Robservations on the media beat:
Maybe it was that spectacular opening number — another show-stopping dance routine by Cheryl Scott and Terrell Brown. (Here is the link.) Or maybe it was the appearance of Mark Giangreco in drag. Whatever the reason, Chicago viewers overwhelmingly chose WLS-Channel 7 to ring in the new year Tuesday night. The ABC-owned station drew 354,947 households — more than both of its main competitors combined — straight up at midnight, according to Nielsen figures. It marked the 19th New Year's Eve together for Giangreco and Janet Davies. NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, hosted by Matthew Rodrigues and Cortney Hall, drew 185,614 households, and Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9, hosted by Ana Belaval and Dean Richards, drew 153,050 households. Ratings were not available Wednesday for Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44, which presented a Spanish-language countdown show hosted by Rodrigo Arana and Maria Elena Ponticiello.
A new syndicated evening show hosted by R&B singer Al B. Sure! has joined the lineup of Crawford Broadcasting urban adult-contemporary WSRB 106.3-FM. "Love and R&B Hosted by Al B. Sure!" featuring romantic current and classic hit soulful music and visits from celebrity guests, airs from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday. Also at Soul 106.3, this week marked the debut of "The Rickey Smiley Morning Show" from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Smiley succeeded the legendary Tom Joyner, who retired last month after 25 years in syndication.
Coinciding with Rickey Smiley's move to Soul 106.3, Crawford Broadcasting urban contemporary WPWX 92.3-FM has picked up “The Morning Hustle,” a new syndicated morning show hosted by Smiley's former co-host, Lester Raynel Ruffin, the hip hop artist known as Headkrack. Starting next week and airing from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, the show will feature Angie Ange, “On-Air” Jordan, Lore’l and Billy Sorrells. Program director Jay Alan called it "a perfect match for Power 92 and Chicago.”
WSCR 670-AM, the Entercom sports/talk station, marks its 28th year on the air today. Filling in for morning hosts Mike Mulligan and David Haugh will be Ron Gleason, the first program director of The Score, and weekend host Matt Spiegel. They'll celebrate the occasion with surprise guests and audio highlights of the station's past. "To be involved in this content machine every day is such an invigorating experience for me and for our audience," said operations director Mitch Rosen. "From a daytime-only station 28 years ago to airing a Game 7 World Series Cubs win in 2016 — what a long way this brand has come."
As a companion to "Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning" on Lifetime, the Museum of Broadcast Communications will host a panel discussion featuring two Chicago journalists who appear in the followup documentary. Author Jim DeRogatis and columnist Mary Mitchell, who first wrote about Kelly's alleged sexual abuse of young girls for the Sun-Times, will headline a panel moderated by Sun-Times reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika, president of the Chicago Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists Chicago. The event will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. (Here is the link for tickets.) “This is an important event about a very difficult subject,” said Susy Schultz, executive director of the museum. “But neither Lifetime, nor these dogged journalists shied away from it and neither will the museum. We are grateful to provide people a forum to discuss the story with the journalists who have been reporting on it for nearly 20 years.”
A memorial service will be held Sunday for Shannon Rice, a voice-over artist and former Chicago radio jazz and gospel host, who died November 30 in a fire at his apartment in the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side. Rice, who was 52, hosted programs on Moody Radio WMBI 90.1-FM and the former Clear Channel WGCI AM (now WGRB 1390-AM), among other stations. "Shannon loved radio and his smooth sultry voice was music to the ear," said longtime colleague Effie Rolfe. "He was a nice pleasant man that loved life. We were blessed with his gift. He will be missed.” The service will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church, 7000 South Michigan Avenue.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Jeff Borden: It's not just you. [Marquee Sports Network] is kind of shaping up as a disaster from what I can see. Hard to see how the Cubs build and retain a fan base when the on-air product is limited to expensive cable packages. Good thing Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will be back on WSCR Radio for those of us who balk at paying the freight for an all-Cubs, all-the-time channel.