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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

WTMJ-TV Ch. 4's Jesse Ritka offers the Summerfest forecast for fest-goers.

Milwaukee media loves Summerfest


It's the world's largest music festival, it brings out hundreds of thousands of people, and it's located on the lakefront – Summerfest is a promotions dream for area radio and TV stations and all media outlets.

Every local TV news station will be on the grounds, offering live shots and bundled packages about the Big Gig. It's Milwaukee tradition at its finest, going on for 45 years. Many area radio stations and digital outlets (including this one) will be on the grounds covering the event.

Scott Schubert, the marketing director for the Milwaukee Radio Group, has been getting his group of stations on Summerfest grounds since 1987.

"We are all about music," Schubert said. "This gets us out in front of the fans and we get to meet people."

WKLH-FM 96.5, 102.9 The Hog and Jammin' 98.3 will each have a presence at the new BMO Harris stage on different nights promoting different acts. WKLH and WHQG – the classic rock and rock stations of the group – will also take turns at the Marcus Amphitheater for shows like the Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden and Aerosmith.

"For the Foo Fighters [tonight], The Hog will have a texting campaign where someone can win tickets in the second and third rows. They'll have to be on the grounds to win," Schubert said, referring to one of the many promotions he and his team will be conducting at the fest. Schubert said that when Aerosmith plays, they will have a Steven Tyler cut-out for fest-goers to take their photos with.

Summerfest goes beyond the music, drawing in outlets because of the community feel of the event. Talk radio stations, entertainment, sports, news and politics outlets will all be there too.

"We will be there each weekday," Mitch Nelles, co-host of "Homer and Thunder" on 540 ESPN, calling the annual trek one of his top three things he looks forward to this summer.

Journal Communications properties – the Journal Sentinel, JSOnline, WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 and 620 WTMJ-AM – have been the long-time information providers of Summerfest. You can visit the information booths they staff near each of the gates to the park, and catch fest coverage over the air, in print and online.

Last night, WISN-TV Ch. 12 aired the Big Bang fireworks, shooting live from atop the Discovery Center. The broadcast has become a Summerfest kick-off tradition, offering a beautiful display backed by music samplings from a number of acts performing on the grounds.

I remember as a child going to watch live broadcast of the daytime or early afternoon newscast from the grounds when WISN 12 would set up a virtual set for the news anchors, meteorologists and sports reporters. They would get fancy stools and do interviews with fest organizers and even feature a performance or two.

Those days are gone, but if you scout it out, you too can be in the background and wave to Mom on the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts over the shoulder of a reporter doing a live shot. Knowing the reporters and
photographers I know, they'll hate me for mentioning it.

WARLOCKS TAKE NOTICE: Charlie Sheen marks his TV return with the premier of "Anger Management" tonight on FX. The best review of it I've seen so far comes from the L.A. Times, which calls the show a "train" not a "train-wreck."

BUSINESS MINDED: The latest Nielsen ratings information hasn't been too kind for a number of cable pioneers, which are drawing in fewer audience members than they have been. The Hollywood Reporter recently remarked on CNN's slide in the world of rekindled cable news competition with FOXNews and MSNBC. Those other news outlets also saw a drop in viewers.

It seems that a former juggernaut in the business news world is seeing a similar struggle. CNBC recorded its lowest-rated quarter since 2005 in terms of total viewers. In the sought after 25-54 age demographic, most shows like Mad Money, Closing Bell and Squawk Box have all slid, according to Nielsen.

Business news is niche in the cable industry, so one has to wonder if it was competition from other outlets like Fox Business Network, Current, or news outlets like CNN, FOX News and MSNBC contributed to this, or if audience members are just migrating to other sources.

In Milwaukee and around the nation, measuring viewers is key to setting advertising rates. When we are in a heavy political year, the last thing these stations want to see is a slide in the numbers while heading into November.

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