Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Just One Bad Century

I'm not going to post for a week or so, but Just One Bad Century will continue to update, so make sure you swing by and check it out.

This Week in 1945 is posted on Saturdays. This Week in 1908 is posted on Mondays. This Week in Wrigley History is posted every Wednesday, and Historical events are posted on Thursdays. Today’s Cubs birthdays are posted every single day. I’ll leave you with my favorite Cubs video on the A/V club the whole time I’m gone.

I will be fully back in the JOBC saddle on September 30th, and on this blog September 24. I'll have a full report about my activities on that date.

Have a great week!

FCC Receives 3 Million Comments on Net Neutrality

From this morning's Wall Street Journal...

The Federal Communications Commission said it has received a record 3 million comments on proposed rules for how broadband providers must treat traffic flowing over their networks, driven by advocacy campaigns and public interest. Comments had to be submitted by midnight Monday.

They don't say how many are pro-intentional-slowing of the internet to pad megacorporation wallets, and how many are against, but I'm guessing it's about 3 in favor (the big three companies), and 2,999,997 against.

Let's see if the FCC bothers listening to the American people or not. Last time they tried to change ownership rules, they were shamed into listening by a similar outpouring of outrage. I even sarcastically chimed in...

Pete McMurray to Sing 7th Inning Stretch

From today's RAMP newsletter...

Be Very Afraid: After working the crap out of the Chicago Cubs organization for the better part of a year, WGN/Chicago evening entertainer Pete McMurray has some huge news, as he tells RAMP, "The Cubs finally agreed to let me sing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame' during the 7th inning stretch this Friday!" [cue crickets]... As if that particular development wasn't disturbing enough for all of those unsuspecting (and long-suffering) Cubs fans, McMurray shares the alleged "added value" of this news, saying, "There was one stipulation -- the entire WGN night crew will be singing." Yes, in addition to McMurray's non-Grammy-nominated voice, he will be joined by the questionable vocal talents of late-night personality Patti Vasquez and overnight delight Nick Digilio.

This was probably their last chance. The Cubs will be with WBBM next season.

This is how I feel this morning

The only difference is that I won't jump if the doorbell rings. Ivy will go into full freak out mode.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The "Back in the Game" Launch Party

Saturday morning Rich King invited about a hundred of his closest friends and relatives to Volare Restaurant for the launch party of his book “Back in the Game”. The restaurant holds a special place in Rich’s heart because it was the location of his first date with his current wife April.

At one point Rich stood on a chair in the middle of the restaurant and addressed the gathered crowd. He delivered a heartfelt speech, thanking everyone who has helped him over the years. He singled out a few people, including his therapist, his co-author Lindsay Eanet, his dear friend Jerry Reinsdorf, and of course his wife April. “Back in the Game” tells the story of Rich’s climb out of the depths of depression. It’s truly an uplifting story, and Rich wanted to personally thank everyone who helped make it possible.

“Back in the Game” is also the story of Rich’s 40+ year broadcasting career, and the restaurant was full of people who have worked with him, including Mark Suppelsa, Jackie Bange, Johnny Morris, Tom Schaer, and many others. It was obvious that Rich has a genuine love for his colleagues, and that the feeling is mutual. (WGN camera crews were even on hand to film the event. It was mentioned on the news that evening.)

“Back in the Game” is available for pre-order now via Eckhartz Press. It ships on September 22nd. The e-book will also be out in the coming days.

Here are some photos from a truly memorable event…

Frat Boys Do Taylor Swift

Not bad. If I were their parents, though, I'd wonder how they had this much free time on their hands.

Buzzfeed Video

This really is the future of video. Buzzfeed's creator explains...

Not so Funny Valentine

Remember Valentine? He was the morning host at WLIT for a few years, broadcasting live from LA. You'll never believe what happened to him after he left the airwaves here. From the RAMP Newsletter...

In 2011, Valentine accepted a radio position in Dubai, and relocated halfway around the world with his wife and three young children. The gig lasted two years before he was let go. After an unsuccessful attempt to land a position at a competitor (he says his former boss intervened and blocked his hire), Valentine was urged by friends to launch his own Internet radio station. After only a week in operation, however, he says his website and stream were mysteriously blocked. And that's when his story took a truly terrifying, Midnight Express-style turn. Valentine says he was visited by Dubai's secret police, jailed for 10 days and his passport confiscated. "Mind you, all of this for playing music on the Internet," he told LARadio.com. Unable to leave the country himself, Valentine sent his family back to Los Angeles and waited to be formally charged with something. Ten months later, with all of his money gone, no passport, and his options running out, friends of friends managed to have Valentine smuggled out of Dubai, literally hidden in the bottom of a boat, at great personal peril. He was transported to Iran, where, after nearly three weeks he found his way to the American Embassy on Cypress. "I received an emergency passport there and came home a few weeks ago," he said.

Now that's a radio story.

The Loop Overhauls Lineup

Friday was a big day at the Loop. They let Pat Capone and Maxwell go, their only two jocks, really. And this morning they announced a whole new lineup (minus a yet-to-be-named morning show).

Middays--Lindsay Marie (a jock from Atlanta)
Afternoons--Tim Virgin (former Q-101 and Loop jock)
Evenings--Pyke (also a former Q-101 jock)

Let's hope they return to having them live on the air instead of the preposterous voice tracking the Loop has been doing the last few years. I've visited their studios multiple times over the past five years or so, and it was a ghost town there.

Robert Feder has all the details about the new personalities.

Da Bears

What a game last night for the Bears.

That first half was dreadful. The Bears were awful, but there were also at least two unbelievably bad officiating calls (the first 49ers touchdown was scored long after the play clock ran out, and an important first down was taken away from the Bears, which resulted in taking points off the board). They weren't even close calls. Even the NBC announcers (including San Fran native Al Michaels) agreed those were terrible calls. But I made the mistake of venting my completely uncontroversial frustration about those calls on facebook and learned a valuable lesson. If you're really aggravated, don't post anything on facebook. You'll only get twice as aggravated.

The Bears haters (Packers fans) were out in force, accusing me of whining about the refs, and started taking pot shot after pot shot against the Bears. And then they started ripping the Cubs too...for no reason. I deleted the entire "conversation" and shut down the computer for the night.

At this stage of my life, I'm not going to waste another second of my time arguing with haters.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rich King on WGN-TV Morning News

Rich King and his wife April did a great job on WGN-TV Morning News today talking about Rich's Eckhartz Press book "Back in the Game" . I'll post the video when it becomes available online. Eckhartz Press even got a shout-out.

New Update Anchor for SNL

I think they chose well. The new co-anchor will be Michael Che. He'll replace Cecily Strong, who never felt like a good fit in that role.

Che is a correspondent on the Daily Show, and was a writer last season on SNL. He's also a comedian...

Bruce Bohrer in Brookfield

I like the alliteration.

Thanks to everyone who came out to see Eckhartz Press author Bruce Bohrer (author of "Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher") at the Brookfield Library on Wednesday night. A good time was had by all. If you'd like Bruce to come out to your event, drop me a line.

The Palin Clan in Drunken Fight

Before it was done, dad Todd had a bloody nose, Bristol had repeatedly punched someone with a "particularly strong right hook", Track was flipping people off and threatening to fight Willow's old boyfriend, and Sarah was screaming "Don't you know who I am?"

Family values.

The story is here.

Shower Thoughts with Nick Offerman

At least a few of these made me laugh out loud...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Today on Just One Bad Century (September 11)

After watching the president's speech last night, we're all thinking more about the anniversary of September 11th than we have in past years.

At JOBC, we go back to that day to see what the Cubs were doing, and we offer a video of the Cubs contribution to the healing process.

Also, there are eight Cubs related 9/11 birthdays: A rookie phenom who flamed out, the man who got us Rizzo, a catcher/coach, the pitcher who gave up Hank's last hit, a catcher who was born during Abraham Lincoln's re-election campaign, a centerfielder who was drafted into the military just as he was getting good, a guy from the 70s that I don't remember at all (and I was a super-Cubs-geek in the 70s), and a standup comic/Cubs fan. That comic is featured in the A/V Club too.

Today in Wrigley history goes back to 1987, 1989, and 1995.

Notice I haven't mentioned the Cubs performance in Toronto. Sheesh.

I'm happy they have the day off today.

Former Intern Drops Lawsuit, Apologizes to Letterman

When you read this story in the New York Post (I know, I know), it makes you think about these intern lawsuits a little differently.

Internship programs are being dropped all around the country because of lawsuits like this, which is depriving young kids a chance to break in to a very difficult business. Thanks a lot, lawyers. They are literally preying on kids who have a truckload of debt.

Rich King Double Pack

In the coming weeks you'll be seeing Rich King everywhere promoting his Eckhartz Press book "Back in the Game". Among his upcoming appearances; tomorrow morning on WGN-TV morning show, and next week in the Bears and White Sox pre-game shows. Remember, we've got both of his books for sale now at Eckhartz Press. It's only $20 to buy both of them. Here's the link.


A Free Excerpt from "Records Truly Is My Middle Name": September 11

The WJMK Morning Show John Landecker posted this on his facebook page today: "Leslie Keiling, Rick Kaempfer, Vince Argento, Richard Cantu, Brant Miller, and myself were all on the air together the morning 9-11. I certainly don't want a repeat of that awful day but I'd give anything to be a part of a team like that again."

In the pages of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", John tells the full story of that day on the air...


The most unique broadcast that I have ever been a part of, has nothing to do with planning, promotion, prizes, and listeners. It was the morning of September 11th, 2001.

I’m sure that every morning show in the country has their own story of what they did when the planes hit the twin towers in New York. This is mine.

We were doing our regular show. Our producer Rick was on the phone with Butch Patrick, who had played Eddie Munster on The Munsters. He was going to be a mystery guest — listeners were to call in and try to figure out who he was. When Rick got in touch with Butch, the news had just broken that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center.

“Are you watching this?” Butch asked Rick.

“Yeah,” Rick replied. “I don’t think we’re going to do this mystery guest bit.”

“No, you better not,” Butch replied.

Brant Miller was our weatherman and had a broadcast line hookup to his home. He was also the meteorologist for NBC-Channel 5 in Chicago, and had access to all of the NBC News information. Richard Cantu was our news man, and he’s a real journalist, and was connected to the CBS Radio network.

Needless to say, after the news had come across that the first plane had hit, we turned on the television in the studio, and we were all watching it, and the microphones were open, when the second plane hit the tower.

I’ll never forget what Brant Miller said: “We’re under attack.”

Well what do you do in a situation like that? Our decision was to go all news right on the spot. There weren’t many details early on, so there was a lot of repetition, as to the content, but we didn’t play any music. I thought it would really be ridiculous to play “Hang on Sloopy” and then do more content about being under attack.

We did play commercials, but not because the clients had paid for them to air — because we needed that time to regroup and find out as much information as we could so we could better inform our audience what was going on. News stations didn’t play commercials, but they were set up to handle this much better than we were. They had a full staff on hand. We just had the four or five of us in the studio.

But I’m really proud of what we were able to deliver. Brant was able to tap into what NBC was getting. Richard was able to tap into what CBS was getting. And I sort of quarterbacked and anchored the whole thing; repeating the facts as we knew them, and encouraging people not to jump to conclusions about who did this, because we didn’t know anything for sure.

I found out later that listeners stuck with us during that morning show, and didn’t tune into the news station, and that the radio station itself toyed with the idea of keeping us on the air until noon. The adrenaline, the being in the moment, and the feeling you have in that situation takes on a whole different sensation — one that I hope I never have again frankly.

It was certainly one of the most memorable mornings I’ve ever spent on the air.

LESLIE KEILING remembers
Leslie Keiling was one of the co-hosts of the show during the WJMK run, including the day of 9/11. This is how she recalled that time... "I wouldn't trade the time we spent together on the morning show at WJMK for anything in the world. Being with everyone on that show on the morning of 9/11/2001 is etched in my head and heart. I now have a glimmer of understanding about sharing a foxhole."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fox Loses Court Case

Fox has lost a case against a TV monitoring service. They sued because they claimed it was an infringement of copyright for a monitoring service to charge clients for these clips.

The real reason they sued, of course, is because the people buying the clips were using them to shine a spotlight on the stuff Fox News says on the air. And Fox News greatly prefers to only speak to those within the bubble.

As the announcer used to tell Charlie Tuna in the Starkist commercials..."Sorry Charlie"

Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity

This sounds like a very cool project. The filmmaker is a friend of mine, and he does incredibly good work. Watch the video and you can tell this will be another excellent production. There's a link to contribute...

Audio's 30 Under 30

Where are all the young people in the radio business? Well, Edison Research just named their list of 30 under 30. There are a few names with Chicago connections on the list. One works in Chicago, one has worked in Chicago, and the third is from Chicago.



Jordan Bernfield
Sportscaster & Host, WGN Radio / 87.7 The Game

Jordan Bernfield works as the afternoon sportscaster on Chicago’s WGN Radio, and is frequently heard hosting the “Cubs Central Post Game” on the WGN/Chicago Cubs Radio Network. In addition, Bernfield works as a host and reporter for Chicago’s newest sports station, 87.7 The Game. Bernfield also works as the television play-by-play voice for both the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) and Loyola University Chicago’s men’s basketball programs. A suburban Chicago native and a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, Bernfield is heard as the host and fill-in play-by-play voice for Northwestern football and basketball broadcasts as well.

Rick Hall
Program Director, Star 99.1 (New York)

Rick Hall joined Star 99.1 as Program Director in July 2014. In this role, he is responsible for the programming operation of WAWZ-FM in the nation’s No. 1 market. Hall also serves as Program Director of Star 107.1, Long Island’s only Christian music radio station. During his near 15 year broadcasting career, Hall has also worked as Program Director for Life 101.9 in Cedar Rapids, IA; and Assistant Program Director of the SOS Radio Network in Las Vegas. He also worked as on-air personality with CBS Radio’s US99.5 and Fresh 105.9 in Chicago; and Music Director at The Fish in Milwaukee. He studied Pastoral Studies at the Carlson Institute at North Central University. Hall resides in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

Sam Alex
Host, “Taste of Country Nights” / Townsquare Media

Sam Alex is the host of Taste of Country Nights, a radio show that is based in Nashville and syndicated to over 53 radio stations nationwide. His career began as an intern at WLIT in Chicago his senior year of high school. Alex is a graduate of Illinois State University where he studied to be a teacher.

U2 for Free

From the RAMP Newsletter...

Apple is one of the few brands on earth cool enough to have none other than U2 perform live at yesterday's mega press event. As Variety reports, after the band finished playing and all the new toys were unveiled, Apple kept the excitement level cranked up to "11" with the announcement that the company would be giving away U2's brand new Interscope album, Songs of Innocence -- for free to every iTunes customer (some 500 million worldwide) in 119 countries through Oct. 13. Did we mention it's free? In a statement, U2 lead singer Bono said, "From the very beginning U2 have always wanted our music to reach as many people as possible, the clue is in our name I suppose -- so today is kind of mind-blowing to us. The most personal album we've written could be shared with half a billion people... by hitting send. If only songwriting was that easy," he said. "It's exciting and humbling to think that people who don't know U2 or listen to rock music for that matter might check us out. Working with Apple is always a blast. They only want to do things that haven't been done before -- that's a thrill to be part of." Needless to say, this generous offer crashed the company's servers shortly after the announcement.

Downloading it now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Moonlight Graham

My son Sean is home sick again with me today, and we just pulled out a VHS copy of "Field of Dreams" and watched it together. Every time I see it, I love it more. Today the whole Moonlight Graham story line gave me goosebumps. Burt Lancaster was just fantastic. "Hey rookie...you were good." (Sniff).

I knew this, but I never really took the time to look up Moonlight Graham before. He was a real ballplayer. That's his photo. And he really did play in the big leagues for one game. And he really didn't get an at-bat. And he really did become a doctor in Chisholm, Minnesota.

Wouldn't it be great if he really did get to play with his heroes, and wink at the pitcher?

Eric & Kathy's Radiothon

I don't think Eric and Kathy (WTMX-Chicago) get enough credit for the good work they do on their radiothon every year. They've been raising money for Lurie's Children Hospital in Chicago for the past fifteen years and the numbers are staggering. From the RAMP Newsletter...

Hubbard Radio's WTMX (101.9fm The Mix)/Chicago just raised $1,403,229.61 for the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago during its 15th Annual Eric & Kathy Radiothon. With some high profile celebrity help from Chicago Blackhawks players Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger and actress/RCA recording artist Hilary Duff, the astounding amount of money generated at Eric & Kathy’s Radiothon has now raised their grand total to over $26 million generated for Lurie Children's since its inception in 2000.

$26 Million. That's an incredible number. I've been part of radiothons before, with some equally high-profile shows. We've raised money for dozens of charities, but the numbers were nowhere near this. This is an incredible achievement, and Eric and Kathy (and their staff) should be commended.

CBS Rolls The Dice

The replacement for Craig Ferguson has been announced by CBS, and it's safe to say he isn't exactly a household name. Beginning in 2015, the show will be hosted by British comedian James Corden.

Who is James Corden? CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler describes him this way: "James is already a big star in the U.K. and he’s wowed American audiences on Broadway. We’re very excited to introduce his considerable and very unique talents to our network television audience on a daily basis.”

More details are here.

I don't know James or his work, but I do give CBS credit for rolling the dice and trying something new. Both Stephen Colbert and James Corden are big risks. Both could be brilliant, but the big question is--will America give them the chance?

Chuck Todd's Meet the Press

Ratings are in for his debut, and Meet the Press is back at #1 after languishing in third place for months.

Now before we get all carried away with this news, it's important to note a few caveats. #1--this is first show, and obviously that drew in some curious viewers. #2--the guest on the show was the President of the United States.

Let's see what the ratings are when they trot out John McCain for the 700th time.

Monday, September 08, 2014

TV is for Old People

This is one of those headlines that's like a swift kick to the kidneys: TV is increasingly for old people

And that's coming from the Washington Post. If TV is for old people, who are newspapers for? Or radio?

It's official. I'm a dinosaur.

Get off of my lawn, kids, and leave me alone. I'm whittlin'.

Celebrity Dog

My friends Dina and Scott have a dog named Pease.

Pease is now a WCIU celebrity.

September Baseball at Wrigley

I actually went to two Cubs games over the weekend. The first one was during a monsoon Friday (along with fellow authors Randy Richardson, Don Evans, and James Finn Garner). The second one was during a perfect Sunday afternoon, with my youngest son Sean.

Cubs lost both games.

My joke during that second one was "It's been awhile since I got here early enough for batting practice. What time does the actual game start?"

Here are some photos. First from Friday...



The rest of these were from Sunday. We got there early enough for Sean to get a wristband so that he could run the bases. That's how I got the pictures of him on the field.





Tommy Edwards

Tommy Edwards announced that he's retiring from the radio. Robert Feder had all the details over the weekend. I went back into my archives for my Tommy Edwards interview. This is from 2011, but it hits all the career highlights, including his legendary run at WLS-AM.

You can read it here.