Thursday, December 01, 2016

Out of the Office

I'm out of the office today and tomorrow.

Will be back at the blogging desk on Monday.

Don't forget to tune in to Minutia Men! New episode drops later today (Thursday).

Josh Liss

This month's Illinois Entertainer column is out. I spoke with WBBM News Radio's Josh Liss.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Terry Boers Says Goodbye

I've always thought Terry Boers was a good writer, and he proved it again today with the announcement of his impending retirement.

His last day on the Score will be on January 5th.

He had a good run. 25 years on the radio. Good and bad ratings. Partnerships with both Dan McNeil and Dan Bernstein.

I haven't always been a fan of his show (especially when he and his partner rip their own listeners--never quite understood that), but I have always admired his knowledge and passion for sports. This is a big loss for the Score.

Our Latest: "Genuflections: Famous Folks Talk About Growing Up Catholic" by Robert Herguth

Eckhartz Press is thrilled to announce the release of our latest book Genuflections: Famous Folks Talk About Growing Up Catholic by author Robert Herguth.

Herguth is a long-time reporter (currently with the Chicago Sun Times) and has spent the last several years tracking down and asking famous people how growing up Catholic affected their lives. The stories are far from universal. Some of the celebrities remain devout Catholics, others have found another path to spirituality, but all of them were deeply influenced in one way or another by their Catholic upbringing.

The list of celebrities is impressive: Mario Andretti, Sal Bando, Megan Barry, Andrea Bocelli, Jimmy Breslin, Jerry Brown, James Carville, Joaquin Castro, Pat Connaughton, Billy Corgan, Kevin Cronin, Adam Devine, Dana Delaney, Brian Dennehy, Mike Ditka, Rich Donnelly, Josh Duhamel, Mike Eruzione, Alejandro Escovedo, Fabio, Tyler Flowers, Pau Gasol, Neil Giraldo, Bob Guccione Jr., Jeff Kinney, Bianca Jagger, Brian Kelly, Keagan Michael Key, Dennis Kucinich, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Michael O'Keefe, Doug McDermott, Louis Perez, Paul Ryan, Jane Sanders, Don Schula, Isiah Thomas, Keith Thibodeaux, Bobby Vinton, and Larry Wilmore.

The depth of thought these famous folks provide is even more impressive. Read about how . . .

Jane O’Meara Sanders experienced “an Irish-Catholic upbringing in every way”...

Actress Dana Delany wanted to be a nun, but a fun one . . .

Hard-nosed coach Mike Ditka strikes an enlightened tone . . .

Louie Perez of Los Lobos doesn’t want the baby thrown out with the bath water . . .

Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins wished Bach had been played at mass . . .

Romance novel hunk Fabio kept getting kicked out of Catholic schools . . .

The name of Alejandro Escovedo’s punk band was inspired by an unpleasant parochial-school encounter . . .

Congressman Joaquin Castro identified with St. Martin de Porres while a kid . . .

and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan found Catholic school “warm and inclusive”

Pre-order your copy today. Will ship in plenty of time for the holidays.

Tis the Season

Created this one for the release of "Father Knows Nothing". Vinnie Argento on vocals...

This Week in Hate

The New York Times has debuted a new column that I hope doesn't have enough material to continue. It's called "This Week in Hate" and it's about all the various acts of hate going on around the country since the Trump victory.

Read the first one here.

Start the timer on the whine machine, and the beginning of the "This week in white people being picked on" column being prepared by Breitbart.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Teal Tuesday

You've probably heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but did you know about Teal Tuesday? That's an Eckhartz Press thing...and it means that great deals are available today only at Eckhartz Press!

The Grammy Hall of Fame

I didn't realize that the Grammy Hall of Fame existed, but now that I know, I'm mildly obsessed about it. I learned the news from Oldies music expert (and author and programmer and former jock) Ron Smith, who posted this on his facebook page...

The Grammy Hall of Fame announced the 25 recordings that will be inducted as the Class of 2017 Tuesday. They include Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock”, the Beach Boys’ “I Get Around”, “You Don’t Own Me” from Lesley Gore, “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, Dion’s “The Wanderer”, “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher, “Maggie May” from Rod Stewart, “Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin” from Sly & the Family Stone, Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water”, “Changes” from David Bowie, the Jackson 5’s “ABC”, Arlo Guthrie’s recording of “City Of New Orleans” and Lalo Schiffrin’s “Mission Impossible” theme. 1,038 songs have now been added to the Hall of Fame, all of which are at least 25 years old.

Can't really argue with any of those choices. "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore has been an earworm for me ever since that Toyota ad started running. We played the poop out of it at Oldies 104.3, so I got pretty sick of it for a decade or so, but I can listen to it again now...

The full Grammy Hall of Fame list is here.

AP Guidelines for Use of Term "Alt Right"

The Associated Press is the standard bearer of all journalistic norms in this country. Even those who howl about "biased media" trust the Associated Press to be a fair arbiter.

So that's why this definition of the term of "Alt Right" is making me a little queasy. Here's their actual definition...
[The alt-right] emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States in addition to, or over, other traditional conservative positions such as limited government, low taxes and strict law-and-order.

And we will have the guy who popularized the "Alt Right" (Steve Bannon) in the White House beginning in January, and there's nothing we can do about it because it's a position that doesn't need Senate confirmation.

To view how to use the term "Alt Right" correctly in your reporting, click here.

Here's an example...

The proper way to do it, AP-style, is to put the term in quotes while concurrently calling it like it is: “‘an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,'” or, more simply, ‘a white nationalist movement.'”

Nothing to see here. Everything is completely normal.

Take It Easy

This is a great article about the Eagles and what they've gone through since the death of Glenn Frey. Highly Recommended.

There's also a section about the writing of the song "Take it Easy". Jackson Browne talks about how Frey wrote the second verse, and what that did for the song. Made me want to hear it again...

Soccer Tragedy

A plane crash has claimed the lives of a popular Brazilian professional soccer team.

The Washington Post has the horrible story.

According to the article, the plane ran out of fuel on it's way to Columbia. How can that happen?

Monday, November 28, 2016


Me: See you later, Sean, I'm going shopping.
Sean: What are you buying?
Me: I need a sport jacket.
Sean: Make it the Cubs.
Me: Not that kind of sport jacket.

I think I haven't emphasized fashion enough with the youngsters.

Updated Every Cub Ever

What did you do this weekend? I'm guessing you spent it more productively than I did.

I updated our Every #Cub Ever feature at Just One Bad Century. 15 new entries. 70 updated entries. Lots of new pictures and videos.

Gotta admit, writing about the 2016 Cubs did put a big smile on my face.

282 Promises

A handy guide to keeping track of how many of Trump's 282 promises he keeps.

Spoiler alert: Many of these are impossible.

On an unrelated (and admittedly childish note), I got a kick out of this...

Gel Strong Book Launch

Had a great time at the book launch for "Gel Strong" by Mark Gelinas on Saturday night. He's doing another big event in Atlanta in a few weeks. Congrats to Mark on the successful launch.

One more Fidel Castro story

Back in 2010, I interviewed Orion Samuelson from WGN Radio. He told this interesting story about Cuba, and Fidel Castro, and how he had an impact on Chicago radio...

"We had an interesting moment during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. President Kennedy wanted to send a message to the Cuban people that our dispute was not with them, but with their government. He came to several of the big 50,000 watt clear channel radios stations, including WGN, and asked us to deliver a message at midnight every night in their native tongue. And we did. And they could hear us all the way in Cuba. But, the Cubans took action to block us. Within six months they started a 200,000 watt station on the same frequency, and that really blasted us out of the air at nighttime. In the south all you could hear on 720 was Cuban radio. It took us twelve to fourteen years of intensive negotiating through the Swiss Embassy (because we didn’t have direct relations with Cuba) to finally reclaim the frequency in that direction. When I met Mr. Castro in 2000, I was really tempted to bring it up, but I didn’t."

Castro died this weekend at the age of 90.

RIP Florence Henderson

Sad news this weekend. From the Skimm...

RIP to the OG matriarch. Last week, Florence Henderson, who played Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch,” died unexpectedly of heart failure. She was 82. Henderson started off on Broadway before becoming America’s mom in the early 70s. And she was still making appearances up until last week, when she showed up to a taping of “Dancing With the Stars” to support Maureen McCormick aka Marcia.

Both of the Brady parents are gone now. Not sure why this one bummed me out so much, but it did. We loved this show so much when I was a kid. RIP Mike and Carol...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Minutia Men, Episode 29

A special Thanksgiving edition of Minutia Men.

EP29 – Rick and Dave discuss ways to change the subject away from politics at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Minutia, a Russian boo-boo, a player that was traded for himself, and Rick’s brush with an 80’s band you’ve never heard of.

You can listen to it here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Who is Mark Gelinas?

He's the author of our latest Eckhartz Press book, Gel Strong.

I've known Mark since 1980. That's the year I moved to Mt. Prospect (from Germany), and Mark was one of my classmates at Prospect High School. We went our seperate ways in college (I went to Illinois, he went to Illinois State), but we remained friends. After we both graduated, we were even roommates for a year in the Depaul area of Chicago. (He has lived in Atlanta for many years now)

But this book didn't get published because Mark and I are old friends. This book got published because it's a hell of a story, and Mark has chronicled every moment of it.

A few years ago Mark was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Everyone close to him realized what that meant. We all knew the odds, and they weren't good. Pancreatic cancer is the single most deadly cancer you can have.

But something incredible happened when Mark shared this news via facebook. A community emerged. A community of friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers. A community of people all rooting for him, all providing their voices, their words, and their prayers.

This community was known as "Gel Strong", because that's Mark's nickname. Friends created a logo, and began to sell shirts and other items with Mark's mug on it. This facebook group grew nearly 1000 strong in a just a few months, and Mark used that communal strength to help him through the horrible process of chemotherapy and surgery.

As a form of therapy, Mark chronicled what was happening to him in real time. He shared some of it with the Gel Strong group, but some of the grittier details were spared.

Earlier this year he contacted me about turning what he had written into a book. Of course I had been following along on the Gel Strong page myself, but it wasn't until I read his dramatic words that I began to realize everything he had been through. He wrote it from the heart, and he wrote it with unflinching honesty.

But he also wrote it with such a joyous and positive spirit that I absolutely had to share it with the world. This book is one of the most inspiring things you'll ever read. It's a testament to the power of community. It's a tribute to the power of postivity. But it's also about a man who handled the worst situation imaginable with dignity and grace.

Gel Strong is available right now on our Eckhartz Press site, but Mark will be in town this coming weekend to host a book launch/signing event as well. (Details in the flyer below).

Hope to see you there!

Both Mark and Eckhartz Press are donating a portion of the proceeds to Winship Cancer Institute of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. GA, to support their ongoing research in an effort to win the battle over cancer, specifically pancreatic cancer.

Eddie V

Eddie Volkman has returned to the radio on a daily basis. From the RAMP newsletter...

For the first time in four years, Chicago radio vet Eddie Volkman will soon be back on the radio fulltime -- he's the new morning host at Matrix Broadcasting's suburban Chicago Classic Rock WFXF (103.9 The Fox), starting Monday, Nov. 28. Volkman (left) is best known for his nearly 30 years in mornings on B96/Chicago as half of the Eddie & Jobo show. Volkman and ex-partner Joe Bohannon most recently did mornings on CBS Radio Classic Hits WJMK (104.3 K-Hits) until they were benched in Dec. 2012. On Monday, Volkman appeared on Pat Capone's afternoon show to re-introduce himself to The Fox audience. Volkman said, "It's great to be here. I'm excited! It's not the confines of corporate radio and it's like family and people seem to like each other... the music selection here is so much broader and unafraid compared to what the corporate people have done to radio. You can listen for three hours and really enjoy it."

I've interviewed Eddie a few times over the years. He's a great guy. One time he even had me on his show (below)...

Life Imitates Art

The top one is Tom Hanks as Forest Gump. The bottom one is Tom Hanks as Tom Hanks. Must have been a really surreal moment for him.

You can watch the whole ceremony here, if you are so inclined. Not sure why, but I found the whole event oddly emotional. Some of my favoirtes were honored (like Michael Jordan and Bruce Springsteen), but it was the Ellen DeGeneres moment that really caused me to choke up. I'm getting soft in my old age.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How To Avoid Sharing Fake News

This is a good primer, provided by the fact checker at the Washington Post.

The article has great tips, like...

*Determine whether the article is from a legitimate website

*Check the ‘contact us’ page (if there's none listed, it's fake)

*Examine the byline of the reporter and see whether it makes sense (fake news reporters have very fake sounding bios)

*Read the article closely (especially the quotes, if there are any)

*Scrutinize the sources (a tweet is not a source)

*Look at the ads (Naughty Walmart pictures?)

*Use search engines to double-check (Google will usually show you a story is nonsense in the few links)

I would add these two rules...

If it sounds to good to be true, it is. If it sounds like it's written by someone who is telling you exactly what you want to hear, it is.

Trump Meets With the Media

Pretty comical how vastly different the versions of how that meeting went yesterday. Here's a little blurb about the meeting, as reported by the New York Post (a conservative publication, by the way)...

“It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.

“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.

A second source confirmed the fireworks.

“The meeting took place in a big boardroom and there were about 30 or 40 people, including the big news anchors from all the networks,” the other source said.

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.’

Then Kellyanne Conway came out to talk to the press and described the meeting this way, according to TV Newser...

“Thanks for sharing your bosses with us,” Conway said to the assembled press who are staking out the lobby for transition news.

When asked if the meeting was about mending fences, Conway said, “There’s no need to mend fences. It was an off-the-record meeting. It was very cordial. Very productive. Congenial. But it was also very candid and honest.”

Trump wants adulation without criticism from the press, and their main job is to question him and hold him accountable. He's not dealing with the gossip pages anymore, and the sooner he comes to grip with it, the better. And by the way, getting the election wrong is not the same as lying, Mr. Thin-Skin Elect. Your pollsters got it wrong too.

Cubs Bring Incredible Ratings to the Score

WGN still insists they did the right thing by letting the Cubs go. This story makes me believe maybe they didn't. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

The Cubs lead their radio flagship WSCR to record ratings. Could Hollywood have scripted it any better? Game 7 of the Chicago Cubs-Cleveland Indians World Series was November 2 – literally the last day of Nielsen’s “November-book” PPMs. “Score” programmer Mitch Rosen shares these stats with the NOW Newsletter – “More than a million people listened to WSCR on the day of Game 7. There were times during the game itself that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned in to the Score, to hear the home-town call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer.” Ratings record-keeper Chris Huff says the station’s 6.1 with age 6+ AQH total-week share marks “the largest share for the 670 facility since January/February 1979, when it was WMAQ.” Daypart-wise, in this latest set of PPMs the Score was #1 both nights and weekends, powered by the Cubs. What a sweet season for the champs, with their first World Series rings since 1908, and in their first year of an association with CBS-owned sports “670 the Score.” The team came over from co-owned news WBBM, in a one-time-only window, and the result is what Mitch Rosen calls “an epic season.” As you’ll see in the upcoming analysis of the dozen Day 1 Nielsen PPM markets, there was also some glory for the Score’s format rival, Disney-owned/ESPN-managed WMVP. (It had the national ESPN Radio feed of the Cubs in the Series.)

My Illinois Entertainer column next week will be an interview with one of the men who covered them all season, Josh Liss from WBBM-AM.

Klinsman is out

Not sure how I feel about this. Loved the guy as a player. Appreciated his enthusiam. But results are results...