How low can they go? North & Co. are heading south

February 17, 2010

Robservations on the media beat:


Mike North

  • They said it would take months if not longer to gauge whether WBBM-Channel 2's new morning show would be more successful than its lackluster predecessor. But I don't remember anyone at the CBS-owned station predicting that "Monsters and Money in the Morning" would actually lose viewers in the process. Since its debut two weeks ago, the show has been averaging a 0.5 rating in its 5 a.m. hour (down from 0.7 one year ago and 0.8 in January), and a 0.7 rating in its 6 a.m. hour (down from 0.8 one year ago and 1.0 in January). One Nielsen ratings point represents about 35,000 households. "It has no traction," a ratings analyst from a competing station said of the show. No doubt about it: Hosts Mike North, Dan Jiggetts, Terry Savage and Mike Hegedus have a long way to go. Maybe they'll do better on their Web site, which breaks down each segment for convenient viewing -- and no commercials.
  • Speaking of collapses, it's back down to earth for Clear Channel Radio adult contemporary WLIT-FM (93.9). As usual, ratings for its all-Christmas music format tripled in December and jumped to first place in Arbitron's Portable People Meter measurement. But now that "The Holiday Lite" is just a dim memory, the station has dropped to 11th‚ place -- which happens to be where it was before all that ho, ho, ho. Notes Radio-Info.com's Tom Taylor:
"It's like one of those spectacular Winter Olympics ski jump events that quickly leads to a landing way down in the valley -- and roughly back where Lite had started."
  • One of the main reasons anyone still subscribes to Chicago magazine, I suspect, is for the dining reviews and restaurant listings. (It's surely not for those interminable "special advertising features" -- pages and pages of ads disguised as editorial material -- that take up way too much space.) So it's worth noting that the March issue anoints Jeff Ruby, a 13-year veteran of the magazine, as chief dining critic. He succeeds Dennis Ray Wheaton. For real foodies, I say the master of the eat beat is "The Hungry Hound" himself and fellow Vocalo blogger Steve Dolinsky.
  • Jeff Smulyan won't be running for the U.S. Senate from Indiana, but he may be running a new FM sports/talk station in Chicago. The CEO of Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications told Inside Radio Tuesday he's not interested in replacing Evan Bayh, as some Hoosier Democrats have proposed. But Crain's Ed Sherman reports Smulyan may be looking at flipping one of Emmis' Chicago outlets -- classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9) or alternative rock WKQX-FM (101.1) -- to sports/talk next year with backing from the White Sox.
  • Dominic Mancuso, who held senior management jobs at two Chicago stations, has been named general manager of WZTV-TV and WUXP-TV in Nashville, Tenn. He'll also oversee WNAB-TV in Nashville. All three are owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Mancuso previously was vice president of programming and promotions at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and WPWR-Channel 50, and station manager of Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9.
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