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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

October 2010 Archives

Client-agency relationship consultancy R3:JLB has appointed three executives to strengthen global operations. Mary Conrad has been named managing director, North America. Kim Kilchenmann has been named global business director. Rosario Cuellar will serve as senior consultant, Latin America.

Conrad joins the firm from Peapod, the online grocer, where she was vice-president of marketing. Kilchenmann comes from DraftFCB, where she wa a group management director. Cuellar is the founder of Integra Marketing, an Hispanic marketing firm. "With these three appointments we have the senior talent in place to deliver a consistent best-in-class, multinational approach to help our clients identify, pay and reward the best agencies," said David Beals, CEO of R3:JLB. Earlier this month Jones Lundin Beals merged with Asia-based consultancy R3 to form a global consultancy.

DraftFCB/Chicago has promoted group account director Marty Stock to director of account management.

In his new role, Stock will represent the client service function on the agency's executive committee. Stock will remain the group account director overseeing DraftFCB's MillerCoors account. For the past 21 years, Stock has worked on the Coors (now MillerCoors) business, and during that time, he has been involved with virtually every campaign that FCB and now DraftFCB has created for the beer brands. Prior to joining FCB in 1989, Stock worked in St. Louis at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles on the Anheuser-Busch account.

Along the way he also spent time at Young & Rubicam/Chicago.

ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 said late Friday it has inked deals with two producers who will play key roles in the development of a new live morning show tentatively titled "Morning Rush."

The hour-long show is expected to debut after "The Oprah Winfrey Show" ends its long run in the 9 a.m. time slot on Channel 7 in the fall of 2011. Marlaine Selip will serve as the new show's executive producer and Cindy Patrasso will be the show's supervising producer.

Selip has a varied career in the TV business, including stints as supervising producer of "The Montel Williams Show" and a role as executive producer of MSNBC's "Donahue." Among other things, she also was senior news producer for NBC Enterprises' "The John Walsh Show."

On her Facebook page, Patrasso describes herself as a 30-year veteran of the television industry, as well as the president and sole owner of CP and Co., a national television and events production company. She also was a former president of the Orbis Broadcast Group and a vice president and executive producer for Chicago-based Intersport Television.

Channel 7 general manager Emily Barr said both new executives come to the station "with deep Chicago roots and extensive experience in live, daytime television." Barr also praised their "strong leadership skills and good old-fashioned Midwestern values." One thing neither executive has, it appears, is a direct connection to "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which suggests Barr is not looking to replicate aspects of that syndicated show as she seeks to come up with a fresh and different Chicago-centric morning show.

Both Selip and Patrasso join the station on Nov. 1. No further decisions on talent, set or the content of the new WLS show will be made until after that date, Barr said.

Are Illinois gubernatorial candidates Pat Quinn and Bill Brady in the same star league with United States senate candidates Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk? Not so much, at least judging by the overnight Nielsen ratings in the Chicago market. The debate between the two gubernatorial candidates Wednesday night, which aired on WLS-Channel 7at 10:35 p.m., pulled a 4.1 rating (143,500 households). That was nearly a full rating point lower than the 5.0 rating (175,000) for Tuesday night's debate between the senate candidates.
But the gubernatorial debate still beat out its two main late night competitors. The Wednesday night rating for WMAQ's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was a 3.2 (112,000). "The David Letterman Show" trailed Wednesday with a 1.8 rating (63,000).

For one night only anyway, United States senate candidates Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias were the new stars of late-night television in Chicago.

A debate between the two politicians that aired at 10:35 p.m. Tuesday night on top-rated WLS-Channel 7 handily beat two well-known late night talkers in the overnight Nielsen TV ratings in the Chicago market. The Kirk-Giannoulias debate, hosted by ABC News chief political correspondent and "Good Morning America" co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, scored a whopping 5.0 rating (175,00 households). That easily bested the 2.8 rating (98,000) "The David Letterman Show" pulled on CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and the 2.5 rating (87,500) for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

No doubt the strong numbers for the debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Channel 7, were in part a result of the continued intense media attention on the fight for the senate seat being waged between the two contenders. The fact the winner on Nov. 2 will fill the senate seat formally occupied by President Barack Obama only adds to the public's interest in the political battle.

Assistant news director Don DuPree is leaving CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 to work as director of Roger and Chaz Ebert's upcoming movie review TV show "Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies," slated to debut Jan, 21, 2011 on PBS stations nationwide. DuPree had been at WBBM since August of 2009.

DuPree's departure marks the second high-level executive to exit WBBM in just a matter of weeks. Top marketing honcho Jim Corboy also recently departed when his position was eliminated. A WBBM spokeswoman said DuPree will be replaced.

DuPree's involvement with the Eberts' new movie review show is something of a homecoming. "Roger called and said it was time for me to come over and take control of the family farm," said DuPree.

For more than 15 years, DuPree worked as director and executive producer on a couple of iterations of Roger Ebert's original movie review show that first paired the Sun-Times movie critic with the late Gene Siskel, a longtime movie critic at the Chicago Tribune. Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper eventually became Ebert's permanent co-critic on the TV show after Siskel's death. Previous to his first stint working with Ebert on the movie review show, DuPree was an executive producer on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5's late newscast.

DuPree arrived at WBBM last year as a key player in news director Jeff Kiernan's push to clearly differentiate Channel 2's news product from that of its competitors. Kiernan saw in DuPree's varied background some skills that he believed could help give WBBM the fresh look Kiernan was after.

But not everything worked out for the best during DuPree's stint at WBBM. DuPree was part of the team that worked on the ill-fated and highly unconventional early morning show "Monsters & Money in the Morning," that focused on sports and business topics. The show lasted all of seven months before the plug was pulled in late August. "I think it was a great try, but I'm sorry the results weren't better," said DuPree. He is leaving WBBM while the jury is still out on whether the new anchor talent at WBBM, including veterans Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis and newcomer Kate Sullivan, will help lift the station in the all-important Nielsen television rankings.

In the most recent September Nielsen rating book, WBBM was still in third place among the three stations with 10 p.m. newscasts.

Need we repeat? It ain't over until it's over. And the formal protests related to the Illinois Lottery private management contract bid process aren't over yet.

Now, sources tell us, Intralot's concerns about the manner in which its formal protest has been (mis)handled by executives with the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Lottery have been dropped in the lap of the man who made the final decision on the contract -- none other than Gov. Pat Quinn, who remains in a tight race to save his job as the state's leader.

Quinn awarded the contract to the Northstar Lottery Group on Sept. 15. Northstar is comprised of Gtech, Scientific Games and Energy BBDO, all of which currently have contracts with the Lottery.

Sources say a letter was hand delivered to the governor's office today that talks bluntly about what Intralot considers highly inappropriate actions on the part of Department of Revenue and Lottery officials. Those actions, as referenced in a posting on this blog last week, involve threatening to go public with some of the more salacious details about the background of one Socratis Kokkalis, the head of Intralot Group's parent company, which is based in Greece.

Sources indicated that Department of Revenue and Lottery executives suggested to Intralot reps during a hastily-called meeting on Sept. 12, that it might be in Intralot's best interest to drop its formal protest to avoid disclosure of unflattering information about Kokkalis dredged up by Kroll, the firm hired to do probity checks for the Illinois Lottery private management bid process.

Intralot, however, wasn't interested in dropping its protest.

On the contrary, it has escalated the protest to the governor's office. Of course, Intralot must realize that any move by the governor to investigate the situation as it now stands might be interpreted as an admission on his part that something could be wrong -- an acknowledgement Quinn could be highly reluctant to make at a delicate point in time when his political future is at stake.

But sources say plenty of other state executives and legislators, including attorney general Lisa Madigan and state senate president John Cullerton, have been carbon-copied on the Intralot letter to the governor. So plenty of eyes in positions of power and influence are watching.

Meanwhile, Camelot Group, a finalist for the Lottery private management contract, also remains very much in formal protest mode. As of late last week, Camelot had heard nothing definitive from the Department of Revenue or the Lottery regarding its protest.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue said she was hopeful some response could come on at least the Intralot Group protest by week's end. But that's not definite. "It's complicated," she said. No kidding.

But whatever does happen, rest assured, it won't be over until it's over.

It's official. T3 in Austin, Tex., has been named agency of record for Aircell's Gogo inflight Internet service, replacing Upshot/Chicago. We first reported an agency change was imminent back in July.

T3 will handle strategy, creative and media. Spark Public Relations in San Francisco will be responsible for the company's public relations. "We appreciate T3's quick and nimble way of handling client business, as well as the true partnership we will have with the agency's creative talent," said Aircell president and CEO Michael Small. Today Gogo is available on more than 1,000 commercial aircraft and over 3,800 daily flights in the continental United States.

Bill Garcia and Nancy Turner have signed on as hosts of AccuRadio/Chicago's new Chicago Country channel. Both Garcia and Turner have previous local on-air experience in the country format. Turner also is an experienced voiceover talent in the advertising industry.

With recent launch of its country music channel, AccuRadio's Chicago Radio Online now has eight channels of online music available. Altogether, AccuRadio offers more than 480 customizable channels in numerous formats.

Cars.com is headed back to the Super Bowl, slated for Feb. 6, 2010. This will mark the website's fourth consecutive appearance on the big game. "Advertising in the Super Bowl is a proven investment, which is why we're returning," said Mitch Golub, president of Cars.com. The website will add to its "Confidence" campaign with two 30-second spots, one in the third quarter and one in the fourth. DDB/Chicago will supply the commercials. "Our ad during last year's Super Bowl reached more than 106 million viewers -- the largest television audience of all time," said Carolyn Crafts, Cars.com vice-president of marketing.

Reporter Jen Patterson has abruptly exited Comcast SportsNet Chicago, where she had been a reporter. Prior to being made a reporter at CSNC, Patterson appeared on "Monsters in the Morning," the ill-fated morning show on CSNC that featured hosts Mike North and Dan Jiggetts.

CSNC spokesman Jeff Nuich offered only the briefest of statements Thursday regarding Patterson's sudden departure: "Jen Patterson is no longer an employee of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and we wish her well on her future endeavors. Per company policy, we have no further comment on personnel matters." Patterson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

How about a shocker for this otherwise tranquil fall afternoon? Chief creative officer Ken Erke has exited Young & Rubicam/Chicago. He's taking a job as executive creative director at the small Chicago office of R/GA, the digital agency founded by Bob Greenberg in New York. An official announcement is expected later today.

In addition to Erke, e-business consultant Matt Marcus is joining R/GA's Chicago office as an executive creative director. Marcus previously worked with clients such as Ermenegildo Zegna, National Geographic and CVS/Caremark. Erke and Marcus will be responsible for growing the Chicago office and will report to Nick Law, chief creative officer in R/GA's New York headquarters. Law described Erke as a "great brand story-teller" and called Marcus a "talented digital creative leader."'

Erke had been Y&R/Chicago's COO for the past three years, after joining the agency in the year 2000 from Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago. Erke oversaw Y&R work for Sears, Hilton Hotels and Miller Genuine Draft, among other accounts.

Erke wasn't immediately available for comment. But his departure from Y & R, of course, raises questions about the situation at that Chicago shop. It may be that Erke simply saw bigger opportunities long-term at R/GA, given its focus on the digital end of the ad business. Or it may be, as many observers have suspected in recent months, that a turning point in Y&R/Chicago's relationship with the giant Sears account could be looming. Sears has long been the dominant account at Y&R/Chicago. Should Sears exit, Y&R/Chicago would be left with a giant hole in its account roster.

There has been upheaval within Sears Holdings marketing department recently. And as we all know, when client marketing honchos come and go, it can often spell trouble for the agencies that suddenly find themselves reporting to someone new with different expectations and demands.

R/GA's Chicago office, which opened last year, currently has 13 employees. Principal clients served out of the Chicago office are S.C. Johnson and Dow Chemical.

ESPN Radio's sports talk WMVP-AM (1000) has a new program director, Adam Delevitt, who had been the station's assistant program director. He replaces Justin Craig, who moved last month to New York to become program director at ESPN Radio's flagship station there, WEPN-AM (1050). Chicago native Delevitt had previously indicated he was interested in the top programming job at WMVP. The station reportedly did talk to other candidates, but ultimately concluded Delevitt was the right guy for the job.

Ray Stevens and Lisa Dent have won the Country Music Association's major market "Personality of the Year" Award for 2010. Stevens and Dent host the "Lisa Dent & Ramblin' Ray Morning Show" on CBS Radio Chicago's country WUSN-FM (99.5) weekdays from 5 to10 a.m.

The show debuted in that time slot nearly four years ago. "We always want to do a good job for our listeners, the people who get up and go to real jobs every day," said Stevens. "This award is icing on the cake," added Stevens.

The "Lisa Dent & Ramblin' Ray Morning Show' was one of five nominated radio shows selected as finalists in this year's competition. The finalists were then judged by a CMA panel of industry experts who evaluated them on several criteria, including ratings success, community involvement, industry involvement and a sample of their show.

Dent has been with WUSN for eight years and previously won the CMA "Personality of the Year" award as a midday host in 2005. Stevens has been with WUSN for over 17 years. WUSN has an average audience of 1.7 million listeners each week.

It's been a while. But the fact remains: It ain't over until it's over. And things are getting real interesting on the protest front in the protracted effort to name a private manager to run the Illinois Lottery. As you may recall, Gov. Pat Quinn (who could become a lame duck governor shortly) selected the Northstar Lottery Group to manage the lottery back on Sept. 15. Northstar is comprised of Gtech, Scientific Games and Energy BBDO/Chicago, all of which currently have contracts with the Illinois Lottery.

The other finalist for the private management contract, Camelot Group, and Intralot, which was dropped from contention early in the selection process, both subsequently filed formal protests with the Illinois Department of Revenue over various aspects of the way in which the bid process played out. Since then, there's been no clear indication of how Lottery executives and the Department of Revenue would deal with the protests. But out of the blue, it apparently became much clearer two days ago, at least for the Intralot Group.

Sources report there was a hastily-called private meeting between representatives from the Lottery/Department of Revenue and Intralot. To the apparent amazement of the folks at Intralot, sources say, the state executives suggested it might be in the best interests of Intralot to drop its protest by Friday, Oct. 15, or the Lottery would move forward with a plan to release more detailed information about the so-called probity checks that doomed the Intralot bid. A firm called Kroll has been handling all the probity checks for the entire private management bid process.

What Kroll determined to be a problem during the Intralot probity check, sources say, is the background of the Greece-based head of Intralot, a gentleman named Sokratis Kokkalis. A brief review of Kokkalis' background does suggest the man has had some questionable associations, including a stint as an agent with the East German secret police. He has also been indicted in several foreign countries, but cleared of all charges in every instance, sources tell us. What's more, Kokkalis never became a huge sticking point in 12 other United States lottery-related bids and 40 foreign bids in which Intralot has participated in recent years.

But now it appears Kokkalis has become the rod the Illinois Lottery and the Department of Revenue want to use to browbeat Intralot into withdrawing its protest. But we're told Intralot will have none of such tactics. If the state follows through with a plan to release the Kokkalis information Friday and use it to justify rejecting Intralot's protest, don't be surprised if the word "blackmail" is heard above the fray. It's unclear at this point just how Camelot's protest is faring. We will update that when we have more info to report.

Time, of course, is of the essence now, in terms of getting the private management contract signed. The November elections are just a little more than two weeks away, and if Quinn loses, it's going to make a lot of people in state government very nervous. And it just might have an adverse impact on the private management deal if it isn't signed and sealed by then.

On a separate matter, we heard from a Northstar representative regarding a previous posting suggesting Intralot had not filed any formal lottery-related protests elsewhere. The Northstar rep claimed that was not true and referred to three states in which Northstar alleged Intralot had filed protests over bids. We did some additional checking and found that two of the situations Northstar referenced weren't in fact formal protests of the sort that are underway in Illinois now. The third in Wisconsin in 2004, was indeed a formal protest, but Intralot withdrew it before any action was taken on it.

A one-night-only symposium on Oct. 26 will celebrate "the father of modern advertising," otherwise known as Albert D. Lasker.

Sponsored by Northwestern University's Medill IMC program and partners, the symposium will address the future of advertising, always a tricky topic of discussion, considering the uncertain crossroads the industry is at right now. A centerpiece of the event will be a presentation showcasing some of the advertising being created today in Chicago. Howard Draft from DraftFCB/Chicago, as well as representatives from Digitas, Leo Burnett, DDB and other ad agencies, will participate in the presentation.

To promote the upcoming event, the Ungar Group/Chicago, has developed a TV commercial that talks about Lasker and his contributions to advertising and the symposium. Among other things, Lasker is responsible for turning the Chicago ad agency Lord and Thomas into one of the early 20th century's largest ad agencies, Foote Cone & Belding. FCB merged several years ago with Draft to form DraftFCB. The new TV spot will air through Oct. 26.

The symposium itself will take place at Northwestern University's Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave. For more information visit www.100yearslasker.com.

Euro RSCG Worldwide has launched Euro RSCG Social, a new cross-discipline
social media arm of the global ad agency. "We're probably doing more in the
social media space than any other agency globally, and this move simply
groups all our efforts under one umbrella brand," said David Jones, global
CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

Independent public relations firm Edelman has launched a new unit called
Ruth: Edelman Integrated Marketing, named after the wife of Edelman founder
Daniel J. Edelman. The new unit will offer a variety of services ranging
from graphic design to direct consumer advertising. Among other things, Ruth
is designed to compete with boutique marketing firms.

Smooth jazz WLFM-FM (87.7) has inked a new traffic partnership with Metro Traffic. Effective immediately, WLFM will air six traffic/weather reports during morning drive between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. In addition to the on-air reports, WLFM will feature the new high-tech on-line traffic map "Sigalert" at www.smooth877.com. "This is one more step forward for our team as we continue to evolve 87.7 FM as a local lifestyle brand in Chicago." said Pat Kelley, the station's general manager. "Accurate traffic and weather is a big deal in Chicago, and I'm very excited that we can now make this important and timely information available to our growing band of listeners on air and on line," added Kelley.

Now that the Gulf of Mexico oil well has been sealed, and the leaking has stopped, Gertrude Inc./Chicago has launched an effort to benefit Gulf Coast oil spill restoration entitled "A Bird In Hand Project." The integrated campaign consists of TV, print, web and online elements and is a forum for the public to contribute to the many organizations that still rely on donations are are working to clean and protect the wildlife and habitats in the Gulf Coast. "This project is important because it's helping remind the nation that the oil's not gone and that the impact from BP's drilling disaster is ongoing," said Aaron Viles, campaign director of the Gulf Restoration Network. All campaign components are housed at www.abirdinhandproject.com.

Effective Oct. 25, CBS Radio Chicago's sports talk WSCR-AM (670) will end its delayed airing of the "Dan Patrick Show" from 1 to 4 a.m weekdays. In place of Patrick, WSCR talent Les Grobstein will do a new overnight show airing from midnight to 5 a.m. Grobstein has been with the Score on and off for 12 years. His most recent stint began two years ago. Grobstein had been doing a split-shift overnight show for WSCR that aired from 11 p.m to 1 a.m. and again from 4 a.m.to 5 a.m. Sources said the station likes Grobstein's work and wanted to give him more air time -- albeit in the wee hours of the morning.

Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting is adding a new TV station to its group. Dubbed the "U Too," it will broadcast over-the-air on digital WCIU-Channel 26.5 and 26.6, as well as analog WCUU-CA, Channel 48. The launch is slated for early December, 2010.

"This will allow us to feature some of The U's signature programs in different time periods and add new programs to the schedule," explained Weigel executive vice-president Neal Sabin. "We will now be able to air programming from independent producers that fits our brand, as well as provide another opportunity to reach a new audience for existing and future clients." Added Brad Lesak, general sales manager for Weigel: "We believe this will compliment, not cannibalize our audience."

Larry Yellen has been named the permanent lead anchor for Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32's weekend late newscast. He also will continue to serve as a legal analyst when needed on the station's newscasts. Yellen's new role is one of a number of talent and anchor changes made at the station over the past year -- all part of an effort to boost WFLD from its last-place standing in the late news ratings competition. Yellen has been employed at WFLD since 1993.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago has inked a deal to simulcast editions of Fox Sports Radio's "The Dan Patrick Show," which airs weekdays from 8 to 11 a.m. on the Fox Sports Radio network of more than 200 affiliates nationwide. The Patrick show begins airing on CSNC on Monday, Oct. 25. The set for the Patrick show is described as a sports bar-type environment with a fireplace and sports memorabilia on the walls.

Patrick, a familiar sports media personality, is also a mainstay on NBC Sports, where he is a co-host of "Football Night in America." He was also a contributor to NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2010 Stanley Cup final that featured the Chicago Blackhawks winning their first championship title in 49 years. CSNC will provide local sports updates each day during the airing of "The Dan Patrick Show."

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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