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Re: Predictions for 2000

As 2000 winds down, I thought it would be fun to see how our chief
prognosticator, Joe Gallant, did on his predictions for the year.  The
following are his predictions, followed by what actually happened....

Mike Thomas

Joe Gallant wrote:

> (1) Consolidation will continue unabated. The FCC will lift the ceiling
> on the number of markets one owner can have TV stations in. This will
> lead to a multi-year consolidation trend that will see ABC, CBS, Fox,
> NBC and WB's co-owner Tribune own all of their respctive network's
> affiliates. The billions that these companies will need to pay to buy
> their affiliates--and I see very few affiliate changes--will be saved
> down the road in he elimination of affiliate compensation. Networks
> won't have to compensate afffiliates anymore because all 200-or-so
> affiliates are network-owned.

Besides the Viacom merger which united Channels 4 and 38 under the same
company, there were no major changes in TV ownership in Boston this year.
The FCC has relaxed some of the ownership rules, but also has forced some
companies to divest stations before mergers could be completed.

> (2) But the price to the networks will be dear Ed Ansin will cash-out of
> the business and pocket some $1.3 BILLION. Of that, $ 800 million will
> come from NBC buying WHDH in Boston, and the rest from Fox buying WSVN
> in Miami.

Nope, Sunbeam still owns WHDH and WSVN.

> (3) Disney/ABC will pull-off the first billion-dollar single-station
> sale when it buys WCVB-5 for that amount from Hearst/Argyle.

Again, no ownership change.  WCVB is still held by Hearst/Argyle.

> (4) But WCVB will slip in the news ratings. Chet and Nat will be
> professionally split--with Chet co-anchoring noontimes with Susan
> Wornick and Nat co-anchoring at 5:30 with Anthony Everett. Brian Leary
> and Heather Kahn will become WCVB's primary news anchor team, at 5, 6,
> and 11 P.M. These changes could well occur prior to the February sweeps.
> By the end of 2000, Channel 7 will dominate Boston's TV news scene and
> be top-rated across-the-board.

Well, Chet was relegated to weekends, and Natalie is still on at 6PM.  Brian
Leary is no longer with the station.  Everett and Kahn seem to be their
immediate future.  As far as the ratings, WHTH is still on top but slipping
a bit, WCVB is second and slipping as well, and the beneficiary seems to be
WBZ-TV, which has been gaining. If anything, the TV race in Boston is
tightening.  No complete domination for WHDH this year.  Joe gets half
credit for this one.

> (5) Mid-size radio groups like Greater Media and Entercom will vanish
> (other than for Hispanic or African-American-owned companies).
> Disney/ABC will also make a big push for radio ownership here in Boston,
> buying Entercom's holdings. Most of Greater Media's holdings in Boston
> will get sold to Clear Channel, although Disney/ABC might get a couple
> of stations out of it.

Midsized radio groups continue to flourish.  GM and Entercom still exist and
are successful in Boston and elsewhere. Citadel has made a major push into
New England.  All ABC purchased here was WMKI 1260.  Clear Channel bought
out AMFM, so they own WXKS-AM & FM and WJMN.

> (6) WBOS' AAA format will get another stay of execution when WXRV is
> sold to Radio One to simulcast WBOT. And, once Greater Media cashes out,
> Clear Channel will give WBOS yet another say of execution--because by
> that time, the station's ratings will be going up.

WBOS stays the same.  So does WXRV.  WBOT is still just on 97.7.  No
ownership or format changes at any of these stations.

> (7) In New York, CBS/Infinity will move Howard Stern to WNEW-FM, and
> it's "Extreme Talk" format will get syndicated as a ful-fledged network.
> The current Steve & Sue morning team here will move to WXRK, and play
> classic rock.

Howard is as of now still on WXRK, but word is he may make the move to
WNEW-FM after the new year.  The "extreme talk" format has not been rolled
out as a network, but co-owned Westwood One does syndicate several "hot
talk" shows like Stern, Ed Tyll, Lovelines and Don & Mike.  Steve and Sue no
longer work for Infinity/New York.  K-rock is still alternative, not classic

> (8) The conversion of WNEW to flagship of an extreme-talk network will
> result in programming changes at two of CBS' local FM stations. WZLX
> will get "blown up" after Charles Laquidara leaves, and WBCN's call
> letters and format--EXCEPT for Stern and the Patriots--will go to 100.7
> FM. Stern and the Pats will stay at 104.1, along with the rest of the
> Extreme Talk Network. Chuck Nolan, now PM man at WZLX will end up being
> the morning DJ,. playing modern rock, of the newly-relocated WBCN.

Again, this didn't happen.  WZLX is still classic rock. Tai & Steve Sweeney
are doing wakeups and Chuck Nolan remains on afternoons.  WBCN is still
alternative and Stern is still doing mornings.  The Pats also stay at 104.1.

> (9) This change will both help and hurt (prior to it being sold)
> Gtreater Media. It will help WROR, who will see a major competitor
> vanish, but will hurt WTKK to the point that after it's sold, it's new
> owner (Clear Channel) willchange formats.

Wrong again.  GM still owns these stations, and their respective formats
have not changed during 2000.

> (10) The big-money TV game-show craze will prove to have it's limits.
> ABC's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" will continue to enjoy high
> ratings and Fox's "Greed" will enjoy moderate success, but CBS' "Winning
> Lines" and NBC's revival of onetime scandal-plagued "Twenty-One" will
> tank in the ratings.

Joe is half right here.  Greed and the other shows did tank in the ratings,
but "Millionare's rating are dropping badly as well.  It looks like the end
for the high stakes quiz show craze.

> (12) UPN will fold at the end of the May sweeps (with WWF wrestling,
> "Star Trek Voyager", and a couple of UPN's urban sitcoms moving over to
> CBS), and WSBK will again become an independent station, reviving it's
> old "TV-38" positioner and bringing back it's 1976-96 logo. Once more,
> WBZ will produce a 10 P.M. newscast for WSBK, and you'll even see a
> handful of times in the 2000/2001 Bruins season where a "big" game gets
> on WBZ, with that night's CBS prime-time lineup moved over to WSBK. And,
> the Celtics will return to over-the-air TV in 2000/2001 with Fox Sports
> New England sub-livcensing 25 road games to WSK/WBZ. But these will be
> the "stiffs" (Clippers, New Jersey, etc.). The "big" away games (Lakers,
> New York, Indiana) will remain on FSNE.

While UPN and CBS did unite under the Viacom merger, the UPN network still
exists in it's previous form.  WSBK has make none of the changes Joe
predicted.  With Channel 38 moving in with WBZ, some changes could be in the
works for 2001. The Celtics are still on cable only.

<<(13) Sean McDonough will get the play-by-play job for Sox road games
onWFXT, the number-one baseball play-by-play job at the Fox Network, and
even do a few NFL games, where he will soon be dubbed the heir-apparant to
Pat Summerall.>>

McDonough has done some work for Fox, but he is not their number one
baseball guy and he hasn't done football for them either.

> (14) Norfolk's WDIS will change call letters, and be paid a pretty penny
> to do so. They'll be paid by Disney/ABC, so that the WDIS call letters
> will re-appear on 1560 in New York. This change should occur very early
> in the new year.

Nope, WDIS is still using those calls.  1560, according to Bostonradio.org,
is still known as WQEW.

> (15) As the year ends, Clear Channel will begin to float the idea of
> having all their radio music formats done by satellite, as an in-house
> project. This means the company will produce, for example, a 24/7
> satellite country format exclusively for those company stations
> programing country. Locally, WXKS-FM will become home base of Clear
> Channel's CHR format, which means Matt Siegal and Dale Dorman, in AM
> drive and PM drive respectively, will be heard on dozens of Clear
> Channel CHR formatted stations across the nation. The rest of the on-air
> lineup will come from other Clear Channel CHR stations. The industry
> will be watching carefully. If satellite formats in big markets take
> off, it may mean the death knell for local radio.

Clear Channel has syndicated some of their programming, but it has been
through voicetracking, not satellite.  All the music is still programmed
locally, albeit with consultant's imput.  Matty and Dale have not been
syndicated, but Rick Dees and Valentine from KIIS-LA are among the
personalities voicetracking shifts for medium and small-market Clear Channel

> (16) At most of those few music-formatted FM stations that still air
> newscasts in morning drive, that practice will cease (along with
> elimination of sports, and cutbacks in traffic and weather), to be
> replaced by a few more minutes of music each hour--and a couple of more
> minutes of commercials!

News headlines, including sports, weather and traffic continue on morning
drive at most music-intensive stations.

> (17) Even before Entercom sells WEEI, most of it's local sports talk
> hosts will be replacved by SPN radio. Entercom beancounters will learn
> that their costs will go way down and their ratings and revenues will
> stay the same with ESPN radio, which will mean more profit---and less
> local radio.

Entercom still owns WEEI, and this year they saw their best ratings ever--by
staying local.  In fact, they signed all their local talent including John
Dennis, Gerry Calahan, Dale Arnold, Eddie Andleman and Glenn Ordway to
long-term contracts.  Even Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano got new deals
as EEI renews their contract to run the Sox games.

> (18) In New York, little WNSW will be the surprise among older adults,
> and be one of the last bastions of local radio in large markets(since
> many of these predictions project satellite formats to move into major
> markets in a big way) .

Nope, they are still bottom-dwellers.