Wednesday, January 27, 2021

RIP Cloris Leachman

Very sad to hear of her passing. She was 94 years old. To me, she will always be Frau Blucher...

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Rich King

A Free Excerpt: Joel Daly's Final Commentary


As Robert Feder noted in his review of “The Daly News”, one of the joys of Joel Daly’s book is when he dips into his archives and shares some of his nightly commentaries. He did them for years and years and received Emmy awards for his work. This one was his commentary on January 27, 1978. His last one…

Georgie Jessel once said of show business: “Nothing is so permanent as change.” And that certainly includes television!

This is my last regularly scheduled commentary on this program.

It is the judgment of management that they are anachronistic, time-consuming and action-stopping; that they do not enhance the tempo of a contemporary news program, or properly utilize the new electronic tools of the trade.

Furthermore, it is their opinion that devoting myself to preparing a daily commentary dissipates energy and experience that might better serve the program in other ways.

So be it?

Ten years, more than 3,000 commentaries. Never sued, never censored. It’s a record of which I am proud.

Never intended to preach or provoke or hurt, the nightly essays into which I poured so much pride and effort were conceived simply to make you think and occasionally to make you smile.

Never a critical success, they didn’t fit the critic’s concept of biting controversy. Too much heart and not enough hardness I fear. But during the incredible decade just passed, they provided a forum for fact and opinion that would otherwise have been ignored.

I have a bookshelf of awards, including three Emmys. The last of which I am most proud: an award for “Best Television Writing.”

In a medium where so often the picture ignores perspective, and motion, becomes meaning, it was a great satisfaction to harvest the riches of language, to write a little poetry, to quote a little Shakespeare. Or e.e. cummings who said: “The reward in a job well done is having done it.” I have done it, and I am richly rewarded.

And, if it’s true, “nothing is so permanent as change,” nothing can change the permanency of the experiences we shared the past 10 years.

But now I look forward to new opportunities—new challenges and projects—that will still in some way say, “I’m Joel Daly.”

Joel passed away in 2020, but his book will live on forever in the Eckhartz Press catalog.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Chicago Radio Ratings

 Robert Feder printed these today. If you want to see a breakdown of dayparts, click here.

1. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 14.3 (9.5)
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM R&B, 8.0 (8.4)
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 6.8 (6.8)
4. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 4.3 (4.4)
5. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 3.9 (4.1)
6. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 3.8 (4.4)
7. WGN 720-AM news talk, 3.7 (2.8)
8. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 3.3 (3.9)
9. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 2.9 (3.9)
10. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 2.6 (3.5)
11. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 2.5 (2.5)
12. (tie) WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.4 (2.1); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.4 (2.9)
14. WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 2.2 (2.3)
15. WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.1 (2.6)
16. (tie) WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 2.0 (1.7); WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.0 (2.2)
18. (tie) WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.7 (2.2); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 1.7 (1.9)
20. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 1.6 (2.1); WCHI 95.5-FM rock, 1.6 (1.7); WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 1.6 (1.2); WGCI 107.5-FM hip-hop, 1.6 (1.8); WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 1.6 (1.8)
25. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.2 (1.0)
26. WCPT 820-AM progressive talk, 0.7 (0.9)
27. (tie) WCCQ 98.3-FM country, 0.6 (0.6); WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian music, 0.6 (0.6); WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 0.6 (0.7)
30. WERV 95.9-FM classic hits, 0.5 (0.4); WGRB 1390-AM gospel, 0.5 (0.5)

Monday, January 25, 2021

NBC Sports Network is Shutting Down

 By the end of the year, it will be no more. According to this article in the New York Times, that means things like the NHL and the English Premier League will move to USA Network and the Peacock streaming service. Ugh. That was one of my favorite channels.


 The final total of certifyable, verifyable, fact-checked lies told by Donald Trump during his presidency: 30, 573.

The Washington Post has been keeping track.

That's an average of 20 a day or so, and Republicans had zero problems with that. They will be disregarded forever about any future claims of dishonesty. Just zip it.

Minutia Men

Frank Lampard sacked

 This one's a shocker, although Chelsea has been struggling...

Saturday, January 23, 2021

RIP Larry King

Everybody in broadcasting has a Larry King story. Here's mine...

In the fall of 1993, America was debating the merits of NAFTA. One of the champions of NAFTA was former Vice President Al Gore, and the biggest opponent was Ross Perot. Larry King scored the coup of having the two men on his show to debate the issue on national television.

I scored the coup of getting Larry King to appear on the John Landecker show the day before the debate. He happened to be in Chicago promoting a book, and I booked him to appear in our studio--which I thought was a pretty big deal at the time.

When Larry arrived, I got a call from the front desk of the radio station. I immediately ran out to get him--and when he saw me, he handed me his overcoat and said "cream, no sugar." (Or something like that. I can't remember the exact coffee order--I just remember it was made without even saying hello.)

I brought him right into the studio, and took my usual place--sitting next to John. The interview was off to a pretty good start when I saw the face of our general manager through the glass in the newsroom. He looked incredibly ticked off, which truth be told, was his usual demeanor. He wiggled his finger toward me.

I thought I shouldn't get up and leave in the middle of the conversation because I was sitting between John and Larry, so I signaled with one finger that I would be there in a minute. I was going to wait until the commercial break.

Twenty seconds later, he came into the studio itself--which he had never done while the microphones were on, and gave me the same finger wiggle. This time both Larry and John saw him do it, and they were struggling to stay on topic. I had no choice but to get up, and when I got near him, he grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me into the hallway.

"What the f*** are you doing?" he screamed after the door closed behind us.

"What do you mean?" I asked, truly having no idea what he was talking about.

"Larry King?" he spat.

"Yeah, tomorrow night he's got..."

"I don't give a f*** if he's got Jesus F***** Christ on his show tomorrow night. It's after 8:30. We should be playing music right now."

I couldn't believe my ears. I looked at him, shook my head sadly, and walked back into the studio. I knew this dispute wasn't over, but I also knew John needed me in the studio, and this was too big of a deal to be wasting my time in the hallway explaining why. I figured it could be handled after the show. I didn't know our general manager well enough at the time to realize that wasn't going to be an option. (Keep in mind we had only been at the station for a few months when this occurred.) 

Sure enough, Harvey wasn't going to just let this drop. This time he waited until the commercial break to come into the studio, but he walked in again. He was obviously pissed off.

"Rick, can I talk to you in the hallway again," he said through gritted teeth. He was trying his best to sound like he wasn't mad, but he was notoriously bad at doing so.

"Harvey," I said. "Have you met Larry King? You guys have something in common. You're both from Brooklyn."

"What part of Brooklyn?" Larry asked.

That started the conversation between these two guys--who were about the same age and from the same neighborhood, and within moments there were smiles all around--Harvey and Larry were laughing and reminiscing. When the commercial break was ending, John practically had to shoo Harvey out of the studio. 

"You still need to talk to me in the hallway?" I asked.

Harvey waved me off. "Nah," he said. "We'll talk about it another time."

We never did.

That next night on CNN, Larry King got one of the biggest audiences of all time (a cable television record at the time), and made the front page of every newspaper in the country. Because we had a preview of that historic night on our little local Chicago radio station the day before, excerpts of our interview were quoted in both Chicago newspapers.

But we probably should have been playing "Build me up Buttercup" for the one thousandth time. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Another Hall of Famer is Gone

 Another one of my childhood heroes is gone... Met him once when I was an adult, and he was a terrific gentleman. Best interview I ever heard of him was conducted by my old pal Bill Holub on the Loop AM/FM.

The Hank Aaron cards I have in my collection are among my most treasured possessions...

Mets GM

 You've probably heard the story about the Mets GM who was fired for sending explicit text messages, including one of his erect penis (nobody wants to see that, fella) 

But did you know he worked for the Cubs when he did it. (Sigh) In 2016. (Sigh)

We really did sell our souls for the World Series, didn't we?

Hey, that's my wife!

 From the Chicago Tribune...

Bridget Kaempfer, of Mount Prospect, committee chair with Boy Scout Troop 235 of Mount Prospect, dropped off a large donation in a minivan. The food was collected by the Boy Scouts.
“Every family had an area in our neighborhoods, 200 flyers, and we passed the flyers out,” Kaempfer said.
She said the Saturday before the food drive, members of the troop went around and picked up the donations from peoples’ homes.
“It was so good to see the community come together and help,” said Kaempfer.

(Photo by Katie Angell Luke)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Carmen Serano

Wolfman Jack

 If he were still alive, today would be Wolfman Jack’s birthday. If you don’t remember the Wolfman, he was one of the most famous disc jockeys in radio history. In the 70s he starred in the film American Graffiti and hosted a weekly television show. He also filled in on WLS-Radio in Chicago. John Landecker mentioned that little episode in his Eckhartz Press book, Records Truly Is My Middle Name. We present this free excerpt for you today in honor of Wolfman Jack’s birthday…



In the ’70s, one of my hobbies was making movies. I shot lots of home movies on Super 8mm film and taped soundtracks to play with them. They were good enough to show at parties for my friends from the radio station. We called these screenings “The Clique Film Festivals.” Everyone who saw those films loved them, but that was probably because they were often the stars of the movies. I filmed quite a few of them at WLS.

My favorite home movie starred Wolfman Jack. Yes, the real Wolfman Jack.

Bob Sirott was on vacation, and Wolfman Jack was brought in to fill in for him. I probably drove him crazy running around and filming while he was on the air, although Wolfman and I also shared a common bond. As nighttime rockers we hated a lot of the lame music that AM radio played. The Wolfman had been on the air less than an hour when he decided that our playlist was crap.

“This is not what the Wolfman plays!”

Of course, after a few tunes of his own selection, the Wolfman was visited in the studio by our program director. I was filming from the control room through a glass window and captured that moment on film. Radio people always get a big kick out of watching that particular part… even the Wolfman had to put up with program directors. The Wolfman also gave me a great way to end the movie. He led a conga line out of the studio and into the hallway as the O’Jays sang “Love Train.”

(Epilogue: I was on the air after Wolfman that night, and noticed that he left an open pack of Kool cigarettes on the console. When I peeked inside the pack, it was filled with these funny looking cigarettes with twisted ends on them — certainly not Kools. I tried them later. I remember getting very hungry. And sort of horny too.)

100th episode

This picture makes me a little verklempt

RIP Marty Greenberg

 I never met him, but he was featured in our book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". John Landecker is quoted in Robert Feder's column below...

Marty Greenberg is being remembered by Chicago radio colleagues as an outstanding broadcast executive and a generous mentor. As vice president and general manager of WLS 890-AM from 1973 to 1979, he led a revitalization of the Top 40 powerhouse and restored its dominance in the format over WCFL. Greenberg, who was 79, died of pancreatic cancer Tuesday at his home in McKinney, Texas. John Records Landecker called him “one of the finest GMs I ever worked with.” Among his early hires at WLS was a fledgling program director named John Gehron, who later would rise to general manager himself. “Marty was brought in to change the culture and I was lucky to be part of the team he put together,” Gehron recalled. Following his success at WLS Greenberg was promoted to president of ABC FM Stations and also held top jobs with Belo Broadcasting, Duffy Broadcasting, Genesis Broadcasting and Emmis Broadcasting.

Albert Brooks Sums Up Yesterday's Feelings Perfectly

Wednesday, January 20, 2021


The end of this poem during the inauguration knocked me out. Absolutely beautiful.

Trump Might Be Dropped By SAG-AFTRA

 Can I call him former President Trump yet? (Technically no, I'm writing this before noon)

President Trump has been impeached twice. He has been banned from all social media. He is a pariah with no friends, looming financial collapse, and potential criminal exposure. All of those things are bad.

But getting kicked out of SAG-AFTRA? That's gonna sting. Variety has the details.