Friday, June 06, 2008

Bleacher Preacher

Cubs fan Jerry Pritikin is featured today in a front page story in the Chicago Tribune. Read it here.

A few months ago, Jerry was featured on Just One Bad Century as our fan of the week. He has a great story about the 1945 World Series.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Media Notebook (June 5, 2008)

Collected and Edited by Rick Kaempfer

Highlights and links to the big stories in the news this week about the media. This column appears twice a week at MEDIA NOTEBOOK

The Simpsons get renewed for 20th season
(Broadcasting & Cable) Fox will return to Springfield again for the 20th season of primetime animated mainstay The Simpsons. The order came as the series’ voice actors have resolved months-long salary negotiations with producer 20th Century Fox Television that had held up production. The show’s principals -- Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns) -- will reportedly receive in the neighborhood of $400,000 per episode, up from $300,000-plus previously, and will remain with the show for another four years (although Fox has not indicated that it will order additional seasons). With its upcoming season, The Simpsons -- produced by Gracie Films in association with 20th -- will tie Gunsmoke as the longest-running primetime series.

Department of Justice asks Supreme Court to restore FCC fines for expletives
(Radio Online) In the 52-page brief filed by U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement on Monday, the Justice Department said the U.S. Supreme Court should restore the FCC's authority to fine broadcast outlets for airing fleeting expletives. DOJ is seeking to overturn a ruling last June by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. In that ruling, the appeals court found that the agency had failed to justify its "fleeting" profanity rules. The previous ruling by the lower court that said the agency's profanity findings against Fox and other broadcast networks were "arbitrary and capricious."


NBC Suffering It's Own Olympic Trials
(New York Post) With just two months until the Beijing Olympics, NBC is scrambling to sell out ad time for its broadcast of the Games. The Peacock network is said to be aggressively pushing advertisers and their agencies to buy spots during the Olympics as part of the "upfront" sales negotiations that started in mid-May. Ad execs estimated NBC was anywhere from $150 million to $300 million shy of its sales target.

Gina Gershon considering lawsuit versus Vanity Fair
(New York Daily News) Nancy Dillon writes: "Actress Gina Gershon insists she is not 'that woman.' The "Showgirls" star and her pit bull lawyers are going after Vanity Fair for insinuating she and ex-President Bill Clinton have been carrying on a torrid love affair as part of Clinton's bi-coastal shenanigans with bad-boy bachelors Steve Bing and Ron Burkle. Vanity Fair scribe Todd Purdum attributed the rumored romance to "high-end Hollywood dinner-party gossip" in his story "The Comeback Id." Still, Gershon, 45, wants the world to know that she has only been in the same room with Clinton on three occasions, and the meetings always took place in the presence of at least a dozen chaperones."

Vanity Fair publishing history of the internet
(Tech Crunch) Michael Arrington writes: "They say that history is written by the victorious…which begs the question as to how Al Gore and Friendster manage to get center stage in a history of the Internet. Vanity Fair writes a rambling eight-part 22 page story on history of the Internet called “How The Web Was Won” for its latest edition. The article pays tribute to Internet pioneers, including Al Gore, as well as some of the companies that have defined the commercial Internet (Amazon, Ebay, PayPal, Ning, MySpace, Friendster, YouTube). It’s going to be fairly easy to nitpick the list of companies included in the photo slideshow. No Google, for example. No Firefox, Yahoo or Microsoft. Nary a word on Facebook. Or any non-U.S. companies for that matter."


Landecker's 70s show #1 in the ratings
(Chicago Sun-Times) Robert Feder writes (last item): "With the addition of WCDG-FM in Virginia Beach, Va., Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker is up to 55 affiliates for "Into the '70s," his syndicated oldies showcase. Airing here from 7 p.m. to midnight Sundays on Citadel Broadcasting WZZN-FM (94.7), Landecker's show finished first in the ratings among non-ethnic listeners between 25 and 54 in the Arbitron survey for winter."

Former Chicago reporter Larry Mendte investigated by FBI
(Chicago Tribune) The Tribune staff reports: "Philadelphia television station KYW says newscaster Larry Mendte won't be on the air ''pending further investigation.'' The CBS-owned station released a statement Sunday saying it's cooperating with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office. This comes after Mendte's lawyer said Saturday that FBI agents approached his client Thursday and searched his home in connection with ''claims made by Alycia Lane.'' She's his former co-anchor who was fired in January. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday that Mendte is alleged to have opened Lane's private e-mail on many occasions over several months and the FBI is looking into whether he passed information gleaned from those e-mails to spread gossip on her to the media."

The media is upset at Scott McClellan
(Washington Post) The actual title of this piece is "McClellan, a Tad Late Correcting The Story." It seems to me, as an impartial observer, that the real reason McClellan is getting ripped by the press is because he calls them out for not being aggressive enough in the run-up to the war. It hurts so much because it's true, and they've had to work so hard at convincing themselves it wasn't true. Howard Kurtz writes: "In an interview three years ago, when he was waging daily warfare against the White House press corps, Scott McClellan told me: 'The media's trying to get under our skin and get us off-message.' Now it's McClellan who's gone way off-message."


Time Warner & GE could be the marrying kind
(Newsweek) Johnnie Roberts writes: "It's a hotly rumored corporate dalliance—that of CEOs Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner and Jeff Immelt of GE, parent of NBC Universal. No doubt their forefathers, the Warner brothers and Thomas Edison, are rolling in their graves. Back in their day, red-blooded businessmen were fighters, not lovers. Edison, who founded GE and controlled essential motion-picture patents, practically forced the Warners to pull the plug on their earliest foray into the movie business when the brothers couldn't afford to pay Edison's high fees on equipment to run their fledgling film-rental company. But times change. If Edison and the Warners couldn't afford friendly business dealings, Immelt and Bewkes may find it prohibitively costly to their careers to avoid cozying up. The two Jeffs have watched their stocks turn into, well, mutts (corny pun intended). And so they have begun preliminary efforts to explore a commingling of their entertainment assets—combining GE's NBC Universal with Time Warner—in hopes of eventually igniting investor enthusiasm and pumping up their stock prices, according to media-industry executives familiar with the developments but not authorized to comment."

Aaron Brown returns
(New York Magazine) Michael Martin writes: "Low-key CNN anchor Aaron Brown was bumped aside in 2005 for Anderson Cooper. Now his CNN contract is up, and he’ll resurface next month as host of a PBS documentary series. He’s also pitching a public-radio show, appearing in an upcoming Kevin Costner movie as himself (“My worst nightmare,” he says), and teaching journalism at the University of Arizona."

Clear Channel not selling 173 stations after all

(Radio Ink) Clear Channel said in its first-quarter earnings release that it would be keeping 173 of the 448 stations it put up for sale in November 2006, as it announced its deal to go private, and in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission the company confirmed that it made that decision during Q1, "because it determined that market conditions were not advantageous to complete the sales." One hundred and forty-five of the stations on the block were classified as discontinued operations as of December 31, 2007, and in the filing Clear Channel says they have been reclassified to continuing operations as of March 31.


Radio personality, former Elvis backup singer, dies
(Radio Ink) Hugh Jarrett, who sang bass as a member of Elvis Presley's backup quartet, the Jordanaires, has died at age 78 of injuries he sustained in a March 25 auto accident. Jarrett worked in radio in South Carolina and Tennessee -- including a stint at WKDA/Nashville -- before joining the Jordanaires in 1954, and when he left the quartet in 1958 he returned to broadcasting, as "Big Hugh Baby," at WLAC/Nashville.

Chicago Radio Spotlight Update
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with four radio personalities I had previously interviewed. All four have undergone big changes in their careers. Read the latest about Greg Brown (photo), Jennifer Keiper, Phil Manicki, and Cara Carriveau at the link. Coming this weekend: Java Joel Murphy.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Suburban Man: Bad Dad

Sometimes I think this job is just too big for me.

The other day I had a few more things on my plate than usual, and my inept multi-tasking abilities once again failed me. Before the day was over, I had sent one son to school without lunch, brought another son to a soccer game at the wrong time, sent my youngest son to school with pants that wouldn’t stay up, and forgot to make dinner.

It was supposed to be a special day. Sean was graduating from pre-school. This was something I had screwed up in the past with the other boys, and I was determined not to forget anything important. This time I remembered to charge the video camera battery. This time I remembered to get a gift for the preschool teacher. This time I remembered to find his dress shoes, iron his nice shirt, clip on his favorite tie, and dress him up appropriately.

I succeeded in all of those things, which honestly, would ordinarily be a pretty good day for me. Unfortunately, there was one thing I didn’t remember. We were in a hurry while I was getting him dressed, and although I tucked in his shirt and helped him close his pants, I somehow didn’t notice that his pants were too big. Waaay to big. I did notice it eventually…but not until he was walking up to the stage to get his diploma.

Want to see a video of a little boy holding his pants up with one hand while the preschool teacher hands him a diploma with the other hand? The battery was charged so the video came out perfectly. He’s not hard to spot. He’s the only one not giving his parents a smiling wave from the stage. He’s the one screaming: “The girls can see my underpants!”

It was also a special day for my middle son Johnny. His school does something called “special visitor’s day.” The kids each get to pick one person to visit them during the day, and that person can bring in a special lunch. He picked me.

Unlike the previous four years, I was proud of myself for remembering not to pack a lunch for Johnny. In the past, while the other kids were eating a special lunch like McDonald’s, Johnny was forced to look at his soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwich and sigh. He begged me to get him Burger King instead this year, and I actually remembered.

Again, ordinarily, that would be a pretty good day for me. But while we were having our nice little picnic Burger King lunch on the school playground, he asked me, “So what did you pack Tommy for lunch today?”

Oh no. I always made their lunches at the same time every morning. I remembered not to make Johnny’s lunch, but for some reason, my meager multi-tasking brain couldn’t comprehend that I still had to make a lunch for his brother.

I looked at my watch. Tommy’s lunch was already over. I looked at my cellphone (which I had remembered to turn off during the preschool graduation ceremony), and saw that there were several voicemail messages waiting for me. I didn’t even need to listen to them to figure who they were from.


Feeling like the worst parent ever, I finished up “special visitor day,” went home, and looked at the calendar. What else am I forgetting? Aha! I had written “makeup soccer game” in pencil, but hadn’t bothered to write down the time. Hmmm. Did the coach say 5 or 6?

Now you would think that a person who had already made two critical errors would have been extra careful at this point to make sure he didn’t make another mistake. Not this dad. No sir. I was pretty sure the coach said 6 because I remembered thinking at the time; “When am I going to make dinner?”

Wrong again.

We almost missed the whole game. Oh, and to add a touch of irony, I never solved the dinner dilemma in my mind. I was so thrown off by the entire day that I completely forgot to make dinner at all. This time I was rescued by my wife.

When the four of us returned from Johnny’s soccer game, she said: “Hey, I got home early and saw you hadn’t made dinner yet, so I made it. Hope you don’t mind.”


Nope. Don’t have one.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday Musings

Every Monday stop by for jokes, links to stories you might have missed, amusing photos and video, and more. Contributions and suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Click on the "Email Me" link on the right to contribute.

Joke of the Week: Contributed by "N"

Stories you might have missed

1. Man hurls hedgehog at teen
(In New Zealand this is just called "assault with a prickly weapon.")

2. Condeleeza's Swedish Kiss
(She's a single a foreign land...hanging out backstage with a notorious rock band.)

3. Baseball's nerd machine
(I can't decide if this is the coolest thing ever or the end of civilization as we know it.)

4. RIP: Dick Martin
(I'd like to picture these three guys hanging out at the big bar in the sky)

5. Photos from Mars

(You must admit...this is pretty cool.)

Video of the week: Contributed by "R". The song "Pork & Beans" by Weezer. The video stars every internet sensation you can think of.

Photo of the Week: The Three Candidates

Reader Response

Regarding "Suburban Man: Take Me out to the T-ball game"

"Look at it this way. Sean can probably field the ball better than Alfonso Soriano can, already! T-Ball was great, and quite similar to your experience. My son's first at bat in t-ball? He hit the ball past all the outfielders, then promptly ran to third instead of first. The coach looked sheepish and said, "Oh, I forgot to teach them how to run bases." The right fielder sat in the grass and picked dandelions (which was more preferable to the centerfielder that was picking something else). Another kid was running the bases and stopped between third and home with a look of confusion as everyone told her to "GO HOME." She actually left the base path, crying and running toward her mother, thinking no one wanted her to play anymore. Quality entertainment for the whole family (which if you film it, can provide you with embarrassing moments to mock your child with for years to come). Oh, by the way, that evening deejay on the Big 89 Rewind was really smokin'. Someone really should hire him!"

"Oh, that’s funny, because back when I was going to t-ball games with my son, we also had a center fielder who preferred gardening. She spent the whole time creating a glorious bouquet of clover in her glove."

"My daughter and I went to a Railcats baseball game this past Sunday and I bought her a miniature bat and ball. We have practiced hitting every day since then, and she’s pretty good! I wish now that I had put her in T-ball. Although, knowing her wild imagination, she would definitely be one of those kids off in la-la land as well."

232 days until we get a new president.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Chicago Radio Spotlight Update

I recently caught up with a few Chicago radio people who have changed jobs or shifts since I originally interviewed them for Chicago Radio Spotlight.


Greg was named the afternoon drive personality at WZZN a few months after I interviewed him. I asked him how the new job has been going...

Greg: So far, it’s been an absolute blast being at 94.7 fm. I can’t wait to get into the station each day…I am blessed to do what I love for living! I get to work in the greatest city on the planet, playing the greatest music ever recorded and I get to see Dick Biondi every night! It doesn't get much better than that!

Ever since Mike Fowler arrived at WZZN as General Manager, he’s gotten things firing on all 8 cylinders. He continually finds ways of encouraging his staff and creating a great working environment. He’s also brought in Brant Miller for mornings which has been a great addition to our staff.

Our Program Director, Michael La Crosse, has to be one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met…and that’s been pretty inspiring. He makes a point of coming out to some of our appearances and talking with the listeners that show up…he has a desire to take them from just “listeners” to making them “fans”.

I’ve got two features that take some work preparing every day but it’s been fun doing the research…you won’t believe this Rick, but I’m now smarter than I ever have been. One feature is the Greg Brown Beatle Break at 4:35pm and the other is the Greg Brown School of Musicology at 6:35pm every day. Maybe you could take some time away from all of your book signings and listen.



Jennifer was the News Director at WLS when I interviewed her last year, but was part of the recent cutbacks there. She landed on her feet quickly, and is now working at Fox News Radio.

Rick: Were you a little surprised that WLS made such severe cuts to their news department?

Jennifer: Yes, I was surprised that the WLS newsroom was cut in half. Before the decision was announced, there were indications that news was supported by the higher-ups. Bill, Jim, John, Ryan, David and I were making great progress in covering more news; we started a fantastic public affairs show and had just secured media space in the state capitol.

Jim, John, and Ryan have been in a difficult spot and are doing a great job.

Rick: Tell us about your new job and where we can hear you now.

Jennifer: I have been hired by Fox News Radio as their midwest correspondent. It is a great opportunity to cover big stories across the midwest while maintaining my ties to Chicago. I can be heard on WIND-AM in Chicago and hundreds of other stations across the country. My family in Pennsylvania jokes that, after 18 years in the business, they'll finally be able to hear me.



Phil was the afternoon man at the Drive when I interviewed him last year. He's now doing nights and I asked him recently how things were going with the new shift...

Phil: The biggest change in doing the night shift for me is not seeing my buddy Bob Stroud every day. That, and having to hurry home for last call. But seriously, it's got to be not being at the station during normal business hours (and not seeing the bosses, either).

That along with the one day delay that sometimes happens with correspondences is probably the biggest change. It necessitates better planning on my part. On the plus side, there are a couple of new features that I get to share:


It's a nightly celebration of the long song...anything over 6:30 is eligible, and while Led Zeppelin, Yes and Pink Floyd are core artists, I get to stretch out with cool "OH WOW" songs from Iron Butterfly, Robin Trower, King Crimson and Jeff Beck to name a few.


Every Thursday, we spotlight a group or artist (sometimes 2 artists) throughout the day, and in the 11:00 pm hour, I get to wrap up the feature with an hour's long fireworks display-like grand finale.


Cara Carriveau is a personality on WTMX Radio, but she does so much more than that. When I interviewed her last year, she was just getting her Cara's Basement podcast started. I even appeared as a guest on that show last summer (photo). I recently caught up with her and asked her if she would mind updating her Chicago Radio Spotlight interview...

Cara: First, thanks for the original interview. It's always fun to chat with you.

At the time of that interview I had just begun to work part time at 101.9 WTMX in Chicago. You can hear me on The Mix quite bit - view my on-air schedule at

I had just started my podcast Cara's Basement when we last spoke - wow, has it grown! I've interviewed Linkin Park, JY from Styx, Rik Emmett from Triumph, Stephen Pearcy from RATT, Mick Jones from Foreigner and many other fascinating entertainers (including an author named Rick Kaempfer). Some big names are on tap for future episodes and I'm also interviewing up & coming artists because I think it's fun to talk with people working towards their dreams and it's great exposure for them. Cara's Basement is now featured on, a popular music portal online. I also do artist interviews for The Chicago Music Guide - I've interviewed Alanis Morissette, Against Me!, Ankla, Taylor Dayne and many others for them.

Besides my own podcast, I also co-host my husband Bill Busch's podcast Fitness From The Inside Out. My voiceover business Cara Communications is keeping me busy - besides voicing a ton of phone systems worldwide, commercials & narrations I now do radio station imaging including rocker WIHN in Bloomington, Illinois. I'm a member of the NBC5 Street Team, a select group of bloggers/podcasters in Chicago. I've definitely embraced new media - you can find me all over the internet - youtube, twitter, facebook, myspace, etc. and I've taught myself html so I'm doing all of my own websites. You can often find me emceeing charity concerts throughout Chicago - I have one coming up at the Double Door July 5. A few other broadcasting projects are in the works that I can't divulge details about yet, but I will say that I'm very excited!

The biggest accomplishment in the past few years, though, has been the remarkable experience of raising my kids. I've been able to chaperone school events for my daughter which I never could co when I worked fulltime. My son Sam is now 3 and is such a joy to be around. As busy as I am with my own projects, my husband and children are by far my top priority.