I sat down for a chat this week with Tom Joerres, the retiring vice president and general manager of the five Saga Communications-owned radio stations, a list headed by WHQG-FM (102.9), better known as "The Hog," and WKLH-FM (96.5).
While we talked about his long career in an interview that you'll be able to see Friday on Time Warner Cable's Wisconsin On Demand Channel 411, we also looked forward to the fate of the two top-rated morning shows he's overseen for many years.
Arbitron's new radio ratings system is kicking in as Joerres is saying goodbye. The first official numbers will be out in October, as measured by "portable people meters," known as PPM in the business. And in some other markets, the new way to count listeners has knocked big names off the radio. In Chicago, big radio stars like Steve Dahl, Jonathon Brandmeier and Erich "Mancow" Mueller have lost their jobs.
In Milwaukee, Joerres has overseen big radio names like WKLH morning hosts Dave Luczak and Carole Caine, and Hog morning voices Bob Madden and Brian Nelson.
Joerres has nothing but confidence about how they'll do.
"I am more than confident," he told me, citing audience research. "We also get a popularity vote, and a passion vote. Both of these shows have always had excessive passion.
"The shows that aren't doing as well in PPM now are shows that had a bigger image -- but really not as big as warranted. Shows like "Dave & Carole" and "Bob & Brian" they will weather PPM and... do very well, because they have audiences that are attached to them, passionately, and associate with them.
"Whether it's Dave and Carole's "Children's Miracle Marathon," or Bob and Brian and all the things they have to offer with the MACC Fund and the Hunger Task Force, there's all these good things that are part of what they do. They will both do very well with PPM."
Our complete chat will be available Friday on Time Warner's Channel 411.
On the air: WXSS-FM (103.7) has picked HaZe, most recently at St. Louis' KSLZ-FM to take the 7 p.m. to midnight slot open since Brett Andrews left in June. HaZe -- he tells me it's pronounced like purple "haze" -- starts Monday on Kiss FM.
- The word is that Steven Tyler has signed his deal to be a judge on "American Idol," although Fox hasn't announced it just yet.
- The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Time Warner Cable Sports 32 have a reached a "multi-year" agreement to keep the sports channel as the official TV partner for UW-M athletics.
- Channel 36 airs "The German Americans" at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The one-hour show looks at the impact of German immigrants on American culture.
- Channel 12 is simulcasting ESPN's coverage of the Aug. 26 Packers-Colts pre-season game. The late news will air following the "Big 12 Sports Post Game" special.
- Bloomberg Television’s Lori Rothman has been picked up by Fox Business Channel. She'll join Chris Cotter to co-anchor the noon business block.
A half-century of "The Andy Griffith Show:" Regular readers know that I consider "The Andy Griffith Show" (the black and white seasons) to be one of the two best sitcoms of the 1960s, along with "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
The show wasn't driven by cheap punchlines, but used rich, interesting and frequently hilarious characters to tell timeless stories. Griffith, himself, was the solid moral core, with one of the best supporting casts ever assembled providing the real comedy.
TV Land is marking the show's 50th anniversary -- it debuted on CBS on Oct. 3, 1960 in the 8:30 p.m. Monday time slot -- with a marathon based on viewer votes. That marathon will run the weekend before the anniversary.
Here's a fine example of the interplay between Griffith and his brilliant second banana, Don Knotts as Barney Fife:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.