Friday, February 08, 2013

Ridiculous Contract

I'm a fan of Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez, but he's about to sign a ridiculous contract. From Buster Olney's blog today...

"The deal Felix Hernandez will soon finalize with the Mariners is a lot like the contracts agreed to by Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Howard -- it amounts to lots of money tacked on to the back end of another deal. There will be a lot of different ways that accountants and agents and teams will tabulate the numbers, but ultimately Hernandez is getting an additional $135.5 million in new money, with five more years in the deal. The annual average value of the new portion is $27.1 million, the highest average ever for a pitcher. In fact, no pitcher has been guaranteed $26 million a year. And, as USA Today first reported, he'll get a total of $175 million over the next seven seasons."

I know he's an elite pitcher, but you've got to be kidding me.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Ron Smith ‏@oldiesmusic
Yes, God made a farmer. Of course, He also made that jerk in the Dodge Ram who cut me off this morning, but he's not taking credit for that.

Eric Stangel ‏@EricStangel
"Fifty Deshaies Of Grey" (In development) #AstrosMovies

The Daily Caller ‏@DailyCaller
Levin to Rove: "Bring it on, Karl baby. Bring it on, doughboy. Bring on your little whiteboard" [AUDIO]-

Anita S ‏@Chezhdchick
Proof that the music industry is seriously f***ed RT @WhatTheFFacts Lil Wayne surpassed Elvis as male with most entries on Billboard Hot 100

Gabriel Jimenez ‏@gjimen3
@mullyhanley Nothing bothers me more than the person who cuts half of a #doughnut. Eat all of it or none of it. #MakesSense

Bernie Tafoya ‏@ChicagoFile
Snowfall according to @NWSChicago: Beach Park- 9.6", Grayslake: 6.1", Schaumburg: 1.4", Yorkville: .6", LaGrange: .2".

@richardmarx "Risque" clothing banned at Grammys but guys who beat up women? Come ooonnn downnnnn...#ChrisBrown

Scott Simon ‏@nprscottsimon
My cab driver, who is from South Korea, listening to Andres Bocelli sing Spanish love songs while it sleets: America!

WGNMorningNews ‏@WGNMorningNews
Pretty sure we just violated the entirety of CBS' #Grammy standards protocols. #LingerieShow

Silvy ‏@WaddleandSilvy
Hey @TWaddle87...look out for the #Lakers in the playoffs...only down 28pts in Boston. #NBA

Tom Waddle ‏@TWaddle87
@WaddleandSilvy look out for the Bulls in the playoffs!!! Only got beat by 32!!

Could this be true?

From this morning's LA Times...

"In a new report, the industry consulting firm SNL Kagan says CBS "likely broke even or lost a little money" on its broadcast of the Super Bowl last Sunday. SNL Kagan arrived at that conclusion with some simple arithmetic. CBS, the firm said, took in $240 million in ad revenue from the game and calculated that its production cost and license fees were probably more than that."

That sounds hard to believe.

CBS Memo

An internal CBS memo was re-published today by PR Daily. It was about the upcoming Grammy Awards. If you've ever wondered how things like this are discussed behind the scenes, you might get a kick out of this...

"Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples. Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible “puffy” bare skin exposure. Please avoid commercial identification of actual brand name products on T-shirts. Foreign language on wardrobe will need to be cleared. OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST. This as well, pertains to audience members that appear on camera. Finally, The Network requests that any organized cause visibly spelled out on talent’s wardrobe be avoided. This would include lapel pins or any other form of accessory."

I just love this behind the scenes stuff. One of my favorite stories in the upcoming Landecker book is about the day the Supreme Court handed down the "seven dirty words" ruling based on the George Carlin routine. John saved the memo and printed it in the book.

I once got into a heated debate with a radio station general manager (my boss at the time) about using the word "nipple" on the air. It was seriously a twenty minute meeting. Another program director could not see the humor in farts. Just didn't think they were funny. He banned all jokes about them on the air. I tried to talk him out of it to no avail.

No farts? Why don't you just take away my soul?

NYT Junior

The New York Times is the granddaddy of the news business, the paragon of journalistic virtue, the paper that famously prints all the news that is fit to print. And now, they are considering printing something called NYT Junior for youngsters.

Of course, the New York Times' definition of youngsters may not be exactly the same as your definition: "A Times source says NYT Junior would be targeted not at very young readers but at college students and twenty-somethings. The idea would be to offer them a limited-content version at a price point calibrated to a just-starting-out-in-life budget."

I have a funny feeling 20-somethings might be slightly insulted by being pitched a product with "Junior" in the title, but what do I know?

Actually, I'll tell what I know: If this paper doesn't include the latest drink specials, it's not going to fly.

Is Political Talk Radio in Trouble?

Tom Taylor's NOW column interviews Lew Dickey--the CEO of Cumulus (the second biggest radio company in the country). It sounds like political talk radio isn't doing too well, but another type of talk radio is...

“Lew Dickey opines that “people may be tired of all the partisan bickering.” He doesn’t mention Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comment about Sandra Fluke, just about a year ago, an event that’s still having repercussions with advertisers in the talk medium. Sports could be an easier sell, and Dickey explains the logic of cooperating with CBS on the new CBS Sports Radio Network. He says they’re “up to about 300 affiliates now.” As for Cumulus-syndicated Geraldo Rivera’s recent trial balloon about running for the Senate – Lew smiles and says yes, “we talked to him” after that remark on his radio show. Dickey says “I think Geraldo’s got a long career ahead of him as a broadcaster.”

School House Rock is 40!

Entertainment Weekly has a special feature about School House Rock's anniversary. (Did I mention it was 40! Yikes I'm getting old). In the piece they choose their top 15 School House rock songs. I looked over the list and I'm not going to quibble with their rankings too much. But I do think that "I'm Just a Bill" should go ahead of this one, the song they ranked #1...

Baseball Card Vandals

Every now and then you run into a concept that is so twisted and original that you simply must tip your cap to them. So it is with "Baseball Card Vandals". Newly defaced and vandalized baseball cards are posted every day.

Thank you James Finn Garner and Bardball for pointing this out to me.

The creator of Baseball Card Vandals, by the way, did a very bad thing to a White Sox card. That's all I'm going to say about it.

Channel 7 Cancels 190 North

Channel 7's magazine show 190 North has been canceled after 14 years, a victim of budget cuts.

You know, I'm currently preparing my press list for this upcoming Landecker book and I went back to compare it to my previous press lists for my earlier books. The list keeps getting shorter and shorter. Now I've got another one to take off the list.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Landecker Book

We're putting the finishing touches on John Landecker's memoir "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". We're getting very close. It's exciting. It's a really good book. Great stories, great pictures.

The media requests are coming in, and the first few "events" are being planned. Shore Magazine's Pat Colander spilled the beans about one of them in her "Adventures in Everyday Living" blog...

"The long-anticipated tell-almost-all John Records Landecker biography debuts in March so of course Chef Gary Sanders is throwing an April 7th Sunday afternoon autographing party beginning at 12 noon until 3 p.m. at Bartlett's in Beverly Shores, just down the road from the legendary DJ's Michigan City homestead."

More to come in the next week or so, including the debut of the book's cover.

Most Trusted/Least Trusted News Organization

The same organization wins in both categories. Care to guess? Of course, it's Fox News.

The polling was done by PPP. TV Newser summarizes the findings:
"Fox News Channel is by far the most trusted TV news outlet, according to respondents. It is also by far the least trusted TV news outlet, with a plurality of people naming it to both groups. Political persuasion had a lot to do with that, with Republicans overwhelmingly saying it was the mot trustworthy news outlet, and Democrats overwhelmingly saying it was the least trustworthy. That said, PPP says that trust in FNC is at an all-time low since it started doing the poll four years ago."

The only organization with bi-partisan trust is PBS.

No Saturday Delivery Repurcussions

I didn't even think of this when I heard the U.S. Postal Service was stopping Saturday delivery, but the New York Times makes a good point.

This is really going to affect weekly magazines, which were already in trouble.

Friday Evening Post anyone?

Geraldo Backs Off

Geraldo obviously had no idea that saying he was running for the Senate was going to cause some problems for him. For instance, he probably would have to immediately give up his well paying job as a talk show host. The FCC has rules about these things. (The full story is here)

He knows now.

OH! Did I say I was running? No, what I meant to say is: "Despite my constitutionally protected musings on whether to seek that high office, I am taking no formal steps to initiate the electoral process, making no declarations, forming no committees, raising no money and hiring no campaign aides. Therefore, there is no FCC complication regarding equal time."

Sounds like it was written by a lawyer.

Wrigley at 100

The Cubs are holding a contest for fans to come up with a logo for the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, which is next year.

Details are here if you're interested.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Greatest TV interview ever

WARNING: This is definitely Not Suitable For Work. Lots of bad language. It's not bleeped.

But this is one of the greatest television interviews I've ever seen. Dude!

A Larry Wert--Johnny B Reunion?

Robert Feder is hinting today that WGN radio is interested in luring NBC-Chicago boss Larry Wert to be their new GM. That would be considered a welcome move by at least one member of the WGN staff: Jonathon Brandmeier. Johnny and Larry always had a great relationship when they worked together at the Loop.

Larry also had a good relationship with Garry Meier when I worked there, but the Steve & Garry breakup happened after I left the Loop, so I have no idea how all of that went down between Larry and Garry. I assume everything is fine between them too.

Should be an interesting story to watch.

15 years ago today...

...a very odd double-death day. Both Carl Wilson from the Beach Boys (lung cancer) and Falco (car accident) died on the same day. I was a fan of both men, although their musical contributions were very different.

Carl was the lead vocal on many great Beach Boys songs, but this one is my favorite...

Falco was probably the most famous Austrian composer since Strauss. When "Der Kommissar" first came out I was at WPGU in Champaign, and the program director asked me translate the song for the audience. A few weeks later the group After the Fire came out with an English version, and my translation was immediately useless.

CNN Survivor

There are so many changes being made at CNN by new boss Jeff Zucker that some people are calling it "CNN Survivor". Someone new gets voted off the island every day. John King gets to stay, but it looks like Candy Crowley may be on her way out. The drama is covered nicely here by DC Fishbowl.

No More Saturday Mail

It's been rumored for awhile now, but it looks like it's actually going to happen now. Saturday Mail Delivery by the U.S. Postal Service is going away. Prepare yourselves for even longer lines on weekdays. I'm trying to look on the bright side, though. For me this means one less spastic dog freakout per weekend.

Dick Morris

Fox News did the right thing. They fired Dick Morris. I can't think of any human I'd like to meet less than Dick Morris. His oilyness actually stained my television table.

If you want to risk your television table, Morris is on Piers Morgan's show tonight to discuss his firing.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

The Associated Press ‏@AP
AP PHOTO: Goodbye iron! Check out Monopoly's newest game token - the cat: -MM

Prevention Magazine ‏@PreventionMag
Nutrition 101: Coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants in the American diet, U. of Scranton study found! How many cups/day do you drink?

msnbc ‏@msnbc
Fox News ends its contract w/Dick "Romney-in-a-landslide" Morris... @Lawrence bids him farewell in the #Rewrite:

The Bambino. Sultan of Swat. On this date in 1895, the iconic Babe Ruth was born. And the world was forever changed.

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune
Boy Scouts expected to vote today on ending its ban on gay membership

ABC News ‏@ABC
On this day in 1974: The House Judiciary Committee began to determine grounds for impeachment of President Nixon

Mayor of Montberte ‏@Montberte_Mayor
In New York every rainbow has an empty pot of gold at the end with a chalk outline of a dead leprechaun. Bob Sarlatte

CNET News ‏@CNETNews
Just spotted: the largest prime number ever, and it's a whopper: 17M digits in length

NBC News ‏@NBCNews
Banned no longer: Soccer brings joy, hope to war-ravaged Mali

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
Fleetwood Mac is re-releasing an album they made 35 yrs ago. So they've finally stopped thinking about tomorrow.

So God Made A DJ

The first parody of the Paul Harvey farmer spot...

So God Made a DJ

Not bad.

The Bad Boy Radio Trial

The Tampa Bay Times has the first interview with the forewoman of the Bubba the Love Sponge trial in Tampa. Actually, it's an e-mail, but it pretty much sums up how people like Bubba and MJ (the other defendant) have made people in Tampa feel about radio...

She wrote: "I hated this case. 'Hate' is not a word used often in my vocabulary, but I hated it. I hate the word 'whore.' I did not count (though, sitting through over 60 hours of testimony, I had plenty of time to), but I assume I heard the word 'whore' upwards of a hundred times. As a woman, I hate what it implies...I'm not a fan, to be honest, of either party. Upholding the First Amendment doesn't mean we support Bubba the Love Sponge or his opinions in his show. For me, as a woman, it was important to make that clear...Nobody wants to sit around and listen to two men call each other names. I work with 12-year-olds; I do that with them and try to teach them better...I love that I have some awesome CDs in my car. I am never listening to the radio again."

So proud to have been associated with the medium for half of my life.

Cubs 365

I haven't mentioned it on this blog yet this year, but Cubs 365 is back again in 2013 on the Just One Bad Century blog.

Today it features the birthday of perhaps the most famous Cubs fan of all time.

HGH Testing in MLB

HGH testing begins this year in Major League Baseball. How are the Cubs reacting? Even the football player on the Cubs, Jeff Samardzija, is in favor of HGH testing.

These are clearly no longer Sammy's Cubs.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Happy birthday Nigel

Christopher Guest is 65 years old today. Thought I'd pull out my favorite Nigel moment from Spinal Tap...

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Icon. Legend. Face of the @Braves. One of the greatest of all-time. Happy birthday to The Hammer, Hank Aaron.

HuffPostBiz ‏@HuffPostBiz
6 totally and completely absurd Obamacare-Nazi comparisons

Amy Guth ‏@amyguth
Chicago commute one of nation's most unpredictable, study suggests

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
The #Astros have a plan, but how much embarrassment will they cause baseball in the process? Column: …

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
The highest-paid Astro, Bud Norris, will make $3m -less than the average salary in the majors, and what Zack Greinke makes in about 3 weeks. ‏@TIME
Amusement park planned for town where Bin Laden was killed | | (via @TIMENewsFeed)

Dalai Lama Quotes ‏@DalaiLamaQuotez
As compassion grows stronger, so does your commitment to the welfare of all beings, even if you have to act alone.

Rich Samuels ‏@rsamuels
Robert Feder reports on layoffs of Chicago journalists: MarketWatch wipes out Chicago reporting staff …

Robert Feder ‏@RobertFeder
Mark your calendar for Feb. 28. That’s when Bill Kurtis & Walter Jacobson anchor their final newscast for @cbschicago:

Alex Quigley ‏@alexquigley
Note to @MetraUPNW: running two minutes behind is okay. Running two minutes EARLY is NOT.

The Nerd from the Go-Daddy Ad

The New York Daily News scored an interview with the nerd in the famous "kissing ad" in the Super Bowl. He described the experience as "like kissing paradise". I really don't understand why everyone was so upset about that spot. I say "Go Nerd!"

Oreo's Marketing Savvy

The people running the current marketing for Oreo's are geniuses. During the Super Bowl power outtage they tweeted a brilliant ad that went viral. They obviously created it on the spot--there's no way they could have prepared for the blackout. (Unless...they caused the blackout. Hmmmm.)

It may have started a whole new advertising trend.

I've begun to watch my twitter feed during big events to see how people are reacting, and I'm certainly not alone. There are millions doing the same thing. It's really a great way to supplement the event, believe it or not. There were tons of hilarious comments during the Super Bowl blackout. The best tweets were re-tweeted thousands of times. The Oreo tweet was retweeted more than 15,000 times.

And the price was right.

15 Words That Are Probably Made Up

This list comes from PR Daily. How many of them do you use?

1. Administrate
2. Commentate
3. Dimunition
4. Exploitive
5. Firstly
6. Heighth
7. Irregardless
8. Miniscule
9. Orientate
10. Participator
11. Preventative
12. Societal
13. Supposably
14. 'Til
15. Undoubtably

#12 is a real word, it just gets used incorrectly. #14 doesn't really count, in my mind. Everyone knows that's just a shortcut.

I may have used #11 a few times instead of the correct preventive, and in a rush I may have slipped up on #15 (instead of undoubtedly), but I don't use the rest of them.

The John Lennon Bandits

When John Lennon was killed in 1980, he was still hugely popular in Brazil. Lots of mothers named their children after him.

Those John Lennons are all grown up now, and several of them have turned to crime. The full story is here.

I'd like to point out that my son Johnny is also named after him, and hasn't yet committed a crime, so let's not paint every John Lennon-named child with a broad brush. (Excuse me for a moment as I look for some wood to knock)

Monday, February 04, 2013

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column has been posted. It's entitled "Not So Super Sunday"

You can read it here.

Across the Universe

Everything you ever wanted to know about the great Beatles song "Across the Universe", which was being recorded exactly 45 years ago today, courtesy of Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

February 4, 1968… In London, the Beatles began recording "Across the Universe" at EMI's Abbey Road Studios. Sensing that the song could be improved by the addition of falsetto harmonies, John Lennon and Paul McCartney invited two girl fans – 17-year-old Gayleen Pease and 16-year-old Lizzie Bravo – into the studio to sing on the recording. Take 8 from this day was used for overdubs four days later, then the song was shelved for 11 months before being remixed in January 1969 and appearing on the World Wildlife Fund charity album, "No One's Gonna Change Our World," released in December 1969. This version was later issued on the Beatles compilation albums, "Rarities" and "Past Masters."

In January 1970, Glyn Johns remixed the February 1968 recording, omitting the teenage girls' vocals and the bird sound effects of the World Wildlife Fund version, but this version was not released.

The most familiar rendition of the song came from Phil Spector, who in the spring of 1970 remixed the February 1968 recording and added orchestral and choral overdubs for the Beatles' "Let It Be" album.

In 2003, the "Let It Be... Naked" CD included the February 1968 master remixed yet again, stripped of most of the instrumentation, and digitally processed to correct tuning issues.

This is the last version Bob mentions. I think it's my favorite of the many versions.

Super Bowl Ratings

This is pretty incredible: The Super Bowl got the highest ever overnite rating: 48.1.

That's basically every other American with a television.

Match Fixing

A sad day for European Soccer. An investigation into match-fixing has uncovered 680 (!) suspicious games.

Europol said 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals from at least 15 countries were involved in fixing the European soccer games dating back to 2008.

Whoa. And it's not just in Europe, either.

'This is the tip of the iceberg,'' said Friedhelm Althans, a German investigator who said two World Cup qualification matches in Africa and one in Central America were among those under suspicion.

And the origin of the fixing is actually in Asia.

A Singapore-based criminal network was involved in the match-fixing, spending up to (euro) 100,000 ($136,500) per match to bribe players and officials.

I'm afraid to hear the details when they actually come out. I was just starting to get excited about the impending Champions League round of 16.

Internship Confessions

I just read this article about the internship controversy at Conde Nast.

Apparently...and I hope you're sitting down for this...interns at Conde Nast were required to do things like run personal errands and get coffee. Absolutely shocking.

Sounds like every internship since the beginning of time. When I was an intern one of my jobs was taking my boss' dog to obedience school.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

It took five centuries, but the mystery over what happened to England's King Richard III has finally been solved:

Steve Bertrand ‏@SteveBertrand
A top lit agent shares sex pics with his mistress. Then her husband sends them to everyone with a cell phone. …

Joe Scarborough ‏@JoeNBC
Whoops! Oklahoma woman who fought off intruder, a gun rights symbol, favors background checks …

POLITICO ‏@politico
Donald Trump says he’s suing Bill Maher for $5M for charity because Maher did not follow through on public bet:

EJ Dionne ‏@EJDionne
My column: Obama has moved to make peace in the contraception wars. Catholic Bishops should take him up on it.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Former "SNL" star calls for White History Month

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
The inventor of the Etch A Sketch has died at 86. They tried to revive him by shaking him, but no luck.

fred huebner ‏@fred_huebner
#MikeandMike How about #29 Cary Williams pushing the referee during a scrum, & not getting flagged?

Spencer Page ‏@spencer_page
6am conference call the day after the superbowl...not cool

@Travis_Waldron: Good column on how CBS failed to do its job and report the news during the Super Bowl blackout: 

I got bored during the Super Bowl power outtage last night, and checked my twitter feed. These were my favorites...

DebbieHarris ‏@tktchr
RT @pareene: Most daring heist in Super Bowl history currently being carried out

Jesus Christ ‏@Jesus_M_Christ
I just couldn't watch another second.

capitolization ‏@capitolization
If this is just a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial, I'm gonna be so pissed.

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
Luckily, the bar for “worst power outage at the Superdome” is set really high.

A New Twist in the CNET Soap Opera

In case you're following this story like I am, it now has a final act.

Act 1: CNet writer Greg Sandoval quits because CBS altered his reporting to better conform with the corporations financial interests, and spills beans to the on-line publication The Verge.

Act 2: The International Consumer Electronics show takes the Best in Show Awards away from CNet because of CBS' corporate interference.

And now...

Act 3: The Verge, who originally reported the story, hires former CNet writer and whistleblower Greg Sandoval.

And, scene.

Cubs versus the Rooftop Owners

If you haven't been following this story closely, this is a pretty good recap, explanation and status report of the battle between the Cubs and the rooftop owners

My favorite Super Bowl commercial

The incredible Paul Harvey...

Talk Radio Soften on Immigration

From this morning's Tom Taylor column, a discussion of conservative talk radio's position on immigration...

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism says that the day after the election, Sean Hannity reversed course. He said for the GOP to win on the national level again, “we’ve got to rid of the immigration issue altogether…I think you control the border first, [then] you create a pathway for those people that are here." Rush Limbaugh may also be edging in that direction. Last week he said “it’s up to me and Fox News” to hold off what he called “amnesty” - but the next day he was talking in complimentary terms about Marco Rubio. Michael Savage may be the most resistant to change. He recently said “I’ve never heard such malarkey in my life…Amnesty is a big lie.” Count Glenn Beck among the hardliners, too. But the Pew Center says “the united front” of conservative talk radio personalities “seems to have fragmented and softened somewhat, this time around.”

My question is this: How in the world did we allow four blowhard like these guys to have so much influence in the first place?