Tribune’s simulcast of News/Talk 720 WGN on 87.7 WGWG-LP Chicago will extend through the month of February.
Todd Manley, VP/Content & Programming for WGN told the Chicago Tribune that “Venture Technologies has asked us to simulcast for another month, and we’ve agreed to do that”. Once that extension ends Weigel Broadcasting will assume operations of the station.
RobertFeder.com reports that Weigel Broadcasting, the Chicago based owners of the MeTV Network and WCIU-TV Chicago along with broadcast properties in Milwaukee, Rockford, and South Bend will be the next group to program the 87.7 facility beginning on 2/1. An interesting name to keep in mind with WGWG-LP is Lee Abrams. The longtime broadcast consultant, XM, and Tribune executive is now Chief Content Officer at Touchvision in which Weigel is a partner.
The Game had launched in February as Tribune took over the lease of 87.7 from Merlin Media following Cumulus moving Alternative WKQX to 101.1. As most spoken word formats take time to develop, WGWG-LP had only risen to a 0.5 share in October despite having sixteen hours of local programming. The station failed to make a dent against CBS’ “670 The Score” WSCR and ESPN’s “ESPN 1000” WMVP.
Morning host Jonathan Brandmeier will exit the station and streaming platform WGN.FM immediately as will WGN.FM’s afternoon host Garry Meier. Meier had been moved from 720 WGN to the streaming platform in May to ride out the rest of his contract which does not expire until October 2015. Feder reports that WGWG midday hosts David Kaplan and David Haugh will continue to do their show on Comcast Sportsnet Chicago once WGWG signs-off.
The Chicago Tribune shares the memo sent to staffers:
We will discontinue programming of The Game and sports radio on 87.7 on December 31, 2014. WGN Radio is working to continue to produce the Kap & Haugh Show for CSN Chicago. We’re looking to expand our sports footprint on WGN Radio as well as online and via social media. Our Free Form media initiative, wgn.fm, will take a different form to be an incubator for new talent, alternative conversation, and classic Chicago audio called WGN Plus in 2015. That content will all be distributed on demand at wgnradio.com. The final Garry Meier Show streamed live on wgn.fm yesterday.
While Tribune retains the radio broadcast rights to the NHL Chicago Blackhawks on WGN, the company lost the rights to the Chicago Cubs to CBS’ News 780 WBBM starting with the 2015 season.