Game over: WGN boss Jimmy de Castro deserves to be fired

Jimmy de Castro

The fun and games are over. Jimmy de Castro deserves to be fired.

By most of the accounts I’ve heard, I reckon that Jimmy de Castro, president and general manager of Tribune Media’s WGN-AM 720 and WGWG-LP /87.7 The Game, is one of the better people in radio to work for. I would dare guess that with what was set to transpire today, he probably went the last few nights without much sleep.

That said, I can’t help but think that he deserves to be fired. I understand that calling for someone might be rather extreme, but under these circumstances, I don’t see how he deserves to keep his job.

News that Chicago’s third all-sports station, The Game, will be dismantled at the end of the year, in-conjunction with the news that personalities Jonathan Brandmeier and Garry Meier are also out, should not have been much of a surprise. And yet, the mid-afternoon breaking news by Robert Feder certainly pulled the rug from beneath my feet, as well as staffers at the all-sports station.

With The Game’s literal lack of ratings being common knowledge, lumped with the apparent high number of people on air and behind the scenes working there, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that the station was in the red. Commonsense would suggest that The Game would naturally have a short shelf life.

On the contrary, The Game was either orchestrated or at the very least approved by de Castro, the messiah that was going to save WGN. Commonsense aside, I held belief that de Castro must know what he’s doing and that he had a long-term plan. Surely, such a start-up venture will be given an appropriate amount of time to be nurtured and grow.  Then, the Garry Meier/WGN.FM fiasco happened, the addition of more junk programing on WGN.FM happened, The Game’s rating’s needle never moved while WGN-AM’s ratings needle moved downwards.

The pedestal that de Castro was previously hoisted onto had tumbled.

I feel bad for The Game’s staffers who will be losing their jobs at the end of the year. I feel bad for someone like Ben Finer, who became aware of his station’s fate while his show was on the air.

Garry MeierFrom a personal standpoint, I’m extremely angry about the Garry Meier (pictured, right) situation. While we don’t know the full story, there should be zero doubt that his initial removal from the AM 720 airwaves and to the WGN.FM online-only stream in May was political. Management attempted to explain Meier’s re-assignment by declaring that online streaming is the future of radio and that WGN needs a radio heavyweight like Meier to help anchor such a new and bold venture.

Some bold venture that turned out to be. Not only did Meier’s WGN.FM show receive zero promotion on AM 720, the company cancelled already scheduled remotes that he was supposed to be part of and phased out his segments with WGN-TV Ch. 9’s Tom Skilling amongst other acts that suggested he had descended far below second-class there.

Asides from anger about the way Garry Meier has been screwed by Jimmy de Castro, I am just beyond bummed out. This really does suck.

How does Jimmy de Castro explain the cancellation of Meier’s online-only show while Meier will continue to be the highest paid talent through October, 2015? If Meier’s treatment wasn’t political, his online show could rightfully continue even with the dismantling of the “WGN.FM” brand. There’s no reason Meier can’t be a featured online show and podcasted on WGN’s main website, while branding it as an added supplement to everything else that’s offered on AM 720. Such a novel idea that de Castro told the Chicago Tribune’s Robert Channick that that’s what he wants to do in 2015, while offering no explanation as to why that couldn’t be implemented by continuing to air Meier’s online show (who again, will remain their highest paid talent through October, 2015).

As for Brandmeier, he has not been under contract so the company loses nothing by cutting him lose. By saving the expenses of operating Brandmeier’s show as well as The Game, that money just might offset the remaining money owed to Meier until the expiration of his contract.

Amidst today’s news, there are still some lingering questions, mixed in with some other random thoughts or rhetorical questions I have.

  • Brandmeier via social media has stated he will be on the air tomorrow. Will tomorrow be his last day or will he be allowed to continue for a while longer or up through the end of the year?
  • While The Game’s “Kaplan & Haugh” show will likely continue to operate as a television show on Comcast SportsNet, how does today’s news affect Kaplan’s overall employment with Tribune Media, who has been a long-time WGN guy?
  • As the winter holidays got closer, I was hoping that sports radio heavyweight Dan McNeil may resurface to fill-in on a few shows. While I suppose that could still happen, what would be the point?
  • I don’t have much of a problem with how Alex Quigley and Ben Finfer ripped their bosses on the air for finding out the fate of the station via Robert Feder as opposed from their actual bosses. I don’t like the idea of them or update anchor Julie DiCaro ripping Feder for reporting the news though. He got the scoop and he went with it. That’s the media business for you, as cruel as that is.
  • Speaking of Quigley, he is also the operations director at WGN and The Game. The way he has been talking on social media, you’d think he too will be out of work. Will he still be the operations director at WGN come January 2015 or will he too be completely out the door?

It bears repeating how bad I do feel for the folks at The Game. I didn’t listen to it a whole lot, so it would be inappropriate for me to fully judge it’s overall quality as a sports station. That said, I was a fan of the “Quiqs & Finfer” show, as well as the “Night Game.” There are a lot of talented voices there and I do hope they get new opportunities elsewhere soon.

I must also give high kudos to Larz at Chicagoland Radio & Media. I absolutely loved his full narration of what transpired today. I especially loved his breakdown of questionable decisions and the ramifications that have taken place since de Castro’s been at WGN. Larz concluded his report by calling into question de Castro’s long-standing reputation.

Despite the mismanagement led by de Castro, I can’t dismiss the simple fact that whether one likes or dislikes today’s WGN, that station is still primarily an all-live and all-local station. What other talk radio station in the country can claim that? Since de Castro’s been at WGN, he’s been allowed to spend a lot of money in hopes of proving that live and local talk radio still has some life yet. I still think it does. I only wish that the money was spent by someone else, with more smarts and less ego (Tom Langmyer!). It’s such a shame that such a golden opportunity was wasted by de Castro.

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Loss of ‘America Weekend’ leaves weekend talk radio broke and brokered

America Weekend Radio - Envision Radio Networks

The smut and garbage that has decimated weekend programming on radio stations throughout the country has claimed another life. “America Weekend,” a block of live, compelling and original talk radio programming has ceased further production following this past weekend’s shows. Syndicated by the Envision Radio Networks, the six hour block of programming each Saturday and Sunday aimed to minimize the amount of brokered real estate, financial, travel and health programming that airs on various news/talk stations nationwide.

Kipper McGee, Veteran Radio Programmer

Kipper McGee, Radio Programmer

Launched in early 2013, I was on-board as a fan from the start after it was announced that veteran broadcaster Paul Harris signed on to host the Saturday and Sunday 8 to 11 a.m. block. The remaining blocks were hosted by either Turi Ryder or Rob Carson (Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The shows were modular, meaning stations could carry as much of it as they wanted, in and around live sports or other programming. The concept was orchestrated by veteran radio programmer Kipper McGee. Unfortunately, the sad reality after a year and a half resulted in not enough stations willing to part ways with the easy money that brokered programming provides.

“America Weekend” host Paul Harris provided further explanation on his blog:

But the one thing Kipper and I couldn’t do was change the paradigm of weekend talk radio around the country. While we grew from our original two affiliates to about 30 from Alaska to Mississippi, we kept running into a brick wall with stations that only cared about putting on programming that gave them a check that cleared, even if it hurt their ratings. I even had a top executive from one of the major radio groups tell me that, although he loved the product we were putting on the air, he’d never be able to convince his sales managers to abandon the way they’ve been doing weekends for the last decade.

For as much as I wanted the concept to work, I admit I lost some optimism not far into its beginning. It was very hard to find affiliates that carried the show, thus making it hard to listen to live. Any of the available streams that I could find via the TuneIn app were mostly small market stations — any major market station that was willing to come on-board surely would have been publicized. I usually downloaded the “America Weekend” website. Not a viable way for them to make money, I’m sure.

What bums me about the loss of “America Weekend” is the six hours of Paul Harris each weekend. Paul has stated on his website that he will now return to semi-retirement, while continuing to host his local Friday show on KTRS-AM 550 in St. Louis, in addition to any other fill-in work from time to time.

Paul Harris, Veteran Radio Host

Paul Harris, Radio Host

While I don’t consider myself the authority on news/talk radio, it is my opinion that Paul is the best radio talk show host in America. I quickly became a fan of his in July 2008 after hearing him fill in for “Don and Roma” on WLS-AM 890 in Chicago. On top of that, I will always remain indebted to him since it was Paul who planted the seed for me to adapt an active mindset open to skepticism and critical thinking. Between reading his blog regularly (as well as his vast archive) and listening to countless shows where he filled on stations across the country, he has, without over-exaggerating, literally changed my life. I highly regret not having been aware of him back when he was broadcasting five days a week.

I should note that while Paul’s blog and previous radio shows did inspire me (aka correct previous assumptions and beliefs) politically, “America Weekend” was far from being a typical political show. It was the exact opposite. It was more of a news and lifestyle talk show, occupied by an assortment of guests to discuss a variety of topics. Paul had authors, actors, artists and journalists, and you always knew you were going to walk away having learned something useful or interesting, whether the discussion related to the importance of science education, climate change, the new iPad or green technology.

I’m sorry to see “America Weekend” belly up as a result of reluctant radio managers refusing to sacrifice easy money in exchange for providing their listeners with live and compelling content. A radio host friend of mine in Chicago once told me of a conversion he had with a programmer who described the easy money that comes from such brokered programming as being like “crack cocaine.”

In the news/talk radio industry, brokered programming has become an addiction. Unfortunately, creativity was not enough to either stop the abuse or prevent a relapse.

Follow-up Content:

Question for the ‘Bring Back Garry Meier’ Facebook group: Where else can Garry go?

Garry MeierI admire the efforts of whoever is running the Bring Back Garry Meier Facebook page. The person administering the group has stated that the objective is to not rest until Meier is either back on the WGN-AM 720 airwaves or that he is released from his WGN contract and free to work elsewhere.

My sincere question for this group, and to anyone else thinking Meier could turn up elsewhere is, which which Chicago radio station would honestly hire him, let alone pay him the amount of money he’d likely want?

I’m not asking out of spite. As a fan of Meier, I believe he has been shortchanged by WGN boss Jimmy de Castro. That said, for those hoping he eventually turns up elsewhere, I don’t see that as a real possibility. The question I ask of the Meier Facebook group simply needs to be asked.

There aren’t any other talk stations that have the same relaxed and loose fit that WGN has. WLS-AM 890 and WIND-AM/560 The Answer are out, because they air more news/serious topical type of programing. The same goes for WCPT-AM 820/Chicago’s Progressive Talk. Meier’s more fun and less serious topics would not fit on any of those stations, unless one of them were willing to make a compromise in direction for a few hours.

Which FM music station would abandon its format to air a talk show for a few hours each afternoon? Most music stations don’t break format except for mornings. In 2014, I do think radio stations should be willing to play it less safe and try something different — a Garry Meier show on, for example, the Cumulus-owned WLUP-FM/97.9 The Loop would be unique. Unfortunately, corporate-owned radio stations typically don’t strive away from playing it safe. There’s always the chance Meier could be willing to do a morning show on a FM music station, but you’d still have the caveat concerning money.

The only other station that could possibly work might be the DuPage County branded right-wing talker WCKG-AM 1530. I mention WCKG as a remote possibility because the station has previously changed directions, trying new things in hopes to draw more listeners. I tend to think that if the opportunity to employ Meier was viable, they would not pass that up.  A significant drawback of WCKG might be reach. Their poor frequency throughout much of Chicago’s south and southwest suburbs might make listening to Meier a challenge (though no worse if you already can’t listen to him online). There’s still also the potential issue concerning money.

As you can see, the options for Meier turning up elsewhere most likely are slim to none minus any unforseen changes. Having said that, even though having an online-only show is still less than ideal in 2014, being on WGN.FM is probably the best case scenario for Meier and his fans.

If you have the means to listen, I’d highly recommend it. With the absence of long newscasts and excessive commercials, Meier’s “streamliner” makes for a fun listening experience.

Additional thoughts and observations on the Cubs moving to WBBM; possible implications for the White Sox

Today, the Chicago Cubs announced CBS Radio’s all-news station WBBM-AM 780 as its new radio flagship beginning in 2015. Now that everything is official, here are a few additional thoughts and observations, following-up from my post yesterday.

Not only did CBS Radio offer the cash money that the Cubs wanted, but this the new deal between the two entities entails a huge marketing and entertainment opportunity beyond sports. The Cub’s soon to be former radio flagship, WGN-AM 720, simply could not match what CBS was willing (or unable) to offer. While I don’t know if CBS Radio will or won’t eventually regret this  long-term agreement, I do understand why WGN decided that continuing to air Cubs games under the current deal was undesirable, if not infeasible. I don’t blame them for attempting to renegotiate or for not matching what CBS offered.

WBBM Cubs RadioBefore today’s announcement, I’ve been wondering if Cub games will also air on WBBM’s simulcast, WCFS-FM 105.9. While the official WBBM “Cubs Radio” logo shows both 780 AM and 105.9 FM, neither news releases by CBS Radio or the Cubs mention WCFS or that the games will specifically be airing on FM.

Assuming that CBS is opting to only air Cub games on 780 AM will allow otherwise displaced WBBM listeners to still receive their news, traffic and weather without any interruptions on 105.9 FM. Very easy — no apps or data necessary! This is absolutely brilliant while at the same time, somewhat of a blow to WLS-AM 890 and WGN which certainly would have benefited if the Cubs were on 780 AM and 105.9 FM.

Yesterday, I wondered how the Cubs moving to WBBM might impact the White Sox and their relationship with CBS Radio’s all-sports WSCR-AM/670 The Score. Since the new deal with the Cubs encompasses cross promotion on CBS Radio’s other Chicago outlets, it is reasonable to assume that various Cub promotions, specialty shows and anything else may eventually surface on The Score. While all that could happen and still not infringe on The Score’s coverage of the White Sox, I can imagine White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf not being too happy.

When the Sox previously were on WMVP-AM/ESPN 1000 in the 2000s, the station pulled a stunt by launching a Sunday morning all-Cubs show, “Inside the Cubs,” hosted by Tom Shaer. It was acknowledged on air during an “Ask the General Manager” show, with then ESPN 1000 General Manager Tom Snyder, that Reinsdorf specifically asked why his flagship station was devoting two hours every Sunday morning to the Cubs (Reinsdorf by that point, had other reasons to be unhappy with ESPN 1000 — the Sox moved to WSCR in 2006 and the Bulls for a short while moved to the former WCKG-FM 105.9).

The Score White Sox Radio logoAny potential unhappiness on the part of Reinsdorf towards CBS Radio and The Score, at this point, is only my own speculation. If The Score doesn’t become overly obsessed with the Cubs, and if CBS Radio and The Score shows sincere interest in renewing their deal with the White Sox prior to 2016, Reinsdorf could opt to stay put.

That said, it is glaringly obvious how excited CBS Radio appears to be over bringing the Cubs on-board. That excitement level didn’t seemingly exist on a corporate level for CBS when they brought the Sox over in 2006 (it was however, a significant add for The Score, which at that point, had yet to flagship a professional level Chicago sports franchise).  While things are much different now than they were when the Sox moved to The Score, there is no doubt that the Cubs and the Bears will be the two golden franchises, sports wise, in the Chicago cluster of CBS Radio.

As a Sox fan, I get it. The Cubs are, overall, more unique of a team. They also have far more popularity statewide.

It will be interesting to see where on the dial the White Sox might be come 2016. I believe WGN President and General Manager Jimmy de Castro when he said he’d be interested in bringing the Sox to 720 AM. I also wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN 1000 made an attempt to win them back. As I’ve previously mentioned on this site, I’m not a fan of the current Sox radio broadcasters. If a new station came on board and was willing to make a much needed upgrade within the broadcast booth, I’d be all for it.

One aspect of the Cubs radio move that humors me are how distraught some WGN listeners are (see comments on WGN’s Facebook. I won’t say that having an affinity for listening to the Cubs on WGN is silly or stupid, but allowing yourself to get upset about a baseball team no longer airing on their longtime radio station is absolutely absurd. Many of these harsh feelings likely carry over from the station’s recent unpopular decision to move afternoon host Garry Meier off 720 AM and onto the online stream WGN.FM. While WGN is facing some bad PR due to the Meier move and now the loss of the Cubs, at the end of the day, changing the dial from 720 to 780 to hear a baseball game is not a big deal. Cubs broadcasts in 2015 will sound exactly the same. Relax!

As for the White Sox, if their games do eventually surface on WGN, I swear, I’ll swerve off the road the first time I hear Dave Eanet sports update beginning with a “and now, your WGN White Sox update.”

Confirmed: Cubs leaving WGN, moving to WBBM in 2015

Cubs Radio Broadcast Booth

Online reports surfaced late last night that the Chicago Cubs have finalized a deal with CBS Radio’s WBBM-AM 780 (which also simulcasts on WCFS-FM 105.9). This will mark the final season the Cubs will air on WGN-AM 720.

WGN President and General Manager Jimmy de Castro confirmed the news to Chicago media critic Robert Feder last night. de Castro explained the reality of the situation between the Cubs and WGN and how a new deal was not economically possible.

The news has been acknowledged on air during WGN’s 5 a.m. “news hour” during the Steve Cochran show. WGN bosses de Castro and Vice President of Creative Content Todd Manley will join Cochran’s show this morning at 9:10 to discuss the issue further.

WGN is going on the offense with this news, hoping to educate listeners why the station could not come to an agreement with the Cubs to continue broadcasting games beyond this season. While I don’t fault WGN for opting out of their current deal with the team, you can expect many uneducated people will accuse the station of simply being cheap.

The Chicago Sun-Times Gordon Wittenmyer mentions the new Cubs radio deal will include WSCR AM/670 The Score, which currently broadcasts the Chicago White Sox. While I don’t expect The Score to share game broadcasts with WBBM, I expect there to be added Cubs promotion along with specialized Cubs programming (similar to “White Sox Weekly” that airs each Saturday on The Score, or WBBM’s “Bears All Access”).

The Score’s deal with the White Sox runs through the 2015 season. It will be interesting to observe if CBS Radio’s new relationship with the Cubs has any impact towards the White Sox, especially when that deal comes time for renewal.

WBBM Sound Card

Still off air, Mike McConnell keeping busy with Facebook

Mike McConnellWhile the voice of Mike McConnell remains silenced, that hasn’t prevented the former WGN-AM 720 midday host from working. McConnell stays in touch with his fan base via Facebook by posting blog-like pieces about the hot news topics he’d likely be talking about if he were on the air.

Since leaving WGN last autumn, McConnell worked a few days in January filling in at the Charlotte news/talk station WBT-AM 1100. Meanwhile, his listeners — many of whom are fans of his former WLW-AM 700 show in Cincinnati — hope he resurfaces somewhere sooner rather than later. His Cincinnati listeners would love nothing more than for WLW to welcome him back. Current WLW host Bill Cunningham hinted about that happening moments after speaking to McConnell during an on air phone conversation back in November.

Even though I wasn’t always the biggest fan of McConnell’s WGN show, I think he’s a solid talker and does a does a great job at presenting his side to an argument. Whether I agree or disagree with his points, his Facebook posts usually make for a great read.

You can view his Facebook page and all postings, even without a Facebook account of your own.

Surprise changes at WGN: John Williams is back, Garry Meier moving online

Today was quite a newsworthy day for WGN-AM 720, the venerable Chicago news/talk radio station. As first reported by Chicago media blogger Robert Feder, a series of changes will impact its Monday through Friday lineup, starting Tuesday, May 27. The most prominent changes are the return of John Williams, who left the station in Dec. 2012, and the moving of afternoon host Garry Meier to WGN’s online-stream station, WGN.FM.

I’m super excited with the news of Williams’ return. While I’ll probably never get to listen to his show live, I look forward to listening to the podcast, either during lunch or on the way home from work.

I’m not as happy about the moving of Meier from AM 720 to online-only. While station management is attempting to portray Meier’s move as being a catalyst to jumpstart WGN.FM, it is very surprising that they opted to move their highest paid (according to Feder) and one of their highest rated personalities to a forum that may as well be “dead man’s land.”

Currently, WGN.FM houses Jonathon Brandmeier’s morning show –which simulcasts on WGN’s sister station, 87.7 The Game/WGWG-LP — a midday syndicated business show, and a weekly real estate/mortgage talk show. Talk about a real garbage dump of a station. I hope WGN does indeed show new commitment to WGN.FM, otherwise the Meier move is obviously just a convenient way to rid of him from the 720 AM until his contract expires towards the end of 2015.

While I’m bummed about the Meier move, I admit that such feelings stem from nostalgia. I probably haven’t listened to Meier for more than five minutes in about a year. Part of the reason is because I feel his act has gotten stale. Not helping are my new listening habits, which includes a lot more online-only podcasts and SiriusXM, at the expense of terrestrial stations, including WGN. After listening to such alternatives for any length of time, going back to terrestrial and dealing with excessive interruptions (long news segments, constant traffic and commercials) becomes harder to deal with.

One more note regarding the decision to move Meier to WGN.FM… is station president Jimmy de Castro really that down on him, or is that a vibe I get by reading Feder? Hmm.

Larz at Chicagoland Radio and Media nicely articulated that the way WGN has gone about moving Meier to WGN.FM is a huge slap in the face to him and his fans.

If they wanted to promote WGN.FM, why not have Garry Meier simulcasted on it for the past month, leading up to this move? Give fans of his (which are many) the chance to find how to access it and be prepared for the switchover. Instead, they yank Meier off the air, essentially flipping the bird to one of the largest portions of the station’s audience.
This may be a promotion for WGN.FM, but make no mistake about it, this is a slap in the face for Garry Meier, his team, and his fans. This cannot be spun in any other way.

Meanwhile, the current mid-morning hosts Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder move to Meier’s spot in afternoons. I’ve heard that the two of them together are laugh out loud hysterical. They had a good reputation dating back in the early to mid 1990s while at Q101. I haven’t had a chance to really sample them since they started on WGN together this past fall. While I haven’t been enamored in the small sampling of them thus far, I look forward to giving them a chance in afternoons.

Then again, even when attempting to listen to them live while driving home from work, I’ll probably still only hear a small sample of them — around WGN’s constant flow of news and commercial breaks.

CBS 2 squanders a full calendar year with morning newscast

Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy

Today marked yet another new beginning for the WBBM-TV/CBS 2 morning news program with the debut of Erin Kennedy as co-anchor — exactly 367 days after the (unnecessary) firing of Susan Carlson. In that time, CBS 2 has rotated midday anchor Roseanne Tellez and weekend anchor Marissa Bailey as fill-ins while searching for Carlson’s permanent successor.

In the year since, I’ve come to enjoy Bailey’s contributions to the morning show and had hoped she’d win the job permanently. Even though she was only working three days a week (in addition to anchoring her weekend morning newscasts), I thought she fit in nicely with co-anchor Kris Gutierrez, meteorologist Megan Glaros and traffic reporter Derrick Young.

Marissa Bailey

Marissa Bailey

CBS 2 has been stuck near last place, ratings wise, for as long as I can remember. While it is extremely hard for a bottom feeder to climb its way up, CBS 2 would put themselves in a better position to do so by building a brand on the merits of outstanding journalism along with familiar and likeable faces. Instead, CBS 2 insists on playing musical chairs with its on air team seemingly every other year, essentially starting from scratch. While changes sometimes are necessary (i.e. Steve Bartelstein’s brief time as morning co-anchor was a colossal failure), CBS 2 unnecessarily rocked the boat one year ago with the firing of Carlson. CBS 2 had finally had a foundation to build upon, with Carlson and Gutierrez in the morning, and Rob Johnson and Kate Sullivan at night.

After disrupting what was a outstanding morning newscast by ousting Carlson, CBS 2 spent a year re-training viewers to get used to Bailey and Tellez, only to rock the boat a second time.

I should make it clear that this isn’t about Kennedy. She may very well prove to be worthy of the job. This is about CBS 2’s management squandering a full calendar year when it is consistency they need most. They’ve essentially shot themselves in the same foot twice, in the span of one year and a couple of days.

Mixed feelings: Colbert moving to ‘Late Show’

Letterman and Colbert

While not a late night television expert, my feelings are mixed now that CBS has confirmed Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman as host of the “Late Show.”

Selfishly, I dislike knowing that the world will be losing a gifted comedian who’s act has become an important influence in the political arena. I wonder if Comedy Central wishes this news could have come sooner, prior to John Oliver’s (breakout star from the “Daily Show”) move to HBO.

I’m only familiar, as is most of America (I assume), with Colbert portraying his conservative Bill O’Reilly-like character from the “Colbert Report.” It will be interesting to see the real him (I suspect with shades of his current character — less political, more mainstream) on stage and behind the desk for an hour five nights a week. What I hope is that whatever style of comedy Colbert brings to the “Late Show” can take the stage/desk format of late night television to new heights — in contrast to the way Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” does via his talent as a performer.

While many will miss Colbert’s current act, he has the potential to make a bigger name for himself at CBS. A new late night rivalry between Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel has the potential to be absolutely epic.

Updated at 10:55 p.m… Politico’s Dylan Byers warns the Washington establishment that Colbert is coming for them.  Byers somewhat diminishes my fear that Colbert going mainstream means we lose the component of him that has made him so good.

Still, the next iteration of Colbert will not be altogether different from the current one, and it is all but impossible to imagine that he’ll forgo the political focus that has made him so appealing to Comedy Central’s viewers.

Some fear that the “Late Show” gig will limit Colbert’s ability to ridicule politicians, if only because broadcast television is more cautious than cable. Yet Colbert’s ability to break out of character may allow him to expand beyond his familiar satirizing of conservatives — a requisite aspect of his current show — and go after Democrats and Republicans, and the political and media establishments in general, with equal abandon.

Chicago’s baseball teams up for potential dial spinning

The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman has reported that the CBS-owned WBBM-AM 780 Newsradio is now the leading candidate to acquire the radio rights to the Chicago Cubs starting in 2015.

CBS also owns WSCR-AM/670 The Score which has been the radio home for the Chicago White Sox since 2006, and still will be through the end of 2015. Sherman mentions that if WGN loses the Cubs, they’d be in position to bid for the White Sox for 2016. Not sure if that’s pure speculation or Sherman carefully hinting that WGN may indeed be open in pursuing that route.

If the White Sox moving to a new station means that a new station program director would finally upgrade the radio announce team, I’d be all for it them leaving the Score. Bring back Dave Wills from Tampa!