Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paul is Still Alive

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 45 years ago today...

October 22, 1969…Paul McCartney issued an official press release through Apple stating that he was not, in fact, dead, as had been rumored. He then retired to his farm in Scotland where LIFE magazine tracked him down to prove he was still alive.

Wrigley Construction 2014

This is a jarring sight. Thanks to Dane Placko for the photo...

Giant-friendly version of ‘Royals’

A KCBS radio reporter has done a Pro-Giants parody of "Royals" by Lordes.
You can listen to it here.

I hope the series gets better. That was a bummer of a game last night. I'm rooting for a seven game series.

More About the Hacked Radio Station

From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW newsletter...

It’s a like a real-life Halloween fun-house, because the off-shore hackers are still slipping into the cluster’s in-house network server every day and creating fresh horrors. After being dark for seven hours on the first day of the invasion, the stations did manage to get back on-air without paying the ransom of $500. (The hackers wanted it in untraceable Bitcoin currency.) But it’s a mess at Stannard Broadcasting-owned country KVVP Leesville (105.7), adult alternative KROK South Fort Polk (95.7) and AC “Mix 106.7” KUMX North Fort Polk. Radio World says the problem affects all three. The staff toiled through the weekend on the problem, complicated by the fact that one of the stations is installing a new transmitter. The irony is that the hackers probably don’t even know they penetrated a radio operation – they just know they gained control of a computer whose files they can mess with. One issue may be the Windows XP system used by the cluster, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. Automation provider RCS isn’t the service provider to Stannard, but its Dwight Douglas tells this NOW Newsletter that “We’ve been urging our stations to get off XP.”

RIP Ben Bradlee

A giant of the journalistic world has passed. Here he is talking about his incredible career...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Foo Fighters To Play Wrigley

Tickets go on sale on October 27.

Count me in.

Have you seen the new HBO series starring Foo Fighters? It's incredibly well done. The first episode was all about Chicago. Loved every second of it. The DVR is set to record it regularly now.

Stanley Cup Ring

Bridget and I were at a charity fundraiser last night and met Blackhawks public address announcer Gene Honda. He let Bridget wear his Stanley Cup ring...

Hacking a Radio Station

From today's Radio Ink...

Although they did not give the call letters of the station, The Louisiana Broadcasters Association posted a message on its website that claims a hacker shut down a Louisiana station for five hours last Friday. The LAB says ransom was demanded by the alleged hacker and the owner of the station says, "It's going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace computers and software in his facilities." He's suggesting that anyone running Windows XP should evaluate and upgrade to a newer version supported by Microsoft, stating there's possibly a glitch in Windows XP that can be hacked. There is also a possibility that the issue was a file-encrypting "ransomware" virus, which actually holds computers hostage.

I read up on this story, and it appears it was automation software that was hacked. If a live human being had been there, it wouldn't have happened.

Just saying.

Fighting Ebola

One of the people studying the ebola virus is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.

His name? Raymond Kaempfer. A story about him is here.

I'm pretty sure he's not related to me, but at least now I can say that the Kaempfers are contributing to society.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Who's On First For Classic Rockers

Thanks to "MW" for this one...

A Father For 19 Years

My oldest son Tommy was born 19 years ago (yesterday). As I get ready to publish my "Father Knows Nothing" book (which comes out in a few weeks), I've been getting nostalgic. I wrote over 400 columns about my experiences as a father. Reading through those old columns, there are entire episodes I had completely forgotten about. (I'm soooo happy I had a deadline every week to write them!) But there's one thing I never would have forgotten, and that's the first day I became a dad.

At the time I was the producer of the John Records Landecker show on WJMK. We talked about the pregnancy on the air, got updates on Bridget's condition, and when the big day came, I called into the show from the delivery room. The following is a transcript of that telephone conversation on the air the morning of Tommy's birth. The participants are John Landecker, sidekick Vicki Truax, and proud papa Rick.

(Tommy's brothers were born on the air too...all three transcripts will be in the book "Father Knows Nothing"...available for pre-order beginning November 1st)

John: Oldies 104.3 WJMK, It's 12 minutes after 6:00 with John Records Landecker and Vicki Truax. The hotline...the private ringing. Hello.

Rick: Hello.

John: Well?

Rick: I'm a papa.

(Loud cheering and whooping in the studio)

Vicki: A girl or a boy?

Rick: A boy.

Vicki: I KNEW IT!!! What's his name?

Rick: Thomas Peter.

Vicki: What time?

Rick: 4:06 a.m.

John: Wow. How's everybody doing?

Rick: Everyone is fine.

Vicki: Bridget is fine too? Is she exhausted?

Rick: Yup, she's holding Thomas right now.

John & Vicki: Awwwww.

Rick: 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

John & Vicki: Awwwww.

Rick: And I recorded the entire thing on Digital audio tape.

Vicki: You're kidding? She didn't make you turn it off?

Rick: No. I had it put in a nice place where it didn't get in anyone's way.

John: We've got Thomas' birth on tape.

Rick: Yup. And we got his first bath on tape too, and his first cry.

John: Something tells me we better get more tape. OK, here's his first eyelid opening. Better get that on tape. We're going through his first toll...let's get that on tape. Hey Rick, don't you just want to...

John, Vicki & Rick: Hug and kiss them all the time?

(That was something Vicki said so often about her daughter it was a running joke on the show)

Rick: He is so damn cute.

John & Vicki: Awwwwww.

Rick: Wait a he crying? Hold on.

Sound: A tiny baby cry can be heard.

John: Is that him?

Rick: Yup. His on-air debut.

John: Wow!

Rick: He's got some lungs on him.

John: That kid sounds like he's two years old.

Rick: Yeah, he's got good pipes.

John: Does he want to come in and do a few record talkovers?

Vicki: How long is he?

Rick: 21 inches.

John: So what was it like?

Rick: It was so cool. It was just like the movie "Alien." The baby kind of popped out and looked around. Then he jumped up and sucked my eyes out...

John & Vicki: (Laughing)

John: Then Siguorney Weaver came in with some sort of a mechanical device. It was unbelievable.

Vicki: You guys. Is he all wrinkly. Does he have hair?

Rick: Yeah, he does have hair. That was the first thing we saw. I asked the nurse...ewww...what is that? That's his hair. Oh.

John: Did you get it on tape?

Rick: Of course. Uh, oh. I have to go. We need to take Bridget up to the recovery room.

Vicki: You're still in the delivery room?

Rick: Yeah.

Vicki: That's dedication.

John: How many calls have you made so far?

Rick: This is my second call. I called my mom first.

John: Wow. Well take care of everyone.

Rick: Thanks.

John & Vicki: Bye.

John: There they go. Dad Rick, Mom Bridget and now Thomas Kaempfer.

Vicki: I kind of liked the other name Rick was talking about before.

John: I don't think Bridget was ever going to agree to Ringo.

Russell Brand Versus Fox News

I personally don't think you can win battling someone or something that has 24 hours of television time every day to fight back, but you have to give it Russell Brand.

He's trying. The security staff threatened to have him arrested. Full details at the Hollywood Reporter, complete with your usual cesspool of hate in the comments section.

Bears Explode...After the Game

I turned it off when Cutler fumbled on the ten yard line. Brandon Marshall wasn't so lucky. He had to be there for the rest of the game. And he apparently went off on his teammates in the locker room.

Details are here.

I'm totally cool with that. It seems like it might be more effective than my yelling "You suck!" at the television.

Wacky Radio Stunt

From today's RAMP newsletter...a wacky radio stunt about the World Series...

The 2014 World Series gets underway tomorrow night, pitting the National League Champion San Francisco Giants against the American League Champion Kansas City Royals. And in keeping with that longstanding radio station tradition of publically posturing during times of major sporting events, several San Francisco radio stations are already doing their part for the home team by taking a (ceremonial) hard line against playing any song that may sound even vaguely in favor of their rivals -- Cumulus Triple A KFOG and Entercom AC KOIT are proudly proclaiming that they will stop playing "Royals" by Lorde "until the Giants win the World Series." Yes, sports fans, it's that serious. KFOG PD Jim Richards tells RAMP, "KFOG is going to root for the home team. We'll never be Royals... but we will always be Giants!" KOIT PD Brian Figula commented, "As of 4pm Friday we've removed Lorde's 'Royals' from our playlist until the end of the World Series. Go Giants, beat the Royals!"

A radio station in KC, by the way, is putting the same song into higher rotation.

That's vintage radio wackiness, there.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Another good bit by Jimmy Fallon...

Jimmy does enough of these quality bits every week to keep him on the air for a very long time.

Fan Gate

This is really beginning to feel like the moment Rick Scott lost his governorship of Florida...

Madison Bumgarner Chugs Six Beers

That's celebrating...

The Story Behind Eric Karros' Cubs World Series Cap

He unveiled it on the air the other night--a Cubs cap from 2003 that has a World Series logo embroidered in the side. It was in his locker during Game 6 of that series, but obviously never worn.

The full story is in the Sun Times.

Ebola e-book

It's 6 pages long, and it's called "DEADLIER THAN EBOLA: 57 THINGS MORE LIKELY TO KILL YOU THAN THE PLAGUE OF OUR LIFETIME". The description on amazon says: "The current Ebola outbreak is terrifying, but we all have some fear left over. Be afraid - and prepared."

Pretty clever.

I bet it took him about an hour to write it. He's selling it for 99 cents.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

And the Walls Come Crumbling Down

What's Wrong With Talk Radio?

Today's Tom Taylor NOW column has this as the lead story today...

New Bridge Ratings study about talk radio says “One thing that stands out is listener fatigue.” Dave Van Dyke gets specific about the syndrome – it’s related to “talk radio topics and the frequency with which they air.” He says in the 15 years he’s been tracking news/talk, “news information has become oversaturated, particularly in the political news coverage arena.”

Totally true. It takes hard work to come up with new and compelling topics instead of repeating/recycling the same topics every day. But when there are multiple outlets offering the same thing, you have no choice. Even within the political bubbles (on both sides), it gets tedious hearing the same thing every single day. Be as conservative or liberal as you want. But don't give up being innovative and/or creative.

HBO to Offer Stand-Alone Streaming Service Beginning in 2015

I'm one of the dinosaurs who still has cable. HBO has been one of the reasons. That reason will be gone next year.

I can't watch the news anymore (thanks so much, "advocate" journalism). The comedy shows I watch are also available on line (in various forms). The only (non-HBO) show I like is Top Chef, and I think I can live without it.

Live sports broadcasts (football, baseball, hockey, soccer) are officially the only thing keeping me from pulling the plug now. It's just not the same on the internet (or the radio).

CNN ranked the world's most known news brand

The numbers in America might not back this up, but worldwide there's no doubt about it. From The Drum (A marketing/branding blog)...

According to the Affluent Global survey, CNN was found to reach 40 per cent of upscale consumers and decision-makers – more than any of its competitors across TV and digital platforms...CNN's global digital audience was estimated to be as big as 99 million unique visitors according to comScore data – over 25 million ahead of the BBC.

That's pretty impressive.

Weirdest Debate Beginning Ever

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Et tu, Sean?

Caught my son Sean cheering for the Cardinals yesterday. (He says he has money on them--he's 12, by the way).

I'm torn. Should I set up a bed for him in the detached garage or the garden shed?

I don't know if you can see it in this photo, but a tear just fell onto Sean from the statue of Ernie.

Ranking Oktoberfest Beers

Chicago's Half Acre Oktoberfest beer is ranked #1 by Drink Magazine! Ahead of even Munich's Hacker Pschorr (which is #2).


That's high praise indeed.

(Note: I realize the photo is not an Oktoberfest beer. I'm not an animal. I just don't have a photo in my files)

New York's 11th District

Depressed about the election? Could be worse. You could live in Staten Island and have to choose among these two guys...

Tribune Stock Buyback

I hadn't been following the stock price of Tribune Media closely, but apparently they've fallen on hard times. This was reported by the Tribune publishing wing yesterday...

Tribune Media Co., which has seen its valuation fall by more than a third since spinning off its publishing assets, has authorized a $400 million stock repurchase program, the Chicago-based company said Tuesday. "Our board of directors and senior management strongly believe that Tribune Media's free cash flows, growth prospects and long-term strategy are not reflected by the company's current stock price," Peter Liguori, Tribune Media's president and CEO, said in a statement. "The stock repurchase program that was announced today demonstrates our confidence in the strength of our businesses and commitment to delivering shareholder value."
Very interesting. When they spun it off, Tribune Media Co. was considered the shining star stock. Tribune Publishing was the one everyone assumed would sink.

Not on the Market

I got a call yesterday from a nationally syndicated radio show asking me if I would be willing to come back to radio to produce their show. They said they had read my book ("The Radio Producer's Handbook") and that I would be perfect for the job.

Is it a bad thing that I laughed when they said that?

I meant no offense. It's not the first offer I've had in the past few years, but it's the first offer (And it was a nice offer) that made me realize my radio producing days were officially over. I knew it the second I heard my name and "radio producer" in the present tense.

"You're asking the 51-year-old me?" I thought to myself.

That's hilarious. You don't want me. You want the young me; the one who wrote the book more than ten years ago. I haven't seen that guy since my kids were babies. Unless you want wacky bits about paying your kids' college tuition or getting your AARP card in the mail (and you don't--this is a show for 20-somethings), I'm probably not the right guy.

But I do appreciate the offer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

11 years ago today...

...a big Cubs fan was excited to get a first row seat along the leftfield line for Game 6 of NLCS between the Cubs and the Marlins. He had no way of knowing that his life was about to change forever. Here's the video of what Steve Bartman went through as he was being escorted out of Wrigley. Not exactly the proudest moment for Cub fans. I still feel bad for the guy...

As the Rupert Turns

Today's Sydney Morning Herald has a piece about James Murdoch, one of Rupert's sons. (Photo: Rupert Murdoch)

The article includes one of the more awkward family photos you'll ever see. Rupert with three of his children (James on the far left, looking forced to be included), standing in front of a portrait of Rupert.

You know, like all of us do with our family photos.

RIP Jan Hooks

A tribute from her old show SNL...


Thanks to "SA" for sending me this one...