezos operates within the Amazon workplace, and gives very concrete examples to the absurdities Amazon will go in order to gain a desired result.

Media Bits & Bytes (5/30/13)

– In my “blog reserves” was an entry entitled “Memo to Mary Frances Bragiel: Spit the marbles out of your mouth.” Even though I wrote the entry some time ago, I never got around to posting it, primarily because I thought the title was a bit mean. Now that Bragiel has left WLS-AM 890, it’s a moot point. The other reason I withheld from posting that blog was because I wasn’t sure how much at fault she was.

The time WLS allows for news, traffic and weather is ridiculously short these days. That might explain why Braigel has sounded absolutely terrible since joining WLS (I don’t remember hearing her on WBBM-AM 780, so I can’t comment about her performance there). Whenever she delivered a newscast or recited the traffic and weather, I could barely make out what she was saying since she talked so fast. When uttering WLS, it sounded more like a slurred “dub-L-S!”

In recent weeks, I’ve noticed afternoon traffic anchor Christina Filiaggi descending into Braigel-level bad. I don’t ever recall hearing Jim Johnson, John Dempsey or Wendy Snyder ever sounding that bad. Somehow, they pull it off.

– In April, WMVP-AM/ESPN 1000 made some changes to their daily schedule, prompting the station to market itself as the “all-new” ESPN 1000. Asides from the one hour addition from Colin Cowherd’s syndicated ESPN Radio show, all the station did was switch hosts in their midday and afternoon slots (Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic to middays, Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman to afternoons). The “all-new” wore off about a week after the switch. Now, almost two months later, it just sounds silly.

– A friend of mine commented on Facebook yesterday that CLTV’s live storm coverage was nowhere to be found on Tuesday night when a tornado warning was issued around the Joliet/New Lenox area. Meanwhile, my Weather Bug Elite app on my Android phone was also a failure, issuing no alert for the tornado warning (I was in the area where the warning was issued!). As the sirens were going off, I downloaded the AccuWeather and Weather Channel apps to see if they issued any alert for the tornado warning. They did, while Weather Bug was more than happy to alert me about a flash flood warning and a severe thunderstorm warning.

– During the chaos of the storm, I checked Facebook  to see if any of my local friends had any information to share. As usual, the news feed posts were all out of order, even though I have repeatedly changed the settings so that posts appear in chronological order (I hate how Facebook constantly changes the setting so what they deem as most important appears first… and usually out of order). When I went on Twitter and searched “New Lenox,” I saw an abundance of tweets from people in the area –even though most of the tweets were from people making light of the situation, I at least was able to quickly connect with others in the area.

If there were to have been an actual tornado touchdown nearby, I would likely have known about it because of Twitter. Twitter’s search and live results is simply awesome. I find it unfathomable that after all this time, Facebook is still so behind on this.

Earth to Facebook… while the rest of the world uses Twitter during a time of crisis or while watching their favorite television show or sporting event live, you are becoming more irrelevant! Talk about an abysmal dropping of the ball.

– Thumbs down to Google for recent “upgrades” to Google Talk, now known as Google Hangouts. Whether using Gmail via a web browser or the new Hangouts app on either my Razr Maxx phone or my Galaxy Tablet, who at Google thought it was a good idea to remove the indicators letting me know if a contact is online, offline or inactive? The app, especially on my phone, is super sluggish, making it almost useless. For now, I’ll downgrade to the old Google Talk app.

– I’ve noticed a huge uptick in unique hits on the site in recent days. According to my site stats, most of the visits are from people Googling why Susan Carlson is no longer on the WBBM-TV/CBS 2 morning news. While CBS 2’s morning news ratings were near last place, there seems to be a lot of viewers unhappy with the situation.