Friday, May 17, 2013

#1 in 1979

If you scroll down the blog a bit you'll see that this day in 1979 was a memorable day at Wrigley Field.

I was just curious to see what song was #1 on that day, and whoa, it brought back memories. I had my first slow dance to this song with a fellow 15-year-old named Doreen at the "Teen Club" in Heidelberg. I remember it very well. It was a long song, and there was a lot of sweating...mainly by me...even though she's the one that asked me to dance.

Doreen, by the way, is married and lives in the D.C. area. We reconnected via facebook about three years ago, and she was kind enough not to mock me about the sweating.

Powerball is at $550 million

Details at

Today's Best Tweets

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

Matt Viser ‏@mviser 33m
"Whoever is making the analysis is challenged in their understanding of history,” John Dean says of comparisons between Obama and Nixon.

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 28m
We'r at point in scandal arc where inability to find any actual corruption or coverup leads to new claims of 'culture' of corruption/coverup

Gawker ‏@Gawker 19s
Dick move: New York man rubs store's pepperoni on his penis, puts it back ‏@Chicagoist 34s
Police say a woman made up a story of being robbed on the Mag Mile in broad daylight.

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom 5m
"Phil, what's it like to be engaged to a woman who posed nude for Playboy?'' The RosenBlog:

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 9m
After elimination, the Warriors returned to the court to thank their fans:

MikeFlanneryFOX32 ‏@PoliticalEditor 14m
mt @AP: Woman in sex scandal involving ex-Italian Premier Berlusconi testifies about 'bunga bunga' parties: -RAS

Alex Walsh ‏@ajwalsh08 18m
SOUNDS AWESOME RT @mattyglesias: American wants to give preferential boarding to people who don’t use overhead bins …

The Onion ‏@TheOnion 20m
In Focus: Bleary-Eyed Coworker Up All Night Generating More Work For You

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy 25m
Rod Stewart says that steroid addiction shrunk his manhood. His attempt to stay "Forever Young" didn't keep him...

Obama a new Nixon? Oh get Serious.

That's the headline of today's editorial page of the Washington Post, who by the way, knows a thing or two about Nixon. (See: "All the President's Men")

I have a prediction.

Here's what these scandals actually mean to John and Jane Q. Public: Absolutely nothing will get done in the next three years while Congress investigates the poop out of them. If you thought there was gridlock before, just wait. Partisan points will be scored along the way, the president's reputation will be damaged, hatred will be stoked to a fever pitch level (just as it was with both Clinton and Bush), but in the end it will be proven that none of this has anything to do with the president, no-one of significance will face the slightest repurcussions, and a branch of government that was already considered a steaming pile (Congress) will be considered an even bigger steaming pile.

It's totally depressing.

Free Excerpt of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"/Stories about Paul Drew

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Legendary programmer Paul Drew, best known as the influential PD of such iconic Top 40 stations as KHJ/Los Angeles, CKLW/Detroit and KFRC/San Francisco to name a few, died yesterday morning. Drew was 78 and had been in an assisted living facility in Glendale, CA. Originally from Detroit, Drew broke into radio in the early '50s while attending Wayne State University, landing gigs at WCAR/Detroit and WHLS/Port Huron, MI. In the late '50s he made the move to Atlanta, hired as a jock at WGST; four years later he crossed the street to WAKE where he built up a sizable teen audience. In 1963, Drew segued over to WQXI/Atlanta to do nights, later rising to PD. His career really escalated after that -- he was hired to program the mighty CKLW/Detroit, followed by stops at KFRC and KHJ. He was later upped to VP of Programming for RKO Radio and subsequently served as a consultant to RKO. As legendary air personality Charlie Van Dyke recalls, "Drew was very proud of the fact that RKO only had two VPs of Programming -- Paul Drew and Bill Drake."

John Landecker worked for Paul Drew. In fact, he's the first one who hired him for a major market radio job. John was a student at Michigan State University at the time, and Paul Drew was the program director of WIBG in Philadelphia. John has kept the letter Drew sent to his professors to secure his release...

The following is an excerpt from the book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" about Paul Drew...

Jim Donahue and Dave Alberry were fellow Michigan State students, and huge radio fans. They contacted me at WILS one night when I was on the air, and we hit it off. They were radio geeks just like me. I started hanging out with them at their apartment after I got off the air at 1:00. Another person that hung out with us was future actor Robert Urich. He was an MSU student too. I met Bob when I directed him in a Fresca commercial that we made for directing class. At the time he had already done some actual paid commercial work. He was in a Frito Lay commercial and a couple of other things, but he hadn’t broken through yet. I believe he eventually became the most watched actor in television history because of the many, many shows he starred in — everything from S.W.A.T. to Vega$ to Soap, to Spencer for Hire, to Lonesome Dove, to Love Boat. He was a great guy. (I reconnected with him many years later, after he was diagnosed with cancer, and we talked all about those days in Lansing. He died in 2002.)

Radio was a favorite topic at Jim and Dave’s apartment. They had gotten enamored with a radio consultant named Bill Drake, who was one of the most famous Top 40 programmers in radio history. I never did the “Bill Drake” format per se, but I did do similar formats, and it’s safe to say that the things I later did at WLS like “Boogie Check,” “Can I Get a Witness News,” and “Americana Panorama” would never have been allowed at a station programmed by Bill Drake. He was a strict format disciplinarian.

Well, somehow, and I’d still love to know how they did this, Jimmy and Dave got their hands on the control room phone numbers of the Bill Drake consulted radio stations across the country, and began calling up disc jockeys, pretending to be Bill Drake. Take it from me, when the hotline rings in a radio studio, it can stop your heart. Anybody that has ever done a radio show knows what it means. It means you’re in trouble. And when these poor unsuspecting jocks picked up the phone, they’d hear...

“This is Bill Drake, who is this?”

Followed by Jim or Dave bitching at these poor saps for doing the format incorrectly. It was actually pretty hilarious. They had it down. They knew how the format worked. They knew all the tricks. All of these jocks fell for it.

One of the Drake guys that Donahue and Alberry called was named Mike Rivers. Mike was doing afternoons on CKLW in Detroit (actually Windsor, Canada — just over the border). Without my knowledge, Jimmy and Dave gave a tape of my show to Rivers. Rivers gave that tape to his boss, Paul Drew, shortly before Drew left Detroit to program WIBG in Philadelphia. All of these balls were rolling without me having the slightest idea.

So, I was more than a little surprised when I got a call from Paul Drew. He said he wanted to fly me out to Philadelphia to interview me.

“Are you kidding me? Of course I’ll come.”

When I got there, he offered me the job.

Now, as excited as I was by this turn of events, I also knew that if I took this job, I had to do something else. I had to drop out of college. My father was on a sabbatical overseas teaching in Germany when I got the job offer from WIBG in Philadelphia. I knew he wouldn’t understand the implications of this offer, but I sure did. This was a leap into market number four from market number nowhere. It was the #2 rated rock station in Philadelphia — this was a huge deal.

I talked to my professors about the job offer. They all told me to take it. I also talked to my in-laws, my father-in-law had gone to Harvard and MIT and my mother-in-law had gone to Vassar, and they supported the move too. Everybody pointed out to me that this was the reason I was going to college — to get an offer like this. So, I leaped at the opportunity and informed my parents overseas that I was dropping out of college my senior year to take the job.

I’m sure there was disappointment on their end, and I guess deep down there is some on my end too. Every once in a while, I remember that I never graduated, and I have fantasies of going back to Michigan and getting a diploma. I even went so far as calling up University of Michigan’s admission office once looking for my high school transcripts. I told whoever was on the other end of the phone that I had attended University of Michigan High School, and needed to get my records. Her response?

“What town?”


The jocks that were on the radio in Philadelphia at that time were real characters. Jerry Blavat (The Geator with the Heater), Joe Niagra (The Rockin’ Bird), Hy Lit (a guy who once had a 71 share). Huge names. Real characters in the history of Philadelphia radio; larger than life.

But I had a slightly different style. Ted Heusel, Tom O’Brien, and Joel Sebastian were my influences. Ron Britain in Chicago. Dave Pringle and Ollie McGlocklin from Ann Arbor. I was different than what they were used to in Philadelphia, and I knew it.

I have never been as nervous as I was the first day I went to work at WIBG. It was the big time — no question about it. I had arrived. But when I arrived, I also discovered something else. I was no longer John Records Landecker.

Paul Drew had changed my on-air name to Scott Walker.

Scott Walker? Really?

I had been in radio for only a few years, and this was already my third name. But unlike “Dow Jones,” I never cared for this one. It made no sense at all to me. They had hired the John Records Landecker Radio Leviathan Program. Why on earth would they put generic old Scott Walker on the air instead?

At first, WIBG was an absolute nightmare. Paul Drew was a micromanager’s micromanager. He would wear an earphone wherever he went to constantly listen to the station. It seemed like he listened 24 hours a day. There was a spotlight in the corner of the studio connected to the studio hotline, and it went off all day long. Paul called to correct every jock every time he did something wrong, even if he was in the middle of a sentence. The joke at the station was that we all had sunburn on one side of our face because of that studio hotline light.

It’s not that Paul mistreated me — he didn’t at all. He was a very nice guy. In fact, he was incredibly generous in retrospect because he didn’t fire me — and I gave him plenty of reasons. I even screwed up a countdown once.

I mean, I was just not gelling with this format at all.

I really thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life by going to this station. I had dropped out of college and moved across the country with a wife and kid, and came to a part of the country that wasn’t comfortable to me — I wasn’t an East Coast guy. I remember being in this hotel room one night, studying this ridiculous manual about the format — and breaking down because I believed there was no way I was going to be able to do it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but everything was about to change.


The station was sold to Buckley Broadcasting and Paul Drew was let go. I remember going over to Paul’s apartment after I heard the news.

He asked me: “What do you want to do with your career?”

“Well I’d like to go back to being John Records Landecker,” I said.

“You’re never going to make it with that name,” he said. “Why don’t you go down to a medium market, somewhere like Atlanta, and get it out of your system? There was no way I could have used a John Records Landecker here, but in the end, I could have used six Scott Walkers.”

He was trying to compliment me, trying to tell me that I did a great job executing the format, but being Scott Walker never felt right to me. In his defense, after I became a big success in Chicago, I did get a letter from Paul mocking himself for saying that to me. He wrote, “I guess what I should have said was ‘I could have used six John Records Landeckers’.”

Billboard Magazine interviews John Landecker

Mike Stern does a Q&A with John Landecker for Billboard Magazine.

It's on page 5--check it out here.

Not addressed in the article; John Landecker was named Billboard Magazine Personality of the Year in 1977.

RadioGirl interviews John Landecker

RadioGirl is Margaret Larkin. She has previously interviewed me a few times, and I think she does a pretty good job with her interviews.

This is her hour-long interview of John Records Landecker.

By the way, John names names for the very first time about the people who messed with him in his career.

May 17, 1979

My buddy Dane Placko was at Wrigley Field, and shares his memories of that historic day...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How To Open A Beer

Thanks to JG for pointing this out to me...

More Steve Miller

Thanks to "MW" for sending me this. A graph for the ages. Click on it to enlarge...

Benny the Bull

Forbes Magazine has named "Benny the Bull" America's favorite mascot.

Look out Indiana, there's going to be angry little Irish guy fighting somewhere tonight.

Steve Miller

The new IRS commissioner is named Steve Miller, although that's not what he's known as around Washington.

Some people call him the Space Cowboy. Some call him the Gangster of Love. Some people call him Maurice, cause he speaks of the pompatus (not a word) of love. Below is his first address to the press.

Today's Best Tweets

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

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner 2m
Carlos Zambrano has just signed with the #Phillies. If there's one place a guy with anger problems can really shine, it is Philadelphia.

Chicago Blackhawks ‏@NHLBlackhawks 5m
The #Blackhawks' Patrick Kane has been named one of three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:

SportsCenter ‏@SportsCenter 9m
BREAKING: Former England captain David Beckham has announced his retirement from soccer.

Michael Ian Black ‏@michaelianblack 22m
My wife asks, "Why are you in such a good mood?" In my house, this is an accusation.

Robert Feder ‏@RobertFeder 26m
On Wednesday, @SunTimes calls Donald Trump's accuser Goldberg. Today the paper calls her Greenberg. Tomorrow: Iceberg?

Marcus Gilmer ‏@marcusgilmer 28m
If you feel up for it, here are all 99 pages of the White House's documents on #Benghazi. …

Albert Brooks ‏@AlbertBrooks 29m
I dreamt I died and went to heaven and God didn't know any of the Kardashians.

Robin Baumgarten ‏@WGNRobin 35m
Funniest false rumor that I wish was true. …

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom 39m
The Sharks couldn’t understand why Raffi Torres was ordered to a disciplinary hearing. Because he's Raffi Stinkin’ Torres, that’s why.

Ed Ryan (Editor) ‏@Radio_Ink 51m
Sports Radio is an $800 million business. …

Media Shield Bill

The Obama Administration is in hot water for going after the AP's phone records in a government leak investigation. This has completely turned the press against them.

In response, the administration is now pushing for a media shield law.

I think it's a good idea, even if it's being done for the wrong reasons.

This is why advertising on political talk radio is a no-win proposition

From Tom Taylor's column today...

“This is why we don’t advertise on talk radio,” says a rep from the Belk retail chain. Call it “the anatomy of a two-sided controversy, with the client in the middle.” A vendor runs a spot mentioning Belk. Media/political activists whip up protest on social media. Then supporters of the radio show counter-protest, after the client says it’s got a policy of not running spots in talk shows. Belk’s Jessica Graham tells the Raleigh News & Observer that this week’s hubbub about a Belk-connected ad that ran inside a Rush Limbaugh broadcast illustrates why it adopted its policy. Here’s the News & Observer timeline – “The ad was apparently first noticed Monday by a group on Facebook that monitors Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers, in an effort to pressure the talk show host financially. On Tuesday, the liberal website Daily Kos mentioned the ad.” That led to protests on Belk’s Facebook page (“I cannot support or recommend your business while you sponsor Rush”). Then came the pushback from conservatives “incensed that the company was not advertising with Limbaugh” – as in “I’m going to cut the Belk card now.” If you’re the client – it’s not a fight you want to be in.

Sounds pleasant, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Larry Lujack

On June 1st my next Illinois Entertainer column will come out; an interview with radio legend Larry Lujack. I spoke to him on the phone for over an hour, and he shared some awesome stories. He also sent me this picture. Click on it to enlarge it and see how he signed it.

A Never Before Told Story About Cheers

It was told this weekend by George Wendt, and shared this morning by former Cheers writer Ken Levine.

Is there anyone who didn't like that show?

How Not To Facebook

Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro, is a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. They were recently featured in a not-so-favorable light on Gordon Ramsey's television show and started getting nasty comments on their Facebook page.

But then the owners of the restaurant made the fatal mistake of responding. Buzzfeed calls it: The Most Epic Brand Meltdown On Facebook Ever

Today's Best Tweets

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

The Associated Press ‏@AP 7m
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. tops a 2013 list of highest-earning athletes in the US. Here's how much he made: -BW

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 3m
7 inaccuracies Ann Coulter keeps repeating

The New York Times ‏@nytimes 12m
Say Hello to the 100 Trillion Bacteria That Make Up Your Microbiome

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune 14m
Man dribbling soccer ball from Seattle to World Cup in Brazil hit, killed by car

Alec MacGillis ‏@AlecMacGillis 20m
After running many, many front-page stories about gloomy debt projections, WaPo puts upbeat CBO report on...A14.

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 37m
ICYMI: ABC didn't really see the White House emails they claimed to see, only summaries, seemingly from GOP staffer …

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS 42m
Bloomberg News: "IRS sent same letter to Democrats that fed Tea Party row" …

HuffPost Chicago ‏@HuffPostChicago 45m
Cannabis use was associated with a 45% reduction in bladder cancer

Golf Digest ‏@GolfDigestMag 55m
The average 20-handicapper makes at least two serious driving errors (i.e. hitting it out of play or a penalty) per round. #playsmart

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 1h
Henry Schulman believes Melky Cabrera told a whopper of a lie Tuesday. …

Doug Banks Renews

From this morning's Radio Online...

"American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) and Doug Banks Media have reached a new deal to continue syndicating the "Doug Banks Radio Show" which airs weekdays from 3-7pm ET. Under the terms of the new contract, AURN will distribute, market and sell the show, one of the longest running urban programs, through 2015. AURN has distributed the Banks' radio show since July, 2010. It currently airs on nearly 30 stations, including flagship WVAZ-FM/Chicago."

The flagship may be WVAZ, but he does the show out of Dallas.

CBS Stock

From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

CBS not only hit $50 for the first time since it was spun out of Viacom in 2006, it touched $50.73 at one point. “CBS” gained $1.05 (2%) yesterday to close at $50.03.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, the stock options I earned at CBS (more than ten years ago) kick in at something like $60 a share. Never accept stock options instead of cash. Just sayin.

The Plans for Renovated Wrigley Field

Narrated by Pat Hughes...

Looks good to me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Abbott & Costello Predicted This

Hu's on first...

Last Seinfeld Episode

The last Seinfeld Episode aired exactly 15 years ago today. To say it was unsatisfying is an understatement, but I still consider the show to be one of the top five comedies in history.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Jim Gaffigan ‏@JimGaffigan 24m
Fun Fact: A flight from NY to Los Angeles is shorter than driving from JFK airport to any part of NYC.

mike mcguff ‏@mikemcguff 44m
Fired Anchor A.J. Clemente Returns To Bartending — Exclusive | RumorFix

Lynn Sweet ‏@lynnsweet 59m
Angelina Jolie says she had double mastectomy to try to prevent cancer - Chicago Sun-Times … via @suntimes

Nicholas Kristof ‏@NickKristof 7m
A brave and bold essay by Angelina Jolie about an excruciating medical choice she had to make:

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS 1h
Brooks gets it: Unedited talking points *never* claimed preplanned terror attack: … Mine: …

Paul Begala ‏@PaulBegala 30m
Thank goodness those paragons of competence & integrity, Cheney & Rumsfeld, have weighed in on Benghazi.

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum 1h
"If you are reading this, I am dead": Peter Worthington's obituary for himself in the Toronto Sun

TPM Livewire ‏@TPMLiveWire 1h
RNC Hispanic Outreach Director Becomes A Democrat … via @tomkludt

Jim Wiser ‏@JimWiser 1h
Netflix Video Puts Even More Strain on the Internet …
( )

Mark Edwards ‏@markedwards 5m
Scott Pelley: ‘We’re getting the big stories wrong, over and over again’ | Poynter.

Bill Hader Leaving SNL

This is a bummer. I thought Bill Hader was one of the best cast members of SNL, but after this season ends, he's walking away from the show.

Details in the New York Times.

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column is a recap of our Mother's Day.

You can read it here.

RIP Joyce Brothers

The New York Times has her obituary this morning.

There was a time when Dr. Joyce Brothers was on television so much that she was a household name. She appeared on hundreds of shows, but this is the show that originally made her famous...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Today in Beatles History

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

May 13, 1969…The Beatles, now with beards and long hair, met at EMI House in London to replicate the cover of their first album for the cover of their current album project, "Get Back." When that project evolved into "Let It Be," the photograph was put aside until its eventual use for the cover of the compilation release, "The Beatles 1967-1970," nicknamed the "blue album."

Everyone knows these pictures today...

Today's Best Tweets

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

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 2m
Obama on Benghazi talking points controversy: "There's no there there."

Lynn Sweet ‏@lynnsweet 7m
IRS should not be perceived as anything but "neutral," Obama is saying. Says the situation is "outrageous" for a second time.

Ron Howard ‏@RealRonHoward 14m
Arrested Development trailer a friend just texted to me from NY Giants website! …

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 16m
PM Cameron: "I am making some progress on understaning baseball. I read a book about it."

Bill McCormick ‏@JayTheJoke 4h How odd was Chicago baseball yesterday? Both teams won in odd fashion

Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 23m
Cubs, Rizzo get security with new deal

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein 25m
Why are birthrates falling around the world? Blame television.

Andy Richter ‏@AndyRichter 29m
For just $30 a month, will let you know God's choices for your meals!

New York Daily News ‏@nydailynews 33m
VIDEO: New Orleans Mother's Day parade shooter caught on video fleeing the scene after wounding 19 in gun rampage

ChiTribSports ‏@ChiTribSports 36m
Ex-Hawks coach Keenan to lead Russian team

The News Media Is Even Worse Than You Think

There's some pretty good analysis about the shortcomings of the media in this marketwatch (Wall Street Journal) editorial by Brett Arends. I don't agree with all of it, but for someone who works on Rupert Murdoch's payroll, he takes some courageous positions. It's definitely worth a read.

Check it out here.

Barbara Walters is Retiring in 2014

She has been a nationally known member of the media since 1961, but in 2014 she'll be stepping down from her current job as a co-host of The View, and retiring from the business.

Good Morning America did a very nice recap of her career this morning. You can see it here.

Seth Meyers

It's official.

NBC has named Seth Meyers as the new host of Late Night.

Rush Limbaugh vs. Cumulus

Tom Taylor's NOW column asks the question I've been wondering from afar as I listen to Rush publicly battle Cumulus' CEO. “Why are Limbaugh and Dickey continuing this pissing match in public?”

A veteran radio executive says “I can’t see how this benefits either side, but the hits just keep on coming.” He refers to what Rush Limbaugh said – in a clip cheerfully circulated by Media Matters – where he called media buyers “young women, fresh out of college, liberal feminists who hate conservatism.” Limbaugh’s particular frame of reference for the “fresh out of college” characterization was advertising bought on Fox News Channel, but a radio listener would think Rush was talking about his own show and the range of conservative talk radio. He says “we have to fight that battle anyway” – and he presumably means the Media Matters activist group when he talks about “these little sniveling jerks out there, trying to scare advertisers.” The radio exec says “That’s not doing anybody any good…why don’t they just zip it?”

I'll answer that question for you. Rush isn't capable of zipping it.

On the Road with John Records Landecker in Michigan City

On Friday afternoon I drove out to Michigan City Indiana (about a two hour drive from Eckhartz Press headquarters) to attend a lunchtime event with John Records Landecker at the very classy Lubeznik Center for the Arts. We were thrilled with the turnout (noon on a Friday?), and had a great time.

John was given a microphone--and guess what--he was quite comfortable telling tales from the book and beyond.

We sold quite a few books, told some stories, and met some great people. Thanks to everyone for coming out, including the Herald Argus who wrote this very nice article about the event. By the way, John also signed a few copies and left them at the Lubeznik center gift shop. If you're in the area, and want to pick up a signed copy, that's the place to do it.

Another event is scheduled for Wednesday (also at noon) at the LaPorte County Library.

Our Mother's Day Present

The team I coach, the U-10 Green White boys, won the Hawks Cup tournament this weekend in Oak Brook. It probably doesn't mean anything to you, but it was a nice Mother's Day present from the boys to their moms.