Monday, September 25, 2017

Clooney on "Hollywood Elites"

My old boss John Records Landecker makes the same point in his upcoming Hall of Fame memoir. George Clooney nails it.

Goaltender Clinic

You just won't see a better stretch of goalkeeping than this one by Sparta Rotterdam's keeper...

Rhetoric Matters

How is that ratcheting up of the rhetoric working out for us?

Beatles Anniversary

On this day in 1965, the Beatles cartoon debuted on ABC-TV as a Saturday morning kids show...

Magic Number is 2

They won three out of four in Milwaukee, and unless they totally collapse, the Cubs will be celebrating a back-to-back division championship in St. Louis this week. Sweetness. Magic number is 2 (#2--Leo Durocher)

The Bears Won?

I had them pencilled in for 0-9 start. Looks like I was wrong...although they really did try everything they could (Cooper?) to give the victory to the Steelers...

Trump Vs. the NFL

I know the president was trying to rally his dwindling base by ripping the NFL players who kneel, but once again, it was the way he did it that caused the backlash this past weekend. He called them "sons of bitches" and urged a boycott of the NFL.

The NFL didn't respond well to that, and athletes from all sports rallied to their side.

My twitter feed was full of Trump supporters comparing the freedom of speech issue with the cause of bakers who didn't want to sell wedding cakes to gay couples. Again, one is a protest against discrimination and the other is a protest FOR discrimination, but whatever--you can pick your side and stay there I suppose.

I personally wouldn't kneel. But is this really a bad way of protesting? It's quiet. It's non-violent. It's brief. It harms no-one. I wish more protests would be done this way. Or as my good buddy Dale Earnhardt Jr. said...

Or as my comrade-in-arms Tom Brady said...

When you've lost Earnhardt and Brady, you might want to reconsider, Mr. Trump.

And my man Bob Costas sums this whole thing up beautifully...


I've seen every episode of Ken Burns' Vietnam series, and I couldn't recommend it more. Absolutely riveting. I was young when all of this went down and only vaguely remember the details. The way Burns combines stories from individual American soldiers, tapes from Lyndon Johnson, and stories from Viet Kong fighters is incredible. A masterpiece.

Dahl Signs for Three More Years

From this morning's Robert Feder column...

Chicago broadcast legend Steve Dahl has signed on for three more years with WLS AM 890. The Radio Hall of Famer will continue to hold forth weekday afternoons with Dag Juhlin and Brendan Greeley. “When I signed with Cumulus in 2014, my dad was passing away in Los Angeles,” Dahl said. “Three years later, Janet and I are expecting our ninth grandchild. Life is a roller coaster, and so is a career in radio. I’m proud of the work Dag, Brendan and I are doing every afternoon for WLS AM 890, and gratified that they like it too. The show is funny, informative and apolitical. We could still use a little marketing, however, so I am currently in negotiations to buy the ‘Kathy’ half of the Eric and Kathy billboards.”

Bowen Out at Cumulus

From this morning's Tom Taylor column. I hadn't heard this news. Peter & I worked together back in the WJMK days. Good guy...

Cumulus cuts Chicago market manager Peter Bowen. Peter was “the man who brought White Sox baseball and Bulls basketball” to talk WLS/890, says Robert Feder. Turns out the subject of an all-hands morning staff meeting last week was Peter’s surprise departure. He began his radio career in Chicago as an AE at then-WCKG/105.9 and joined CBS Radio in 1996 for what stretched into a 16-year run. In March 2015, he came back from CBS-L.A. to Chicago, succeeding Donna Baker at WLS, classic hits WLS-FM/94.7, and two stations LMA’d from Merlin Media. (Those are alternative WKQX/101.1 and classic rock WLUP/97.9.) Cumulus tells Robert Feder that “The open market manager role in Chicago is a priority for us and we are working to find the right leader for this important market as soon as possible.” For now, Cumulus EVP/Operations Dave Milner takes the reins in Chicago.

Coming Soon

Excited about this one. Pre-order your copy today.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Trump v Kim

Earlier this week at the UN, Trump said he would "destroy" North Korea.

Kim Jung Un responded by calling the president a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and describing his UN speech as “unprecedented rude nonsense.” (By the way, I had to look it up. A dotard is an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile.) He also said: "A frightened dog barks louder."

Trump responded by calling Kim a “madman” whose regime will be “tested like never before”.

These are the "grownups" who may decide if we live or die. Sleep tight.

La Crosse to Portland

Former WLS-FM program director Michael La Crosse is on the move again. He was recently PD in LA. He now moves to Portland. From Radio Ink...

Michael La Crosse has been named Program Director for Portland’s KKCW and KLTH. The appointment, announced by Tim Herbster, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s Pacific Northwest Region, is effective October 9, 2017. La Crosse comes to Portland from Los Angeles, where he was the Program Director at iHeartRadio’s KOST and KHHT. Previously, he was Operations Manager at the iHeart cluster in Spokane.

“Michael’s skillset is a natural match for taking the reins of KKCW and KLTH in Portland. His vast experience in programming for these formats and working with top talent is second to none,” said Herbster. “We can’t wait to welcome him to our community.”

Jimmy Kimmel Blowback

How bout some blowback about the blowback about the blowback of Jimmy Kimmel's commments. I thought Stephen Colbert summed it up nicely...

I like this one too. It's refers to HHS Secretary Tom Price's $300,000 private jet tab...

Magic Number is 6

Huge win for Cubs. Beat Brewers in heartstopper. Magic number is 6. (Stan Hack wore #6)

Magic Number is 6! (That's Cubs #6 Carl Edwards with David Stern and Dane Placko)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 66

EP66 – Rick and Dave discuss getting things stuck where they shouldn’t be (NSFW), the laziest band ever, gibberish sign language, Mike Royko at Wrigley Field, and Rick’s brush with Soupy Sales.

Listen to it here.

One of the Toughest Jobs in America

Mary Berner is the CEO of Cumulus. She isn't responsible for the mess it was when she took over two years ago, but I suspect even she didn't understand just how messy it was. Today's Tom Taylor column offers her assessment after two years on the job...

CEO Mary Berner explains “How we fixed our toxic culture” at Cumulus. That’s the title of Berner’s self-penned column for the “Chief Executive” site. Magazine-industry pro Berner is now two years into her first radio management gig, and from the beginning she mentioned changing the culture as one of her four major concerns. She writes that “It was clear that Cumulus would not be saved by any of the traditional turnaround quick fixes” like slashing costs. There was (and is) too much debt for a “transformational M&A” deal. She needed the staff to understand her priorities and to buy into them, and now she writes that “our culture has made a 180-degree turn,” resulting in (for example) much lower turnover. By the way – she admits that Cumulus is “still a resource-starved, over-leveraged company operating in a difficult market.”

Sounds like a pretty reasonable approach to me, and you know I'm not one to cut a lot of slack to radio company CEOs.

Aid and Comfort

A campaign manager of an American presidential campaign offered private briefings to Russia about the status of that campaign. That's what the Washington Post is reporting today about Paul Manafort. That's way worse than anything I've seen even speculated about in this Russian collusion case. Help me understand this. Doesn't that make Manafort a flat-out Russian spy? Even if he did it for money, or to pay off a debt, why isn't that treason (giving aid and comfort to the enemy of the US)?

I feel like I've entered into the Twilight Zone. Based on the lack of people freaking out about this, I must be missing something.

Lawrence O'Donnell Outtakes

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell had a bad night on August 29, 2017. Mediaite got ahold of the outtakes of his show that night, and he goes after his staff. He doesn't look good, that's for sure. It's not quite as bad as the "We'll go live" O'Reilly freak out, but in some ways it's worse because we knew that O'Reilly was a jerk. Lawrence doesn't come off that way. At the five minute mark, he has a full-fledged temper tantrum.

This is how Lawrence responded when it became public...

Facebook Vows To Make Changes

If you've ever created a facebook ad, you know there is a feature that allows you to target specific groups. I didn't realize that you could create the groups to be very specific--I usually only targeted by age and location. Apparently, you could even create a group yourself.

Someone created a group called "Jew Haters" and was directing ads at them for White Supremicist rallies.

Needless to say, Facebook is embarrassed by this. Not only didn't they do anything about it. They had no idea it was happening.

Or so says their COO, Sheryl Sandberg. I have a tendency to believe her. After all, she is Jewish herself.

Jimmy Kimmel Responds to Criticism

President Trump forgot Rule #1 of media fights. Never pick on a guy who has a nightly TV show. He will always get the last word...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Drudging up Russians

This is probably just as responsible as Facebook...

RIP Jake Lamotta

(NSFW clip below)

NBC is TV King

NBC is on a roll. They just completed their 4th straight year as 52-week ratings champ in the only demo advertisers care about (18-49).

Deadline Hollywood has the details.

"Destroy North Korea"

I felt a little queasy all day yesterday. I'm only 54, but I've never heard a US president threaten to kill 22 million people before. And I lived through the Cold War, Vietnam, and 9/11.

He called the leader of North Korea "Rocket Man". And he said it pretty much the same way he would say Crooked Hillary or Lyin Ted or Low Energy Jeb. Except this time, he said he would kill 22 million people if Rocket Man doesn't do what he says.

In response, he got a bunch of shrugs. God help us all. The future of the world is in the hands of two nutjobs.

(I have an Elton John song that might be more appropriate...)

The Jimmy Kimmel Rule

Jimmy Kimmel addressed the Senator who created the "Jimmy Kimmel Rule" last night on his show, and it wasn't pretty. I tuned in just to see what he would say...

Art Laboe

Most people in Chicago don't know the name Art Laboe, but he's a legend on the West Coast. How much of a legend? Check out this story from this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Already a radio legend, Art Laboe will attempt to put an exclamation point on his legacy by breaking the Guinness World Record™ for Longest Career as a Radio Presenter/DJ (male) this Sunday, September 24. The event will mark Art's 74th continuous year on commercial radio. Art's sister Lillian gave him his first radio at age 8; by the age of 14 Art had built his own amateur radio station, and on September 23, 1943, at the age of 18, Art embarked on his professional radio career at KSAN/San Francisco. Art Laboe received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981 and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.

Promotion for Dan Wolfe

Good to see fellow producers climb the ladder. From Radio Ink...

Daniel Wolfe Upped To APD At 94.7 WLS-FM. Wolfe will also continue his duties as Producer of the popular WLS/Chicago morning show The WLS Wake Up Call, a position he has held since 2003. A native of Coal City, IL, Wolfe graduated from Illinois Center for Broadcasting in 2002.

Brian Thomas, Program Director, 94.7 WLS-FM, and Vice President, Classic Hits Programming, Cumulus Media, said, “This puts Dan one step closer to his goals of becoming a PD at Cumulus, after doing a great job as morning show producer. I am looking forward to working with Dan in this new role.”

Magic Number is 9

Cubs win in Tampa. Magic number is Randy Hundley.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Made me laugh

Happy birthday Sean!

I can't believe it, but son #3 is 15 years old today.

Like his brothers, Sean was born on the radio. Ten years ago I pulled out the tape of that phone call, and transcribed it. You can read it here.

Wheaton College Hazing

5 members of the Wheaton College football team (currently ranked #4 in the country in their division) face felony hazing charges for what they did to a freshman. One of the players charged is former NFL player Chris Spielman's son.

This is pretty gruesome stuff. From this morning's Daily Herald...

According to records cited in the Tribune's report Monday night, the student was in his dorm room when he was tackled by the football players, his legs and wrists wrapped up in duct tape, and a pillow case put over his head. He was placed in the back seat of a teammate's vehicle, and as they drove, the players made offensive comments about Muslims, the report said.

At one point, they attempted to sexually assault him, but when told to stop, he was beaten, the report said.

The student was left half-naked on a baseball diamond at an off-campus park, where another player was dumped 10 minutes later; the two were eventually driven back to campus by classmates, according to the report.

The freshman student, who went to the hospital, had muscle tears in both shoulders, as well as bumps and bruises, the Tribune said. He soon transferred from Wheaton College.
Does it need to be pointed out that Wheaton College is an evangelical Christian college with a very strong ethics code? How on earth are these guys still enrolled in the school let alone allowed to remain on the football roster (which they are as of this morning)?

Dave Ramsey to Host Hall of Fame Dinner

From this morning's Radio Online...

Syndicated radio personality, author, personal money management expert and National Radio Hall of Fame inductee Dave Ramsey will host the 29th Annual NRHoF induction ceremony and celebration. Additionally, a commercial free audio feed of the event will be provided by TuneIn. The 2017 inductees include Tom Barnard, Bobby Bones, Joseph M. Field, Bill Handel, Sean Hannity, John Records Landecker, Robin Quivers and Robert S. "Bob" Sievers.

NRHoF Chairman Kraig T. Kitchin said, "We're honored to have Dave, a world-class speaker who regularly addresses audiences of 10,000 at his live events, serve as our master of ceremonies. And thanks to TuneIn, fans everywhere can catch the on-demand audio of the special evening."

The black-tie optional event will be held Thursday, November 2 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in downtown Chicago at 6pm Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available at

I will be there to see Landecker inducted. Still trying to decide whether or not to rent a tuxedo.

ABBA Planning a World Holograms

Not making that up. Even though they are alive, they are touring as holograms.

Mashable has the details.

SInclair-Tribune Merger Hits a Speed Bump

From this morning's Inside Radio...

The 180-day shot clock continues ticking but Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion buy of Tribune Broadcasting has hit a speed bump. The Federal Communications Commission says it needs more information about the proposed deal, which includes a handful of radio stations. The FCC demands don’t suggest an approval is in doubt, but rather that the Media Bureau is looking to solidify its reasoning with a decision likely to face legal challenges.

This is not the first snag in the regulatory review process. The Justice Department last month asked the companies for additional information as part of its antitrust review of the deal. Sinclair owns 172 broadcast TV stations as well as a trio of radio stations in Seattle including AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ-FM, all-news KOMO (1010) and “Talk Radio 570” KVI. Tribune owns 42 TV stations as well as iconic news/talk radio WGN (720) in Chicago.

The FCC is asking Sinclair to submit answers to its list of questions by Oct. 5. “If necessary, we will follow up with additional requests for information and documents,” Media Bureau Chief Michelle Carey wrote in the letter to Sinclair.The move has some critics suggesting it could push the FCC’s decision into next year.

It sounds good, but nothing will happen. The FCC is Republican-controlled and will allow this merger. Bank on it.

Laura Ingraham Gets Prime Time Fox News Slot

The staunch Trump defender will be on at 9pm (central time), moving Hannity to 8pm. I don't want to say this is just one step closer to a Pravda-style propoganda channel, but every host is now studying Russian.

Fox News Hit With Another Sexual Lawsuit

This time Charles Payne, an anchor on Fox Business, is being sued for gender-motivated violence. Scottie Hughes says she was raped, retaliated against and defamed. Fox News says her lawsuit is a "shameful" publicity stunt.

Which one do you believe? You have to admit there is a pattern here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cubs Magic Number

The Magic Number is 10.

Football in Illinois

This about sums it up...

Look Who's at the Emmys

Diaper Drive

From this morning's RAMP newsletter...

Stylz & Roman, talented morning duo from CBS Radio Country WUSN (US99)/Chicago spent much of their weekend personally appealing to their generous listeners to help support the many moms and families affected by Hurricane Irma through a series of diaper donation drives. Doug Stylz and Justin Roman made the rounds of various area retailers collecting cases of diapers, culminating on Saturday with a major "stuff-a-truck" drive outside the Luke Bryan concert at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, IL.

"I couldn't be prouder for US99 to be a part of this effort, as it is so close to our listener’s hearts," said Todd Cavanah, VP of Programming for CBS Radio Chicago. "More than a million Chicagoans listen to US99 each week, and many of them are busy moms who can understand how a simple act of kindness can help so much when you're faced with a life altering situation like we've just witnessed throughout Florida."

All of the collected diapers will be driven to Florida and personally delivered by US99 staff members to the Salvation Army area command supporting Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL.

People helping people. Radio does its best when the chips are down. Congrats to US-99.

Unrest in St. Louis Causes U2 To Cancel Show

U2 bailed on St. Louis because of the unrest in the streets. From Variety...

Security concerns have forced U2 to cancel their Saturday night (Sept. 16) show in St. Louis, Missouri at The Dome at America’s Center, according to a statement shared by the band and Live Nation.

When asked for a reason for the cancellation, a representative for Live Nation referenced unrest in St. Louis’ downtown area and in the Central West End due to the not guilty verdict of ex-police officer Jason of Jason Stockley, who was found not guilty in the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, leading to protests in St. Louis downtown and in the Central West End

I had a buddy who bought tickets to see that show because he missed it here in Chicago.


Sean and I were there yesterday as the Cubs swept the Cardinals. It was stressful, but worth it.

Cramer on Entercom

CNBC's Jim Cramer explains the CBS/Entercom merger, and he thinks Entercom is a good buy. He even defends the radio business.

A Wall Street guy being bullish on radio.

Sounds odd.

Friday, September 15, 2017

When Late Night Worlds Collide

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The man who NEVER apologizes for anything ever, is demanding an apology from a person who came to a conclusion about him based on his lack of apology for the things he said regarding Charlottesville.

Magic Number is 14

Huge series begins today versus St. Louis...

50th birthday

Always liked this Kinks song, released exactly 50 years ago today...

Chicago's Polish Station

WPNA-Chicago (103.1 FM) is getting national attention as the first full-time Polish format. The radio industry is taking note, and there's a good chance this format will spread. This piece at Radio Insight is a closer look at the format. It's written by long-time radio writer Sean Ross. Here's a short excerpt...

Beyond its own uniqueness, there’s always been a fascination for me in any North American CHR that takes its cues from somewhere other than the U.S. charts. That’s how CKOI Montreal recently became my station of summer 2017. It is also why XHTO El Paso and the short-lived CHR on KXOS Los Angeles—both influenced by Mexico City CHR—fascinated me.

“Chicago’s new Polish-American mix” has its share of the chirpy, sludgy trap pop that I’ve complained about so much lately. So does the pop music in any language, at this point. But there’s also a lot of uptempo dance pop in both languages. There’s the full spectrum of Polish-language hits, some in genres like ska punk not currently represented on the radio here. As with stations of this sort, there are also a few songs that mainstream American CHR has given up on (e.g., DNCE, “Kissing Strangers,” which I’ve heard several times now). And there was one song that stumped even Shazam and SoundHound.

When I’ve encountered them, WPNA-FM has been mostly jockless, but it just launched a new bilingual morning show. The presentation is still taking shape—hot contemporary jingles, but some formal sounding sweepers that sound like they could as easily run on the heritage AM. There’s also an ad for the Alliiance’s insurance business that uses “You’ve Got to Pay the Price” by Al Kent, the 1967 R&B instrumental classic that has endured for years as a music bed. And I hope it plays as a music bed somewhere for the next 50 years.

Newest 60 Minutes Contributor? Oprah

She will do her first report on September 24th, the 50th anniversary of the iconic show.

TV Newser has the details.

The Cubs 21-game streak

Last night the Cleveland Indians won their 22nd game in row, beating the 1935 Cubs record of 21 games in a row. Naturally, I have written about that Cubs streak at Just One Bad Century. Here is the write up below...

On September 4, 1935, the Cubs began the longest winning streak in baseball history (until yesterday). The Cubs were in third place in the National League 2 1/2 games behind the first place Cardinals, and a half game behind the second place New York Giants. They had been flirting with first place for most of the season, but nobody on that Cubs roster could have predicted what began on that September day.

The Cubs beat the Phillies at Wrigley Field 8-2 behind the pitching of Larry French (photo) and two homers by Augie Galan, and they wouldn’t lose again until September 28th. It remained the most incredible winning streak in baseball history until Cleveland broke the record in 2017. The Cubs beat all comers in every way imaginable. They swept the Phillies, the Braves, the Dodgers, and the Pirates at home, and then won another three at St. Louis. They won slugfests and they won pitchers duels.

Seven different Cubs pitchers won games, but Larry French won five, and Charlie Root and Lon Warneke each won four. The lineup was impressive, featuring four Hall of Famers (Gabby Hartnett, Billy Herman, Chuck Klein, and Freddie Lindstrom) and two of the all-time great Cubs (Phil Cavarretta and Stan Hack).

But the hottest hitter of all was their lead-off man Augie Galan (photo). He hit 5 of his 12 home runs that season during the streak, and batted an astounding .358 to finish the season at .314. There were only two games he didn’t reach base.

The city of Chicago got more and more excited as the streak wore on. In that first win, only 5000 were in attendance. By the time the Cubs won their 18th in a row at Wrigley, 40,000+ packed the joint; despite the fact that the country was in the darkest days of the Great Depression.

There really weren’t too many close calls, but two of the games did go into extra innings. The Cubs pushed across a run in the bottom of the 11th to win the first one (Charlie Root pitched all 11 innings), and in the bottom of the 10th in the next one (Lon Warneke pitched all 10 innings).

Probably the best game of the streak was the 19th win in a row. Lon Warneke and Cardinals pitcher Paul Dean both entered the game as 19-game winners, and both men pitched their hearts out. Dean threw a seven hitter, but Warneke allowed only two hits. But the streak wasn’t the only thing at stake during this game. The Cubs were only three games ahead of the Cardinals with five games to play in the season, and all five games would be head-to-head in St. Louis.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the difference in the game was one single mistake pitch by Dean, which was smacked over the fence by Cubs first baseman Phil Cavarretta. That gave the Cubs a nearly insurmountable 4 game lead with 4 games left in the season.

The 20th win in a row the next day clinched the pennant, and the 21st win in a row came the same day in the second game of the double header. Whether or not the Cubs celebrated that night a little too ferociously is lost to time, but they did drop the meaningless final two games of the season.

Special Delivery

I was downtown yesterday so I stopped by and visited my old pal Cara Carriveau. She bought a copy of Mitch Michael's book "Doin' The Cruise", so I had Mitch autograph it, and I dropped it off in person.

Making Sausage

Spent last night making 300 pounds of sausage for this weekend's upcoming "Socctoberfest" at Green White Soccer Club. Good stuff...